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World Rabies Day, A Reminder to Vaccinate

Friday, September 28th, 2018

Perth County – Today is World Rabies Day and the Perth District Health Unit is encouraging pet and livestock owners to keep their communities rabies-free by having their animals vaccinated against the disease.

Approximately 59,000 people die from rabies around the world each year. Although the last case of human rabies in Canada was in 2014, it is a fatal disease and we must remain vigilant.

Rabies is a viral disease that attacks the central nervous system of warm blooded mammals. The most common carriers of the disease are raccoons, bats, skunks, and foxes. The virus is carried in the saliva of infected mammals and can spread to humans and their pets/ livestock through a bite, scratch, cut or contact with the moist tissues of the mouth, nose and eyes. It is important to remember once symptoms appear, the disease is almost always fatal.

“Perth County is not free of rabies,” says Senior Public Health Inspector, Dale Lyttle. “Many people do not realize that rabies is still a concern in Perth County. We continue to receive reports of positive animals.” Since 2015, there have been seven rabies-positive animals reported to the Health Unit. The majority of these cases were found in cows located at working farms.

Keeping dogs and cats vaccinated is key to preventing the spread of rabies, and in Ontario, it’s the law. For information on vaccinating livestock, contact your veterinarian.

Low-Cost Rabies Clinics in October

The Health Unit and the Stratford-Perth Humane Society have teamed up to provide low-cost rabies vaccination and microchip clinics for cats and dogs in October. The clinics are at the Stratford-Perth Humane Society, 125 Griffith Road, on:

  • Thursday, October 4th, 2018 from 4 to 7 pm
  • Saturday, October 6th, 2018 from 10 am to 1 pm.

Vaccinations will be on a first come first serve basis and wait times are to be expected. Cats and dogs must be over three months of age, dogs must be leashed, and cats must be in a carrier. Also, it is recommended that pet owners check with their veterinarian before attending to make sure their animal is due for a rabies vaccine. For more information about these clinics, call the Stratford-Perth Humane Society at 519-273-6600 extension 247.

Other ways to protect your family and your pets from rabies include:

  • Teaching children to stay away from wild animals, dogs and cats they don’t know or animals that are acting strangely. A strange acting animal could be a sign that it is sick or injured.
  • Keeping pets away from wildlife. Don’t let your pets run free in the neighborhood and keep them indoors at night.
  • Not feeding, transporting or relocating wildlife.

For more information about rabies, call Health Line at 519-271-7600 or toll-free at 1-877-271-7348 extension 267. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.