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Published on Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Public Health urging people to vaccinate their pets against rabies

By Evelyn Hodgkin,

Public Health Inspector

 

Pets can bring so much joy and adventure into a household.

But with all the fun and excitement comes added responsibilities and expenses. This includes ensuring your pet is up to date on their vaccines.

We vaccinate our pets for the same reasons we vaccinate ourselves and our children – to protect them against diseases that can cause illness or even death.

One of the most important vaccines for pets is the rabies vaccine.

All cats and dogs over three months of age must be vaccinated against rabies, as per Regulation 567 of Ontario’s Health Protection and Promotion Act.

The good news is, you can contact any veterinarian clinic in Grey-Bruce and they will be happy to assist you.

The Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians also maintains a list of low-cost rabies vaccine clinics at www.oavt.org. Select Rabies Response Program under the About OAVT drop-down menu and then click Rabies Vaccine Clinics to view this list, which is regularly updated.

If you require financial assistance, contact Grey Bruce Public Health at 519-376-9420 and ask for the Public Health Inspector for your area. We will be happy to provide you with a vaccine voucher, which reduces the cost of the vaccine at participating local vet clinics.

 

WHAT IS RABIES?

Rabies is a virus that can infect any mammal. Infected animals can pass the virus onto humans in three main ways – bites that break the skin, getting infected saliva in an open cut, sore, or other wound, and getting infected saliva in the mouth, nose, or eyes.

Without timely human intervention (post-exposure vaccines), the virus will make its way to a person’s brain and result in a fatal disease.

Bats, skunks, raccoons, and foxes are the animals that most often transmit rabies in Ontario. As for livestock, mostly cattle, but occasionally horses, sheep, goats, and pigs can also have the virus. Domestic animals, such as cats and dogs and, occasionally, ferrets, can also become infected. Rabies can be found in wolves, coyotes, and other meat-eating animals as well.

Rabies is rarely found in rodents, such as mice, squirrels, chipmunks, groundhogs, rabbits, and rats.

Before you decide to feed any of the little critters mentioned above, please don’t. Remember that feeding them is a source of provocation and all animals can bite.

The law requires all biting incidents to be reported to Public Health.

If someone is bitten or scratched by an animal capable of transmitting rabies – or if the animal’s bodily fluids enter the person’s body – wash the wound with soap and water and seek medical attention. You will be contacted by Public Health.

And, remember: to protect yourself against rabies, vaccinate your pets, don’t pet or approach someone else’s pet without permission, stay away from wildlife, and bat proof your home.

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Categories: Your Environment, Rabies

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