Durban - A four-year-old Durban North boy has been put on a rabies injection course after being attacked by a rabid dog while playing at a park near his home.
Jaden Altern’s parents, Angela and Tyron, of Sunningdale, said they had no idea at the time that the dog was rabid and were alerted through the persistence of members of the community and a local policing forum who tracked them down and urged them to seek medical help.
“We had not dealt with a dog bite before and because there was hardly any blood we would have probably not taken him to the doctor,” Angela said yesterday.
She is now urging other Durban North residents who may have been attacked by the dog to get medical help.
The dog, which was later put down, was a white female cross breed.
“Thank goodness the community took the time to find us and tell us the dog had rabies. We are very grateful as the consequences of that could have been fatal,” she said.
Yesterday, the child was taken to the doctor for a second batch of immunoglobulin injections that is aimed at preventing him contracting the rabies virus.
The incident occurred last Thursday after Jaden, who was playing in a park with his younger brother and father, approached a dog that was wandering nearby.
His father, Tyron, said that as the child approached the dog, it growled at him.
“This scared Jaden and he ran away towards me but the dog chased him. As he got to me I picked him up but the dog had nipped him on the bum. I was able to chase the dog away and it ran off,” he said.
What Tyron did not know at the time was that a woman from the community who had tried to capture the stray dog had also been bitten and she had called on the Ashburne Veterinary Hospital for help.
When Tyron got home he and his wife went to the local pharmacist for advice and left their contact details with them.
The next morning she got a call from the (policing forum) Suncell Watch, telling her the dog that had bitten her son may have had rabies and she should go to the doctor. “Thank goodness for that call.”
The woman who had been bitten has also been put on a rabies-prevention course.
Dr Renade Bartlett, a vet at Ashburne Veterinary Hospital, said that the dog was captured by her staff later that Thursday and when it was brought in, it had a bloody nose.
“It was behaving oddly, so we gave it some painkillers and kept it overnight to assess it. The next morning after hearing that it had bitten a woman and a young child we euthanised it,” she said. “We sent it to the state vet and the results came back this week saying it did have rabies.”
Bartlett urged anyone who may have come in contact with the dog to go to their doctor.
“The concern is that you have a seven-day period where you can prevent the rabies and if anyone did get bitten by this dog before we got involved, they must go see their doctor,” Bartlett said.
“She (the dog) was in the Glen Anil area and we don’t know how long she may have been there for. The rabies virus exists here in KZN and it is something we always have to be aware of.
“Pet owners, those who have cats and or dogs, must also be up to date with their vaccinations,” she said.