Agriculture MEC Dr Ivan Meyer confirms that officials are vaccinating pets in Khayelitsha and affected areas this week in response to the cases. Picture Tracey Adams/African News Agency(ANA)
Agriculture MEC Dr Ivan Meyer confirms that officials are vaccinating pets in Khayelitsha and affected areas this week in response to the cases. Picture Tracey Adams/African News Agency(ANA)

Cape Town pet owners warned to be on extra alert for rabies 'outbreak'

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Aug 24, 2021

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Cape Town – The Western Cape Department of Agriculture Veterinary Services confirmed that they had received laboratory results on Monday confirming rabies in two dogs in Khayelitsha.

Investigations are currently under way to determine the source of the outbreak. According to the Western Cape Veterinary Service head, Dr Gininda Msiza, rabies is a viral disease affecting animals and people.

"It is transmitted by saliva or other body fluids, and a dog or person can be infected by being bitten, scratched or licked by a rabid animal," Msiza said.

"However, rabies is very easy to prevent by vaccinating dogs and cats.”

Agriculture MEC Dr Ivan Meyer confirms that officials are vaccinating pets in Khayelitsha and affected areas this week in response to the cases.

"Our Animal Health technicians began vaccinating dogs and cats in the area yesterday. We are working closely with the welfare organisations and medical doctors to check on contacts and any people who may have been bitten and need treatment," Meyer said.

"If you suspect that you have had contact with a rabid animal, getting preventative treatment as soon as possible saves your life. Wash any bite or scratch wound thoroughly with soap and water, and then go immediately to your doctor or clinic to get rabies vaccinations.

“The sooner you receive treatment, the better you will be protected against rabies."

According to Msiza, dogs with rabies often show a behaviour change and become suddenly aggressive or unusually tame for no reason.

"Dogs with rabies struggle to swallow and often walk around with their mouths open, drooling or making choking sounds as if they have something stuck in their throat.

“If you suspect a dog has rabies, do not touch it and contact your nearest private or state veterinarian immediately.

"Pet owners are encouraged to be vigilant and to take their pets to their private veterinarian or animal welfare organisation to make sure their rabies vaccinations are up to date," concludes Meyer.

For more information, contact the chief state veterinarian Dr Gary Buhrmann via email: [email protected], telephone 021 808 5026 or visit the website https://www.elsenburg.com/services-and-programmes/veterinary-services

Cape Argus

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