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KZN rabies outbreak - why it’s important to vaccinate your pets

Founder Nicky and her husband Johnny Koekemoer of 4 Paws and a Tale Rescue.

Founder Nicky and her husband Johnny Koekemoer of 4 Paws and a Tale Rescue.

Published Apr 5, 2022

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CAPE TOWN - Residents on the KZN South Coast are being called on to urgently vaccinate their dogs and cats against rabies following a number of positive cases reported in the area in recent weeks.

Nicky Koekemoer of non-profit organisation, 4 Paws and a Tale Rescue, said that they were carrying out a vaccination campaign and had been made aware of incidents of people coming into contact with rabid dogs.

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She said there have been four positive cases of rabies in Craigieburn and another four possible cases, as well as positive cases reported in New Haven, Scottburgh, Kelso and Amandawe, where a rabid dog bit a number of residents. Koekemoer said there were possibly two more cases in Pennington.

“We went out and vaccinated 20 street dogs this morning, and are desperately pleading with people to vaccinate their animals and seek immediate medical attention if they have any interaction with a suspected rabid animal,” explained Koekemoer.

“People must insist on rabies treatment, even if the medical staff are unwilling, because there is a lot of misinformation around rabies which is highly contagious. Even if a person is not bitten, the saliva can get into an open wound and infect the individual,” she said.

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Residents must also note that even animals kept on a property can come into contact with infected wandering animals along the fence line so it was important that all pet owners ensure their animals’ vaccinations are up to date, she added.

“We’ve noticed that, with the arrival of lockdown regulations, even people who would regularly vaccinate their pets are failing to do so. With recent cases of rabies reported on the KZN South Coast, it’s vital that pet owners take responsibility. There is no cure for rabies,” she said.

Some of the indicators of rabies in dogs are lethargy, fever, excessive drooling, sensitivity, erratic behaviour. Some dogs may not show symptoms of rabies.

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If bitten or licked by a suspected rabid dog, thoroughly clean the wound with disinfectant and seek urgent medical care. A series of injections will be administered to stop infection.

For more information about 4 Paws and a Tale Rescue, visit: www.4pawsandatalerescue.co.za

Cape Times

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