KwaZulu-Natal has the worst reputation for rabies and it is essential that dogs are inoculated against the killer disease.
Durban - If you spot a stray dog that appears to be sick or behaving abnormally, call for professional help in case it has rabies.

That help could come from the local provincial agriculture department office - they have vets in every region - the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) or a vet.

“If the animal can be confined in a property, that would help,” said Barbara Patrick, manager of the Kloof SPCA. “It’s best not to touch it.”

Patrick said some rabid dogs might not appear aggressive.

One case has been brought to Kloof SPCA this year and one to the Durban and Coast SPCA. The provincial department has already dealt with seven animal cases.

Spokeswoman Phathisa Mfuyo urged people to immediately seek medical treatment if they were bitten.

“Often there is the attitude that ‘it’s just a dog’ and people do not realise it could have rabies,” she said.

Dogs must be vaccinated at three months old and receive their second vaccination when they are one. Then, they must be vaccinated every year.

Symptoms of rabies include the animal becoming agitated; salivation, in that it cannot swallow; dehydration and aggressive behaviour.

Wounds on humans should be washed under running water for more than five minutes and cleaned with disinfectant. Go to the nearest clinic without delay for treatment.

Independent On Saturday