Khayelitsha animal clinic records two rabies cases after more than 20 years
Share this article:
CAPE TOWN — Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha has identified rabies infections in two dogs for the first time in more than 20 years in the Cape Metro.
The clinic’s fundraising and communications manager, Marcelle du Plessis, confirmed the two cases.
The cases were unrelated, and the dogs did not contract rabies from one another.
Animal Welfare Society of South Africa spokesperson Allan Perrins said the metro has been rabies-free for 27 years, with the last recorded case reported in 1994, which involved an individual infected dog.
He said the state veterinarian has yet to determine where and how the two dogs became infected.
“It is probable that they semi-grated with their owners to the Cape Metro from another province where rabies is prolific. The Eastern Cape and KZN are hot-spots for the circulation of rabies,” he said.
Perrins said it was also probable that the dogs might have accompanied their owners to an infected zone and returned home with the disease.
He said rabies was a potentially deadly zoonotic disease (illnesses that can spread from animals and people). Dogs were the main source of human rabies deaths.
He said once the clinical symptoms appeared, rabies was virtually 100% fatal.
However, he said rabies was a vaccine-preventable disease.
“When it comes to rabies, prevention is better than cure, and there is no excuse for any companion animal to contract this dreadful disease,” said Perrins.
He said pet owners needed to take full responsibility for their pets’ health and welfare. They have a duty of care, which included ensuring that their pets were fully vaccinated at all times.
Perrins said that to help curb the spread of rabies, the society has established a rabies vaccination station where all qualifying pet owners could have their pets vaccinated at no cost. The details are on the society’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/awsphilippi/ or pet owners can call 021 692 2626.