Rabies Awareness

Education is Key!

The message is simple – do not touch or pick up stray cats or dogs and certainly never approach an animal behaving strangely or ‘out of character’. In scenarios like these, it is vital you rather contact your local veterinarian, SPCA or State Vet and one of their trained personnel, who are vaccinated against rabies and thus protected, can assist.

Symptoms & Diagnosis

Rabid cats and dogs can show an array of symptoms: unprovoked aggression; paralysis of the throat and jaw muscles resulting in foaming at the mouth; incoordination and weakness, seizures, to name a few. The onset of these symptoms can be delayed and easily misinterpreted, hence, it is so important to be hypervigilant and treat any mammal behaving ‘out of character’ as suspicious. Examples are as follows: a jackal that is unusually tame and no longer afraid of people; or an unvaccinated dog that has always been friendly but now wants to bite for no reason. These are warning bells, take care! Rabies can only be diagnosed by humanely euthanizing an animal and submitting its brain tissue for tests at a registered laboratory.

Risk areas & Responsibility

People living or visiting high risk areas (KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, Limpopo) should be extra careful and never interact with unknown dogs or cats. Please remember in these high risk provinces it is recommended to have your pet vaccinated for rabies once a year (by law every three years), this is of course under the guidance of a veterinarian. These areas are endemic for rabies and there is insufficient herd immunity to provide safety to the overall population and thus you as a pet owner should not take a risk! It is every pet owner’s social duty to ensure their pets are vaccinated through a private vet, a state vet, or an SPCA.

The ‘Rabies Awareness Body in Eshowe’ facebook page is an excellent page to follow as it shares the latest rabies case reports from the KZN State Veterinary Department. This platform provides quality information about rabies, see an excerpt below:

What to do in the event of a bite OR SCRATCH from ANY MAMMAL that could have rabies:

  1. Wash any scratches or wounds with running water and soap for 10 minutes.
  2. Get to a doctor or hospital for a course of 4 vaccinations. Do not let a clinic turn you away – insist on speaking to someone that can advise you about vaccination. If the clinic does not have vaccine, ask them to find out for you the nearest one that does. If you have a bite you will also need injections of rabies immunoglobulin (RIG) into the wound. You have a right to call an ambulance if you need transportation”

Click here to view the ‘Rabies Awareness Body in Eshowe’ facebook page.

Join Khula Outreach in the fight against rabies.

You can save a life by educating your family and ensuring your pets’ vaccinations are up to date, as per the recommendation of your veterinarian.