First rabies case hits Highway in 2017

THE Kloof and Highway SPCA confirmed its first rabies case for the year and has urged Highway residents to vaccinate their pets and to be wary when interacting with stray animals.

On Sunday, 2 April the Kloof and Highway SPCA responded to a call to check on a stray dog found in Abelia Road in Kloof.

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A local resident was concerned that the dog was injured and the organisation’s inspector, Petros Simamane, was worried about the dog’s behaviour and noted that it could have been a possible rabies case.

It was later confirmed as a possibility by the NPO’s veterinarian, Mary-Ann Anderson, handler Petros Ntuli and senior inspector, Cheri Cooke.

“The sad and heart-breaking decision was made to humanely euthanase the dog and to send its body to be tested for rabies by the state vet,” said the organisation’s marketing manager, Lisa Mörck.

Cooke explained the seriousness and urgency of the situation and that the only way rabies could be confirmed was through a post mortem test of the dog’s brain.

The dog’s body was immediately collected by the state veterinarian and once the test was conducted, a positive rabies result was confirmed.

“The Kloof and Highway SPCA has not received a lost report for this dog and we appeal to members of the public to be aware that their pets must be vaccinated against rabies,” said Mörck.

Vaccinations can be done at the Kloof and Highway SPCA or at a local veterinarian.

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“Rabies vaccinations need to be done annually to ensure the vaccine remains effective and not only protects your four-legged companions but also your immediate family and community,” she said.

Rabies is a disease that affects the brain and leads to the death of the person or animal involved. Symptoms vary widely and may include the following:
– Behavioural changes
– Aggression
– Salivation
– Paralysis

“If you come across an animal that you suspect may have rabies or is behaving strangely, do not touch or caress the animal. Report all suspect cases to the nearest SPCA, state veterinarian or to the police immediately. ”

“If someone gets bitten the wound must be thoroughly disinfected, a medical doctor consulted immediately and the nearest state veterinarian contacted,” concluded Mörck.

The Kloof and Highway SPCA can be contacted on 031 764 1212/3 or after-hours on 073 335 9322. The Department of Agriculture or state vet can be contacted on 031 328 9300 or 079 506 1991.

Lloyd Mackenzie

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