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Reduce risk of rabies by vaccinating pets

June 23, 2022   ·   0 Comments

With the warmer weather now upon us, people are heading outdoors and so are their pets.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is offering advice on how to stay protected when it comes to rabies.

Rabies is a fatal disease that is spread to humans by infected animals.

There is an effective vaccine for rabies in humans as long as the dose is given within a certain time frame.

Once symptoms being to appear, the disease is fatal.

In the past there have been times when Ontario has been a real hotbed of rabies, however provincial programs have, to a large degree, reduced the threat by dropping bait containing the vaccine in urban, forested, and agricultural areas. This does not mean the threat has been eradicated.

Wild animals with the disease are still a threat to both humans and their pets.

In Ontario, the animals the most often transmit rabies are bats, foxes, skunks, and raccoons.

If you take your pet to outdoor areas off-leash, it is possible your pet could come in contact with an animal that has rabies.

Rabies is transmitted through bites that break the skin, getting infected saliva in an open cut or wound, and getting infected saliva in the mouth, nose or eyes.

Your pet, if infected, can give the disease to you if you are not aware that they have been infected.

In Ontario, it is the law that pets, including cats and dogs, must be vaccinated.

If you think your pet has been in contact with a wild animal, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. They will advise you on how to proceed caring for your pet.

If you think you have been exposed to rabies through your pet or contact with a wild animal, you should wash the bite or scratch with soap and water, then immediately seek medical attention through your doctor or the nearest hospital.

When it comes to rabies, immediate treatment is necessary to stop the disease.

While the risk of infection in Ontario is low, prevention is still the best way to avoid rabies.

This includes keeping control of your pet at all times so they can’t interact with wildlife.

It also means you should never touch or handle a wild animal even if – or especially if – it seems friendly.

By following these few suggestions you can protect your pet and yourself from a dangerous situation.

By Brian Lockhart

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