Rabies in Western Cape: Officials plead with residents to vaccinate pets after rabid dog euthanised

Western Cape officials are urging residents to get their dogs vaccinated against rabies.

Western Cape officials are urging residents to get their dogs vaccinated against rabies.

  • Another confirmed case of rabies has been detected in the Western Cape – this time in Gordon’s Bay.
  • The dog has been euthanised.
  • A veterinarian at the Cottage Vet Clinic was receiving treatment after the dog bit her while she was examining it.

Western Cape residents have been urged to be extra cautious with their pets after yet another rabies case was detected – this time in Gordon’s Bay.

The provincial Department of Agriculture confirmed the case in the Lancaster Road area.

According to the department, the dog had contact with a medium-sized “aggressive” dog that had attacked other dogs in the area during the first week of September.

READ | Cape Town pet owners warned to be on lookout for rabies after two dogs test positive

“The dog was brought to a private vet and euthanised on the evening of 29 September. The following morning, the state vet was informed, fetched the body (sic) and sent it to be tested in Pretoria,” said Western Cape Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer.

According to the department, the results of the rabies test on the dog came back positive on 5 October. It said measures have been put in place to curb the spread of the virus.

READ | Free jabs for furry pets to mark World Rabies Day

Dr Morné de Wet from Cottage Vet Clinic in Gordon’s Bay told News24 the latest rabies case was not a stray dog.

“The owners of the dog had brought the patient into the clinic as there were concerns about its health. Upon the arrival of the patient, hospital checks were done to determine what was wrong with the dog. One of our veterinarians who examined the dog was bitten,” said De Wet.

According to the clinic, the staff member is recovering well and continues to receive medical treatment for the rabid bite.

De Wet said:

It was very tragic to have to break the news to the owners of the patient that we would need to euthanise the animal as there is no cure for rabies.

De Wet pleaded with all pet owners to vaccinate their animals against rabies. He said it was free of charge.

State Veterinarian and epidemiologist Dr Lesley van Helden said a “small number” of rabies cases are reported in the province every year, usually in wild animals.

“This year, there have been three cases in dogs in Cape Town, so far. In the rest of the province, there have been 10 reported wildlife cases this year: seven bat-eared foxes, two aardwolves and one feral cat,” said Helden.

“Our officials are currently engaged in a mass vaccination campaign in Gordon’s Bay.”

Animal health technicians from the Boland State Veterinary office conducted a free rabies vaccination campaign in the vicinity of Lancaster Road on Monday and Tuesday.

Vaccination time

The last vaccinations session in the area will take place at the Gordon’s Bay Sports Ground on Wednesday, 13 October 2021 from 14:30 to 17:30.

Rabies was first detected in two dogs in Khayelitsha earlier this year. Both dogs were put down.

“Since the first outbreak of rabies this year, officials have been going door to door to every house in the area, explaining who we [are], what we [are] doing and why to the people there, and then [we] vaccinate every dog or cat presented to us,” said the department.

Rabies is a fatal disease transmitted when a person or animal is bitten by an infected animal. The clinical signs in animals are changes in behaviour (aggressive animals become tame and tame animals become aggressive) and progressive paralysis.

Dogs and cats may have difficulty swallowing, with saliva dripping from the mouth. Rabies can be prevented by vaccinating animals.

The Western Cape health department said it had received no report of a veterinarian in Gordon’s Bay being bitten by a rabid animal.

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