State veterinarians will descend upon Ga-Rankuwa to give free rabies vaccinations to pets this weekend following a reported threat of rabies, reports Pretoria North Rekord.
The Gauteng department of agriculture and rural development warned of a risk of rabies in Ga-Rankuwa Zone 1 after a dog was diagnosed with rabies by the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute Rabies laboratory recently.
The vets will be at SAB Community Park, in Zone 1 Ga-Rankuwa, to help dog and cats owners with vaccinations.
State veterinarian Dr Adri Grobler said the dog had been bitten by a stray dog in the area.
“Many cases have also been reported in the Northern townships of Pretoria, and around the townships situated on the North West and Gauteng border.”
Grobler said rabies affected the brain and could lead to the death of the infected person or animal.
“Symptoms vary widely and include: behavioural changes, aggressiveness, and paralysis,” she said.
Symptoms can occur from 7 days to 6 months after exposure.
The virus occurs in great numbers in the saliva of the infected animal.
The department of agriculture and rural development re-emphasised the following:
- It is compulsory for all dogs and cats to be vaccinated against rabies.
- Failure to vaccinate domestic pets is illegal and is a public health risk.
- Members of the public should avoid touching or caressing strange, injured or sick animals.
- Any person who or domestic pet which has been bitten by an unknown animal, should immediately contact their local state veterinarian or local health authority.
- Any animal which has not been vaccinated should immediately be taken to the veterinarian or the local SPCA for a health check and be vaccinated.
- In order to ensure that there is a high degree of immunity against rabies among the pet population; the Gauteng Veterinary Services will give a booster vaccine in GA Rankuwa Zone 1.
There is no cost to the pet owner for this service.
All dogs and cats over the age of three months that have not been vaccinated for rabies this year must be vaccinated.
The public can choose to have the vaccine administered by their private veterinarian or by the state.
She said the presence of rabies in an area must always be considered as extremely serious.