Resident urges pet owners to vaccinate pets against rabies

AMY Newcombe-Bond and her family were walking and cycling at an equestrian site in Shongweni on September 14 when they were approached by a suspected rabid dog.

With the recent increase in the number of confirmed cases of rabies in the Upper Highway area, the resident feels it is important for the public to ensure their animals are vaccinated and understand the precautions to take following rabies. an incident of this nature.

Newcombe-Bond says she, her family and their pets were near the tunnel running under the nearby freeway when they noticed two pedestrians and a dog. Initially believing the animal belonged to bystanders, the parents were surprised when the dog ran directly at their own animal. Quick thinking and a few audible and verbal warnings deterred the stray, which then scurried off into a nearby field.

“My husband screamed, so we saw the dog coming, and he tried to bite ours. There was a little saliva on his back but no wound. We shouted and he ran into the field. We asked the two gentlemen if it was their dog, and they said no, but that it was following them,” says Newcombe-Bond.

When the family reached the main clubhouse and restaurant, they encountered two other people who had interacted with the same stray animal. After further discussion, the group realized that the dog might have rabies.

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Newcombe-Bond says: “We spoke to management to let them know, and everyone now knew it was probably a rabid dog, so no one touched it or went near it. The SPCA was called, and the stray dog ​​was confined and removed from the property.

Newcombe-Bond says she was grateful her dogs weren’t bitten and up to date on their rabies vaccinations and that her husband and children didn’t come into direct physical contact with the stray dog. Following the advice of SPCA Kloof and Highway, she took her animals to her family veterinarian for booster shots.

“We never had direct contact, the dog didn’t brush against us and there were no open wounds on our hands,” Newcombe-Bond said.

If a family member had come into close contact with the sick dog, they would have been referred to their doctor to begin recommended immediate treatment.

The concerned mother says, “We are mountain bikers who go out regularly in Shongweni and the surrounding area, and we have often noticed and encountered stray dogs and hunting dogs. We never touch them because even though he’s a happy and friendly dog, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have rabies. You have to be careful – you can’t just go and touch any dog ​​in this area.

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Sebastian Kay, the manager of the equestrian site, said the dog wandered onto their property and once informed, management was able to put the animal on a leash and contain it until the SPCA arrived. .

“The manager involved was uninjured and had no actual physical contact with the dog. Based on our discussion with the SPCA, rabies is on the rise in the area and we encourage all pet owners make sure their vaccines and boosters are up to date,” added Kay.

The National Institute of Communicable Diseases describes rabies as a “vaccine-preventable zoonotic disease” that is spread “through contact with the saliva of infected animals.”

The head of communication for the Ministry of Agriculture, Vusi Zuma, confirmed positive rabies cases in eThekwini and King Cetshwayo district and said the department is stepping up its rabies vaccination campaign. According to Zuma, the municipality is monitoring the situation.

The municipality said on social media that it was rolling out a vaccination campaign, in partnership with various stakeholders, and encouraged the public to get their pets vaccinated for free.

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Free rabies vaccination clinics are to be held at 1000 Hills Hotel, Drummond and Hillcrest Veterinary Hospital, Cube House, Old Main Road, Hillcrest on September 27 from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and September 28 from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. . :30.

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