Earlier, we saw that the number of animal rabies cases have increased in Ontario, Canada, particularly in the City of Hamilton. Now, 1500 miles away in the province of Saskatchewan, authorities are reporting a doubling of rabies cases compared to the same period in 2015, prompting a rabies warning.
The province has confirmed 18 cases from January 1, 2016 to July 13, 2016, versus nine cases in the same time period in 2015 and seven in 2014. This includes seven cases in June and three cases to date in July. Four cases involving domestic animals have been confirmed, involving a cow, a cat, a baby lamb and a baby goat. Also confirmed were cases in skunks (eight) and bats (six).
The best defence against rabies is vaccination. All cats, dogs, ferrets and certain livestock should be vaccinated; the public is encouraged to contact their veterinarian for more information and to set up vaccination appointments for their pets and livestock. It’s also important that the public watch for signs of rabies in domestic animals and wildlife.
These signs include:
- Domestic animals may become depressed and try to hide in isolated places;
- Wild animals may lose their fear of humans and appear unusually friendly;
- Wild animals that usually come out at night may be out during the day;
- Animals may have paralysis which commonly affects the face or neck often seen as difficulty swallowing;
- Animals may become excited or aggressive; and
- Animals may attack objects, people or other animals.
The public should be aware of the risk of rabies in their area. Saskatchewan Agriculture has maps that identify at-risk areas.
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