RABIES in dogs

On February 6th, 2017, health Officials in Hamilton announced the confirmation of rabies in a domestic cat.  This is the second case of rabies found in a domestic animal in over 20 years.  Since 2015, 277 animals have tested positive in Hamilton for rabies.

 

What is rabies?

Rabies is a virus that is transmitted from one infected mammal to another through saliva and sometimes brain tissue or spinal fluid. The most common ways dogs get rabies is from a bite from an infected mammal, or through an existing open wound that gets exposed to an infected mammal’s saliva. The most frequently infected carriers of rabies are stray cats and dogs, bats, raccoons, skunks and foxes.

 

As a dog owner, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of rabies for two reasons:

  • Once any signs and symptoms of rabies appear in your dog, it is too late for treatment and they will most likely die from the disease.
  • If a pet in your household becomes infected with rabies, it can transmit the virus to other pets or humans in your household (before even showing signs of the virus) – putting everyone in your household at risk.

 

If you suspect your dog has been exposed to rabies from contact with any wildlife or stray pets, contact your veterinarian IMMEDIATELY.

 

Symptoms and Signs of Rabies in Dogs

  1. Behaviour change – includes increased aggressiveness, lacking energy or quieter than usual.
  2. Less or no interest in food or water intake.
  3. Change in mobility – includes lack of movement or loss of balance.
  4. Hypersensitive to light and touch.
  5. Change in barking sound and habit.
  6. Increased saliva production / increase in drooling.
  7. The dog is irritated by a wound on its body.

 

Immediately move your dog to a secluded, quiet and dark place in your home, keeping it away from all people and pets if your dog has any of the above symptoms. Call your veterinarian immediately and implement their advice and contact your local health authority/unit.

The only way to prevent rabies is to have your dog’s rabies vaccinations up to date, which is required by law. The next step to prevent rabies is to ensure your dog is not exposed to rabies carriers such as bats, raccoons, skunks, foxes and stray cats and dogs. Deter wildlife that carry rabies from your property by eliminating all sources of food and shelter.  Hawkeye Bird and Animal Control technicians are experts at assessing your property for risk and exposure to rabies and providing solutions to prevent rabies from posing a threat to your dog. They are also the ONLY licensed animal control company that can provide permanent protection by humane euthanizing wild animals.  Call Hawkeye today at 1-855-393-4295.