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Rabies Comes Back With A Vengeance

In our society, vaccines are the source of much controversy. Anti-vaxers and those who are pro-vaccines are clashing all over social media and the war has been going on for some years now. People with young children are afraid to vaccinate as they fear a link from vaccines to autism, they fear the side effects of the vaccine, they fear that too many vaccines will overwhelm their child’s immune system etc.

The truth is, diseases are coming back with a vengeance because more people are not vaccinating their children; whooping cough, measles, mumps, chicken pox, polio, rubella and the list goes on. Let’s now go to pets, why aren’t people vaccinating their pets? Some pet parents fear that their pet may have a severe vaccine reaction, some follow a vaccine free lifestyle themselves, some have financial constraints, some pet parents just aren’t educated on the need to update vaccines throughout their pet’s lives. The truth is, vaccines save lives. Rabies and Distemper were nearly eradicated in the last century and now they are making a comeback close to home.

“When parents — as well as people who have pets — decide that the possible risk of a vaccine or vaccine reaction is not worth vaccinating, we lose herd immunity. There is a resurgence of the disease and, with enough cases circulating, even vaccinated individuals are at risk.” (www.petful.com)
Some pet parents do not understand that vaccines need to have boosters throughout their pet’s lives. How often do we need to vaccinate? It depends on the vaccine and the pet, most veterinarians will tailor a vaccine schedule to your pet specifically. Core vaccines include Rabies (every 3 years) and DA2PP (Distemper, Adenovirus, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus) which also typically is every 3 years. Many veterinarians try to separate them so that they alternate and the pet does not get both in the same year. Other vaccines that depend on the dog and pet owner’s lifestyle are often yearly vaccines such as Bordetella (for “Kennel Cough”), Leptospirosis (a bacterial infection that can affect the kidneys as well as cause a laundry list of unpleasant and possibly fatal symptoms) and Lyme. Bordetella is given to dogs that frequent dog parks, grooming salons, doggie daycare as well as dog kennels. Leptospirosis is given to dogs who hunt, live in the country, frequent trails, are exposed to mud, puddles and wildlife urine as that is the main transmission method. In Guelph this past year there were an enormous amount of Canine Distemper cases observed and reported in raccoons. Many homeowners reported seeing

Many veterinarians try to separate them so that they alternate and the pet does not get both in the same year. Other vaccines that depend on the dog and pet owner’s lifestyle are often yearly vaccines such as Bordetella (for “Kennel Cough”), Leptospirosis (a bacterial infection that can affect the kidneys as well as cause a laundry list of unpleasant and possibly fatal symptoms) and Lyme. Bordetella is given to dogs that frequent dog parks, grooming salons, doggie daycare as well as dog kennels. Leptospirosis is given to dogs who hunt, live in the country, frequent trails, are exposed to mud, puddles and wildlife urine as that is the main transmission method. In Guelph this past year there were an enormous amount of Canine Distemper cases observed and reported in raccoons. Many homeowners reported seeing

Many veterinarians try to separate them so that they alternate and the pet does not get both in the same year. Other vaccines that depend on the dog and pet owner’s lifestyle are often yearly vaccines such as Bordetella (for “Kennel Cough”), Leptospirosis (a bacterial infection that can affect the kidneys as well as cause a laundry list of unpleasant and possibly fatal symptoms) and Lyme. Bordetella is given to dogs that frequent dog parks, grooming salons, doggie daycare as well as dog kennels. Leptospirosis is given to dogs who hunt, live in the country, frequent trails, are exposed to mud, puddles and wildlife urine as that is the main transmission method. In Guelph this past year there were an enormous amount of Canine Distemper cases observed and reported in raccoons. Many homeowners reported seeing bizarre behaviors and some went as far as having to shoot raccoons on their properties and calling the rabies hotline for disposal and lab testing. The number of Rabies cases in the Hamilton area has now reached 173 and continues to grow. Most of the cases have been linked to raccoons and skunks, however, there have been bats and most recently a cat has been confirmed to have been Rabies-positive. The rabid cat came from rural Ancaster, had exposure to 5 people and has bitten a man who is not undergoing treatment.
“Scientists say they now have evidence suggesting a rabid raccoon hitchhiked more than 500 kilometers into Ontario from southeastern New York state to ignite Ontario’s first rabies outbreak in a decade. Susan Nadin-Davis, a researcher with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency who focuses on rabies research, says she was surprised at the result and had to run tests again to make sure it wasn’t a mistake. A fight between two Hamilton dogs and an aggressive raccoon in the back of an animal control van in December led to the discovery of the first documented case of rabies in a raccoon in the province since 2005.” (www.thestar.com)
So what can we do to keep our pets protected from these fatal and highly contagious diseases? Vaccinate, make sure that your pet is vaccinated according to their vaccine schedule and follow the guidelines below if you suspect Rabies in an animal or you are bitten by an animal who is a rabies suspect.
If a person is bitten or scratched by ANY animal (wild, stray, or a domestic pet) call Public Health at 1-800-265-7293 ext. 4753 (8:30 a.m. – 4;30 p.m. or 1-877-884-8653 after-hours)
If a pet or livestock is bitten by a wild or stray animal (with no human exposure) please contact your veterinarian for advice.
If you notice a wild or stray animal behaving oddly or aggressively, call the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNRF) Rabies Hotline at 1-888-574-6656.
Avoid all contact with wild animals, including preventing contact between pets and wildlife.
Keeping dogs and cats current on rabies vaccination. (Guidelines from https://www.wdgpublichealth.ca/?q=adultrabies)

 

Written by Clappison Animal Hospital 

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