The Cape of Good Hope SPCA is urging locals to vaccinate their pets as soon as possible, following concerns of rabies cases in the country. Parvovirus cases also continue to escalate locally and their isolation facility has reached 60% of capacity.

In a statement, the Cape SPCA issued an Amber alert for vaccinations as there has been a recent increase in Rabies cases reported in KwaZulu-Natal.

There have been 33 confirmed cases of rabies in animals since the beginning of the year, according to the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development. The department also reported that a 10-year-old boy from KwaZulu-Natal died from the virus.

Rabies is a fatal viral disease that affects all mammals, and is transmissible from animals to humans. The virus is transmitted through the saliva of infected animals through licks, scratches and bites.

Rabies occurs in domestic and wild animals across South Africa. People are encouraged not to touch or pick up unknown or stray animals, especially dogs and cats.

Dog mediated rabies in humans is fully preventable and this is why the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have committed to eradicating dog mediated human cases by 2030. Only nine years is left to achieve this goal, and it is indeed achievable if people all take the responsibility to have their pets vaccinated.

South African law requires pet owners to vaccinate their cats and dogs against Rabies at 12 weeks, as well as a booster before 12 months. Thereafter, they should receive doses yearly or every third year depending on the specific vaccine manufacturer.

The life-threatening canine Parvovirus also continues to be a matter of concern in the Cape, and pet owners need to ensure their pets are vaccinated and that their vaccinations are kept up to date. This helps to improve the resistance of the animal against specific diseases such as Parvovirus and Distemper.

“Vaccination against the parvovirus is done at an early age because puppies are especially susceptible to parvovirus. The booster dose for each vaccine needs to be given at the prescribed time intervals which help to build up immunity. Early vaccination is encouraged and is usually started at the age of five to six weeks. It is always better to deworm the animal before vaccination,” writes the Cape SPCA.

A standard five in one vaccination for dogs covers Canine distemper, Adenovirus type 2, Infectious hepatitis, Parainfluenza and Parvovirus. Rabies is not covered by the standard five in one vaccine and is administered separately. Rabies vaccination is available free of charge at the Cape of Good Hope SPCA.

The vaccine is administered in three doses with one dose given every three weeks and thereafter once annually for the duration of your dog’s lifespan.

Cats can receive a standard three in one vaccination which covers Panleukopenia, Rhinotracheitis and Caliciviruses.

The vaccine is administered in two doses given every three weeks and thereafter once annually for the duration of your cat’s lifespan.

Vaccination queries can be directed to the Cape SPCA’s hospital on 0217004145 or by email at [email protected]

Report any rabies symptoms in animals immediately to your nearest State Veterinary Office and notify them of any possible human contact with suspect rabid animals. Humans that have had contact (lick, scratch, bite) with a suspect rabid animal must wash the wound well with soap under running water and immediately seek medical assistance to receive preventative treatment. This is of utmost importance because post-exposure treatment must start immediately to prevent infection from rabies.

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