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PDHU Marks World Rabies Day

Members of the Perth District Health Unit are encouraging pet and livestock owners to vaccinate their animals in honour of World Rabies Day.

PERTH COUNTY - It's World Rabies Day and Members of the Perth District Health Unit as taking this opportunity to encourage pet and livestock owners to vaccinate their animals.

Health Inspector Kara Kestener says rabies is a viral disease that attacks the central nervous system.

"The rabies virus is carried in the saliva of infected animals and can spread onto humans, pets or livestock through bites, scratches, cuts or contact with moist tissues of the mouth, nose or eyes. It's important to know that once symptoms appear the disease is almost always fatal."

Kestener adds there are two different types of rabies symptoms.

"There's furious rabies where the animal appears very aggressive; you may get the traditional foaming at the mouth and what not. Then there's dumb rabies where the animal is more shy, withdrawn and fearful of humans and animals."

Rabies is commonly found in raccoons, bats, skunks and foxes.

Although about 59,000 people die from rabies around the world each year; the last human case of rabies in Canada was reported back in 2014.

Kestener says it is still important to exercise caution around strange animals.

"You want to make sure that you're teaching children to stay away from wild animals, cats and dogs they don't know or animals that are acting strangely. If you do happen to get scratched or bitten by a cat or a dog it's important to get the animal owners contact information so the Health Unit can follow up with them with respect to rabies."

Kestener adds you should keep your pets away from wildlife and keep them indoors at night. It's also a bad idea to try to feed, transport or locate wildlife.

The Perth District Health Unit is teaming up with the Stratford-Perth Humane Society to offer low cost rabies clinics for pets on Thursday October 4th (4 p.m to 7 p.m.) and Saturday October 6th (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.) Both clinics will be taking place at the humane society located at 125 Griffith Road in Stratford.

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