The Ministry of Agriculture is reminding the public that rabies is present across much of the province. Several cases of rabies have been detected in domestic animals across Saskatchewan over the last few months.
The Province has confirmed 18 cases from Jan. 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 timing and frequency of vaccinations/boosters varies by species, but is required every one to three years. Please contact your veterinarian for more information and to set up vaccination appointments for your pets and livestock.
Be aware of the risk of rabies in your area, and watch for the presence of abnormal behaviour in animals. Signs of rabies may 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 and is often seen as having difficulty swallowing;
- Animals may become excited or aggressive; and
- Animals may attack objects, people or other animals.
If a person is bitten or scratched by an animal that is suspected of having rabies, the following actions should be taken:
- The area should be immediately washed with soap and warm water.
- The exposed person should see their family doctor or local emergency room department as soon as possible; doctors will consult with a local public health official to see if preventative treatment is necessary.
Are you in an area at risk for rabies? Check our maps for confirmation.
For more information on rabies:
- Contact your local veterinarian;
- Contact the provincial rabies hotline at 1-844-772-2437 or RRAV@gov.sk.ca; or
- Visit the Rabies Response Program page.