Source:         News24 (Extract)
September 28, 2021

To mark World Rabies Day, the Western Cape Department of Agriculture and animal welfare organisations have urged pet owners to bring their furry friends to get their free rabies vaccinations.

The department’s veterinary services aims to vaccinate 70,000 pets this year.

“We will host regular rabies vaccination outreaches in communities across the Western Cape that do not have easy access to veterinary services,” said provincial Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer.

Meyer said his department was educating people about the importance of getting pets vaccinated due to rabies.

“Some of our educational initiatives include farmer education days and school talks. Our veterinary officials hold regular farmer education days concentrating on diseases and issues farmers need to look out for and how to prevent them,” said Meyer.

The department added that it was encouraging schools to educate learners about dog behaviour, preventing dog bites, and preventing rabies in their pets.


Rabies is preventable and there is a treatment for rabies, but it must be given “correctly” and “immediately” after exposure to a rabid animal.

“Rabies can be transmitted by the bite of an infected mammal but most commonly by dog bites,” said Meyer.

According to the department, veterinary services and their partners have already vaccinated more than 1,500 dogs and cats within a 1km radius of the site in Khayelitsha where two dogs tested positive for rabies in August.

Cape of Good Hope SPCA spokesperson Belinda Abraham said they have been vaccinating 150 animals every day in Khayelitsha since the outbreak of rabies was detected on 24 August.

“Our goal is to vaccinate at least 70% of the pet population in the affected area in a bid to eliminate rabies and save both animal and human lives. Our main priority now is preventing further transmission and infection,” Abraham added.

Allan Perrins, spokesperson for the Animal Welfare Society of South Africa said the organisation was hoping to vaccinate more than 8,000 animals for the financial year.

World Rabies Day is on 28 September, which also marks the anniversary of the death of Louis Pasteur who, together with fellow scientist with Émile Roux, developed the first rabies vaccine in 1885.

“AWS has so far vaccinated 2,192 dogs and 909 cats against rabies since January and we are hopeful that with World Rabies Day, many pet owners will take up the opportunity to get their animals jabbed; it’s just the right thing to do,” Perrins stated.

By law, all dogs and cats in South Africa must be vaccinated against rabies as there is no cure for the disease.

The organisation said rabies vaccinations are free and will be for the foreseeable future.

AWS added that it has already vaccinated all their staff members from contracting rabies.

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