Top 5 Things that you need to know now about Rabies
- There has been a surge in the number of raccoon and fox rabies strains diagnosed in Southwestern Ontario last year. As of early December 2016, the raccoon variant has been found in 175 raccoons, 76 skunks, 1 red fox and 1 stray cat. Historically the most common rabies strain in Ontario has been the bat strain. In addition to the cases above, there were 30 positive bats found in Ontario in 2016.
- Vaccinating your pet in Ontario is the law. Under the Ontario Health Protection and Promotion Act, Regulation 567, pet owners are legally required to keep dogs and cats over three months old vaccinated for rabies. Vaccination will protect your pet from rabies infection, and by doing so will help to protect you and your family if your pet is exposed to the virus from contact with a wild animal.
- Use of a 3-year rabies vaccine once in your pet’s life does not give them a licence for three years. Three year, or extended licence rabies vaccines require a booster one year after the initial injection in order to allow a three year licence to be granted.
- Indoor-only pets can easily get exposed to rabies too. I know that you may be thinking, yeah, right. But it happens more commonly than you think. The most frequent exposure comes from bats that have gotten into homes. A non-vaccinated indoor animal will likely be issued with an order for the owner to vaccinate their pet within 7 days and a quarantine notice (a “precautionary confinement period” ranging from 90 to 180 days). The other common situation occurs when animals bite a person. Without proof of rabies vaccination, the Health Unit will be responsible for issuing the appropriate legal orders. I would strongly recommend that you keep your pets’ rabies vaccine current and save yourself the worry.
- Rabies vaccination allows your pet to cross the border into the USA. As long as your pet doesn’t look infected with a contagious disease or parasites, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will allow dogs and cats to cross the border with a valid rabies certificate. Be aware that the USDA and CFIA do not recognize rabies titres as valid proof of rabies vaccination.
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This article was written by Dr. Heather McClinchey of Fifth Avenue Veterinary Clinic. We provide team-based vet care for pets and their families from our animal hospital in Orangeville, Ontario. POSTED: 2017-02-01