The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit is reminding area residents to vaccinate their pets and avoid contact with wild animals this summer, to prevent the spread of the rabies virus.
Rabies is spread through the saliva of an infected animal by a bite or scratch and is fatal if left untreated. Any mammal can be infected by rabies, with raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes being common regional carriers. Pets such as dogs and cats should be vaccinated for rabies at the age of 3 months, and the vaccination should be kept up-to-date.
To reduce the risk and help prevent the spread of rabies in the community, the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit recommends that you:
- Ensure your pet’s rabies vaccination is up-to-date. It’s the law.
- Stay away from and do not touch unfamiliar animals, or animals acting strangely.
- Stay away from wild animals and do not feed them.
- Prevent pets from coming into contact with wildlife.
- Supervise children when they are around animals.
- Do not let pets roam free.
- Feed pets indoors. Feeding pets outdoors can attract other unwanted animals.
- Keep garbage securely covered.
Every owner or person having the care or custody of a horse, cow, bull, steer, calf or sheep shall ensure that each such animal is immunized against rabies unless the animal is only being taken care of by one person and the animal is not accessible to the public.
To report wildlife acting abnormally in Haldimand or Norfolk, contact the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s Rabies Information Line: 1-888-574-6656.
To report contact that might result in the transmission of rabies to a person, contact the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit at 519-426-6170 or 905- 318-6623.
Incidents involving domestic pets being exposed to potentially rabid animals should be reported to your local vet and/or the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300.
For more information on rabies visit https://hnhu.org/health-topic/rabies/.