Slow start to Blythedale feral cat depopulation

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After making the tough decision to euthanise all feral cats in Blythedale that have not been vaccinated, the state vet has taken three cats for rabies testing since the start of the depopulation process last month.

All three were taken to the Allerton Provincial Veterinary Laboratory in Pietermaritzburg for testing, and two of the cats were euthanised.

Also read: Blythedale feral cats to be depopulated

Quintin Doidge of the state vet is spearheading the project following a recent outbreak in rabies among the feral cat population.

“We are able to visually identify which cats have been vaccinated through a ‘V’ shaped cut on the cats’ ears,” said Doidge.

Chairlady of the Feline Feral Fund (FFF) in Ballito, Sharon Cossey, said the feral cats in Blythedale are not part of the FFF’s feeding colonies.

“As chairlady of Feline Feral Fund, the only recognised NPO dealing with the feral cat population on the North Coast for the past 15 years, I request the public not to panic and have a negative approach towards our feral cat colonies,” said Cossey.

Also read: “I was bitten by a rabid dog” – Ballito man’s crowd funding campaign

Rabies cases are on the rise throughout KZN and a number of rabies inoculation programmes are scheduled to take place in the coming weeks.

Doidge confirmed that the next free inoculation programme in KwaDukuza will most likely take place from 28 May – 8 June and 18 – 22 June.

Final dates, times and venues are still to be confirmed.

Director veterinary services from the Department of Agriculture, Dr Themba Skhakhane warned residents that every dog bite should be treated as a matter of urgency and the patient must get to the nearest clinic as soon possible.

“If you have ever seen someone infected with rabies, you would agree that it is a horrible way to die.”

Symptoms

Initial onset of rabies begins with flu-like symptoms, including: fever, muscle weakness, tingling and burning at the bite site.

As the disease progresses, the person may experience delirium, abnormal behavior, hallucinations, and insomnia.

Once clinical signs of rabies appear, the disease is nearly always fatal, and treatment is typically supportive.

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