A rabid puppy in Salt Rock had to be put down last week, after coming into contact with several nearby residents and even biting one unfortunate man.
Debbie Fagg of Salt Rock told the Courier they had to put down their Weimaraner puppy last week Monday after she had been behaving strangely and repeatedly escaped the property.
The man in question, Dave Chamier, told the Courier he was undergoing treatment to prevent contracting rabies.
“It was at about 5.15pm on Sunday when the puppy ran into the yard and tried to get into my landlord’s house,” Chamier recounted.
“I grabbed her to stop her before taking her up and down the street to see if she belonged to anyone.”
While he was carrying the puppy, Chamier was bitten on both hands, drawing blood. The puppy was then taken to a local vet.
“At the time I didn’t even think of rabies, but the next morning I got a call saying I urgently need to go to the hospital.”
Chamier said several other people in the street had also been scratched by the dog.
He is currently undergoing treatment – and will for the next month so that he does not develop the disease.
“It has been quite difficult, the treatment has severe side effects like a constant headache, nausea and intense fever-like symptoms.”
Quintin Doidge of the state vet urged owners to bring their dogs in at three months old to be vaccinated against rabies. However, if the dog’s mother was not inoculated, then they should receive it immediately.
“If your puppy’s mother was vaccinated, then it will be protected for the first three months by the antibodies in its mother’s colostrum (the first milk a mammal produces for its offspring),” Doidge explained.
“If the puppies’ mother was not vaccinated, then you should take the dog in to be vaccinated as soon as possible.”
It is vital when welcoming a new dog into your home that you are absolutely sure of its vaccination status – as well as that of its mother. If you are not 100 percent certain, visit your vet as soon as possible.
Fagg urged dog owners to talk to their vet if they are unsure about their puppy’s vaccination status.
“Watching a puppy go through rabies is one of the worst things to have to see.”
Rabies is a viral disease that causes inflammation of the brain in humans and other mammals spread primarily through bites, though it can also spread through saliva. Early symptoms can include fever and tingling at the site of the bite.
These symptoms are followed by one or more of the following symptoms: violent movements, uncontrolled excitement, fear of water, an inability to move parts of the body, confusion, and loss of consciousness. Once symptoms appear, the result is nearly always death.
There is often disagreement amongst medical professionals about how likely rabies is to spread through contact. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) there are three categories of exposure to rabid animals:
- Category I: Touching or feeding animals, licks on intact skin (i.e. no exposure); for which the WHO says no treatment is needed.
- Category II: Nibbling of uncovered skin, minor scratches or abrasions without bleeding; after which the WHO advises immediate vaccination and local treatment of the wound.
- Category III: Single or multiple bites or scratches, licks on broken skin, contamination of mucous membrane with saliva from licks (your eyes/mouth/nose).
If you have been exposed to this degree, the WHO urges immediate vaccination and administration of the rabies immunoglobulin as well as local treatment of the wound.
However, if one is uncertain they do urge you to visit a doctor as there is no cure for rabies and once symptoms show it is almost always too late. The WHO recommends treatment begin immediately after exposure, the same day you came into contact with the animal.
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