Think rabies is a thing of the past or only found in undeveloped countries? Think again! Even in Alberta in 2018, rabies infections occur. The virus is typically found in wildlife such as bats, skunks, raccoons, coyotes and foxes. These wild animals can come into contact with pets and humans.
Rabies positive cases in Alberta:
2018 – indoor/outdoor cat in Longview, AB, infected by a bat. 9 bats also tested positive.
2013 – puppy from Nunavut, infected by an arctic fox
2010 – cat
2006 – cat
Rabies is 100% preventable through vaccination. Vaccinating your pets not only protects them, but all of the people they come in contact with.
Transmission of the virus occurs through the saliva, typically through a bite or possibly a scratch. The virus attacks the central nervous system and brain and can lead to death within days of symptoms becoming apparent. Rabies is fatal once symptoms appear. There is no cure. Early symptoms include fever, headache, weakness and discomfort escalating to insomnia, anxiety, confusion, paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, hyper salivation, difficulty swallowing and fear of water.
If you or your pet is bitten by an animal, wild or domestic, wash the wounds and seek immediate care to assess for potential rabies concerns and treatment. To find out if your pet is up to date on their rabies vaccine, or to book an appointment to have them vaccinated call Chestermere Veterinary Clinic at 403-272-3573.
ABMVA Alberta Veterinary Medical Association. Rabies Positive Cat. November 22, 2018. https://abvma.in1touch.org/uploaded/web/ABVMA%20ENEWS/2018/Nov%2021,%202018/Rabies%20notification_AAF.pdf.
CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rabies. November 22, 2018. https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/.
WHO World Health Organization. Rabies. November 22, 2018. http://www.who.int/rabies/en/.