Who Are Your Animals Meeting?

April 28, 2016

Rabies is on the rise in Ontario. The Huron County Health Unit encourages animal owners to vaccinate their animals against rabies and supervise them – you never know who your animals will meet.

Perth District Health Unit has confirmed two cases of rabies in the last six months – one in a skunk and the other in a cow. These cases are unrelated to the raccoon strain of rabies found in almost 90 raccoons and skunks in the Hamilton, Niagara and Haldimand-Norfolk areas from last December to now. Up until December 2015, Ontario had not seen a case of raccoon rabies since 2005.

People are at risk of contracting rabies when they or their animals have contact with wild animals. Once symptoms appear, rabies is almost always fatal in animals and humans.

“A pet owner’s first line of defense is to vaccinate your pet against rabies,” says Public Health Inspector Patrick Landry. “This protects your pet and your family if your pet comes into contact with a rabid animal.”

Rabies vaccination is mandatory for cats, dogs and some classes of horses in Huron County. Landry adds that pet owners should also check their dogs and cats for bruises and wounds and not allow their pets to roam free. Stray cats and wild animals should be left alone.

Humans and other animals can become infected primarily from a bite, or in some cases a scratch, from a rabid animal. This can happen if the rabid animal’s saliva containing the rabies virus comes in contact with an open cut or the moist tissues of the mouth, nose or eyes.

If you or another person may have been exposed to rabies:
1. Wash the wound with soap and water.
2. Contact your family doctor immediately. The Health Unit can provide rabies vaccine to your doctor if needed.
3. As soon as you can, call the Health Unit at 1-519-482-3416 or after hours at 519-482-7077 to report the incident.

If you suspect one of your animals may have come into contact with a rabid animal, contact your veterinarian or the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs/Agriculture Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300. If you see an animal that you think may be rabid, contact your local Animal Control Officer.

For more information, visit huronhealthunit.ca/rabies.


For more information contact:

Angela Sturdy, Executive Assistant
519.482.3416 (ext 2010)
Patrick Landry, Public Health Inspector