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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Health Unit Rabies Warning! Clinic Dates Set!

Health Unit Warns - Making Wild Animals Pets Increases Rabies Risk!

Don’t tempt fate by befriending, feeding or getting too close to wild animals – no matter how cute and cuddly they may look.
’Making 'pets' of wild animals like squirrels, foxes and raccoons can be a dangerous practice that unnecessarily puts local residents at risk of rabies, says a local health official. 'As urban development expands, there is more likelihood to come in contact with wildlife,' says Richard
Ovcharovich, Manager of Environmental Health with the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit. 'Simply seeing a fox, raccoon or a skunk does not constitute a risk, however people should always enjoy them from a distance.'
‘Problems can begin if people try to be well-meaning and kind by feeding or caring for wild animals -when that happens, people could be doing harm to themselves, their children and the animal,' Ovcharovich adds.

Rabies-Kills People

Rabies is a serious disease caused by a virus that, left untreated, is fatal to humans. People and animals can get rabies by being licked, bitten or scratched by animals with rabies. Wild animals such as bats, skunks, foxes and raccoons are the most common transmitters of rabies. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, statistics showed 39 cases of rabies found in wildlife across the province in 2010.Some of us still remember,a cherished member of our community who was taken from us be a rabid skunk bite.

Rabies Precautions Urged

To reduce the risk of rabies, local residents are advised to
  • Keep wild animals away from their homes and pets.
  • Cover up places where a raccoon and other wild animal could squeeze into a home, including openings in attics, roofs or eaves, and always
  • Ensure composters and garbage cans are tightly secured so they do not provide a food source for animals.
'Teaching children to stay away from wild animals and domestic pets they do not know is a good idea as well,' Ovcharovich adds.

Rabies-Pet Precautions

Pets should be kept under control using a leash, and should be discouraged from running free, especially at night. This can prevent an encounter with a wild animal that could be infected with rabies.
'Making sure pets, such as dogs or cats, are up-to-date on their rabies vaccination also helps protect them from a deadly disease,' adds Ovcharovich.

Rabies: Local Clinics 

Pet owners can take advantage of local low-cost rabies vaccination clinics on Saturday, October 15 in the City of Kawartha Lakes. Cost is $25 per animal (cash only). Rabies vaccination for pets is mandatory in our area. The only rural clinic in our area is Omemee Veterinary Hospital, 128 King Street West, 9 am to noon. Rabies clinics in Cavan at Peterborough West Animal Hospital 2605 Stewart Line were held May 7th.
See a full list of clinics in the City of Kawartha Lakes on the HKPR Health Unit Website
For more information about clinics and rabies prevention, contact the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577 or visit these online resources www.hkpr.on.ca or www.ontario.ca/rabies .

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