May is Rabies Awareness Month in Ontario and the Perth District Health Unit is reminding pet owners to protect their pets.
In Ontario, it is the law that all dogs and cats (including indoor cats) over three months old be vaccinated against rabies. If your pets are not vaccinated, you could face an $85 fine, and you’ll still have to pay for them to be vaccinated.
“Although there has been a decrease in the number of rabid animals in Perth County, rabies does still exist in our area – and it’s a disease that is almost always fatal,” says public health inspector Kate Beath.
Animal bites must be reported to the Health Unit so that a public health inspector (PHI) can do a follow-up investigation. Once reported, the PHI will follow-up with the victim to get information about the exposure and the animal involved.
The PHI will then call the animal owner to confirm the exposure and to determine the rabies vaccination status of the animal in question and any other animals within that household. The animal owner will have to vaccinate any animal whose status is not up to date.
If the animal cannot be located, the Health Unit will recommend that the victim talk to their doctor about post-exposure treatment for rabies.