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Public health unit: Owners must vaccinate pets against rabies

WELLINGTON CTY. - Last year, Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) investigated 540 animal bites, 497 of those bites from cats and dogs.

Public health officials are reminding everyone they should vaccinate their pets against rabies.

Although the risk of rabies is very low, it is a reportable disease.

That means people should call WDGPH if they suspect an animal is rabid, or think a pet has been exposed to rabies or they are bitten by an animal.

“So far, we’ve had 451 animal bites this year, including 415 from dogs and cats,” said WDGPH protection manager, Scott Hutchison.

“Pets may bite for any number of reasons but ensuring their rabies vaccination is up-to-date can protect them against rabies. This in turn, helps reduce the likelihood of a rabies exposure to humans.”

Public health inspectors investigate all reports of biting or scratching incidents involving a human and animal. When an inspector can identify the pet owner they:

- make sure the owner isolates and confines the animal on their property for a period of 10 days after the date of biting;

- visit and inspect the isolated animal before it is released to make sure it does not show any signs of rabies; and

- release vaccine if a doctor decides that the victim needs to be treated.

If an investigation fails to identify a pet owner, the inspector will also consult with a doctor for possible treatment.

“Remember, vaccination for cats and dogs is mandatory and you can be fined if your pet is caught without an up-to-date rabies shot,” said Hutchison.

For more information about rabies and other reportable diseases, visit


October 7, 2011


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