Residents take pets for rabies vaccine

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The Free State Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has kicked off its rabies vaccination campaign. Residents of Bloemfontein came in their numbers to Woodland Hills taxi rank to get their dogs and cats immunised from the deadly viral disease on Monday and will get another opportunity to do so this morning.

The department initiated this critical campaign after two cases of rabies were discovered around the western side of Bloemfontein last month. One was from a yellow mongoose and a second from a dog.

One of the residents, Paula van Niekerk who visited the vaccination site, had all five of her dogs immunised on Monday. “Three of my dogs are rescued dogs and it is quite expensive to get vaccinations in general, so when I heard about this I thought it was an amazing programme to stop this horrible disease,” she said.

According to Director for Veterinary Services, Dr Kristan Mojapelo, rabies is likely to occur in wild animals before affecting domestic pets. “From time to time there are records of reactions in wild animals, usually dogs and cats. We are here giving vaccinations because there had been a case of rabies on a nearby farm. There was also a dog that was infected in the Tempe area,” he said.

Juanette de Kok also brought her two dogs, one a Scottish terrier and a Corgi cross, to get their immunisation. “I think that it is smart for pet owners to come and get the rabies vaccination for their cats and dogs done because sometimes it is something you do not even think about, but it should be done,” she expressed.

The vaccination campaign is linked to World Rabies Commemoration Day later this month as well as a means to minimise the outbreak as much as possible. “When there is an outbreak, we have to increase the coverage of immunity against the disease, especially for the animals in our homes and yards,” explained Dr Mojapelo.

You can still get your pets vaccinated against rabies free of charge today. The State Veterinary Services will be at Woodland Hills taxi rank, Bloemfontein, from 10:00 to 15:00 on 3 September 2019.

Nomaqhawe Mtebele

nomaqhawe@mahareng.co.za