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Are people at risk?
How can I protect my dog?

Are people at risk?

   Rabies is transmitted primarily through the saliva; it can spread by a direct bite (breaking the skin), by coming into contact with an open cut/wound or by coming into direct contact with a mucous membrane such as the mouth, eyes or nasal cavity. Those people who suspect that they have been exposed to rabies should immediately wash/scrub the affected area with soap and warm water and go straight to the local emergency room. 

    Fortunately, due to the long incubation period in humans, post exposure vaccines are effective in preventing disease after exposure. If a person was not previously vaccinated, a Human Rabies Immune Globulin vaccine will be given via an intramuscular injection (IM). In addition, a series of five rabies vaccines are given IM on days 0, 3, 7, 14 and 28 with day 0 being the day a person was exposed. Those who have already been vaccinated prior to exposure will require 2 subsequent vaccines on days 0 and 3.

What do I do if my animal is exposed?

    If the concern is regarding a wild animal, it is best to avoid contact.
Owners of pets or livestock should isolate their animals from both other people and animals.
    Rabies is a reportable disease, if an animal is suspected of being exposed, you must report it by law to the proper authorities. Call the nearest Canadian Food Inspection Agency (check your local listings) to report any suspect cases.

How can I protect my animals?
    The best way to protect a dog from contracting rabies is by vaccination. Vaccines are used are either modified live or killed vaccines. These vaccines are typically given at 3 months, one year and then every three years thereafter.

    Those dogs who were previously vaccinated should be given a booster and confined for 90 days; unvaccinated dogs should be euthanized. 

     Any wild animal that bites a human unprovoked should be humanely killed and tested for rabies.

    It is also important to protect your pets by avoiding contact with high-risk animals including skunks, raccoons, foxes and bats.

    When traveling to other countries check their disease status for rabies and consult your local veterinarian regarding proper vaccination protocols; most countries will require proof of vaccination if an animal is to be admitted.