The provincial government are encouraging pet owners in Labrador to vaccinate their pets following a positive rabies diagnosis in a fox that was recently killed in Rigolet.
Rabies vaccination help protect animals and humans against the threat of rabies.
Samples from the animal were sent to Canadian Food Inspection Agency laboratories in Ottawa for confirmation of the diagnosis. This is the first case of rabies reported in Labrador since 2016.
People can have their dogs and cats vaccinated through local veterinary clinics. In areas where no private veterinary services are available, on the northeast coast of Labrador, Nuniasiavut Public Health Nurses offer free rabies vaccine for pets.
Rabies is common in wild animals in Labrador and goes through cycles of being more and less prevalent. The last significant outbreak was in the spring of 2012. A well vaccinated population of domestic animals, such as dogs and cats, keep people and animals safe from rabies, by providing a barrier between wild animals and people.
Rabies is spread through the bite or scratch of an infected animal. Any wild animal, unvaccinated dogs and cats can be infected. If you are bitten or scratched by an animal with unknown vaccination status, thoroughly wash the wound for 15 minutes immediately with soap and clean running water and seek medical attention at a clinic or emergency department.
Animals infected with rabies cannot be identified by sight, however animals in the final stages of the disease often act strangely or cannot move properly. Any unusual behaviour in wild or domestic animals should be reported to conservation officers, wildlife enforcement officers, veterinarians, police or public health officials.
Rabies education information is available at: www.faa.gov.nl.ca/agrifoods/animals/health/rabies.html