Pet owners are being reminded to vaccinate their animals after a Regina dog recently contracted rabies while visiting a farm near Weyburn.
Dr. Maurice Hennink, deputy medical health officer with the Saskatchewan Health Authority, said eight people who had contact with the family dog were taken to hospital for a series of rabies shots. While those individuals weren’t bit, he said there’s a chance the dog licked them.
“We’re never sure if there are cuts, bruises and scrapes where the virus could be transmitted, so to be safe we provide the preventative vaccine,” he explained, noting rabies can spread through saliva.
Hennick added the dog’s since been euthanized, so there’s no risk to anybody or their pets.
“Rabies is a fatal disease for the animal, so it was put down and then it was sent off for (rabies) testing,” he said.
While rare, rabies is generally contracted through wild animals, and Hennick believes the dog likely caught the disease through a skunk.
In order to prevent pets from contracting rabies, Hennick urges people vaccinate them.
“(Vaccinations do) protect them, and it protects you as their owner, your family and all of us in the community,” he said.
In 2016, there were 43 cases of animals rabies in Saskatchewan — 22 were skunks, 18 were bats and three were either cats or dogs.
People have only contracted rabies three times in the last 20 years across Canada. The last time was 2007 in Alberta.