ALERT: Rabies Diagnosed in Hamilton-area Cat
Important announcement for pet owners in southern Ontario, particularly in Hamilton and the surrounding areas: rabies has been found in a cat in Hamilton-area. Please take precautions for both your pets and your families.
A viral disease, rabies spreads through bites or infected saliva getting into a mammal’s body through an open wound, nose, mouth, or eyes. It causes acute brain inflammation and is often fatal to humans.
Rabies has been making a comeback since 2005 in Hamilton and the surrounding areas – approximately 60 mile radius – with over 100 rabid species of wildlife found including racoons, bats, and skunks. This recent case is believed to be linked with the previous raccoon cases last December and January.
To keep your family and pets safe, please take the following precautions:
- Ensure all family pets are up-to-date with their rabies vaccinations; by law, all pets must be vaccinated
- Keep your distance (and make sure your children and pets keep their distance too) from any wild or unknown animal
- Don’t touch any unknown animals, alive or dead; this includes unknown dogs and cats
- Do not try to feed, help, relocate, or tame any wild animals
- Supervise your pets at all times when outdoors
- Report any sick, injured, or strangely-behaving wildlife to your local Animal Services
If a human or pet is bitten or scratched by an unknown animal, report it right away to public health at 905-546-2489. Wash out the wounds and seek medical or veterinary attention immediately.
Possible rabies symptoms in animals can include:
- A change in behaviour (heightened aggression, depression, or excitement)
- Uncharacteristically, repeated uncoordinated movement (staggering or falling)
- Change in vocalization (unusual bark or meow)
- Excessive salivation/drooling or difficulty drinking/eating
- Hypersensitivity (excessive reactions to light, noise, or touch)
- Paralysis or paresis (complete or partial inability to move part of body)
Please do not have your pets unprotected. Rabies is one of the most dangerous viruses on earth.
To learn more about rabies in Ontario from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), click here.
We are monitoring this situation and will keep you informed about any further news of rabies in southern Ontario. For now, be sure to watch your pets carefully!
Clarkson Village Animal Hospital stays up-to-date on everything to do with pet health, from the latest news to new medical advances in the veterinary community. Book an appointment with us.
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