Rather be safe, vaccinate campaign to curb rabies outbreak

Wagging tails and excited barks were met with whines and tails between legs at Muldersdrift’s rabies vaccination campaign on 13 June.

The campaign, initiated by the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD), kicked off on Monday at various points in Muldersdrift, Lanseria and Zandspruit in the wake of the recent rabies outbreak in the area. Various cases of rabies in jackals were confirmed by the department and more cases of rabid cows and dogs were reported by Conserv Security’s owner, Trevor Jacobs.

“According to many local residents this is the worst outbreak in living memory,” he said on the company’s Facebook page.

That is why Head Animal Health Technician at Randfontein State Veterinary Centre, Estelle Visser, was relieved that more than 400 dogs were vaccinated at the Muldersdrift Liquor Store on Monday.

“If the sun were shining, I expect even more pet owners would have turned up,” she said.

Owners, like Jacqueline Klem, brought five dogs to be vaccinated after she was reminded by reports on the radio and in the church service the previous day.

“I would rather be safe than sorry,” she said.

Most pet owners said they became concerned when news of the rabies outbreak spread, but others felt comforted because they knew their pets were vaccinated against the fatal virus. Visser agreed that the outbreak is the worst she has seen in almost three decades, but believed it would “hopefully be over soon”. She felt confident that the campaign would make a difference.

The campaign ran from 13 till 15 June and the veterinary services and vaccination certificate were not charged for.

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