Saskatchewan is seeing a spike in cases of rabies this year with 18 animals testing positive over the past few months compared to nine in the same time frame last year and seven the year before.
A cow, a cat, a lamb, and a baby goat were among four positive cases of rabies found in domestic animals while the remaining 14 cases included eight skunks and six bats.
Saskatchewan Agriculture is reminding people to vaccinate all pets and livestock as the best defence against rabies.
It is also important to watch out for signs of rabies in both domestic and wild animals. Signs of rabies include:
- Paralysis affecting the face or neck causing difficulty swallowing
- Animals becoming excited or aggressive and attacking objects, people or other animals
- Domestic animals trying to hide in isolated areas
- Wild animals losing fear of humans and appearing unusually friendly
- Wild animals that normally come out at night coming out during the day
If you notice a wild animal showing these signs you can report it to your local conservation officer. Anyone who has been exposed to an animal that is suspected of having rabies should go to contact public health. In the event of a bite from an animal that could have rabies you should wash the area immediately with soap and visit a doctor or go to the emergency room as soon as possible.
You can find more information about the Rabies Response Program on the government’s website.
The following maps show the areas of Saskatchewan where rabies cases have been confirmed in domestic animals. They track cases between 2003 and 2013, but a communications person for Saskatchewan Agriculture says all rabies cases confirmed in the past several years correspond to the same areas.