Pet welfare during Covid-19

JOBURG – The South African Veterinary Association shares tips on on pet health during the lockdown.

Pet welfare during Covid-19

Here are some guidelines to follow when thinking of taking your pets to the vet l Photo: Pixabay

Veterinarians, being the custodians of animal health and welfare in South Africa, have been designated as essential service providers.

The South African Veterinary Association has provided guidelines for veterinarians, assisting them in determining which services have been deemed necessary.

If animal owners are concerned about the health of their animals, it is important to first call the veterinary clinic to discuss the concern and if deemed necessary by the consulting veterinarian to take the animal to the clinic, maintaining social distancing at all times. Both animal and owner welfare (i.e. human-animal bond) play an important part in these uncertain times, particularly as companion animals may be a critical support mechanism to many people.

Using the guidelines below, veterinarians will guide their clients on when and how they will consult.

Wellness visits


Food sales

Continue but maintain social distancing if purchasing directly from your preferred veterinary clinic or make use of online delivery service. Should you need to visit your veterinary clinic, disinfect packaging with a sanitiser when you have arrived back at home, and wash your hands for 20 seconds thereafter.

Medication refills

Continue but maintain social distancing if purchasing directly from your preferred veterinary clinic or make use of online delivery service. Should you need to visit your veterinary clinic, disinfect packaging with a sanitiser when you have arrived back at home, and wash your hands for 20 seconds thereafter.

Rabies vaccination

Routine vaccinations (including previously unvaccinated animals) can be reasonably postponed if the owner can manage the animal in such a way to minimise the risk of exposure until your animal can be vaccinated.

Other vaccinations

If deemed necessary, have your veterinary clinic administer boosters of vaccine series based on your animal’s condition and circumstances (e.g. risk of exposure), alternatively postpone other vaccinations if the risk of exposure can be managed in the interim.

Flea/tick preventives

Maintain social distancing if collecting from your veterinary clinic or arrange with your clinic if they offer the option for drop-off or delivery. If you are a new client/patient at your veterinary clinic, establish a veterinarian-client-patient relationship via telehealth (distribution of health-related services and information via electronic information and telecommunication technologies).

Life-threatening conditions

If your animal suffers from a life-threatening condition and you are both from a low-risk household, manage using social distancing when visiting your veterinary clinic. With cases from high-risk households, consult your veterinary clinic to discuss alternative options.

Management of painful conditions

Could be managed by telemedicine (this allows health care professionals to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients in remote locations using telecommunications technology, it also allows patients in remote locations to access medical expertise quickly, and without travel) when possible. If an examination is required and your animal is from a low-risk household, your veterinary clinic should admit your animal for examination, but always maintain social distancing.

Management of chronic conditions

Could be managed by telemedicine when possible. Schedule an appointment if an urgent examination is needed but always maintain social distancing.

Surgical procedures for painful disorders

If your animal can be temporarily maintained on analgesics (medicines that are used to relieve pain) with a low risk of negative consequences, delay the surgery. If the surgery cannot be delayed, do proceed if the household is low-risk. If the household is high-risk, consult your veterinary clinic to discuss alternative options. If possible, isolate your animal from any high-risk individuals for two to three days to minimise the risk of possible contamination.


Elective sterilisation for animals from a high-risk household should be discontinued until further notice. Animals from low-risk households could be sterilised, but always maintain social distancing.


Important Questions To Ask Your Veterinarian

Ask your vet

Image by The Paw Company

Some questions to consider when you are looking for or visiting a vet.
When you go to a veterinarian and pay for a service to treat your animals, it is your right to ask questions! Here are a few general questions then followed by what we call our “accountability” questions. Although the general questions can be answered by Google, it is best to ask the vet who has physically examined your animals. These are not the only questions.


  • Is my animal at a healthy weight?
  • Is my pet up to date on vaccinations?
  • Is this (add odd behaviour) normal for this animal?
  • How is my pet’s dental health?
  • Could I be providing more appropriate food?
  • What tick/flea treatment would you recommend?
  • What are these lumps or bumps?
  • Is my pets’ nails/claws the right length?
  • Would my pet benefit from more grooming?
  • At what age is my pet considered a senior?
  • Any preventative care I can provide for my pet?


Can you explain my bill? Always ask for your bill, receipt and full statement. This could help in case you need to take the pet to another vet or open a case against the vet or just for the record.

Can you explain the procedure to me? Understanding the procedure can help you better prepare for when your pet comes home. We have had cases where a vet said they operated “wrongly”, more than once. They should have checked and prepared for your pets’ procedure.

Who will be doing the procedure? Most people assume the vet will. Ask anyway! If they do not do it themselves then ask for the qualification of the person who will and whether the vet will supervise them. We can share horror stories on this.

Does my pet need pain medication? Which one on the statement is pain meds? If no pain medication is given ask why not, especially when you suspect your pet is in pain? We have found a vet that rarely gives pain medication. Any animal who comes in (apart from a general visit) will probably need pain meds. Rather ask!

How many consultations/operations do you do on average a day? This is very important. Some vets brag about how many they do, or claim that that makes them more qualified than others. For us as pet owners and welfare organizations, we would not want to go to a vet who brag about how busy they are. You do the maths. How much quality time will they spend on your pet? How easily can mistakes slip in if they are so busy?

Are you the only vet in this practice? If yes, our follow-up question would be when do they rest, or are they on call 24/7, especially if they do so many procedures. Being a vet is certainly a high-stress job if you care about the sentient beings you treat. If you add a lack of proper sleep, mistakes can easily occur and it could be lethal to your pets. Are you willing to take that risk with your pet?

How do they sterilize? Do they only remove ovaries or uterus or both? Do they only tie the tubes? We have had pets who fall pregnant after sterilization and that is impossible if it was done correctly!

What are their prices? This is a very debatable topic. How does it compare to other local vets? Do your homework on this! Ask whether it includes medicatioin after the procedure, the follow-up or the removal of stitches for example.

Not all vets are qualified or experienced to treat exotic pets. Even if they say they can, it is your responsibility to ask the right questions. We had a case with a vet where they didn’t know the rabbit should actually eat before the operation, unlike other animals. Here are some screening questions to help you find the right vet for your rabbits/exotic pets.

Apart from your right to get explanations for questions, you also have the right to get a second or even third opinion! Do not allow bullying from a vet or their staff when you do this. Please report them for unethical behaviour at the SAVC. Never just blindly trust a vet and do your homework. Reviews on social media and google can be manipulated so it is not our go-to measure. Take note of how often the staff changes in terms of quitting or being fired from the practice. That is usually a good indication of the boss and work culture.

If you are unsure about the treatment you received, please contact The Paw Company. You can also check out our accountability post if you are considering opening a case at the Veterinary Council. It doesn’t cost you money. Your case might seem isolated to you, but it is worth preventing another pet from having to go through what yours did!

YOUR PET IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY and making the right choice of vet for them is on you! Next week we will look at what you should consider if you want to own (be a guardian) of a bird.

Read more on winter tips to keep your pets warm.


Source: The Bulletin

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Responsible pet parents spay and neuter their pets.


Spaying and neutering have many benefits, including health, behaviour & community benefits.

There are two big reasons why you should spay and neuter your pets.  We have a massive pet overpopulation crisis worldwide, with not nearly enough homes, never mind good homes.  This means that millions of healthy animals are being euthanized (killed humanely) annually. Another reason is it is good for their health!


You need to understand the magnitude of this overpopulation crisis and then, hopefully, you will understand why many of us advocate so hard for it.

  • One female cat and her offspring can exponentially produce 370 000 cats in just seven years.
  • One female dog and her offspring can exponentially produce 67 000 dogs in six years.
  • Only 1 out of every 10 dogs born, find a home.
  • According to Rescue Rehab SA, approximately 1 million dogs and cats are euthanized in South Africa every year, that is 2740 a day!
  • According to the Humane Society of the USA, a cat or dog is euthanized at shelters every 10s.
  • A report by Mars Petcare showed 224 million animals are homeless in the USA, UK, SA, Mexico, Greece, Russia, China, India & Germany and about 30% of animals in SA are homeless.
  • At least one in four pets brought to shelters are purebred and this number is climbing.

Although we promote adoption, we can’t adopt our way out of this problem, so we need to fix (pardon the pun) it. We have heard all the bad excuses, debunked the myths and I educate about it daily on the SPAY & NEUTER SA page.

One of the worst excuses I have heard is that preventing pets from having litters is unnatural and that if God thought it was a problem he would make them sterile.  The fact is that we have already interfered with nature by domesticating dogs, cats and other animals. We domesticated the dog 15 000 years ago and the cat 8 000 years ago. In doing so, we helped create this problem. Now it’s our responsibility to solve it. It’s also unnatural to be killing so many of them in our pounds and shelters each year. You can’t blame the shelters, but you should blame breeders and dealers of any kind.



When you spay and neuter your pets it can lead to longer and happier lives.  There are many benefits of spay and neuter for their health which include a lower risk for certain diseases like cancers and pyometra. It certainly eliminates the stress associated with pregnancy.  It improves behaviour, especially when dealing with females in heat and males marking or spraying and wandering out of the yard in search of these females which they can smell from far away. 



It’s important to recognize the difference between sterilization and desexing (traditional spay and neuter). Whereas the former procedure eliminates a dog’s ability to procreate, desexing sterilizes but also eliminates the dog’s ability to produce sex hormones for the remainder of their life. defines it as follows:

The word “spay” refers to the sterilization of female pets. During the ovariohysterectomy, or the typical “spay”, the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus are removed from a female dog or cat.

The term “neuter” refers to the castration of male pets.  During orchiectomy, or the typical “neuter”, the testes are removed from a male dog or cat.

Both the spay and neuter procedure makes them unable to reproduce and reduces or eliminates breeding-related behaviours. In females it eliminates her heat cycle.


An experienced vet can spay and neuter at an age as young as 6-8 weeks old, however, the risks involved with anesthesia may be slightly greater at this age.  Older females that are not spayed are at risk too. There is generally no other age limit for the procedure as long as your pet is healthy.

We support spay and neuter at around 6 months of age. We have done so with our pets who all reach ripe old ages and are rarely sick.


Most veterinarians and the most recent research recommends that animals are spayed before their first heat cycle (before the age of 7 months or so). This drastically reduces the risk of mammary tumors later in life, prevents uterine infections and unwanted pregnancy. Pregnancy can put unnecessary stress on your pet’s body.


Please prevent this, but if it did happen, the suggested time for animals that have recently given birth is about 2 weeks after the young have been weaned and the mother’s milk has dried up.


Dogs have outward signs of being in heat. The vulva swells, and there is bleeding present for 1-1 ½ weeks. Just after the bleeding stops, most dogs will be receptive to mating for 1-2 weeks. Most dogs will go into heat twice a year, in the spring and fall.  Some dogs may skip the fall cycle.

Cats go into heat for the first time typically when they are 5-7 months old. A cat will be in heat (receptive to mating and able to become pregnant) for up to two weeks and then go out of heat. If she has not been mated, two weeks later, she will go back into heat again. This cycling in and out of heat will continue for several months.

Cats can have their first heat cylce at around 4 months of age.


Even though spay and neuter are major surgical procedures, they are some of the most common procedures done by vets.  As with any surgery, there are risks associated with anesthesia and potential surgical complications. The overall occurrence of these risks is very rare.


Probably not. Just like people, pets become overweight when they eat too much or exercise too little. Choosing a diet that is species-appropriate and suited to the health and lifestyle of your pet is important to prevent weight gain.


The spay and neuter will most likely not alter your pet’s basic personality which is mainly determined by the breed and a few other factors. It can result in some behavioural changes, but usually for the better! 


Spraying is common in unneutered male cats. They want to mark their territory and it would be best to neuter your cat before they develop this behaviour. Males may still engage in full-testosterone male behaviors while their male sex hormone levels diminish after surgery. This can take 6-8 weeks. Remember that male rabbits can still be fertile for a few weeks after neutering, as there may be sperm left in the reproductive tract!


During a spay or neuter surgery, the animal is fully anesthetized, so they feel no pain. Afterward, some animals seem to experience some discomfort temporarily, but with pain medication, discomfort may not be experienced at all.


According to, most spay and neuter skin incisions are fully healed within about 10–14 days, which coincides with the time that stitches or staples, if any, will need to be removed.


Even though this procedure is a common procedure for vets, not all vets are good at it, so do your homework on the vet! Cats & dogs are common patients, but please use an exotic qualified vet for other animals!


The massive overpopulation crisis includes more than just cats and dogs, so the answer is mostly yes.  There might be exceptions due to safety or medical reasons and those animals need highly responsible owners to prevent litters. Spaying or neutering a bird is not a routine surgery like it is with many mammals and can be riskier. There are many other ways to prevent your birds from reproducing offspring. Removing eggs of egg-laying animals (the right way) is another method.


Although possible, most vets will probably advise against it due to more swelling and a higher risk of bleeding. This surgery may take longer and be more expensive.


No darling, it takes two to tango if you missed biology class.  The female can only have so many puppies/kittens at once, but the male can impregnate many females around the same time.


Yes, for sure!  Do you know that guy called Murphy?  Animals get in and out of yards and saying it was an unexpected litter doesn’t fly.  If your pet is not spayed or neutered, you can totally expect it.


Apart from the usual veterinary advice like keeping your pet still and keeping the wound clean, you also need to phone your vet the moment you think something is not right and keep the freshly-neutered males away from non-spayed females for some time.

When it comes to male neuters for various species, after the testicles are removed, it takes time for all of the residual sperm to clear out of the pipes. Ask your vet how long, but some sources suggest days to weeks. During this time, a freshly-neutered male can still impregnate females.


It probably depends on what you spend money on and whether your pet’s health is a priority to you. The cost of spaying or neutering depends on the sex, size, and age of the pet, your veterinarian’s fees, and a few other factors. Remember that spay or neuter surgery is a one-time cost and the cost far outweighs the cost of health-related issues due to not sterilizing or even for raising litters. There are many opportunities to do this at more affordable rates and adoption fees include it!

n general, spaying tends to be more expensive than neutering. Spaying involves opening your dog or cat’s stomach to access the animal’s reproductive organs where neutering is less complex.

The cost may vary from town to town, but according to, the average cost of a spay in South Africa is around R1350 for a female cat and around R1800 to a crazy R4000 for a female dog. Neuters can cost around R750-R1000 for a male cat and around R1200 – R2500 for a male dog.

There are always two sides to a coin and it is important to look at both.

Some research shows that in desexing spays and neuters – surgical procedures that remove the gonads and associated sex hormones – can have a long-term negative impact on their health.

The research mostly suggest this more in large dog breeds. The advice then is to have them spayed or neutered after they turned one year old, but again then they need a highly responsible owner. You must also remember that the relationship between sex hormones, health and wellness is more complex and can be influenced by many aspects like sex, breed, age, environment and more.

I have not yet seen these negative effects and I think there is more research needed on this as single case studies are not enough. With this massive overpopulation crisis worldwide, the benefits far outweigh the risk for me.

If this does occur, it seems that hormone restoration therapy may be beneficial to symptomatic spayed and neutered dogs.

What are alternatives then? 

When a pet is left intact, it requires a highly responsible pet guardian who is fully committed to and capable of preventing mating and litters.

Another option is sterilizing so the testes or ovaries can continue to produce hormones. This can be accomplished through vasectomy and hysterectomy. According to Dr. Karen Becker, traditional spaying and neutering are basically the only techniques vets are currently taught and we need to change that.

Changing the fate of animals and the massive overpopulation crisis resolves around three principles namely sterilization, education, stricter and enforced laws for those who don’t respond to being asked nicely.  No breeding can be “responsible” when we have a massive overpopulation crisis and when you support breeders, you are part of the problem.


  • Spay & neuter your pets.
  • Share, educate & advocate for it.
  • Donate to spay & neuter campaigns.
  • Support petitions on the topic.
  • Don’t support animal dealers, breeders, or pet shops that fuel the overpopulation crisis.
  • Adopt from reputable organizations.

Can you see now why reputable animal welfare organizations are all up-in-your-business about spay and neuter?


Source: The Bulletin

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Taking your cat to the vet

Image: Pixabay

At some point in her life, your cat will make the trip the vet. While this is usually a stressful event, there are a number of things you can do to make it easier for you both.

When transporting your cat anywhere outside the house, use a cat carrier, even if she usually likes to be held. Your cat can easily become frightened while in an unfamiliar place or surrounded by unfamiliar people. Even a friendly cat may bite, scratch or try to escape.

Your cat may also urinate or defecate when she becomes frightened. A carrier will make sure this mess doesn’t end up on you or on the waiting room floor. Line your cat carrier with familiar and comforting bedding – use something she usually sleeps on or an old piece of clothing that has your scent. Covering the cat carrier with a blanket or towel may also help keep your cat relaxed. Cats like to hide when they’re frightened or uncertain and the darkness and covering provided by the blanket will make her feel safe and secure.

Cats don’t tend to like trips to the vet, where they are examined and surrounded by strange sights, smells, people and animals. If the only time your cat ever sees the carrier is immediately before it is used to take them to the vet, she will understandably develop a strong aversion to it.

She may hide every time the carrier appears or fight tooth and nail not to be put into it. You can help prevent this behaviour by leaving the cat carrier out all the time. Make sure it’s a familiar part of your cat’s surroundings. You may want to give your cat treats in the carrier every once in a while just so she thinks of it as a ‘good place’.

If your cat has developed a strong aversion to the carrier it may be difficult to coax her inside. Try persuading her into the carrier with treats or ask someone to hold the carrier upright while you place the cat inside. If your cat is determined not to enter, don’t force her, just put the carrier away. Let your cat relax a while then wrap her in a blanket or towel and quickly place her in the carrier.

Once you are at the vet’s clinic keep the carrier covered. This will continue to make your cat feel safe. If you can’t avoid sitting near other animals, then at least try to keep away from the loud or boisterous ones.

Image: Pixabay

Ask to help
When it’s time for the consultation, ask your vet if you can help to hold her. Remember though, that your vet and the veterinary nurses will be very experienced at holding uncomfortable or frightened animals and know how to avoid getting hurt or hurting your cat.

So don’t worry, your cat is in good hands. The vet may cover your cat’s head with a towel, again this is to give her the impression she is hiding.

Veterinary clinics can be very busy places. If you want extra time to talk to your vet about your cat, plan ahead. Book a longer appointment if you can or don’t come during peak hours. Veterinary clinics are usually at their busiest in the early morning or in the evening when people aren’t at work.

Take your cat to the vet regularly. Not only will this allow her to get used to the experience, but will also give the vet a chance to get used to your cat! The more a veterinarian sees your cat the better the vet will be able to address her needs.

Source: Hill’s Pet Nutrition

The truth about rabies


Image: Pixabay

The truth about rabies

Dog Rabies: Symptoms, Transmission to Humans & Vaccinations

Rabies is a word that can — and should — elicit concern: it’s a highly contagious disease that both dog and cat parents should not ignore. As a fatal virus that kills nearly 60,000 people worldwide on a yearly basis, according to the CDC, it presents concerns for you and your family as well. Even dog owners in urban environments should learn the signs of rabies in dogs. Cats are certainly not exempt from the perils of contracting rabies, as they are the domestic animal most frequently diagnosed with rabies in the U.S., explains the American Veterinary Medical Association. This may be due to less stringent local laws surrounding rabies vaccinations for cats than dogs.

The Rabid Dog: How Does a Dog Get Rabies?

Rabies is found in many species of wildlife — with breeding grounds of infection in bats, skunks, foxes and raccoons. As human populations grow and encroach further onto undeveloped land, the exposure risk increases for dogs and people.

Rabies can be passed from any infected warm-blooded animal to another, most often through the bite of an infected animal, though scratches pose a small possibility of transmission.

How is Rabies Transmitted to Humans?

Rabies is transmitted to humans almost entirely through bites from rabid animals, although contamination of open wounds or mucous membranes with saliva from a rabid animal could potentially cause exposure.

Each year in the U.S., between 30,000 and 60,000 people seek post-exposure treatment, according to the CDC. The good news is that treatment for people is very effective when it is initiated quickly. Don’t take this as an excuse to let your guard down around this virus. Once the rabies virus reaches the nervous system, there is no cure, making prompt medical care a life-saving necessity.

The best way to protect yourself and your dog from the dangers of the rabies virus is to vaccinate your dog against rabies. Rabies is very preventable!


Image: Pixabay

What are the Symptoms of Rabies in Dogs?

A rabies infection occurs in phases, first causing a variety of marked changes in temperament. There are no strict rules for this phase, but a dog with a sudden personality change is a clue that rabies may be responsible.

Following this temperament change, there are two recognized forms of rabies:

  1. Furious rabies is typically characterized by the dog having a voracious appetite, even eating nonfood items such as stones and dirt. The dog eventually will become paralyzed, unable to eat or drink. Death usually follows violent seizures.
  2. Dumb or paralytic rabies is the form in dogs people often associate with salivating, rabid dog imagery. This form involves progressive paralysis as well. The dog’s face may distort and swallowing may appear to be a struggle. For this reason, you should exercise caution around any animal that appears to have something stuck in its mouth or throat. Attempting to pry the mouth open of an infected animal can result in the transmission of rabies. With dumb rabies, the dog lapses into a coma and death follows.

Did you know? Fear of water is not a sign of rabies in dogs but is instead a sign of rabies in people.

How Long Does It Take for Rabies to Develop?

The incubation period, or the amount of time from bite to clinical signs of rabies, can vary from mere days to six months or more. In dogs, this period is typically two weeks to four months, with death occurring one to two weeks after signs begin.

The speed at which signs of rabies in dogs develops varies if the dog has any existing immunity to the virus (such as a previous, even outdated vaccine or immunity passed down from the mother) and the bite itself. Severe and extensive bites typically transmit more of the virus, accelerating the period from infection to clinical signs.

What Is the Treatment for a Dog With Rabies?

Sadly, there is no available treatment for a rabid dog. Veterinarians are required by law to notify the local and state animal disease regulatory authorities. If a dog was previously vaccinated, the vet will likely recommend a prompt booster of the rabies vaccine.


Image: Pixabay

Vaccinations & Preventing Rabies in My Dog

  1. Take pets to a vet or vaccine clinic for a rabies vaccine. Vaccines are available for dogs, cats, and even ferrets. Keeping your dog’s vaccinations are essential for keeping them from getting rabies, but they are also required by law.
  2. Avoid contact with wildlife under all circumstances, dead or alive. Animals can shed the virus through saliva up to two weeks before any signs of rabies begin and can remain in the body’s tissues shortly after death.
  3. Minimize the chance your pets will have contact with wildlife. Keep your dogs on leashes and supervise them when outdoors. Covering outdoor garbage will help avoid attracting wildlife. Rabies is a public health concern, and resources are in place to help keep wildlife away from our domestic pets. Call animal control when you notice stray animals or wildlife.

If given before the virus enters the dog’s nervous system, rabies vaccines are extremely safe and effective. Despite good measures to avoid exposure, though, contact with rabid animals can still occur. Remember, animals infected with the rabies virus shed the virus before any abnormal signs of illness occur, making vaccination for your pets crucial.

If you suspect your dog may have been exposed to rabies, bring them to a vet immediately. If your dog is unprotected against rabies, there is no time like the present to schedule a vet appointment.

Source: Hill’s Pet Nutrition

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Join the Global Movement on World Rabies Day: Uniting for “All for 1 – One Health for All”

Join the Global Movement on World Rabies Day: Uniting for “All for 1 – One Health for All”

South Africa, Johannesburg: On 28 September 2023, South Africa will be celebrating the 17th World Rabies Day with the theme “Rabies:  All for 1, One Health for All”. This year’s theme extends from the accomplishments of the 2022 campaign, which similarly focused on the One Health concept. However, this year’s focus takes a stride forward by emphasising collaboration, equality and the enhancement of the health systems. The slogan ‘All for 1, One Health for All’ is derived from the famous Alexandre Dumas’ novel of The Three Musketeers: “All for one and one for all”. Similar to the perseverance of these fictional characters, this group of individuals overcame hardships and injustice to achieve their goals – this correlates with the struggles experienced with rabies control and how stakeholders need to join hands to overcome injustice (imbalanced health systems) and collaboratively pursue the global goal of eradicating human dog-mediated rabies deaths by 2030. 

This message urges all South African’s to play their part, stay informed about rabies, and raise awareness within their sphere of influence. 

Rabies is a zoonotic disease, which means that people can become infected by an infected animal. The rabies virus is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal mainly through bites, scratches or licks. Rabies affects the brain and is fatal once a person or animal shows clinical signs. Animals infected by rabies show changes in behaviour and neurological symptoms. They may salivate, become paralysed, are unable to swallow, continuously vocalise (barking, whining, howling etc.), and become aggressive. They might also exhibit weakness or unresponsiveness. Although any mammal might fall victim to rabies, the primary threat to human health stems from infected dogs and cats. 

Animal rabies occurs in all nine provinces, highlighting the importance of vaccinating dogs and cats against rabies in all regions. Canine rabies cycles are predominantly focussed in the eastern parts of the country (Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape provinces and the eastern Free State border with Lesotho). See map below. 

Some areas within these provinces have highly concentrated free-roaming dog populations, which exacerbates the spread of the disease, if these dog populations are not adequately vaccinated. Individuals are advised to refrain from unfamiliar animals and instead, report stray animals to local welfare authorities. Remember that rabies may occur anywhere in South Africa and therefore it is strongly advised to exercise caution when handling unfamiliar animals.

In both animals and humans, the disease affects the brain and once clinical signs become visible, there is no curative treatment, and it is 100% fatal. Therefore, if exposure to a potentially rabid animal occurs, ensure thorough washing of the wound with soap and running water and immediately seek preventative treatment at your nearest healthcare facility.  Doing this can save your life!

It is compulsory, in accordance with the law, for all dogs and cats to be correctly vaccinated against rabies. This measure safeguards both pets and families. Enquire with your local state veterinarian, animal health technician, private veterinarian or animal welfare organisation for access to rabies vaccinations.

As World Rabies Day approaches, let us stand together in the global fight against rabies, embracing the “ALL FOR 1 – ONE HEALTH FOR ALL” approach. Together, we can eliminate this preventable disease and create a healthier, safer world for all. 

Source: SAVA

Registration Opens for First WSAVA World Congress in China


Registration Opens for First WSAVA World Congress in China

Suzhou set to welcome veterinary professionals from around the world

Registration is now open for the first World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) World Congress to take place in China, one of the world’s fastest growing veterinary markets. With a scientific program offering a host of international speakers, the three-day event takes place from 3-5 September 2024 at the International Expo Center in Suzhou, a city with a rich historic and cultural heritage to the west of Shanghai.

WSAVA World Congress 2024 will feature its trademark high quality, evidence-based lectures on clinical and non-clinical topics delivered by global experts. Following the launch of the new WSAVA Reproduction Control Guidelines, the latest thinking on reproduction will be a key focus. Given growing demand for knowledge on dermatology and oncology in Asia, these topics will feature in dedicated streams, while the program also includes a range of lectures on dentistry, diagnostics, cardiology, internal medicine, nutrition and surgery. Streams in Chinese, together with a focus on Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM), will run alongside the WSAVA program.

Commenting, WSAVA President Dr Ellen van Nierop said: “Our vision is that all companion animals worldwide receive the standard of veterinary care that ensures their optimal health and welfare – and WSAVA World Congress is one of the key ways in which we work towards it. We’re delighted at the quality and depth of the scientific program and we’re particularly looking forward to welcoming recent WSAVA Award recipients, who will share their experiences of leading change in their areas of specialism and of the challenges and opportunities they found along the way.”

She added: “Whatever delegates’ level of experience, they will learn innovative approaches and techniques and practical ideas that they can implement to benefit their patients and their colleagues. And, while the learning on offer is second to none, World Congress is also an opportunity to network with colleagues from around the world and to share experiences and learnings in a friendly environment. This includes during the exciting social program which will showcase Suzhou’s fascinating history and current status as one of China’s most dynamic and modern cities. We can’t wait for the annual gathering of our global veterinary community in one of the most dynamic and exciting veterinary markets in the world.”

WSAVA World Congress is the leading global forum for companion animal veterinary professionals. In 2024, it is being hosted jointly by two of the WSAVA’s member associations in the country, the Beijing Small Animal Veterinary Association (BJSAVA) and the Shanghai Small Animal Veterinary Association (SHSAVA). Members of WSAVA member associations receive a discount on registration. Further information is available at

Source: WSAVA