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Rabies in Pets

Questions and Answers
  1. Can my pet get rabies?
  2. What is the risk of rabies from hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits?
  3. What should I do if I suspect my pet (cat, dog or ferret) has been exposed to an animal suspected of having rabies?
  4. Is it important to vaccinate my pet (cat, dog, and ferret)?
  5. How frequently should my pet be vaccinated?
  6. Is it important to vaccinate my farm animals?

Can my pet get rabies?

Yes, domestic animals (cats, dogs and pet ferrets) are at risk of acquiring the disease if they are not vaccinated against rabies and if they come into contact with a rabid animal.


What is the risk of rabies from hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits?

Small rodents (such as hamsters, guinea pigs, rats, and mice) and lagomorphs (such as rabbits) are rarely found to be infected with rabies and have not been known to cause human rabies in Canada.


What should I do if I suspect my pet (cat, dog or ferret) has been exposed to an animal suspected of having rabies?

Dogs and cats often get into fights with wild animals. If you witness a fight, or if your dog or cat comes home with injuries from a fight, and you believe it may have been bitten or scratched by an animal suspected of having rabies:

  • Don't handle your pet with your bare hands as there may be fresh saliva from a rabid animal on its coat.
  • Contact your veterinarian for advice.
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Is it important to vaccinate my pet (cat, dog, and ferret)?

It is a legal requirement under the Health Protection and Promotion Act to have dogs and cats over three months old vaccinated for rabies in all municipalities in the geographic region of Southern Ontario. Vaccinations will not only protect your pets from acquiring rabies but will also help protect you and your family if your pet is bitten by a rabid wild animal.


How frequently should my pet be vaccinated?

Your veterinarian will inform you of the schedule of vaccinations for your pet. Rabies vaccines require a booster every one to three years depending on the vaccine.


Is it important to vaccinate my farm animals?

It is a legal requirement under the Health Protection and Promotion Act to have horses, cattle and sheep vaccinated for rabies in certain municipalities in Southern Ontario. Consult your veterinarian for more information.

See also :

For more information
Call the ministry INFOline at 1-866-532-3161
(Toll-free in Ontario only)
TTY 1-800-387-5559
Hours of operation : 8:30am - 5:00pm
  
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