Pet owners are encouraged to be on the lookout for rabies | Western Cape Government


Pet owners are encouraged to be on the lookout for rabies

24 August 2021

Yesterday, the Western Cape Department of Agriculture Veterinary Services confirmed that they had received laboratory results confirming rabies in two dogs in Khayelitsha in the City of Cape Town. Investigations are currently underway to determine the source of the outbreak.

According to the Western Cape Veterinary Service Head, Dr  Gininda Msiza, rabies is a viral disease affecting animals and people.

Msiza: "It is transmitted by saliva or other body fluids, and a dog or person can be infected by being bitten, scratched or licked by a rabid animal."

Msiza continues: "However, rabies is very easy to prevent by vaccinating dogs and cats.”

Western Cape Minister of Agriculture Dr Ivan Meyer confirms that officials are vaccinating pets in Khayelitsha and affected areas this week in response to the cases.

Minister Meyer: "Our Animal Health Technicians began vaccinating dogs & cats in the area yesterday. We are working closely with the welfare organisations and medical doctors to check on contacts and any people who may have been bitten and need treatment."

"If you suspect that you have had contact with a rabid animal, getting preventative treatment as soon as possible saves your life. Wash any bite or scratch wound thoroughly with soap and water, and then go immediately to your doctor or clinic to get rabies vaccinations. The sooner you receive treatment, the better you will be protected against rabies."

According to Msiza, dogs with rabies often show a behaviour change and become suddenly aggressive or unusually tame for no reason.

"Dogs with rabies struggle to swallow and often walk around with their mouths open, drooling or making choking sounds as if they have something stuck in their throat. If you suspect a dog has rabies, do not touch it and contact your nearest private or state veterinarian immediately.”

"Pet owners are encouraged to be vigilant and to take their pets to their private veterinarian or animal welfare organisation to make sure their rabies vaccinations are up to date," concludes Meyer.

For more information, contact the Chief State Veterinarian Dr Gary Buhrmann on email / telephone number 021 808 5026  or visit the website


Media Enquiries: 

Daniel Johnson

Spokesperson for Minister Ivan Meyer

Tel: 079 990 4231