Rabies found in Igloolik dogs, Nunavut government warns
“Be aware of the signs and symptoms of the disease”
Rabies has returned to Nunavut, with a second dog in Igloolik now confirmed to have contracted rabies and a third case in another dog suspected, Nunavut’s health department said June 14.
That comes after a dog in Igloolik, which had been in contact with a rabid fox, was earlier confirmed to have rabies June 9.
A fox captured by wildlife officers in Igloolik in late May also tested positive for rabies.
The second Igloolik dog recently found to have rabies may have had contact with a rabid fox.
And now a third dog in Igloolik, home to about 1,600 people, is suspected of having rabies. Samples have been sent for testing, the heath department said June 14.
Dogs and foxes can transmit rabies to people, the recent Government of Nunavut advisory said.
“Be aware of the signs and symptoms of the disease. If you see an animal behaving strangely, staggering, frothing at the mouth, choking or making strange noises, avoid the animal and report it to bylaw,” the advisory said.
The rabies virus infects the central nervous system, causing disease in the brain which can be fatal.
Early symptoms of the virus include fever, headache and general weakness. If rabies progresses untreated, it can cause insomnia, anxiety, confusion, partial paralysis, hallucinations, an increase in saliva and difficulty swallowing.
To avoid becoming infected with rabies:
• avoid approaching, touching, petting, feeding or adopting unknown, stray or wild animals;
• keep foxes away from houses and areas where domestic animals are kept, for example, by blocking access to buildings and garbage containers;
• have your pet dogs and cats vaccinated against rabies;
• don’t touch the body of a dead or sick animal with your bare hands;
• if you touch the body of a dead or sick animal with your bare hands, wash your hands with soap and water immediately afterwards;
• keep your dogs in a safe place, tied up or on a leash, and do not allow them to wander; and,
• if your pet is bitten by another animal, handle it with gloves, tie it up or isolate it.
If you’re bitten, wash the wound with soap and water for 15 minutes and immediately contact your local health clinic.
You can receive a vaccine for preventing rabies in case of a bite or exposure to the saliva from an infected animal but you must get the vaccine rapidly after contact, with four shots given over 28 days.
The GN also suggested that you keep your dogs tied up when they are outside and monitor their behaviour.
And if you see a fox or wolf wandering around Igloolik, or, if your dog has had contact with a fox or wolf, call the conservation officer immediately at 867-222-0386 or the regional environmental health officer at 867-975-4800 or after hours 867-975-5772.