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First case of rabies in dog found in Taitung

First case of rabies in dog found in Taitung

The first incidence of rabies being passed to a dog was confirmed in Taiwan Tuesday with a 45-day old puppy that developed symptoms of rabies last Friday. The dog, raised by a family in Haituan, a remote township in Taitung County, had been attacked by a ferret-badger in early August and was being quarantined for observation.

On September 6 the dog started to lose its appetite and began to show extreme depression and other symptoms, and two days later it was limp and listless. It was euthanized and test samples were sent to the Animal Health Research Institute, where it was confirmed as Taiwan’s first case of rabies in a domestic dog.

A total of 124 ferret-badgers and one shrew have so far been found to be carrying the disease in Taiwan since May last year, the first outbreak since 1959 on the island.
Taiwan is now listed as a rabies-affected area by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

Tuesday's announcement was accompanied by call for pet owners to have their animals inoculated.

"There is no need for the pet owners to panic, but they have to make sure to get their dogs and cats to get a shot of vaccine against the disease," said Edward Chao, spokesman for the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine. He added that currently about 60 percent of the estimated 1.5 million pets on the island have been vaccinated against rabies.

The Center for Disease Control advises pet owners that all dogs and cats over three months of age need to be vaccinated against rabies at the nearest animal hospital or clinic. Booster injections are required at one-year intervals after that.

For animals less than three months old, CDC advises owners to be especially carefully that they are not allowed to run free and to limit their exposure to other animals, either domestic or wild.