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Hennie and Martie Ferreira


A case of rabies in the Eastern Cape prompted a SASDA breeder to cull his whole stud (out of free will as a result of circumstances).  The implications of such an act can be astronomical, both for breeders and the relevant breed.  The emotional trauma is one aspect, the financial one another.

Had it been working dogs, culling them would put you back years – you are stuck without any workers (imagine that?); you have to buy in and train new dogs from scratch – a time consuming process; possible loss of income because of lack of good breeding material; and above all – the possible loss of certain bloodlines. 

Because of the nonchalant attitude and lack of ‘knowledge’ about this disease and its implications, we spoke to the local State Veterinarian and got the following information:

Is rabies a State controlled disease, and what does that mean?  Yes.  It means that in rabies regions (controlled areas eg Piet Retief & Mooi River), the State annually inoculates all animals in the area free of charge against rabies.  In non-controlled areas all animal are inoculated free of charge in case of an outbreak of rabies.  

What is being done by the State to inform the public?  Informational brochures are available on request from all offices of the Department of Animal Health countrywide.  Brochures regarding the disease and the prevention thereof are also distributed in problem areas.  Information can also be found on the website of the pharmaceutical company that produces the rabies vaccine (Rabison).

How are inoculation programmes presented and promoted?  A central point, easily accessible to all, is pinpointed in the relevant area inoculations are done from there.  Citizens are being informed of the date & venue of such programmes by way of fliers in post boxes; notices being handed out at schools and businesses; and adverts in local newspapers.  In many cases programmes are being advertised in residential areas by means of a motor vehicle car and megaphone.  All animals – particularly pets – in the area are inoculated and the programme runs for as long as it takes, until no one pitches up anymore.

Where can inoculations be done otherwise?  Any veterinarian can do it.

How long is an inoculation certificate valid?  Inoculations should be older than a month and younger than a year – about 11 months thus.

How does inoculation affect pregnant bitches and puppies?  If a bitch had been inoculated, it would cover her but not the puppies.  Puppies can only be inoculated at 3 months of age, but till then they are not covered. 

Procedure & requirements when travelling with dogs from one province to another for competitions etc?  Owners travelling must be in possession of a valid ‘Pink Permit’ from the Department of Animal Health for all dogs.  These can also be obtained from your local veterinarian.  Other than believed, valid inoculation certificates from your veterinarian are not sufficient.

What can happen when you are stopped and you don’t have the ‘Pink Permit’ with you, although your dogs have been inoculated?   The law states that all dogs must be confiscated and culled on the spot – no exceptions are allowed. 

What are the implications of rabies for humans – prevention, treatment in case of infection etc?  Deadly if you show any of the symptoms – there is no cure.  Inoculation within 2 days if you suspect rabies, could save your life.  As prevention, humans can also be inoculated annually.  The high cost of vaccine prevents doctors / pharmacies from keeping vaccine in stock, so one should go to the Department of Animal Health who always has vaccine available. 

Enquiries and further information:  Dr Chris Schoeman – 073 204 8295 Senior Animal Health Technician, Mpumalanga Department of Animal Health. Your local vet, satet vet or Onderstepoort

(Also refer to the next extract:)


                                                                                             RABIES (HYDROPHOBIA)

 From:  ‘Handboek oor Veesiektes’ – Mönig & Veldman

Rabies is an acute, extremely infectious virus disease affecting all warm-blooded animals – humans included.  It affects the nerve system, is about 100% deadly, and is one of the worst diseases known. 

The disease is carried over by the bite of any infected animal – eg. jackals, dogs, bats etc. – whose saliva is heavily infected with the virus.  In South Africa mongoose (meercat) seem to be the primary carriers of the disease, thus giving it to other animals.

The virus is found particularly in the brain and spinal cord as well as the salivary glands of the infected animal.  Rabies varies from other diseases in that the virus moves from the bite wound via the nerve system to other organs, instead of via the bloodstream, and then causes the various symptoms eg paralysis.  The closer the wound is to the brain, the higher the possibility of getting the disease.  Deep wounds also pose greater danger than shallow ones. 

SYMPTOMS:  The incubation period in animals is anything from a week to 6 months – normally 6 – 8 weeks.  In humans it can be 12 months or longer.  This is the reason why suspected cases should rather be culled.  Symptoms are divided in three stages:

Changes in behaviour – The animal seems scared and distressed; hides away; is disobedient; seems to be biting at nothing; rises and lies down repeatedly; dogs bark unnecessarily; etc.

Increased irritability – follows only a few days after stage one.  Although a dog seems friendly as usual, he wants to bite when you talk to or console him.  The slightest stimulus eg noise will let him jump away scared and if you are holding him, he will not hesitate to bite.  An infected animal will also continuously lick / bite the wound where he had been bitten.  The animal loses its appetite but will bite and even swallow things like stones, sticks and even its own faeces.  The animal is normally very thirsty but has difficulty swallowing.  Some dogs come into season.  After a few days the animal becomes mad and has a vicious expression on the face and in the eyes.  He could wander for miles, attacks everything in its path and chews on stones and sticks.  Sometimes he would tiredly pass out, but as soon as he gets up, the viciousness will again be noticeable

Paralysis – follows in a day or two.  The animal has difficulty to swallow and gets terrible convulsions when he sees water, as if he fears it.  (Hence the other name hydrophobia – hydro = water; phobia = fear).  The voice then changes and he can eg not bark clearly.  He becomes less irritable and is less inclined to bite.  He becomes more lethargic; staggers around; the mouth hangs open with saliva continuously dripping and the ears hang down.  Later complete paralysis takes effect and the animal eventually dies.


All other animals go through the same three stages of the disease:  cats are probably even more vicious than dogs; horses and cattle become very aggressive, is highly irritable and is particularly inclined to attacking dogs.  The same goes for sheep.  Humans exhibit exactly the same symptoms and it is definitely one of worst diseases known. 

POST MORTEM SIGNS:  Apart from the open and foaming mouth, there is not much to be seen.  The disease can be proven with certainty from the symptoms, but a microscopic examination is more reliable.  Therefore the whole brain of suspected animals is sent to Onderstepoort for analysis.

TREATMENT:  Animals that have been bitten, as well as suspected cases, should preferably be culled immediately.  The case should also be reported to the local Department of Animal Health. 

PREVENTION:  Depends on the extermination of all possible carriers such as mongoose and other animals, if necessary.  This is being done by the State, but every farmer can assist them by exterminating mongoose on their property.  A preventative vaccine for dogs is available.

P.S.  About 10 years ago statistics showed that more people in Natal died from rabies annually than from Aids.



HONDSDOLHEID (Hennie & Martie Ferreira)


‘n Onlangse geval van hondsdolheid in die Oos-Kaap het ‘n SASHV-teler genoodsaak om sy hele stoet van kant te maak (uit eie keuse en nav omstandighede).  Die implikasies van so ‘n stap kan astronomies wees vir telers, asook die betrokke ras.  Die emosionele trauma waardeur ‘n mens moet gaan is maar een aspek, die finansiële sy ‘n ander. 

Indien dit werkende honde was, sit so ‘n stap jou jare terug – jy sit sonder werkers (stel jou voor?!); jy moet van nuuts af honde aankoop en dalk afrig – ‘n tydrowende proses; moontlike verlies aan inkomste weens tekort aan goeie teelmateriaal; en bowenal kan dit gebeur dat spesifieke bloedlyne tot niet gaan.     

Na aanleiding van die klaarblyklike nonchalante houding en ‘onkunde’ rakende dié siekte en sy implikasies, het ons met die plaaslike Staatsveearts gesels die die volgende te wete gekom.

Is hondsdolheid ‘n Staatsbeheerde siekte, en wat beteken dit?  Ja.  Dit beteken dat die Staat in hondsdolheidstreke (beheerde gebiede bv Piet Retief-area, Mooirivier-area ens), jaarliks alle diere in die omgewing kosteloos inent teen hondsdolheid.  In nie-beheerde gebiede word alle diere in die area kosteloos geënt wanneer daar ‘n uitbraak van hondsdolheid is.

Wat word deur die Staat gedoen om die publiek hieroor in te lig?  Inligtingsbrosjures is op aanvraag beskikbaar by die Departement van Dieregesondheid se kantore landswyd.  Inligtingsblaaie rondom die siekte en voorkoming daarvan word ook in probleemgebiede vrygestel.  Inligting is ook op die famaseutiese maatskappy wat die inentingstof (Rabison) vervaardig, se webwerf beskikbaar.      

Hoe word inentingsprogramme aangebied en gepromofeer?  ‘n Sentrale punt wat maklik toeganklik is vir almal word in die bepaalde gebied gevind vanwaar inentings gedoen word.  Inwoners word deur middel van pamflette in posbusse en by skole en besighede in kennis gestel van die datum en plek vir inentings.  Kennisgewings word ook in plaaslike koerante geplaas.  In baie gevalle word sulke programme selfs met behulp van ‘n van motorvoertuig en megafoon in woongebiede geadverteer.  Alle diere – veral troeteldiere – in die omgewing word ge-ent en die program duur solank as nodig, maw totdat niemand meer opdaag vir enting nie.

Waar kan inentings andersins gedoen word?  By enige veearts.

Wat is die geldigheidsduur van inentings en –sertifikate?  Inentings moet ouer as ‘n maand en jonger as een jaar wees – dus sowat 11 maande.

Hoe affekteer inentings dragtige tewe en klein hondjies?  Indien geënt, is dragtige tewe gedek, maar nie die kleintjies nie.  Klein hondjies kan eers op 3 maande ouderdom geënt word en is tot dan nie gedek nie. 

Prosedure & vereistes rondom vervoer van honde van een provinsie na ‘n ander vir bv. kompetisies ens.?  Eienaars op reis moet te alle tye in besit wees van ‘n ‘Pienk Permit’ vanaf die Departement van Dieregesondheid vir alle honde.  Permitte kan ook deur plaaslike veeartse uitgereik word.  Anders as wat geglo word, is geldige inentingsertifikate van jou veearts nie voldoende nie.

Wat kan gebeur indien jy gestop word en jy het nie die ‘Pienk Permit’ by jou nie, maar jou honde is wel geënt? Volgens wet moet alle honde dadelik gekonfiskeer en op die plek van kant gemaak word – geen uitsonderings word gemaak nie.

Wat is die implikasies van hondsdolheid vir die mens – voorkoming, behandeling in geval van besmetting ens?  Dodelik as jy simptome wys – geen behandeling werk nie.  Inenting binne 2 dae indien daar ‘n vermoede van hondsdolheid bestaan, kan jou lewe red.  Kontak die plaaslike Dieregesondheidskantoor, wat altyd voorraad behoort te hê - die hoë koste verbonde aan die teenmiddel verhoed medici / ander instansies om dit in voorraad te hou.  Voorkomend kan mense ook jaarliks geënt word.

Navrae en verdere inligting:    Dr Chris Schoeman – 073 204 8295. Senior Dieregesondheidstegnikus, Mpumalanga Departement van Dieregesondheid.

(Verwys ook na die volgende uittreksel:)



HONDSDOLHEID (HIDROFOBIE)  Uit:  ‘Handboek oor Veesiektes’ – Mönig & Veldman

Hondsdolheid is ‘n akute, uiters aansteeklike virussiekte van alle warmbloedige diere – die mens ingesluit.  Dit tas die senuweestelsel aan, is omtrent 100% dodelik en is een van die vreeslikste siektes bekend. 

Die siekte word gewoonlik oorgedra deur die byt van enige besmette dier – bv. jakkalse, honde, wolwe, vlermuise, ens – wie se speeksel erg met met die virus besmet is.  In Suid-Afrika blyk meerkatte die primêre draers te wees wat die siekte dan na ander diere versprei.  

Die virus is veral teenwoordig in die brein en rugmurg, asook speekselkliere van die besmette dier.  Anders as by ander siektes, waar die virus in die bloedstroom beland en dan na ander organe versprei, beweeg die hondsdolheidvirus vanaf die bytwonde met die senuwees langs na ander organe, en veroorsaak dan die verskillende simptome bv verlamming.  Hoe nader bytwonde dus aan die brein is, hoe groter is die moontlikheid dat die mens of dier wat gebyt is, die siekte sal kry.  Dieper wonde hou ook ‘n groter gevaar in as vlak wonde. 

SIMPTOME:  Die inkubasie-periode by diere is enigiets van ‘n week tot 6 maande – gemiddeld 6 – 8 weke.  By die mens kan dit 12 maande of langer wees.  Om hierdie rede is dit dus belangrik om verdagte gevalle eerder van kant te maak.  Simptome word in drie stadia verdeel:

Gedragsverandering – die dier lyk bang en onrustig; kruip weg; is ongehoorsaam; hap in die lug na niks; staan herhaaldelik op en gaan lê; honde blaf miskien onnodig; ens.

Verhoogde irriteerbaarheid – volg net ‘n paar daar na die eerste stadium.  Alhoewel ‘n hond vriendelik lyk soos altyd, sal hy bv. wil byt as jy met hom praat of hom probeer paai.  Die geringste prikkels, bv. ‘n lawaai, laat hom skrikkerig wegspring en as ‘n mens hom vashou sal hy nie aarsel om te byt nie.  Die wond waar hy gebyt is word aanhoudend gelek en selfs verder stukkend gebyt.  Die dier se eetlus verswak, maar hy sal bv. aan stokke, klippe en selfs sy eie ontlasting vreet en insluk.  Die dier is gewoonlik baie dors maar vind dit moeilik om te sluk.  Party honde word erg bronstig.  Na ‘n paar dae word die dier dol, met boosaardige uitdrukkings op die gesig en in die oë.  Hy dwaal miskien vir myle, byt enige dier of iets wat in sy pad kom, en kou aan klippe en stokke.  Hy sal soms uitgeput en half bewusteloos bly lê, maar sodra hy opstaan, is die boosaardigheid en aanvallus terug

Verlamming – volg na ‘n dag of twee.  Die dier sukkel om te sluk en kry die vreeslikste stuiptrekkings wanneer hy water sien, aof hy daarvoor bang is. (Vandaar die naam hidrofobie – hidro = water; fobie = vrees).  Daarna verander die stem en kan hy bv nie meer duidelik blaf nie.  Hy word minder irreteerbaar en is nie meer so geneig om te byt nie.  Hy word al meer dooierig; begin waggelend loop; die bek hang oop met speeksel wat aanhoudend uitdrup; die oë trek miskien skeef en die ore hang.  Later tree algehele verlamming in en die dier vrek eindelik. 


Al die ander diersoorte gaan deur dieselfde drie stadia van die siekte:  katte tree miskien nog meer aanvallend op as honde;  beeste en perde word besonder aggressief, is baie opgewonde en is veral geneig om honde aan te val.  Dieselfde geld vir skape.  By die mens word presies dieselfde simptome getoon en dit is werklik een van die aakligste siektes denkbaar. 

NADOODSE LETSELS:  Behalwe vir die oop bek en skuim uit die bek, is daar verder nie veel te sien nie.  Die siekte kan met sekerheid van die simptome vasgestel word, maar ‘n mikroskopiese ondersoek van dele van die brein is meer betroubaar.  Daarom word die hele brein van enige verdagte geval uitgehaal en na Onderstepoort gestuur vir ontleding. 

BEHANDELING:  Diere wat gebyt is moet verkieslik dadelik van kant gemaak word, so ook enige verdagte gevalle.  Die geval moet ook dadelik aangemeld word by die plaaslike Departement van Dieregesondheid.     

VOORKOMING:  Berus op die uitroei van draers soos meerkatte en ander diere, indien nodig.  Hierdie werk word deur die Staat gedoen, maar elke boer kan meehelp deur die meerkatte op sy plaas uit te roei.  ‘n Voorbehoedende entstof vir honde is beskikbaar.  

N.S.  Ongeveer 10 jaar gelede het statistiek bewys dat meer mense jaarliks in Natal aan hondsdolheid gesterf het as aan Vigs.

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