The UK has been free from rabies since the beginning of the 20th century with the exception of the disease present in a small amount of the wild bat population. It is, therefore, a relatively rare but nevertheless very serious disease. If you are thinking of travelling to various parts of the world, there is a distinct risk of rabies in Central and South America, Asia and Africa.
The best form of protection for both you and your pet in these locations is the rabies vaccination. Touchwood Pharmacy can offer the rabies vaccination in Ramsgate, Hanwell and Bromley via our travel vaccination clinic. Your vet can advise you on the protocol for the rabies vaccine for your pet.
Rabies is commonly caused by a bite or scratch from an infected animal, usually a dog. Bear in mind that you should assess risk based not just on the likelihood of being bitten or scratched by a dog or cat but also the availability of immediate and effective medical treatment. In some parts of the world, there is no quick access to the right hospital care and treatment.
Rabies prevention and control
It is important to understand that even if you and your pet have received the rabies vaccination, you should still seek urgent medical or veterinary advice if either of you are bitten or scratched by an animal during your travels.
Some animals with rabies will behave strangely but not all so it can be difficult to tell whether an animal is infected just by looking at it. As a precaution, avoid contact with any animal, never touch a dead animal and make sure any children that you are travelling with do observe this and know to tell you if they are bitten or scratched.
Essential first aid if you are bitten or scratched
- clean the wound immediately under running water with soap for several minutes
- Disinfect the wound with iodine or an alcohol-based solution
- Cover it with a dressing and seek urgent medical attention