Rabies cases on the rise in Saskatchewan

Number of rabies cases in Saskatchewan on the rise, at least 18 confirmed cases so far in 2016. File / Global News

The number of rabies cases in Saskatchewan is on the rise.

Saskatchewan Agriculture says there have been 18 confirmed cases in the province so far in 2016, including seven in June and three cases so far in July.

READ MORE: Bat found in Regina backyard tests positive for rabies

That compares to nine cases in 2015 during the same time period, and seven in 2014.

Four cases have involved domestic animals – a cow, cat, lamb and a baby goat. There have been eight confirmed cases involving skunks and six bats.

Signs of rabies include:

  • Domestic animals may become depressed and try to hide in isolated places;
  • Wild animals may lose their fear of humans and appear unusually friendly;
  • Wild animals that usually come out at night may be out during the day;
  • Animals may have paralysis which commonly affects the face or neck often seen as difficulty swallowing;
  • Animals may become excited or aggressive; and
  • Animals may attack objects, people or other animals.

Anyone who suspects a wild animal may have rabies should report it to their local conservation officer or contact the Ministry of Environment at 1-800-667-7561.

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READ MORE: ‘Leave them be:’ Regina Human Society says to leave baby wildlife alone

Officials say the best defence against rabies is vaccination. Dogs, cats, ferrets and certain livestock should be vaccinated.

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