Animals are an interesting and enjoyable phenomenon of nature. While we appreciate them, we also need to remember to be respectful of all animals regardless of whether they are domestic pets or wild.
As the season changes and the weather warms up, outdoor activity increases for humans and, as a result, there is much greater potential for contact between humans and animals. The potential for increased contact with animals also brings greater risk of injury and possible exposure to illness, particularly as the result of animal bites.
“As humans, we need to take the appropriate precautions to ensure optimal protection from potentially infectious diseases we can acquire from both domestic and wild animals, “stated Dr. David Torr, Saskatchewan Health Authority Medical Health Officer and Area Department Lead, Public Health and Preventative Medicine. Diseases that can be transmitted from wild or domestic animals to humans through bites or scratches include ringworm, salmonella, Giardia, cat scratch disease, bacterial infection, and rabies.
To minimize the risk of transmission among domestic animals, pet owners should take their animals for regular veterinary checkups and make sure their pets are up-to-date on vaccinations, particularly rabies and distemper. Pet owners can take additional precautions to limit the risk of pets biting or scratching by not leaving young children alone with pets, pulling on your pet’s ears or tail, hitting your pet or letting pets jump up on children or adults. Startling sleeping dogs, disturbing a dog caring for puppies, taking a dog’s food or toys, teasing a dog, or touching any dog that is injured or hurt, should also be avoided. Approach strange dogs with caution and always ask the owner before petting a strange dog. Animal owners need to be cautious and keep their animals in control, especially when encountering strangers. Dogs should be kept on a leash when outdoors.
Humans that encounter animals in the wild should always respect the fact that animals may be protective and aggressive if they feel startled or threatened in their terrain. In the spring especially, animals may feel the presence of a human is threatening toward their young. To avoid an unexpected encounter with a wild animal, make your presence known and keep your distance from animals with young, animals interacting with their prey or eating, or any animal acting strangely.
In the event of an animal bite, wash and clean the area thoroughly and seek medical attention immediately. Animal bites should always be reported to Public Health in order to ensure the risk of acquiring rabies can be monitored.