Not mandatory to vaccinate cats

KUCHING: It is not mandatory to vaccinate cats with the anti-rabies vaccine, said the State Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) director Dr Adrian Susin Ambud.

“Under Section 40 of the Veterinary Public Health Ordinance 1999, it is stated that the vaccine is applicable to dogs only because they are the main source of human rabies deaths, which contributes up to 99 percent of all rabies transmissions to humans.

“While it’s possible for feral cats to become infected with rabies, feral cat colonies themselves do not generally serve as a source of the disease.”

“Cat to human transmission of rabies is rare. While it’s possible for feral cats to become infected with rabies, feral cat colonies themselves do not generally serve as a source of the disease,” he was responding to the New Sarawak Tribune when asked to comment on a suggestion by some quarters to make it mandatory for cats to be vaccinated against rabies.

According to him, rabies eradication is feasible through the vaccination of dogs and prevention of dog bites.

“As of Dec 22, 2018, DVS has vaccinated 99,737 dogs, while more than 10,000 dogs were vaccinated by private veterinary clinics.

“These numbers showed that nearly 50 percent of the estimated 220,000 dogs in the state have been given anti-rabies vaccination,” said Dr Adrian.

To increase the coverage area, a free anti-rabies vaccination programme will be held this Saturday at KPCA People’s Centre, Kenyalang Park from 9am to 2pm.

He said the public can also bring their pet dogs to any DVS office state wide for the free anti-rabies vaccination during office hours.

He also called on pet owners to ensure that their dogs are confined (within their respective house compound) and given anti-rabies vaccination in rabies-infected areas.

“Failure to do so can constitute an offence under Section 40 of the Veterinary Public Health Ordinance 1999 with a fine not exceeding RM2,500 and if the dogs are found roaming, they will be caught if there is no proof of them having been given anti-rabies vaccination,” he said.

He also mentioned that the movement of dogs and cats from rabies-infected areas is prohibited except with a movement permit issued by the State Veterinary Authority.

Failure to comply is an offence under Section 37(3) of the Veterinary Public Health Ordinance 1999 with a fine not exceeding RM2,500 or imprisonment not more than three months or both upon conviction.