Nfld. & Labrador

Rabid fox put down after attacking 2 dogs in Rigolet

Public health officials are reminding people to vaccinate their pets.

Health officials advise people to vaccinate pets after rabies confirmed in Labrador

The dog in this video was vaccinated just a few months before being attacked by a rabid fox in Rigolet. (Submitted)

After a fox attacked two dogs in Labrador, health officials have confirmed that it was indeed a case of rabies, and are reminding people to ensure their pets are vaccinated.

A video posted online shows a fox viciously attacking a dog on the porch of a home in Rigolet, on Labrador's north coast.

The conservation officer who responded to the scene shot and killed the fox as it charged at him.

Laura Rogers is Newfoundland and Labrador's chief veterinary officer. (CBC)

Provincial health officials said the fox's body was sent for testing, and it's been confirmed it had rabies.

Luckily for the dog in the video, the public health nurses in Rigolet had offered a rabies vaccination clinic just months prior, and that dog had received a vaccine.

"On the day he was attacked he was boostered with the rabies vaccine again and will just go on and live a hopefully normal and happy life," says Laura Rogers, the province's chief veterinary officer.

The fox attacked another dog that was not vaccinated, and that dog will need to be quarantined for three months. (Submitted)

"Another dog was attacked by the same fox at the same time and unfortunately that dog was not vaccinated previously. In that sort of circumstance, that dog was vaccinated on the day of the attack by the nurse, and will be re-vaccinated again three weeks from that date, but has to be under quarantine for three months."

Rogers said most rabies vaccines are offered by veterinary offices at a price they set, but in smaller places like Rigolet where there is no vet and rabies is endemic, the animal vaccinations are offered free of charge and are done by the public health nurses.

People can die from rabies if not treated

Rabies is endemic in Labrador, meaning some years there are next to no cases, and other years health officials will see a spike in cases, Rogers said.

Meanwhile, Delphine Grynszpan, the medical officer of health for Labrador, said people need to be cautious when it comes to rabies.

"If someone were to be bitten and contaminated by rabies disease and not be vaccinated and not get any protection, then by far most of the time it's deadly. People do get very severe symptoms and die," she said.

Delphine Grynszpan is the medical officer of health for Labrador. (CBC)

"It's harsh to say that, but it's important for people to understand that the reason we prioritize this and we highlight the importance of seeking medical attention is because we do have means of preventing the consequences, but it has to be done early."

Grynszpan added that the public health nurse in Rigolet is available to vaccinate pets as needed, and they've been supplied with a rabies vaccine to ensure they're available for people who need them.

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador