A fox has tested positive for rabies in Inuvik following an altercation with a domestic dog.
A public health advisory was released from the town shortly after 6 p.m. March 25.
Noting the dog’s owner acted responsibly, contacted authorities and followed the quarantine order, the town is using the incident to remind pet owners to get them vaccinated for rabies, keep dogs on leashes while on walks and be alert of any fox activity.
“With this confirmed case of rabies being found in Inuvik, there is a potential risk of being exposed to this fatal disease if you or your dog are bitten, scratched or in contact with foxes in the community,” reads the notice. “If you have been bitten, licked, scratched or in contact with a fox, or by any dog who is behaving oddly and/or after it was in contact with a fox, you should contact the Inuvik Regional Hospital and report the incident immediately and be assessed for your exposure.
“Rabies in humans is fatal without urgent treatment.”
Hunters, dog mushers or others who regularly work with wildlife are also asked to ensure they are vaccinated against rabies.
The town is advising people to be mindful of strange animals, as animals with rabies can exhibit a wide variety of different behaviours.
“Animals with rabies can have different symptoms, including being fearful, aggressive, excessive drooling, difficulty swallowing, staggering, walking backwards, abnormal vocalizations/moaning, paralysis and seizures. Aggressive behavior is possible, but rabid animals may also often be very shy or calm and acting or moving strangely.
“If you see a puppy/dog showing signs of rabies or if your dog has been attacked by a fox, please contact your ENR wildlife officer to report the contact immediately.”
Public safety emergencies related to domestic dogs can be reported by calling 678-2196. For general inquiries, contact 777-8616.
To arrange a vaccination for your pet, contact the NWT Environmental Health officer at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Territorial Veterinarian at WildifeVeterinarian@gov.nt.ca to book an appointment with a lay vaccinator.