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Rabies and Australia

Rabies is a lethal disease that is endemic in most parts of the world. Only a few countries are considered Rabies free.

Rabies Distribution Map

Australia is, fortunately, one such country. This means that for animals being bought into or taken out of Australia there are important facts that must be addressed.

Here at the Kalinga Park Veterinary Surgery, all our veterinary staff is qualified to give advice on the medical procedures necessary to take your favourite companion overseas and get them back safely.

Important Points about Rabies:

  • [wiki id=en]Rabies[/wiki] is considered universally fatal to unvaccinated animals or people. Fortunately, in people that are aware they have been bitten, it is possible to get post-exposure vaccinations.
  • Rabies can affect almost all warm-blooded animals.
  • Rabies has an extremely long and varied incubation period. One child was suggested that the incubation period was around 6 years before she died from the virus.
  • Dogs account for 99% of all human rabies deaths. Urban Rabies (the subtype that affects dogs) is the sole cycle in South East Asia and is the dominant cycle in Asia, Central and South America, and Africa. Dogs are the host and while they may infect other species these species do not spread the disease but will die. There are other subtypes of rabies that can cycle in other hosts such as skunks, foxes, racoons and bats, the urban form is most important for Australia.

In Australia in most cases, it is unnecessary to vaccinate for Rabies. Most veterinarians do not obtain Rabies Vaccine due to cost and expiry.

Australia Quarantine maintains a register of authorized veterinarians who can administer the rabies vaccine, mainly to animals travelling overseas. If you are planning such a trip it is advised you contact an AQIS registered veterinarian such as those at the Kalinga Park Veterinary Surgery to obtain information regarding preparing your pet for transport. For large numbers of animals, we can provide significant discounts to testing and vaccination.

Australian Bat Lyssavirus

What should you do if your Pet has eaten or been bitten by a Bat or Flying fox?

Potential Lyssavirus hostsImmediately call us on 07 33571588, there is a specific protocol in place to handle dogs or cats that have had potential contact with a bat or a Flying fox infected with Lyssavirus. You can fill out an application for post exposure treatment here.

Should I try and move the bat from the pet?

  • Even if the bat is dead I would advise against any direct contact.

What Should I do if I think I might have been bitten or scratched?


What can happen if I don’t get treatment or post-exposure vaccination for my Pet?

  1. Maybe nothing – if the bat wasn’t carrying Australian Bat Lyssavirus.  The risk of infection is low. but the result of infection could be death, that’s a big risk!
  2. If the pet becomes infected, it will die usually within 90 days but it has been recorded for deaths to take as long as 27mths

You can call us and ask to speak to Dr Ben Charlton, to further clarify all of the points discussed above, the Queensland government has a protocol in place we follow to provide the correct treatment for these patients.

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