Malaga veterinarians warn of an increased rabies risk and the need to vaccinate pets

Malaga veterinarians warn of an increased rabies risk and the need to vaccinate pets

Image of a snarling dog. Credit: Taras Verkhovynets/

The need to vaccinate pets and be vigilant has been highlighted by Malaga veterinarians amid an increased risk of rabies in the province.

Antonio Villatoro, the president of the Royal Academy of Veterinary Sciences of Eastern Andalucia, warned last Friday, July 15, about the danger of rabies in Malaga province. He also called on doctors to be more vigilant in cases where patients have been bitten by cats or dogs.

Border officials who control the entry of such pets into the country should also take extra care he added. He highlighted the recent influx of Ukrainian refugees – many who brought their pets – along with the presence of pets from Morocco due to Operation Crossing the Strait. Both countries have cases of rabies he pointed out.

Veterinarians should urge scrupulous compliance with anti-rabies vaccination said Villatoro because there is the risk of instances of this disease rising in the province. As he explained, once a person is bitten by a rabid animal, they can die if they are not treated in time.

The Malaga Veterinary College pointed out that in the last six months there have been 13 cases of dogs with rabies in Melilla, and that in Morocco – a country very close to Malaga – this disease is endemic.

In Andalucia, the rabies vaccination of dogs, cats and ferrets, is mandatory. According to veterinarians, a very high percentage of these animals are inoculated, but these specialists insist that no one should lower their guard, neither the population nor the health workers.

“65 per cent of the infections that people suffer are of animal origin. So protecting pets is also protecting their owners, families, and society in general”, stressed Mr Villatoro.

Human beings contract rabies from the bite of an infected animal as it is transmitted through their saliva. The virus attacks the central nervous system. That is why it is essential that in case of a bite the animal is tested to make sure that it is not infected.

“The province, due to its geographical location, has a potential risk”, stressed Juan Antonio de Luque, the president of the Malaga Veterinary Association. He insisted that with Operation Crossing the Strait and the arrival of Ukrainian refugees with their pets “the danger of rabies entering increases”.

A case of this disease registered in the Netherlands was found to have had its origin in an animal from Morocco that was infected, that passed through Malaga, and that finally occurred in that European country, he added.

When presenting a report on rabies, veterinarians fulfil their role as guarantors of the health of animals and also of people. They play a role within their professional associations as intermediaries between clinical veterinarians and administrations in the control of zoonoses.

Villatoro concluded that doctors, biologists, veterinarians, legislators, and administrations: “must work together. The collective promotes the concept of one health because animal, human, and environmental health is one, and belongs to all”, as reported by


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at


    • Naimah Yianni

      19 July 2022 • 15:04

      “They play a role within their professional associations as intermediaries between clinical veterinarians and administrations in the control of zoonoses” What does that mean?

      • Guest Writer

        19 July 2022 • 15:11

        Zoonoses (plural) are diseases which can be transmitted to humans from animals.

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