March: Rabies Awareness Month
March 2017 is almost to end and yet there are still reported incidents of people bitten by rabid dogs despite the government's effort to inform the public of the awareness about rabies.
"Rabies remains to be the most acutely fatal infectious disease claiming 200-250 lives of Filipinos every year. At least one-third of human rabies deaths are among children less than 15 years of age and two-thirds of the total cases are males. The high cost of anti-rabies vaccine and immunoglobulin, expenditure for medical consultations and the loss of income are an additional burden to a regular Filipino family confronted with a potential rabies exposure." More info here.The city/provincial veterinary office in every region continues its campaign on impounding stray dogs and cats to prevent the alarming cases of rabies. Pet owners should be responsible enough with their pets as it is mandated by the law that the city/provincial veterinary office should be in the frontline of veterinary-related activities, such as in the outbreak of deadly rabies and the like.
We cannot blame the proper authorities (city/provincial veterinary office) for impounding stray dogs and cats as it has been practiced ever since and that the owner's obligation is to claim their pet/s at the city or local pound by paying a minimal pay. The problem is when the owners never take their time to claim their pets and the animal population inside the pound increase, thus the pound staff will take some measures to minimize the said increase in population by euthanizing the animals.
Is there a way to prevent rabies? These simple steps should be strictly adhered to prevent or put an end to rabies.
- Be a responsible pet owner, you should provide proper nutrition, exercise, and shelter to your pet dogs/cats.
- Have your pet/s vaccinated for anti-rabies at the nearest local veterinary office when your pet/s reached 3 months of age and every annual thereafter or you may avail of the annual mass dog vaccination campaign by the local government agency headed by the Department of Agriculture.
- Never let your dogs roam or go astray to prevent contact with infected dogs. If possible. keep your dogs inside your backyard with fully enclosed property fence or have it leased if you have a small vacant area for your dogs to play inside your property. I do not recommend having your dogs tied up for the rest of its life as it would put more stress on them.
- Have your dogs spayed/neutered with the proper approval of your veterinarian. A dog normally goes astray during mating period and that put them at risk for rabies infection. A spayed/neutered dog is healthy and never roams around to find a mate.
Support the information and education campaign on the control and prevention of rabies spearheaded by your local/provincial veterinary and health office and the Department of Agriculture. Let the people know of the danger that rabies brings to them and provide steps and procedures on how to treat patients bitten by a rabid dog.
If you are from Bacolod City, Philippines or from any neighboring cities or towns and willing to adopt, foster or sponsor rescued dogs from the city pound or make a donation, please visit B.A.R.K. Facebook page and join as a member to be able for you to post your intention. Please support our cause to spare the dogs from the city pound to be euthanized.
Always remember that March is a rabies awareness month.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” - Benjamin Franklin
Related article: Rabies is here!