DAVAO ORIENTAL – Through the joint efforts of the Provincial Veterinarian’s Office and its municipal counterparts, the annual incidence of animal rabies has significantly dropped from 5 incidents per year on the year 2000-2008 to 0-1 incidents on the year 2008-2016, said Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Eric Dagmang during the Kapihan sang Kapitolyo on March 27.
The Provincial Veterinarian’s Office has been conducting massive vaccination to pets, especially dogs and cats which are commonly affected by rabies. Rabies is a viral disease that is transmitted through the saliva or tissues from the nervous system of an infected mammal to another mammal.
Dr. Dagmang said that they have been intensifying their campaign on anti-rabies vaccination since January as February is the breeding season of dogs, thus the highest risk of it getting infected with rabies. “Dogs are highly exposed to virus on the breeding season where dogs would roam on the streets”.
Last week, they have conducted free vaccination to dogs and cats in the towns of Tarragona and Lupon, and this week in Baganga and Cateel. A total of 9,942 cats and dogs were vaccinated with anti-rabies vaccine as of March 2017.
Through their program Barangay Veterinary Health Extension, their office has also extended its service to villagers who own large number of pets and animals.
“This program is aimed at giving services to farmers who cannot come to our office. We have been doing this especially during the Nagkakaisang Lingkod-Bayan ng Davao Oriental (NLD) Barangay Outreach Caravan where we go to the area of recipient one week before the scheduled event”, he said.
As another way of reducing rabies incidence in the City of Mati, a dog pound is established where stray or abandoned dogs are brought. An ordinance is currently deliberated in the City Council which will also motivate other towns in the province to also launch a dog pound.
Rabies Awareness Month
With this month’s theme, “Rabies Iwasan, Alaga’y Pabakunahan”, Dr. Dagmang reiterated that vaccination is the only way to eradicate rabies incidence in the province.
In line with the celebration, the Provincial Veterinarian’s Office disseminates information materials like posters and brochures. Film showings and lectures were also conducted in the City as well as in the municipalities of Banaybanay and Lupon.
To further reach all residents especially those who live in the isolated areas, Dr. Dagmang has also called on the local media practitioners to air their massive campaign on eradicating the incidence of rabies. “We need your help to urge pet owners to become responsible by having their pets regularly vaccinated against rabies.”
He stressed that vaccination is important especially that on the cold months of November and December, the dog’s resistance to rabies is low.
While dogs are the main carriers of rabies, livestock like pigs, among others, can also get rabies. With this, the Provincial Veterinarian has warned the masses to be cautious when buying meat in the market. He said that a certification of meat inspection should be secured by meat vendors to ensure consumers’ safety because “meat is only safe for human consumption if it is butchered in the slaughterhouse as it passed an inspection of proper authorities”.
“You can get infected when you eat a rabid meat or even when you kill a rabid dog and the blood gets into your wounds, or into your eyes or ears,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Dagmang reminded the public that pet owners who refuse to have their cats and dogs vaccinated against rabies at three months of age and every year thereafter, shall be fined of two thousand pesos. By Riza M. Golez/Photo by Eden Jhan Licayan