ILOILO City – The number of rabid dogs in Iloilo reached 77 last year, according to the Provincial Veterinarian Office (PVO).
It was higher compared to 40 in 2017, PVO records showed.
The top five municipalities with most number of rabid dogs were Sta. Barbara (11), San Miguel (8), Cabatuan (4), Alimodian (4), and Anilao (3).
Veterinarian IV Dr. Darel Tabuada of the PVO said the increase in the number of recorded rabid dogs was a result of their active campaign that urged the public to bring dogs with suspected rabies infection to the Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Iloilo City for testing.
He added that there was an increase in the number of dog owners who brought their pets to the laboratory for the rabies test in 2018 than in 2017.
Rabies is an infectious viral disease that is almost always fatal following the onset of clinical symptoms, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Dogs are the main source of human rabies deaths, contributing up to 99 percent of all rabies transmissions to humans, WHO added.
Rabies elimination is feasible through vaccination of dogs and prevention of dog bites.
“For example, ang ido suspected nga rabid kag nagapangkagat ang protocol naton sa barangay is patyon siya kag kon makita nga daw ido-buang siya gina-utod ang ulo kag dal-on sa laboratory,” Tabuada said.
Rabies testing at the laboratory is free, he added.
The PVO official also said the vaccination coverage in some towns, like Alimodia and Batad, was still low last year.
Stray dogs – which are not vaccinated – are also among the reasons of the hike in the number of rabid dogs.
“Ang isa ka problema namon amo ang layaw nga mga ido,” Tabuada said. “Subong nga tuig ang mabakunahan namon sa isa ka barangay yara sa 70 percent. Ang nabilin nga 30 percent sina stray or layaw indi madakpan.”
Due to this, the PVO targets this year to immunize 70 percent of the total dog population in the province.
In 2018, the PVO recorded 252,976 as the total dog population in Iloilo. It expects the number to increase this year./PN