Iloilo is not ‘rabies free’but ‘rabies full’

Well…well, after all that’s been said and done it does seem that Iloilo will, in all probability, never be “rabies free.” From the look of things the population of rabid dogs is on the rise when they should be on the decline.

Normally any increase in numbers is a good sign of progress but a rise in the numbers of rabid dogs is not; it is really bad.

What in the world is going on? Is somebody breeding rabid dogs and then releasing them to the human population? Because it does seem that way.

Excerpts from the Feb. 2, 2019 issue of Panay News:

Iloilo has 77 rabid dogs in 2018 – PVO

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.

The PVO official also said the vaccination coverage in some towns, like Alimodian 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.

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.

There you go straight from the “dog’s mouth”, rather the Provincial Veterinary Office; the number of dogs positively affected with rabies has increased from 40 in 2017 to 77 in 2018 and growing most probably.

And visions of 77 rabid dogs roaming around Iloilo salivating to bite just anyone who crosses their path is a scary almost apocalyptic scenario, which brings to minds scenes from that popular TV series “The Walking Dead”… zombies walking around cities and the countryside looking for humans to eat.

For the uninitiated, rabiesan acute virus disease of the nervous system of mammals that is caused by a rhabdovirus (species Rabies virus of the genus Lyssavirus) usually transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal and that is characterized typically by increased salivation, abnormal behaviour, and eventual paralysis and death when untreated.

And the number one vector or carrier of the virus rabies is the dog.

Take note people, rabies is almost always fatal and there is no recorded survivor from those that have been positively diagnosed to be infected, again almost always from dog bites.

That rabies vaccination you get once you’re bitten does not cure rabies but just tries to stop the virus from reaching your brain.

Simply put folks, once a dog infected with rabies bites you then say goodbye to your love ones while you still are lucid and please; don’t kiss them because you will infect them with your saliva as you will definitely die and it is an embarrassing and painful death.

During my watch as Director of Animal Kingdom Foundation and also as a member of the technical working group that formulated the Implementing Rules and Regulations or IRR of Republic Act  9482 or the Anti-Rabies Law, our stand — and almost all animal welfare NGOs — are to impound, spay/neuter, vaccinate then release the dogs, not just vaccinate.

Let me illustrate: if you have 100 dogs and you vaccinate 70 percent, this means 70 dogs are vaccinated and 30 are not. Considering they are not spayed or neutered in a few months’ time then your 30 unvaccinated dogs will increase to 100 dogs and so your vaccination is basically useless. It will just become a vicious circle without achieving anything.

But if you spay/neuter and vaccinate 70 percent of the 100 dogs, then do the same to the remaining 30 percent; you have controlled the dog population and the spread of rabies.

In the Philippine, and in Iloilo in particular, dogs are the number one vector of the spread of rabies. Control the dog population and you control the spread of rabies.

Vaccination without spaying or controlling the dog population is useless and achieves pretty much nothing just a waste of resources. (


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