Bontoc, Mountain Province – Free anti- rabies vaccination is being given to household pets, especially dogs and cats starting this March until May by the Provincial Government of Mountain Province thru its Provincial Veterinary (PVet) Office.
Dr. Rogelio B. Bagawi, Officer in Charge of PVet said that that this is in line with the observance of the Rabies Awareness Month last March with the theme “Bakunadong Pusa’t Aso, Sa Rabis Protektado”.
He explained that vaccines, paraphernalia and syringes are provided by the Department of Agriculture (DA). These are available at the PVet Office and are being distributed to the municipalities where free- anti rabies vaccination will be conducted. He also assured that the provincial government are ready to purchase additional supplies if needed.
With this, Bagawi urged the public to be responsible dog owners by taking advantage of the free vaccination at the PVet Office or at the designated anti- rabies vaccination post in their area. This is to prevent the transmission of rabies to humans which is more dangerous. He said that viral disease is preventable only if yearly vaccination is sustained.
Meanwhile, the Pvet Office in coordination with the Provincial Health Office (PHO) is conducting massive information dissemination to the constituents in the province relative to rabies.
Health Education and Promotion Officer II Prima Donna L. Te-elan of the PHO said that personnel from the said offices are visiting local radio stations in the province to educate the public on the prevention of rabies and its proper management.
Also, the PHO has been distributing information materials relative to the disease, its treatment and how to become a responsible dog owner.
Distributed information materials define rabies as a dangerous disease of animals cause by virus that its transmissible to humans through the bites of infected animals commonly dogs or through contact of the saliva with an opening or wound in the skin. It can be described as viral and rabies infection is surely a cause of death.
The signs of rabies in human include fever, headache, malaise, decreased appetite and vomiting. There may also be pain, itching or numbness and tingling at the site of the wound. At the next stage, patients often develop difficulty in swallowing. Lastly, some patients become agitated and disoriented while others become paralyzed. A patient may either die during this stage of the illness or go into a coma and die from further complications.
First treatment for humans bitten by dogs include allowing the wound to bleed for a while then washing it immediately with soap and water; applying either alcohol or tincture of iodine; consulting a doctor or physician and observing the dog for signs of rabies.
Relative to this, Te-elan advised those bitten by dogs to visit the Animal Bite Centers at the BoGH and Luis Hora Memorial Regional Hospital. She said that the Animal Bite Centers caters to patients every Monday and Thursday.
In addition, Te-elan urged the dog and cat owners to be responsible by providing good nutrition, clean shelter, proper grooming, and health care to their pets. She stressed that they must not abandon their pets or let them roam the streets in order to prevent the spread of rabies. More importantly, pets must be vaccinated regularly against rabies.
Rabies Awareness Month, celebrated annually every March, aims to increase public awareness on the risks of rabies and the importance of having dogs and cats vaccinated regularly against this fatal disease.