Bauko communities’ strong and active participation towards the anti-rabies campaign through pet’s vaccination has led the municipality to record only one dog rabies case last November 21, 2022 in Barangay Abatan, particularly at Sitio Tetep-an.
According to Giovanne Ross B. Palao-ay, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine I (DVM) the rabies incident was due to the dog that was never leashed and vaccinated.
What is rabies?
According to Palao-ay, rabies is a viral disease that is being spread by an infected animal such as cats and dogs. The virus is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal that penetrates the skin after the bite.
Even if the dog bite seems minor, it can lead to some serious infections like rabies and eventually result in death. Bacteria from the animal’s mouth can get into the body which can cause infection.
Moreover, Palao-ay said that all dogs and cats are born with rabies. Animals are naturally-born healthy without disease; they can only get infected through contact with rabid animals such as rabies in puppies and kittens which are considered deadlier.
“Rabies is deadly no matter what age group they belong”, Palao-ay said.
Public perception: cultural practices
People resort to “tandok”, “tambal”, “buhay na bato” or applying garlic on the bite wounds because of some cultural practices that were instilled to the community. However, she emphasized that this treatment is not scientifically proven, Palao-ay said
She also emphasized that rabies victims should not resort to “tandok” or application of garlic or any kind of plants as this may burn the affected skin, cause tetanus, and may give skin infections.
According to Isabel G. Osenio, Kagawad of Barangay Abatan, under the Barangay Ordinance No. 03-12 or the “Astray Animals Ordinance” mandating the owner to be responsible to keep their animals within limits and to have their pets vaccinated.
To avoid rabies cases and deal with management of the dog, Christine S. Ngioas, Barangay Treasurer of Barangay Abatan, encouraged the residents to participate in the activities of the barangay such as the seminars conducted by the Rural Health Unit (RHU) and other private organizations. Palao-ay also reiterates that all dogs and cats must be vaccinated as early as three months and advised bitten individuals to immediately seek medical attention from the nearest health facility so that proper medical attention will be given.
On the other hand, there were 1,000 vaccinated dogs recorded throughout the municipality of Bauko wherein, one strategy of Office of the Municipal Agriculturist (OMAG) is to encourage and inform pet owners through distributing Information Education Campaign (IEC) Materials before vaccinating their pets.
Additionally, Marina A. Garcia, a resident of Barangay Abatan shared that these anti-rabies vaccination helps suppress rabies and ensures the safety of every resident. She further noted that the participation of everyone is also important to prevent the people from being bitten by the dogs in their area. “For the safety of everyone, hindi lang yung owner pati na rin yung mga tao sa paligid and also sa safety din ng mga hayop.” By Rina Althea Laxamana