By: Emme Rose Santiagudo
THE Philippine Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA) aims to eliminate rabies in Iloilo City through a five-day dog population management program.
“If you control the dog population, yung population of vaccinated dogs would be maintained therefore we can eliminate or prevent possible rabies cases,” said PVMA president Dr. Joy Santos.
As part of the strategy for rabies elimination, PVMA national and Visayas chapters together with the Department of Agriculture 6, Iloilo City Veterinary Office, and Humane Society International (HSI) conducted free spaying and neutering of dogs and cats at Barangays Calumpang, Calaparan, San Juan, and Sto. Niño in Molo district on Feb 4-8, 2019.
“Spaying is a surgery on animals that mainly removes the ovary and uterus of female, while neutering or castration is for male dogs and cats,” Santos explained.
Aside from the free surgeries, thirty veterinary trainees and mentors nationwide also undertook advance training on large volume high quality spay and neuter to manage dog population and eradicate cases of animal rabies in the four barangays in Iloilo City.
Lectures on updates on rabies, guidelines on vaccination and pain management, and hands on training on quick spay and neuter were done by volunteers from the different agencies.
“Kasi yung mga participants dito come from other parts of the country so when they go back to their respective na mga local government unit (LGU) vets or private establishments, they can now participate and promote this kind of activity to their constituents,” Santos emphasized.
Through this type of initiatives, Santos and her group hopes to promote animal welfare, responsible pet ownership, and rabies elimination.
“Hindi lang sila magiging responsible pet owner, part of that hindi na maglalakwatsa yung aso and cats nila because normally may urge so manghahawa yan minsan nakakagat pa,” she said.
Iloilo City and Sta. Barbara are included in the top ten cities and municipalities with high animal bite cases, according to PVMA.
Recently, the Office of City Veterinarian (OCV) declared a rabies outbreak in Iloilo City due to the rapid spike in cases in a span of few months.
Eleven positive animal rabies cases were recorded in Iloilo City in 2018 compared to zero in the past four years, according to city veterinarian Dr. Tomas Forteza.
The clustering of rabies cases in neighboring towns contributed to the rise in rabies cases in the city.
Forteza said that they have difficulties in border vaccination since the city has no natural borders, rabid dogs from other towns can easily cross the boundaries and spread infection.
Meanwhile, the Provincial Veterinary Office also recorded an increase in the number of rabid dogs in the province of Iloilo in 2018.
“Province of Iloilo reached 77 in 2018. The number increased by 37 cases compared to the 40 rabid dogs recorded in 2017,” Dr. Darel Tabuada, PVO’s Veterinarian IV, said.
The municipality of Santa Barabara recorded the most number of rabid dogs in the province with 11.
PVO recorded more than 30,000 animal bite victims (with one death) in 2017.
Meanwhile, the lectures and free surgeries were prelude activities for the upcoming PVMA national convention on February 20 to 22 at the Iloilo Convention Center where technical and plenary sessions on livestock focusing on rabies, animal welfare, emerging and re-emerging diseases will be discussed.