Number of rabid dogs in Iloilo spike

Dr. Darel Tabuada of the Iloilo Provincial Veterinarian’s Office

By: Gail T. Momblan

RABID dogs in the province of Iloilo reached 77 in 2018, the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) said.

Dr. Darel Tabuada, PVO’s Veterinarian IV, said the number increased by 37 cases as 40 rabid dogs were recorded in 2017.

The latest figure reflects that more dog heads were submitted to laboratory for rabies infection confirmation.

Dogs that bit a person and showed signs of rabies infections are killed and beheaded. The head is then turned over to the Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory for examination.

“May tawag kita nga observation period. Example nakakakagat ang ido tapos ipa-cage naton ang nagkagat, i-observe for 14 days. Kon ang ido mapatay within 14 days, utdon ang ulo, dal-on sa lab for confirmation,” he said.

Tabuada admitted that there is indeed a spike in the number of rabid dogs in the province.

“May mga areas man nga damo positive cases, medyo pigaw guid man ang vaccination coverage,” he said.

The municipality of Santa Barabara recorded the most number of rabid dogs in the province with 11. The town had vaccinated 5,672 dogs out of the 9,115 total dog population.

San Miguel town, which vaccinated 2,091 dogs out of the 4,357 total population, had eight rabid dogs.

Cabatuan and Alimodian recorded four rabid dogs each.

Tabuada said animal bite centers are now strict in treating animal bite patients.

“Indi sila maghatag libre kung wala lab result halin sa lab so tanan nga dog bite cases basta pwede lang nila mapatay kag madala sa lab ginasubmit nila,” he said.

The approach of the doctor’s treatment on an animal bite patient depends on the laboratory result.

Stray dogs, or those without owners, remain a challenge for the PVO as they can hardly be covered by dog vaccination.

Infected dogs can transmit the rabies virus to other dogs. Tabuada dubbed these stray dogs as “virus reservoir”.

If 70 percent of the dog population of the barangay is covered, the remaining 30 mostly include stray dogs.

Rabid dogs transmit the virus through biting.

“Kon ang ginkagat niya vaccinated, ginapabakunahan naton booster shot within 7 days. Kung unvaccinated ang ginkagat, 100 percent mabuang guid kay wala siya bakuna,” he said.

Stray dogs also made up the most number in the 77 rabid dog cases in the province.

“Tani makuha naton ang mga 30 percent nga mga layaw, makuha naton tani ina, makahambal kita nga makuha naton ang positive naton sa rabies,” he said.

Tabuada assured that barangay officials, particularly the barangay rabies committee, know the protocol in handling bite cases that involve rabid dogs.