Taguig City has launched an anti-rabies program to conduct house-to-house visits in all barangays to vaccinate pet animals in celebration of the Rabies Awareness Month.
The launching of the Taguig City Anti-Rabies Drive (TCARD), according to Dr. Alexis Siblag, head of the city’s Veterinary Office, came after the government of Mayor Lani Cayetano found out the city’s dog population alone has reached more than 57,000.
“In rabies control, you need to vaccinate 70 percent of the total population to eradicate rabies,” Siblag said.
With TCARD, Siblag said a pet owner could have as many pets vaccinated in his home as he wants. On the first day of their house-to-house visits, more than 1,500 dogs and cats were vaccinated in one barangay alone, he said.
So far, they have gone to four barangays. Around 834 cats and dogs were vaccinated in Barangay Bagumbayan, while 400 pets were vaccinated after another day in Barangay New Lower Bicutan.
“An average of 900 animals are vaccinated a day in one barangay,” Siblag added. They intend to finish the remaining 24 barangays within the month.
During their visits, vaccinators are accompanied by an enumerator and a barangay health worker, who does a census. The names of residents and the pets are listed, and the vaccinator completes the injection.
“After the injection, the barangay health worker issues a vaccination card. So we comb through the streets and the different barangays,” he said.
Pet owners are also given leaflets containing information on animal rabies. Siblag said they are also planning to distribute tags for the domesticated animals soon.
Siblag said a human could be afflicted with rabies through the bite of an infected mammal. Ninety-eight percent of human transmissions, however, are caused by dogs.
Taguig City Health Office currently has two Animal Bite Treatment Centers in Barangay Ibayo-Tipas and Barangay North Signal, which are open to provide Taguigeños bitten by rabies-exposed animals with free treatment and vaccination.
Rabies exposure is classified into three categories : the first category involves touching, feeding, licking of healthy skin with no mucous membrane contact, casual contact with rabid patient; the second category involves superficial scratch/abrasion on the person without bleeding, nibbling/ nipping of uncovered skin with bruising; and the category involves a single or multiple transdermal bites/scratches, licking of mucous membrane, all head and neck exposures, exposure to rabid patient, handling of infected carcass, and licks of broken skin.
All are subject to different levels of treatment provided for free in the two existing animal bite centers.
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