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80% of Taguig pets now rabies-free

MANILA-- Close to 67,000 dogs and cats in Taguig City are rabies-free after the vaccine provided by the Taguig City Anti-Rabies Drive (TCARD).

Launched in March, TCARD involves house-to-house visits of veterinarians all throughout the city with the aim of vaccinating pets.

Based on the report by Taguig City Veterinary Office officer-in-charge Dr. Alexis Siblag submitted to Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano, the local government has so far provided free anti-rabies vaccination shots to 15,712 cats and 50,373 dogs, or a total number of 66,499 animals or more than 80 percent in all of the city's 28 barangays.

"We are extremely happy that the recent report shows that we have exceeded our goal and have vaccinated 80 percent of the total population in such a short period of time," Cayetano said in a statement.

According to Siblag that 70 percent of the total population must be given the vaccine shots in order to control rabies.

Siblag said a human could also be afflicted with rabies through the bite of an infected mammal. However, 98 percent of human transmissions are caused by dogs.

During their visits, vaccinators are accompanied by an enumerator and a barangay health worker who do a census. The names of residents and the pets are listed. The vaccinator then completes the injection.

"After the injection, the barangay health worker issues a vaccination card So we comb through the streets, different barangays," he said.

Besides the free vaccinations and issuance of vaccination cards, pet owners are given leaflets containing information on animal rabies. Dr. Siblag said they are also planning to distribute tags for the domesticated animals soon.

The Taguig City Health Office currently has five Animal Bite Treatment Centers (ABTC) in Brgy. Ibayo-Tipas, Brgy. Old Lower Bicutan, Brgy. Pinagsama, Brgy. Upper Bicutan, and Brgy. North Signal which are open to provide TaguigeAos 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 last 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 remains of an animal, and licks of broken skin.

All are subject to different levels of treatment provided for free in the five existing animal bite centers.

Aside from the free vaccination shots under TCARD, the Taguig City Veterinary Office is offering free spaying and neutering for dogs and cats as a population control measure.

The Veterinary Office also recently launched an adopt-a-dog program which allows residents to adopt and provide a home for rescued dogs currently housed at the Taguig City pound.

The free adoption process in the city is part of the local government unit's mission to promote animal welfare.

"These rescued dogs deserve new homes with caring families. This initiative expresses the intention of the city that every 'bantay' has a right to be taken care of," Cayetano said.

Siblag assured the public that the dogs they offer for adoption have already been assessed and found to be free from any contagious disease. They are not aggressive, making them ideal even for children. They have also gotten used to the daily interaction with their caretakers who have been looking after the animals at the pound 24 hours a day.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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