The Quezon City Veterinary Office and the Bureau of Animal Industry have launched a citywide dog vaccination drive targeting its 300,000 dog population to make the city rabies-free.
City veterinarian Dr. Ana Maria Cabel said Quezon City has been consistently in the top five cities with increasing cases of animal bites for the past few years.
The city’s second district, which is composed of Barangays Payatas, Holy Spirit, Bagong Silangan, Batasan Hills and Commonwealth, is the pilot area for the citywide vaccination program, which shall also cover domesticated cats.
Aside from the vaccination drive, a mass registration of dogs and cats will also be undertaken in the city’s 142 barangays.
The city government spends at least P3 million annually for the purchase of rabies vaccines. At least 5,000 vials can be purchased with the amount with one vial enough for five dogs.
“Quezon City is one of few local government units purchasing its own supply of rabies vaccines,” said Cabel.
The veterinary office recorded at least 25 animal rabies cases in 2015 and 17 cases in the first six months of 2016.
While it is keeping a tight watch on rabies cases, it is also looking into a reported increase in the number of rabies cases in areas that are near the city boundaries such as Marikina, Manila and San Jose del Monte in Bulacan.
“What we are doing right now is verify reports if the increase in rabies cases in QC can also be attributed to geographical location or boundaries,” Cabel said.
Quezon City maintains an animal bite center at the City Health Department office where residents who seek treatment for animal bites are entitled to two free post-exposure treatments. The veterinary office also maintains an impounding area in Payatas for dogs, cats, fowls and other domestic animals left unattended in public places.
The city’s rabies elimination program also covers the castration and neutering of dogs and cats.
Although 99.9 percent fatal, rabies is 100 preventable though mass dog/cat vaccination as this cuts the cycle of the disease at the source.