As the world stands together on September 28, 2016 to mark the 10th World Rabies Day, a milestone in rabies prevention, there are quite a number of issues that need to be touched on. And this should be of great interest, not just to pet lovers who own pets or people who live in rabies endemic areas, but also to everyone who in one form or the other make contact with pets.
For one, the celebration has become a global phenomenon that sees the rabies community all over the world sending life-saving rabies prevention messages to countless millions around the world, with the aim of contributing to the global goal of eliminating human deaths from canine rabies by 2030.
With this year’s theme “Rabies: Educate. Vaccinate. Eliminate,” the ever popular Binggo Dog Food has embarked on two major events – the World Rabies Day Celebration proper and the Dog Show (Season 3), tagged ‘Doglympics 2016, slated for October 3, 2016, in Ile-Ife, south-western Nigeria. While the two events are complimentary, Doglympics specifically seeks to exhibit the diversity of dog breeds in Ile-Ife and its environs, raise general awareness about dogs and their importance among the residents of Ile-Ife and its environs, facilitate an increase in the interest and knowledge of proper canine management among dog owners, raise a general awareness of the risk and risk factors associated with rabies infection among dog owners and improve the proportion of dog owners who take adequate anti-rabies precautions.
Binggo Dog Food is taking this initiative to raise awareness about rabies and enhance its prevention and control efforts, considering the fact that, though rabies is a dreadful disease, it continues to be neglected in many quarters, especially in developing nations like Nigeria.
The World Rabies Day, an initiative of Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC), was started in 2007 to create a global opportunity for people to focus on rabies prevention, in view of the devastating impact of the disease. It provides an excellent time to take steps that can help prevent and control rabies, such as vaccinating pets including dogs and cats, and providing education on how to avoid animals that typically transmit rabies such as raccoons, bats, skunks and foxes.
In this regard, Binggo Dog Food is running a campaign across multiple platforms to ignite the passion in people to take basic steps to keep themselves, their family, and their pets free from rabies and to help make sure people and animals are not burdened by this deadly disease, through appropriate vaccination practices.
What should you do?
Take Your Pets to a Veterinarian for Their Rabies Shots
Pets like dogs and cats need to see a veterinarian regularly. A veterinarian can make sure your pets are up to date on their rabies shot, which can protect them from getting rabies. All dogs and cats should be vaccinated around four months of age, and then again one year later. After these two shots, your veterinarian will develop a vaccination plan that is best for your pet and complies with local laws. If you are around South West Nigeria, you can start by participating in the Doglympics 2016.
Avoid Wildlife and Unfamiliar Animals
One of the best ways to protect yourself and your family is to avoid contact with wild animals. Do not feed or handle them, even if they seem friendly. Raccoons, bats, skunks and foxes often get rabies and should be avoided. You should also avoid dogs and cats that are unfamiliar to you and your family. These animals may be in contact with wildlife and can also spread rabies to humans. Some of the signs in animals may include general sickness, problems swallowing, lots of drool or saliva, appearing tamer than you would expect, biting at everything and having trouble moving or even paralysis. Sometimes, people may come across a dead animal. Never pick up or touch dead animals. The rabies virus may still be present in the saliva or nervous tissue, especially if they have only been dead for a short time.
Keep Your Pets Indoors or Supervised
Keep your pets indoors. When you let your dog or cat go outside, ensure there’s a fenced-in yard and make sure someone is there to watch it and keep it safe. Use a leash when walking your dog. Do not feed or put water for your pets outside and keep garbage securely covered. These items may attract wild or stray animals to your compound. Also teach your children never to handle wild animals or unfamiliar domestic animals.
On a last note, be reminded that Rabies is a preventable viral disease that infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death. However, small mammals such as squirrels, rats, mice, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits and hares are almost never found to be infected with rabies and have not been known to cause rabies among humans. Bites by these animals are usually not considered a risk of rabies.
So, as you join to mark the World Rabies Day and Say No to Rabies, be sure to take your cats and dogs to the veterinarian each year. And remember, Binggo dog food remains the best meal for your beloved dog.