Health office urges responsible dog ownership

DAGUPAN CITY, Jan. 12 (PIA) —The Pangasinan Provincial Health Office (PHO) urged dog owners to be responsible in handling their pets to prevent the spread of rabies.

Christina Alcantara, health education program officer (HEPO), advised dog owners to have their pets immunized with anti-rabies shots from the local veterinary offices.

Mass injection is conducted annually at the provincial veterinary office during the Anti-Rabies Month in March.

She noted that the PHO listed a total of 14 human rabies infestations by the end of last year, higher than the three listed in 2011.

Dog owners do not have to wait until March to have their pets immunized because the veterinary office gives shots all year round, she said during the Pantongtongan Tayo radio program of the Philippine Information Agency over DZMQ-Radyo ng Bayan on Tuesday.

It is more advantageous to have dogs immunized than do humans because survival is more likely in the earlier case, she said.

She advised people bitter or scratched by dog, or cat, to clean the wound with soap and water, and to seek medical help immediately.

Symptoms of rabies include itching at the infection site and fever, and, in late stages, difficulty in swallowing, convulsion, and spasm of the throat muscle and the chest.

The symptoms might manifest as early as few days after infection to as late as 20 years, depending on the site of infection and the resistance of the patient.

Republic Act No. 9824, or the Anti-Rabies Act of 2007, penalizes an amount of P2,000 to dog owners who fail or refuse to have their dogs immunized, and P25,000 to those who refuse to have their dog put under observation and do not shoulder the medical expenses of the person bitten by their dog.

No cases of rabies were reported by the Dagupan City health office last year. (ANL/ARRF-PIA 1 Pangasinan)

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