RABIES VACCINATION. A pet owner in Manapla, Negros Occidental gets his dog vaccinated against rabies in February this year. The Provincial Veterinary Office on Monday (June 21, 2021) said it was holding mass vaccination in various towns and cities as part of the activities to curb the spread of rabies cases. (File photo courtesy of PVO-Negros Occidental District Field Unit 2)

BACOLOD CITY – The Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) in Negros Occidental has reported a lower vaccination rate among dogs in the past year due to restrictions posed by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, resulting in higher canine rabies cases in the first five months this year.

Records showed that last year only 46.95 percent or 126,484 heads of dogs were vaccinated from the total population of 273,000 heads.

“Ideally, the vaccination must be 70 percent or 191,100 dogs to attain herd immunity,” Dr. Renante Decena, provincial veterinarian, said in a statement on Monday.

From January to May, 13 confirmed rabies cases among dogs were reported in eight local government units (LGUs), which is higher by 39 percent compared to the six cases for the same period last year.

Those with the highest number of canine rabies cases are Himamaylan City, Victorias City, and Cauayan town, prompting the PVO, through its veterinary district field units, to conduct immediate massive vaccination in coordination with these LGUs.

Other localities with rabies cases this year include the towns of Toboso, E.B. Magalona, Pontevedra, and the cities of Silay and Sagay.

Some 74,781 dogs were already vaccinated against rabies provincewide from January to May this year.

Decena said the public is encouraged to follow standard protocols by having their dogs vaccinated at least annually against rabies.

“Owners should not allow their dogs to be on the streets to prevent contamination and spread of rabies,” he added.

Other measures include dog population control like spaying and neutering, compulsory leashing, and movement control such as dog impounding.

The provincial government is targeting to buy additional rabies vaccines to increase targets and reduce active cases, Decena said. (PNA)