Rabies- A public health concern

Veterinary Hospital Kohima

World Rabies Day – September 28 is observed every year to create awareness among the Public about the importance of Rabies disease.

 

Rabies is one of the most alarming diseases of dog. It is a fatal disease caused by a bullet shaped virus known as Rhabdo virus. The disease is transmitted from dog to dog and from dog to human being. A rabid dog become aggressive, restless and tends to bite people without provocation. It is vital that all pet owners understand the seriousness of the threat posed by rabid dog and vaccinate their pet dog. The public usually tends to think a pet dog is a harmless animal but it’s not. Sometimes a healthy dog when it feels there is a threat to its position may bite any person. Certain dogs are aggressive by nature and may bite at the slightest provocation like stepping on its tail/body/hitting with stick/throwing stone or any hard object. Dog usually targets the face, hand or leg parts. Sometimes the tendency of a dog to bite without provocation may be related to heredity, early bad experiences, late socialization, nutritious status and victim’s behaviour. Of all the age groups, children are most at risk for dog bites probably because of their behaviour towards unfamiliar strange dogs.

 

Familiarity with a dog shouldn’t be taken for granted because if a dog had one bite experience, there is always happen to be a second bite case and so on. The onus is on the pet owner to recognise the dog behaviour at an early stage and either train the dog properly to be friendly, meek and docile or dispose of the dog. All pet dogs should be vaccinated at 3 months of age and thereafter annually. At any point of time if a dog had bitten a person, the dog owner along with the dog should immediately visit the nearest veterinary health centres for examination and observation of the dog to rule out any disease/rabies condition for the safety of the dog owner and the public in general.