By Kaytie Grant

What is Rabies?

Rabies is a deadly virus which affects the central nervous system. It is seen in the Philippines due to the large number of stray dogs. Rabies is responsible for around 200-300 Filipino deaths annually.

How do you catch it?

It is transmitted from an infected animal’s saliva to open wounds on the skin of another animal or human. For example, by being bitten.

How do you treat it?

There is no cure for Rabies once the disease has taken hold. However, it can take several weeks before any symptoms are displayed. If rabies transmission is suspected, the bite victim should receive a series of rabies vaccinations immediately. This will hope to build up antibodies, should an infection develop. 

How can it be prevented?

  • Dogs and cats should be vaccinated against rabies. IWCT offers the vaccination for free at the Treatment Centre and mobile clinics.
  • Pets should be kept inside or in enclosed areas and supervised when outside. Dogs shouldn’t be allowed to roam the streets as they could come into contact with an infected animal. 
  • Stray animals, especially those which look ill or injured, should be reported to local authorities. If a case is local to our Treatment Centre in Concepcion Tarlac, the IWCT team can be contacted. The easiest way is via the Philippines Facebook page. If we can’t help directly, we can assist with who to contact.  
  • Keep away from wild/stray animals. It’s not normal for a wild animal to be friendly with people. Stay away from any animal that seems unafraid. Dogs showing aggressive behaviour such as growling or barking, should not be approached.

Raising Awareness:

March is Rabies awareness month in the Philippines and is aimed at the following:

  • Pet owners – to ensure their animals are registered and vaccinated against Rabies and highlighting the importance of responsible pet ownership. 
  • Bite victims – to ensure they are aware of the hand washing practice immediately after being bitten and to receive appropriate vaccinations from a trained healthcare professional, not a traditional healer.
  • Legislators – to ensure there is enough support through Rabies prevention and control programmes.
  • Educating – 50% of Rabies victims are less than 15 years old. The government works with several charities and the Department of Education who go into schools to discuss rabies and how to avoid it. Information is also available in the form of story books and children’s television programmes. IWCT delivers sensible pet ownership seminars in schools and at mobile clinics in the provinces.

Cases are going down every year in the Philippines, with several islands and provinces declared “Rabies Free.” The goal is to be completely free by 2030. 

IWCT gave out 240 rabies vaccinations in one single mobile clinic recently. Each vaccination can cost up to £3.60 to a paying dog owner in the Philippines. We give out the vaccinations for FREE. The cost to us is just 64p per vaccine. By donating to us, not only are you supplying rabies vaccinations, you are helping to control the stray dog population and educating the communities in responsible pet ownership. You can make a donation using this link. Thank you.   


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