Dating back to the existence of man, dogs have been a significant part of human meaningful existence. Dogs have often been averred to be man’s best friend, generally loved and cared for by a prominent number of humans. This love for dogs cuts across Africa to include continents like America, Asia, Europe and so on.
The veterinary Council of Nigeria have not come to say it differently, on the contrary, they are animal lovers and would rather have them healthy, safe from infecting Humans with diseases such as rabies and also become more useful to the safety and activities of man.
This formed the basis of a symposium organized by the Veterinary teaching Hospital (VTH) and College of Veterinary Medicine Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike on the 15th of November 2016 as part of their rabies awareness campaign.
It is basically because of the importance attached to the rabies disease that a day is set aside every year by the UN to raise awareness about the impact of rabies on humans and animals. In line with the year’s theme, the college through the Veterinary Teaching Hospital in collaboration with Trust Link Guards and Dogs Institute, Rotary Club international Umudike, Diamond Pet Foods International and Blue Bat company Limited lined up a series of events in Umuahia town and MOUAU, which included a symposium, campaigns and free anti-rabies vaccination in five communities and around the University.
Rabies is a viral disease of warm blooded animals which occurs in more than 150 countries and causes about 55,000 human deaths annually and 99% of such deaths occur in Africa and Asia according to world health Organization (WHO) the disease is transmitted from animal to humans bite or contaminated saliva, major carriers being the dogs and bats Kastina, Plateau, Nassarawa, Kaduna, Benue, Niger, Gombe, Abia, Bauchi, Lagos, Kogi and Rivers are some of the states where Rabies are on the increase. Research shows that in these states, cases abound where dogs that die by natural means are consumed recklessly without checking for rabies virus in them.
The awareness rate of the rabies disease in animals and its consequent dangers in Africa is largely poor. Basically, about 4.5million dogs in Nigeria are not vaccinated.
According to research conducted in Villages visited in Abia State where dogs are popular, 90% of dog owners are aware of rabies vaccination but have not and do not intend to vaccinate their dogs. This has consequently resulted in rampant cases of infected dogs running amuck in streets and neighbourhood leading to avoidable loss of human lives by rabies infection. Frequent checkups and timely vaccination of dogs and other pets would reduce to a very large extent the incidents of Rabies.
TIPS ON GETTING THE BEST OUT OF YOUR DOG
- Dog handler must endeavour to get his dog to love him and be willing to be with him
- Don’t scold unnecessarily, instead scold immediately it does something wrong. Deliberate disobedience must not be tolerated- understand you are the master of the dog.
- You must make it understand thoroughly what you want it to do at any time, don’t assume it understands whatever you say
- Reward it, when it delivers and behaves well.
- Most importantly, feed it well and make sure it takes regular trips to the veterinary for check-up.