Mê Thú Cưng - Pet Magazine for Vietnam Native Dogs in Vietnam Issue - Page 75

Expats Pet Owner’s Guide for Vietnam The persistent danger of Rabies Make sure you are vaccinated, your pets are! Aren’t they? At the recent Vietnam Animal Welfare Conference, Oct 2016, an annual event promoting animal (pets, farm animals and wildlife) protection movement, Dr. Phan Xuan Thao, Director at the HCMC Department of Animal Heath, presented a poignant reminder of the persistent danger of contracting Rabies in Vietnam. Rabies is a virus transmitted through the saliva of an animal that causes acute encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and is fatal if not detected and treated immediately. Although the majority of Rabies cases are reported from rural areas, urban Saigon is not completely immune, where only Districts 1, 3, 4 and 5 are considered Rabies free. Puppy and Kitten Rabies Vaccinations Puppies from properly vaccinated mothers receive maternal antibodies against rabies for their first 3 months, therefore it is recommended to vaccinate a dog at 3 months, again at 9 months and revaccinate annually or at least every 3 years. It is recommended to keep your ‘Pet Health Passport’ current and available as representatives of the HCMC Department of Animal Health make random checks on households throughout Saigon to check if your dog and cat are vaccinated. Startlingly statistics recently reported by the Department of Preventive Medicine and the Ministry of Health highlight the gravity of the situation where 400,000 people are bitten by cats, dogs and other animals annually in Vietnam, and to date, 49 people have died from Rabies in 2016. A factor in the spread of rabies is the overpopulation of cats and dogs created by the demands of the dog meat trade through the smuggling and trafficking of mostly unvaccinated dogs into Vietnam from neighboring countries. A few unvaccinated dogs may escape their captors and run with other stray dogs that might be carriers of the virus. Dr. Thao mentioned that stray dogs are very hard to track and manage especially in suburban and rural areas where the trafficking of stolen dogs takes place. High risk groups Rabies can be transmitted by dogs, cats, bats, and other domestic and wild animals in Vietnam. The Department of Animal Health in HCMC recommends vaccinations for the following groups: All long-term stay Expats with dogs that ‘socialize’ with other dog owner’s in public spaces and may walk their dogs in rural areas off leash Frequent travelers to Vietnam involved in outdoor and other recreational activities such as camping, hiking, biking, adventure travel and caving, especially in the Northern Highlands regions. Individuals who are in direct contact and working with animals such as veterinarians / staff and especially animal rescue volunteers. Also, beware of the issues in the storage and handling of Rabies vaccines by local Veterinarians. Rabies vacancies must be refrigerated and maintained at temperatures ranging from 35-45°F (2-7°C). Temperatures higher or lower than this range can result in the death of the living vaccine organisms, leaving the product ineffective. Rabies also play a critical role in leaving Vietnam with your pets. Since Vietnam is designated a High-Risk Rabies country and no matter what your destination you have to have your cat or dog tested for Rabies at your cost. Do you need a Rabies Vaccination? All children must be vaccinated as they have a natural tendency to play with neighborhood stray dogs . They might not tell you that they were bitten, scratched or licked from possible unvaccinated dogs and cats that may have rabies. If you had a Rabies vaccination before coming to Vietnam as a result of following travel advisory advice (Pre-exposure vaccinations), then the effectiveness of a Rabies vaccination is about 10 years or more. If this is all new to you and never considered Rabies please arrange to get a vaccination immediately. It just takes one sudden bite and never assume that all dogs you encounter are vaccinated. Mê Thú Cưng | Volume 01 2017 | methucung.vn 75