Pacific Partnership Veterinarians Respond to Rabies Endemic in Philippines
TACLOBAN, Philippines – Army veterinarians participating in Pacific Partnership 2014 provide services to Tacloban pet owners to assist in the effort to eliminate the endemic problem of rabies in the Philippines, July 7.
“Today we partnered with the Tacloban City Veterinarian Office and their project to eliminate the risks of rabies,” said Army Capt. Kathy LeBert. “We neutered males dogs and gave rabies vaccinations.”
The veterinarian engagement tent was set up in the middle of the city. During the four-hour evolution, 11 dogs were neutered as well as two cats. Meanwhile, Army Sgt. Kahreen Barnes gave rabies vaccinations to dogs in the area.
“We walked around from door-to-door asking owners if their dogs needed vaccinations,” said Barnes. “We vaccinated 20 dogs total. The owners looked very happy that we were doing this.”
Since Typhoon Yolonda, the risk of rabies has increased. With the help of the neutering program, the dog population will be kept in a controlled state lowering the risks.
“This is definitely a different experience,” said LeBert. “It was interesting and I learned a lot from this. I learned to accept that what they had was all we could work with. Meanwhile we have to work around it and get the job done.”
After the neutering session was over, the veterinarians walked across the street from the site over to the San Jose Central School to give a presentation to the children about how to prevent dog bites.
“We taught the kids about bite prevention. Our lesson focused on the proper and improper ways to approach a dog as well as what to do if a dog approaches you,” said LeBert.
The children were given colorful handouts and interactive training augmented with videos.
“I really love working with the kids,” said LeBert. “The kids tend to absorb things better and they will also go back and teach their parents what they learned. Hopefully they will continue to teach this later on to their own kids.”
Pacific Partnership is in its ninth iteration and is the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Asia-Pacific region.