Widespread negligence in pet, rabies management in Vietnam: animal health official

By Viet An   April 2, 2024 | 07:23 pm PT
Widespread negligence in pet, rabies management in Vietnam: animal health official
An unmuzzled dog in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Chieu
Many provinces and cities have been negligent in managing pets, including vaccinating dogs and cats against rabies, leading to heightened risks of outbreaks, the Department of Animal Health said.

Nguyen Van Long, its head, said Sunday they have not been properly keeping track of dogs, and some do not even have public medical facilities for the treatment of rabies.

"In case of suspected rabies, despite the fact that the department has run several international projects for funding free rabies tests and sample collection, many localities still do not investigate outbreaks or collect samples for testing."

The rate of vaccination of dogs and cats remains low in the country, at around 30%.

Long said in the past vaccination was done effectively as localities purchased the vaccines themselves, but now the bidding process for buying them has become complex, meaning many do not bother, he said.

Many people are not reporting to medical facilities when bitten by dogs and thus are not treated in time if they contract rabies, he said.

Veterinary facilities are poor and inadequate in many places, he said.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has instructed that individuals and organizations seen to be negligent in rabies management, especially in places with high numbers of deaths and/or low vaccination rates, to be severely penalized.

Dog attacks have been reported frequently in several localities recently. In March a five-year-old girl in the northern province of Ha Giang was bitten by a dog while she was walking on the street.

Earlier in Quang Ninh also in the north, a dog invaded a primary school classroom at noon and bit 14 students and teachers.

So far this year 51 rabies outbreaks have been recorded in 23 places. The number of dogs and cats diagnosed with rabies is 81, with another 186 either dead or put down.

Last year 347 animals were found to be rabid in 31 localities.

Phu Tho Province recorded the highest number, 54, followed by Quang Ninh with 38 and Ca Mau with 41.

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