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HOME // Phuket News // Government health officials visit Phuket dog shelter in joint effort to combat rabies

Government health officials visit Phuket dog shelter in joint effort to combat rabies

PHOTO: Facebook/Soi Dog Foundation

The director-general of Thailand’s Department of Disease Control has paid a visit to Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation as part of a joint effort to combat rabies.

Dr. Tares Krassanairawiwong was accompanied by a number of representatives from key agencies when he visited the Soi Dog shelter in Mai Khao, in the northern Thalang district.

One of the key topics discussed was the concept of CNVR (Catch, Neuter, Vaccinate, Return), widely practiced in many countries worldwide and considered the most humane method for controlling stray dog and cat populations.

Soi Dog established a CNVR program for Phuket back in 2003 and since then, has spayed/neutered and vaccinated over 950,000 stray dogs and cats, significantly reducing the problems of too many stray dogs and cats on the island.

In addition to controlling the population of stray animals, CNVR is also a key component in the fight against communicable diseases such as rabies. Both the World Health Organisation and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control agree that the most effective way to eliminate rabies in humans is to eradicate it in dogs.

By vaccinating 70% of the stray dogs in a particular area, it is possible to eradicate rabies. In the same way, sterilising 80% of an area’s dogs leads to a sustained decrease in the stray population, provided the programme is maintained on an ongoing basis.

Crucially, in order for a CNVR programme to be effective, vaccinated and sterilised dogs must be left in their territory. This allows for the establishment of herd immunity. Removing the dogs is not a long-term solution as it simply allows other unvaccinated, unsterilised dogs to move in.

Dr. Nattanich Maneewong, Soi Dog’s Phuket CNVR Manager says it takes time to see the results of an effective CNVR programme but the data is clear: it works.

“Soi Dog has been running the CNVR programme for 20 years, and it has taken time to observe a reduction in the dog population on the island. Our recorded data demonstrates that it is indeed effective. We use this information to monitor progress, plan ahead, and ensure the programme’s success.”

Since the beginning of the century, Phuket has only recorded one rabies case in a dog. This is in part due to the CNVR efforts of Soi Dog and other charities on the island. As a result, Phuket may be designated as a rabies-free area, becoming the first province in Thailand to be awarded that status.

SOURCE: Pattaya Mail

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