For many of us, it’s hard to imagine living in a place where the threat of rabies is a real and regular occurrence. Can you imagine walking down the street and having to be leery of, and downright fearful of the wild dogs off in the distance? Regularly seeing wild dogs would probably be an adjustment in itself; realizing the wild dog you saw probably carried rabies would be a shock. However, that’s the reality for many people living around the world today.
So what can we do?
As with many health issues, the answer is in education and funding. In 2007, World Rabies Day was established so that communities throughout the United States and around the world could come together to help END rabies. There are events, clinics, and outreach programs happening around the globe. The Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) has an amazing list of World Rabies Day events and even a way YOU can donate to help the cause.
If World Rabies Day is new to you, you’re not alone. As a new day of awareness, getting the word out is huge. I have to admit that I didn’t even realize what an issue this was until I started doing my research. After checking out stories from GARC, my eyes were opened to the fear and anxiety that families live with day after day all because of the real risk of contracting rabies from dogs. It is heartbreaking. In many countries, if a family member suffers a bite from a rabid dog, they are forced to sell off all of their livestock, their food source and livelihood, to even begin treatment. Communities are forced to deal with the wild dog population in whatever way they can. Unfortunately, decreasing the population of diseased animals doesn’t offer a lasting solution. More rabid dogs move in and take over the territory of those destroyed. In a situation that seems so bleak, there is hope. On September 28, World Rabies Day 2015, we must all work to end rabies together.
According to the CDC, approximately 55,000 people die around the world each year from rabies infection. Most of these reports come from Africa and Asia and even more heartbreaking is that almost 50% of the victims are children. Consider that these staggering statistics all stem from a preventable disease.
As a pet owner here in the United States, vaccinating against rabies seems like a given. It is simply part of having a pet. Whether you pay out of pocket for all of your veterinary costs, or are reimbursed for some expenses thanks to a wellness plan like AKC Pet Insurance offers, the small price of keeping your furry friend’s rabies vaccine up to date is well worth it. Animal bites still happen every day here, and it is much better to be prepared. Vaccinating our own animals is definitely the least we can do to help #EndRabiesTogether.