The Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association has urged pet owners to keep their pets within their premises and ensure they are fully vaccinated against rabies.
The National President of the association, Dr. Oluwatoyin Adetuberu, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Abuja, in commemoration of World Rabies Day.
NAN reports that World Rabies Day is commemorated annually on September 28 to raise awareness about rabies prevention and to highlight progress made toward defeating the disease.
The global observance day has ‘All for 1- One Health for All’ as the theme for 2023.
Adetuberu, therefore, identified being a responsible dog or pet owner as a way forward towards
reducing the burden of rabies in the country.
She said, “To curb stray dogs in Nigeria and rabies burden, we advocate responsible pet ownership.
“If you own a dog, please vaccinate it and keep it within your premises. Don’t allow it to stray out of your premises, thereby endangering the lives of other citizens.
“All pet owners should please be responsible.”
The veterinarian, who described the challenges posed by rabies in the country as enormous and devastating, explained that “anybody bitten by a rabid dog may not be productive.”
According to her, there is no cure for rabies and the only way is to prevent it.
The NVMA president advised the government to employ more veterinarians who would be involved in the vaccination of dogs across the country.
She said, “We want the government to provide vaccines and also employ the manpower required to fight rabies.
“Veterinarians in Nigeria are at the forefront of the campaign against rabies and we are doing this by collaborating and joining forces across sectors, engaging communities, and committing to sustain the dog vaccination together.”
Adetuberu advised all sectors to pursue animal health, environmental health, and plant health “for us to sustain human health.”