Many Australian pet owners are unaware they live in one of the few countries where rabies vaccination is unnecessary.
But people and animals as close to as on Bali, one of our most popular holiday islands, are vulnerable to this preventable disease which kills someone, somewhere on the planet, every 10 minutes.
Virtually free of rabies until 2008, Bali is struggling to control a rapid spread of rabies after it caused around 78 deaths. One of them, eight-year-old Putu Valentino Rosiadi was looking forward to starting third grade this month. But instead of buying him a new school uniform and exercise books, his mourning father cradles a black and white photo of his son.
The boy was next door to his home when a stray dog attacked him, sinking its teeth into the boy’s right calf. Sent home after being stitched up at a local hospital, his family was told no cases of rabies had been reported in their area so all would be well. A couple of weeks ago a high fever hit and Valentino died two days later.
On World Rabies Day 2010 at the end of September, Vets Beyond Borders, the Australian veterinary industry’s charitable organisation established in 2003, is inviting veterinary practices across NSW to partner with them to raise funds for ongoing volunteer-based projects in the Asia-Pacific region – many of which have rabies and other zoonotic disease eradication at the core of their rationale.
These projects have already vaccinated more than 30,000 pet and stray dogs against rabies. Vets Beyond Borders has also sterilised more than 20,000 dogs and provided thousands of other animals with pain-relief and life-saving procedures.
With the support of vets and their clients, every $10 donated to this World Rabies Day campaign means Vets Beyond Borders dedicated teams can vaccinate ten dogs against rabies and help protect their entire community from this deadly virus.
The successful systematic approach to rabies control taken by VVB projects also means that cruel culling by local authorities and governments is being rejected and phased out in preference for a scientific and more humane method via surgical sterilisation and vaccination projects. While these strategic animal birth control programs are growing in number throughout the Asia Pacific, there is still a long way to go before animals and people alike can live without fear of rabies.
If you can display a small VBB donation kit for World Rabies Day in your reception area please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call Vets Beyond Borders on (02) 9431 8616 to register participation in the campaign. If you’re interested in volunteering with VBB projects see www.vetsbeyondborders.org