Chairmans Blog

Chairmans Blog - Tackling Rabies

18th November 2014 - By John Hicks

IAR Goa was an important partner
This killer disease of both dogs and people is still remarkably common in Goa despite the amazing campaigns run by Mission Rabies of which IAR Goa was an important partner
As always this has been another busy week with dozens of animals being rescued for one reason or another. One issue that is always a major problem for us is Rabies. This killer disease of both dogs and people is still remarkably common in Goa despite the amazing campaigns run by Mission Rabies of which IAR Goa was an important partner. However, due to the mass vaccination of dogs for the last 14 years by IAR Goa and more recently the huge campaign by Mission Rabies, the cases of rabies in the state of Goa had fallen dramatically but we still deal with probably more than one case a week.
Mission Rabies Team catch a dog on the beach
Mission Rabies Team catch a dog on the beach


Tackling the problem of a Rabid dog goes far beyond simply catching the dog. To start with there is the risk to all IAR staff involved of being bitten by such a dog. All IAR Goa staff are fully vaccinated against rabies and thankfully the vaccine is 100% guaranteed so there is no risk of anyone catching rabies but the risks of serious injury whilst catching a dog driven wild by this dreadful disease is very real as a rabid dog will not hesitate to attack once one gets close to it. However the real problem is that the dog will almost undoubtedly have bitten other animals in the area and this then takes a lot of time and resources as any suspected animal has to undergo a series of vaccinations to ensure they do not in turn suffer from the disease. We also have to ensure that the public are safe and as such we have to go round advising people how to deal with any bites they may have suffered to ensure they are aware how vital it is that they immediately get themselves vaccinated.

By far the most dangerous cases of rabies is when a bull has been bitten by a rabid dog and then suffers the disease. Such animals are horrendously dangerous and the only way they can be tackled is with a dart gun but getting close enough with a dart gun is often a hugely risky business. In the past I have had my car badly damaged whilst trying to get close to a bull to dart it. Such an animal is just as keen to attack a vehicle as it is anything else that gets in its way. We probably have to deal with infected cattle at least once a month. Obviously all such animals have to be immediately euthanized.

Most of my time this week has been sorting through 94 applications for a new Senior Manager. Thankfully I was amazed at the number of applicants and on the whole the quality of them. However in the end one person stood out way ahead of all the others and I hope by the next blog I will be able to provide some really good positive news.

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