VET VISIT: EMMANUEL D. MACAPAGAL sets the record straight about rabies myths
First of all, I would like my readers to understand that rabies is an infectious disease that is
caused by a virus, and not venom. It has a vector. It has an established transmission pattern and a definite disease outcome that comes with
it. It has a definite consequence that is always fatal. Only one person has survived rabies and not without medical intervention. I have personally belabored and engaged physicians in intensive dialogues, disputations with regarding this disease. The intention is to encourage a correct and truthful understanding of an ancient disease. As a veterinarian, I am persuaded that despite the advancement of medical knowledge in other countries, the Philippines seems to lag behind in efforts to control and prevent mortalities due to this disease. A lot of energy and effort must be exerted to explain to our friends and colleagues as well as countrymen about the great backward effect, short of saying, this is a misunderstanding of rabies. We veterinarians, have been treated as though we were second-class doctors in our own country.
The opinion from doctor to doctor varies; however, the prevalent thought as far as transmission and subsequently, infection, is much the same. Knowledge is verifiable nowadays despite the fact that the internet is filled with disinformation and misinformation as well as half-truths.
As an honest skeptic, I am driven by a passion to persuade my clients, neighbors, and all stakeholders who are willing to listen and learn from a veterinarian. By the way, by definition, a veterinarian is a doctor who practices medicine on animals. Furthermore, let us dissect the etymology of the word “veterinarian.” “Veterinae” is the neutral plural of the Latin word that means pertaining to animals; hence, a veterinarian is a doctor of animals. Henceforth, I shall call them “the other doctor.”
There are credible and legitimate websites that give us reliable information about the disease such as the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, and the World
Health Organization (WHO). These sites give us up-to-date information that will lead us to a proper understanding of rabies. Why is there a need to discuss an ancient disease in the current Philippine setting? It is my opinion that wherever there is widespread lack of awareness or ignorance regarding a matter that is lifethreatening, full attention is a must. These are things I do in my practice to avoid unnecessary emotional pain and psychological vexation of people that have been scratched, bitten, or licked by a dog or cat, and put them in their most appropriate context as a veterinary medicine professional.