Why are we talking about rabies? What connection does it have on homeschooling? Before we answer these questions, let us first learn about rabies. Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. Rabies may be present in bats, dogs, cats and other wild animals.
An infected animal that has the rabies virus in its saliva can transmit it to a person through biting. In rarer cases, an animal can spread the virus when its saliva comes in contact with a person’s mucous membranes (moist skin surfaces, like the mouth or inner eyelids) or broken skin such as a cut, scratch, bruise, or open wound. After a bite, the rabies virus can spread into surrounding muscle, then travel up nearby nerves to the brain. Once the virus reaches the brain, the infection is fatal in almost all cases.
Time and again, we have posted some stories about our ragdoll cats. A lot of people know that we own ragdolls. However, unbeknownst to some, we also have our share of dogs, stray cats and a snake or two! Our ragdoll cats have always been up-to-date with their rabies shots and we never had any fears about rabies until my husband decided to break up a fight between our ragdoll male cat, Rocky (who is an indoor cat), and our male cat Rex (who is an outdoor cat) with his foot! These two cats have had a long-standing rivalry of sorts ever since they’d matured into cat “manhood.” These cats started out as pals, but as they matured, the rivalry began to manifest itself and exists until today.
After that epic fight, RD’s dad ended up with scratches and bites on his ankle and his foot! There were deep scratches and obvious bite marks, but he said, everything happened so fast, all he could think of was to get between the two before anything much more serious happened (to the cats)! Well now, we had this dilemma as to whose teeth marks were on his ankle: the one with updated rabies shots or the one who was also vaccinated two years ago, but lived outside!
That is how we ended up at the Animal Bite Center at the Provincial Hospital where we all got some much-needed information about rabies and the importance of getting a Pre-exposure Rabies Vaccination from the Animal Bite Center nurse in-charge, Ms. Lourdes Ouano. Here is what we learned.
Why Do We Need a Rabies Pre-Exposure Regimen?
Pre-exposure vaccination against rabies offers many benefits. It eliminates the need for costly immunoglobulin or RIG, reduces the number (and therefore the cost) of post-exposure (PEP) vaccine regimen from five to only three doses, and makes rabies protection possible even if post-exposure (PEP) vaccination is delayed (e.g. if animal bite occurs in rabies-endemic area where RIG is not readily available). Source: http://www.philstar.com/science-and-technology/628537/rabies-prevention-pre-exposure-immunization-underscored
RD loves animals, and as such, he always likes to play with and pet our dogs and cats that live outside our home. These are free-roaming animals, so we may never know which other areas around the farm they’ve gone to, or if they’ve gotten into a fight with a rabid animal, so we thought it best to get a rabies prophylaxis as a safeguard in the event that we accidentally come into contact with one of those who has had exposure to a rabid animal.
The Pre-exposure Rabies Vaccine Series
The pre-exposure rabies vaccine is administered intradermally (skin-deep only) using an insulin syringe, and below are the following doses.
First 3 Shots: Days 0, 7th and 28th
Booster Shot: A year after
Booster Shots: Every 5 years thereafter
How Much Does the Pre-exposure Shot Cost?
We had our pre-exposure shots done at the local Provincial Hospital in our area (Bukidnon Provincial Medical Center), and only paid P200 each shot – only P600 for the first three shots. We only paid P200 per shot as 1 vial was shared between eight other people. Each vial costs P1,800 at your local Bupharco (Bukidnon Pharmacuetical Multipurpose Cooperative) Drugstore, and may cost more in the bigger-name drugstores.
So now you know why we’re talking about rabies! This has been a learning opportunity for RD which we may equate to a lesson and field trip in one! This was certainly one of those trips to the hospital that he didn’t dread because the “shots” were not really painful. “Just a pinch,” that’s how he described them.
Pre-exposure rabies vaccination is an important part of our immunization program. I think we need to put the word out there, especially for those who own, are part of, and handle animals. It is also in the best interests of our children that we, parents, are aware of things like these, and warn our children about rabies and what we can do to keep safe from it. We end up paying so much less for pre-exposure shots than when after we have already been bitten. So, head on up to your nearest local provincial Animal Bite Center or Health Center!