In response to the highest number of recorded human rabies deaths in recent history, the authorities in Thailand have embarked on a country-wide mass canine vaccination campaign. Mission Rabies is currently working with government organisations to aid the efforts to keep rabies out of the Chiang Mai district.
Our sister charity, Worldwide Veterinary Service, has been working in Chiang Mai, Thailand for a number of years and has developed close links to the communities and local government. In 2017, WVS Thailand sterilised over 5,048 animals, treated 564 emergency cases and rehomed 60 animals as well as training 153 veterinary staff.
Working alongside Chiang Mai municipal vets and workers we will be visiting the temples, market places and schools of Chiang Mai. A city steeped in history, there are an amazing number of temples in Chiang Mai, especially in the old city which used to be the capital when this Northern region was its own country. Chiang Mai Municipality had already conducted a large canine vaccination campaign for owned dogs across the city. Using the expertise from the WVS Thailand dog catchers and veterinary nurses we will be ensuring the stray dog population in Chiang Mai are equally protected.
Using the state-of-the-art WVS App, we’re GPS tagging and recording data about every dog at each location, alongside conducting surveys about the dog population trends, welfare and local opinions. This enables us to build up a picture of the stray dog population in Chiang Mai, identify locations which would benefit from sterilisation outreach posts, as well as protect these communities from dog-mediated rabies.
Our teams had the pleasure of being joined by three veterinary interns from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Chiang Mai University. Having spent their first week with the WVS Thailand team, these students were able to see another side to animal welfare by joining us for two days, observing and participating in the temple dog vaccination drive.
Next week we move north to work with San Pong Municipality, developing a tailor-made vaccination strategy to ensure we vaccinate over 70% of the owned and stray canine population. On Monday 21st May, 20 village leaders were brought together for a morning of training by the San Pong municipality and Mission Rabies ahead of our vaccination campaign beginning next week.
We opened up a discussion on rabies symptoms, methods of prevention, human and canine vaccinations, and outlined the plan for the following week. This was followed up with training in the use of the WVS App which will be crucial in data collection, post vaccination surveys and allowing the project leaders to direct teams from area to area in an efficient, systematic manner.
We’re excited for the continuing success of this project and extending our rabies work into this region of Thailand! It is thanks to our close relationship with WVS and growing collaboration with local governments that rabies projects like this can be a success!