THE Department of Health (DOH) in Western Visayas has pushed for the mass vaccination of dogs to counter rabies.

Dr. Rosemarie Lamirez, coordinator of the DOH Regional Medical Program, said there are already seven cases of deaths due to rabies in Western Visayas, including four in Negros Occidental, from January to August this year.

Others are in Capiz, two, and Aklan, one.

The deaths are lower compared to last year’s nine cases reported in the same period, she said.

The DOH held a consultative meeting with provincial and city veterinarians all over the region at Nature’s Village Hotel and Restaurant in Talisay Cty over the weekend.

Lamirez said that despite the information dissemination about rabies, there are still pet owners, who prefer the “tandok” done by traditional healers to treat rabies.

“We encourage them to go to our animal bite treatment center where medicines and vaccinations are available for dog bites,” she said.

Lamirez also advised dog owners to accommodate vaccinators from the local government units.

There are still those who refuse vaccinators in their house, she added.

“They can also bring their dogs to the animal centers for proper vaccinations,” Lamirez said.