Dog attacks, bites are not superstitious – Vet Officer

Dr Emmanuel Kwao Pecku, Tema Metropolitan Veterinary Director, has advised people to seek immediate medical assistance for dog bites and assaults, rather than just attributing them to superstitious beliefs and doing nothing about their encounter. Dr Pecku clarified that myths and superstitions around dog bites and rabies transmission had their roots in the fact that dogs could bite for reasons that may not be known to their owners, due to their ignorance and misunderstanding. He therefore advised people in communities especially with stray dogs, to take precautions against such bites by ensuring self-education, securing oneself and their home, offering monitoring, and removing dogs from potentially risky settings, as opposed to attributing dog bites to spiritual attacks. He was speaking at the weekly ‘Your Health! Our Collective Responsibility,’ a Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Office initiative to improve health literacy. Mr Pecku highlighted that in any confrontational interaction with a dog, the person must calmly separate from the aggressive dog by either backing away gradually from the area, assuming the tree posture or doing both. ‘Another way to assume the tree position is to bend your head, break eye contact with the dog, stand stiffly with both hands firmly beside you, or assume the position of a rock by kneeling with your head between your legs and your hands firmly grasping them. Maintaining this stance can lessen the chance of a dog assault and potential bite,’ he said. He cautioned that just because one had a good experience with a dog doesn’t mean that they always get along well with them. ‘We should stop attacking dogs because they will always remember to attack you the next time, they see you. Dogs also have long memories that can last years,’ he said. He added that if the bite wound was not cleaned up right after and a post-exposure vaccination given, rabies in dogs could be lethal. Dr Pecku therefore urged families to eliminate misconceptions about dog vaccinations and concentrate more on the practice to improve the situation and make society a safer place for both people and animals. Mr Francis Ameyibor, the Regional Manager of Ghana News Agency Tema, thanked all the health partners for their collaboration to educate the public on key health and safety issues, adding that the platform remained open for further discussions on other priority health-related issues.

Source: Ghana News Agency