1.8. What measures are available for controlling dog rabies?

Find below a summary of measures available for controlling dog rabies. Full details of these measures are provided throughout the document.

- The most effective approach to control dog rabies is through implementation of mass vaccination of domestic dogs, which is described in this section. In most situations, vaccinating at least 70% of the dog population will result in control of rabies as shown in this study. However, coverage required may be higher if dog populations are very dense or lower in areas where most dogs are restricted in their movements.

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Photo coutesy of Serengeti Carnivore Disease Project

- Efforts should be made to limit the unrestricted movement of owned dogs through promotion of responsible dog ownership and legislative measures (e.g. tie-up orders, individual animal identification and registry), as explained in more detail here and here, where appropriate and with consideration for animal welfare. Border checks and other measures could be implemented to prevent the introduction of rabies into rabies-free areas, as described here and here.

- Dog vaccination can be supplemented by methods to control the population of owned and unowned dogs, such as public education and legislation to develop responsible dog ownership, reproduction control of dogs and re-homing or humane euthanasia of unwanted dogs. However, dog population management is not always necessary, as explained here. Indiscriminate inhumane killing of free-roaming dogs is not recommended; it can make the situation worse, is unpopular with local communities and causes international concerns about animal welfare. Read also here for further explanations on dog culling. Unwanted reproduction of dogs can be achieved using chemical contraception or sterilisation or immunocontraception and efforts are being made to produce and license safe and effective contraceptives and sterilants. Click here for more information on the dog population management tools just described.

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WSPA = World Society for the Protection of Animals, now known as World Animal Protection

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Version 4 - last updated May 2017