Identification and analysis of dog use, management practices and implications for rabies control in Ilorin, Nigeria
Dog use and associated management practices were investigated in Ilorin, the capital city of Kwara State, Nigeria from August to October 2010. All identified 16,348 household compounds in the city were investigated. Five hundred (500) questionnaires were directly administered at household and compound levels to capture data on socio-economic profile of dog owners, reasons for keeping dogs and types of management system practiced. The results indicated that majority [621, n = 1,258 (49.4%)] of dogs were kept primarily for security of premises. Some 205 (16.3%) were kept for breeding and commercial ventures, 184 (14.6%) were kept as pets, 103 (8.2%) were kept essentially for game hunting, 98 (7.8%) were used for multiple purposes and 47 (3.7%) were raised as source of meat. Dog management ranged from intensive (kennel confined) [331, (26.3%)], to extensive (free-roaming) system in 927 (73.7%) dogs. Dogs were kennel confined mostly [207, (16.5%)] in high income residential areas, while all dogs in transit areas were free-roaming. A positive correlation (r2=0.74) exists between extensive practice and dogs for meat production which were left to scavenge freely in the city. The implication of dog use and management practices in relation to rabies control in Ilorin city and its environs is discussed in this paper. Status of community hygiene and environmental health is contributory to rabies risk in the city. Improved community hygiene is needed to complement effective vaccination coverage of dogs for rabies control in the city.
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