The red let pan flowers of the silk-cotton trees (Bombax flower–Bombay buonopozense) falling slowly from their perch are an embodiment of beauty in the summer. However, a less flattering analogy in Burmese proverbs is “Let pan pwint chain kway yu chain,” which roughly translates as “Rabid dogs roam when let pan flowers bloom.” It serves as a warning to people. As the summer heat rises, stray dogs with dripping saliva can be seen roaming the streets, and it’s best to give them a wide berth, preferably taking another route to avoid them. Dogs are such a frequent precursor of rabies in Southeast Asia that in Burmese, rabies is called “Kway yuu yawga,” meaning the “mad dog disease.” According to a medical report, rabies causes some 25,000 deaths per year on an average in the region, making up for 45 per cent of rabies-related deaths in the world. The report stated that Myanmar sees the second highest number of deaths from rabies in the region, with 1,000 people dying from rabies infection, while India ranks first with 20,000 deaths. There are approximately 50 million people in Myanmar sharing a living space with a dog population of some 4 million, and of these, 600,000 people, mostly children, fall prey to dog bites each year. Unconfirmed reports state that 75 per cent of the stray dogs in the country have rabies, and so, it is important to exercise caution while loitering around hounds. A scratch or a bite of a dog or cat with rabies or exposure to their blood or open wounds is enough to transmit the disease. It is also unsafe to get organ transplants from donors who died of or were infected with rabies, as the virus still persists and can spread throughout the body of the new host. We can tell if our pets have contracted rabies if they display unusual behaviour, such as unusual shyness or aggression; higher tendencies to bite; chewing on sticks, litter or paper; change in the tone of the bark; hydrophobia, seizures, inability to swallow, excessive salivation or frothy saliva. So how can you prevent rabies? First, you can visit your veterinarian with your pet on a regular basis and ensure he/she is vaccinated for rabies. Second, spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that may not be properly cared for or vaccinated regularly. If necessary, pet owners should get a rabies vaccination themselves. If you or someone you know have been bitten by a rabid animal, then make sure to wash the infected area with clean water and soap for at least 15 minutes before applying an antiseptic (such as betadine). The most important step is going to the local clinic or a hospital and getting the proper vaccination.