Everyone knows about World Diabetes Day, Children’s Day, AIDS Day, Mother’s Day, Cancer Day and so on.

There is also another important day that pertains to animals. The last Saturday of April is observed as World Veterinary Day. A special day for animals and veterinary profession has been earmarked world over in the year 2000 owing to the persistent efforts of World Veterinary Association and the International Organisation for Animal Health.

This year’s theme is ‘Vaccination to prevent and protect.’ The Animal Disease Intelligence Unit (ADIU) of the Department of Animal Husbandry in the city has been following a vaccination schedule. All animals are administered vaccines at the 70 government veterinary dispensaries across the district.

According to the 18th livestock census taken by the department, Madurai district has 4.3 lakh sheep, five lakh goats, two lakh heads of cattle, 10 lakh poultry and 50,000 dogs (domestic and stray).

Department officials told The Hindu on Friday that the veterinary surveillance teams have been keeping a close vigil in all rural areas to prevent outbreak of diseases among animals. Vaccination was being done for the poultry on every Saturday free of cost to prevent Ranikhet disease. Special focus is also being given to prevent foot-and-mouth disease among cattle. The Animal Husbandry Department is conducting Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) contagious disease among sheep and goats.

“PPR vaccination is under way in the district and it will be over by April 30. As of now, there is nothing to be alarmed about since routine vaccination is being done by our doctors,” an assistant veterinary surgeon in the department said.

Through ADIU, the department collects samples from animals on a random basis and test them at the Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in the city. “Veterinarians across the district will alert us if there is any disease outbreak in a particular area,” a veterinarian said. There are about 70 veterinary dispensaries in the district.