: Chennai Corporation and Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS) are likely to enter into a memorandum of understanding for prevention and control of rabies.
Representatives from the Corporation and TANUVAS underlined the need to adopt stringent measures to control rabies and spread awareness about prevention of the disease at a meeting held on Tuesday to commemorate World Veterinary Day at Madras Veterinary College.
Corporation's Health Officer P. Kuganantham said that the civic body already has two MoUs with TANUVAS for control of leptospirosis and chikungunya. He sought the university's support in sensitising people to the need for control of rabies. Highlighting the measures adopted by the civic body to curb the disease, he said the dog population is estimated to be one lakh and the Corporation would intensify the animal birth control programme to reduce the number to 75,000.
Eight more pet clinics would be opened across the city to facilitate pet care. He also emphasised that the hospitals must inform the civic body about the cases of infectious diseases reported to them.
TANUVAS Vice-Chancellor R. Prabakaran said the university was prepared to assist the government agencies in the control of rabies. In Chennai, nearly 25 stray dogs are found per sq.km. He emphasised the need for livestock census. One of the new courses launched by the university is a post-graduate diploma course for veterinarians to upgrade their skills in pet animals care, he said.
S. Prathaban, Director of Clinics, TANUVAS, said that despite action by the government agencies and non-governmental organisations, the dog population is on the rise. The concept of dog culling, which is accepted in west, must be advocated to achieve the target of reducing the dog population.
On the prevalence of rabies, he said the veterinary hospital admitted 33 dogs suspecting rabies in 2010-11. He demanded stringent programme for animal birth control and awareness campaign. A registry must be maintained for dogs, be it pet animals or street dogs.
S. R. Srinivasan, dean in-charge of Madras Veterinary College, said that children are the most vulnerable to dog bites. People in rural areas still lack knowledge about dog bites and rabies. Licensing of dogs is important in eradicating rabies.