More calls this summer: animal homes

New Delhi, 22/06/2018: A dog sitting and drinking in a puddle of water to cool itself in the heat in Hauz Khas Fort in New Delhi on Friday. Photo: Daliya Banerjee

New Delhi, 22/06/2018: A dog sitting and drinking in a puddle of water to cool itself in the heat in Hauz Khas Fort in New Delhi on Friday. Photo: Daliya Banerjee   | Photo Credit: Daliya Banerjee


Say they rescue 30 animals daily; SGACC attended 70 cases of dehydration recently

With the mercury soaring, not just Delhiites even their furry friends are trying to beat the heat.

The city’s animal shelters are receiving more calls daily to treat dogs for dehydration, heat stroke, and maggot infections.

Ambika Shukla, the director of the Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Centre (SGACC), which shelters about 800 dogs and 3,000 animals in total, said, “We rescue about 30 animals daily these days. In the winter, we get half this number. Our ambulances have been very busy lately because of heatstroke cases.”

The outpatient department at the shelter witnessed 70 cases of dehydration and heat strokes on June 22, said Ms. Shukla.

As dogs are prone to getting overheated in the sun because of their fur, she ensures that animals under her care are administered ice baths and have plenty of shaded areas to lounge in.

Geeta Seshamani, the vice-president of Friendicoes, said, “We have been getting more and more cases of dehydration and heat stroke. Dogs are parched and lose consciousness because of the heat.”

Ms. Seshamani’s shelter picks up around five dogs daily because they are either strays or have been abandoned by families who cannot care for them due to increased risk of tick and skin infections.

Health concerns for animals during the summers are not all directly related to heat. Cases of maggot infection and skin rashes are also on the rise because of increased number of flies.

“Maggot infections are caused when flies lay eggs in the dog’s wounds. The animals take six months to heal,” said Ms. Seshamani. Ticks and other infections are a concern for the animals at SGACC because of increased insect activity during summer. From regular medicated baths to electric fans and coolers, the animal shelters go to great lengths to keep their dogs comfortable and healthy. Their discomfort is exacerbated by the lack of access to clean drinking water. The hot concrete singes their paws and undrinkable water dehydrates them, said Ms. Shukla, adding that the centre sprinkles water on the grounds to reduce the temperature.

“As an act of compassion, I ask everyone to please put out bowls of water for stray animals. Water supply in the city has become an issue and is it necessary for an animal’s survival,” said Ms. Seshamani.

‘Solutions not preventive’

At these shelters, dogs have been enjoying makeshift pools and enclosures made of bamboo and straw because it allows them stay cool. However, these solutions are remedial and not preventive. Ms. Seshamani said people are more interested in adopting small dogs or known breeds, which leaves the shelters crowded and the animals strapped for care.

When asked about how she takes care of so many dogs, Ms. Shukla said, “We are on our toes from morning to night. We need people to adopt these lovely dogs.”

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 12:40:58 PM |

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