Madurai

COVID-19 lockdown | Drop in number of cases at Madurai veterinary polyclinic

People who usually travelled long distances have stopped coming to the veterinary hospital as the district borders are closed. | File photo used for representational purpose

People who usually travelled long distances have stopped coming to the veterinary hospital as the district borders are closed. | File photo used for representational purpose   | Photo Credit: S. Krishnamoorthy

All elective surgeries which are not life threatening have been postponed and mass vaccinations for cattle too have been stopped

The number of animals attended to by doctors at the veterinary polyclinic in Madurai district has dropped from around 150 to 200 a day in the last week of February to between 50 and 70 during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Regional Joint Director of Animal Husbandry Department, D. Suresh Christopher said that prior to the district borders being closed due to COVID-19, people from neighbouring districts including Sivaganga, Ramanathapuram, Theni, Dindigul and Virudhunagar would often bring animals from cats to cattle to their polyclinic in case of emergencies. Earlier, the number of emergency cases would be a minimum of 15 each day. That has reduced to around five cases.

“Usually, we would deal with a lot of complications that arise in animals during the process of giving birth. Although such cases continue to be a regular feature, there has been a drop since people who usually travelled long distances to access the doctors here until February have stopped coming,” he said.

The number of outpatient cases too have drastically reduced to around two patients arriving each day. This is a deflection from the usual number of around 15. All elective surgeries which are not life threatening have been postponed and mass vaccinations for cattle too have been stopped, the Joint Director said.

The polyclinic is now functioning with a full strength of doctors but only few paramedics because of the lack of public transportation. “Many people find it difficult to travel as they come from faraway places. We have been able to manage all cases as of now. However, the doctors who are managing dispensaries in 96 locations across the district should be lauded as they are struggling but still attending to cases,” he said.

Food for strays

Apart from this, the Animal Husbandry department on the instructions of District Collector T. G. Vinay, have been distributing around 500 kg of rice with lentils and curd for strays on the streets via a network of animal volunteers.

Mr. Vinay told The Hindu that it was essential to care for all life forms during this time of distress as most would not have any access to food. “Usually, strays often eat scraps and waste in bins and outside hotels. When we got calls from volunteers during the first two days of the lockdown regarding most strays starving, we decided to take matters into our own hands,” he said.

He added that all volunteers had received special passes to continue their voluntary work across the district and said that more people can come forward to join this initiative.

Dr. Suresh Christopher said that rice was being distributed daily to volunteers who could come and replenish their stocks to feed dogs in their areas.

Elaborating on the presence of COVID-19 in animals, the doctor said that there has not been any unusual spike in the number of cases regarding respiratory illnesses in the district. “As a pet owner myself, I request people not to panic and abandon their pets. There have been no cases in Madurai regarding transmission to pets. They will not be able to survive on the streets by themselves and it would be an inhuman thing to do,” he said.

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 3:50:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/drop-in-number-of-cases-at-madurai-veterinary-polyclinic/article31278685.ece

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