Wildlife Tranquilization and Gun Maintenance

I had a wonderful experience in Gorewada Forest getting trained in techniques of wildlife tranquilization and gun maintenance. The two day, 16 hour training was conducted by the Nawab Shafat Ali of Hyderabad and his team with Dr. Naveen Kumar as the veterinary expert.

Alongwith around 20 other Range Forest Officers of jungles around Nagpur, I learned about the various drugs used to tranquilize the animals, how to prepare the dart and load the gun. After that, we spent time practising using the guns and aiming for the targets. It was a novel experience for me because I dont really remember playing with even a plastic toy gun. The gun made of metal and wood took quite some time getting used to, but I did manage to fire quite close to the target. The Dan-inject gun was lighter and much easier to handle.

Don't feed your pet dog/cat food

Most of us will remember the time when we used to feed our pet dogs what we ate- roti, sabji,dal and chawal, dont forget the ghee! Our neighbour's dog used to join him for afternoon tea and Marie biscuits also! But over the last decade or so, our market has been flooded with commercial pet food- Pedigree, Drools, Hills, Eukanuba for dogs and Whiskas for cats. Like all human companions, I too took this easy way out and stopped cooking for my dogs and cats. I used to open a huge packet of Pedigree and feed all my companion animals with it, three times a day. Till I realized that as a veterinarian, we have seen a spurt of cases of companion animals dying of kidney failure- technically also called renal failure or chronic kidney disease (CKD). We traced this to the high protein content of the commercial food. High protein causes stress on the kidneys and starts interfering with their filtration mechanism. Unfortunately, by the time we realize that the animal is urinating less, not ea…

While You Were Sleeping

While you were sleeping,
A sparrow tried to fly and fell down on the floor,
A dog grabbed it's neck, and killed it.
The child in me started weeping.

While you were sleeping,
A cow foraged around for something to eat,
The milk man wouldn't feed her,
She is of no use to him.

While you were sleeping,
A car drove fast on the smooth highway through the forest,
A leopard was crossing the road and did not expect it,
The concrete road saw it's sad eyes, dimming, dying, blood seeping.

While we were sleeping
A bulldozer razed a 700-year old tree,
Nobody heard it cry out, nobody heard it's sigh.
The Sky watched with regret, the Earth waited.

The Earth is still waiting.
For you to wake up.

Neuter your pets and community dogs

I never understand why people dont neuter their dogs and cats. Most people are not interested in getting their pets mated, so taking chances with unwanted pregnancies and it's complications is something I never tire of telling my clients.

So when Worldwide Veterinary Services came to Nagpur for their surgical camp for training vets in spay-castration techniques, I jumped at the chance and joined. The two week long course was very intensive with theory lectures on welfare, understanding the drugs we use, the aseptic techniques for neutering operations and assessing the post-op dogs on the Glasgow Pain scale.

I and my partner, Dr. Neeti each operated on two females and two males daily, taking turns with the anesthesia. If you ask me, performing the surgery is a cakewalk compared to monitoring the anesthesia. But Propofol, the wonder drug kept me sane!

So why should we neuter our pets? Firstly for health reasons- it prevents complications like mammary glad tumors and prostate cancer…

Dogs and Children - Responsibility of the parent

Children are naturally compassionate and I firmly believe that every child should have a dog as a companion. If you and your family don't have a dog, then chances are that children in your house haven't had much exposure to dogs.  It is the responsibility of the parents to make sure that children follow certain rules and are well prepared for the arrival of the new family member.

Dog is not a toy - Children must learn how to behave around a dog, and how to handle one properly, particularly if its a pup. A dog is not a toy. Children must be gentle , and not too rowdy to begin with, until your dog is used to them. Adult Supervision - Always make sure there's an adult around to supervise when children are playing with your new dog. You will then be assured of everyone's safety and enjoyment until you are confident they are all consistently doing the right thing.Train your dog - You are the best trainer for your dog. A 15-year old friend of mine looked up videos on Youtube…

3 Questions to Ask Before Adopting a Pet

As a vet, people often ask me for advice about adopting a pet. I ask them just three questions.

 Does the lady of the house love dogs/cats/hamsters/rabbits/guinea pigs etc?A pet is for life. Are they willing to make a commitment to take care of their pet for the rest of its life, in sickness and in health?Are they willing to spend time and effort to understand their pet, their needs, their food habits, their temperament and adjust to it?
If the answer to even one of the above questions is 'No', then the family is not ready for a pet.Let me explain.

 If your mother/sister/wife does not like pets, then never, ever adopt one. Hoping that she will have a change of heart, is unfair to her and to your pet. The house is the lady's nest. Whether she comes back home from a long day in office or is a homemaker, she expects her nest to look and smell a certain way. Having a pet can change that drastically. Dog/cat hair of sofa, dog urine and poop in the balcony, a pungent odor of hams…

How Tuberculosis Spreads from Cows to Us

I was visiting my aunt in Mumbai. She is in the Pediatrics division in a government hospital there. Every week 2-3 children are admitted in the General Ward suffering from tuberculosis. What is common is that most of these are children of the milkman, who live with cows/buffaloes and the infection travels from the infected animals to these kids.
Tuberculosis in cattle is caused by a  bacteria Mycobacterium bovis. It is spread from one animal to other through inhalation. It is shed in milk, saliva,urine, droppings etc. It can remain undetected in cattle, thereby spreading to humans who live in the vicinity. Human beings get this infection by consuming raw milk or by inhalation. Pasteurization destroys these bacteria in milk.
In UK, tuberculosis caused in humans due to animals (zoonotic origin) was once a leading cause of death in humans. The government launched a scheme to eradicate this disease. The infected animals were culled immediately. UK has been free of tuberculosis for decade…