Srinagar, Dec 25: Canine terror has returned to haunt Kashmir as Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital has received more than 11000 dog bite cases in the last two years.
Official data accessed by The Kashmir Monitor reveals that more than 5200 cases of dog bites were registered at the SMHS hospital in the current fiscal so far. This indicates that the hospital has received 19 cases on an average daily. In 2018, SMHS hospital received 6300 dog bite cases.
Dog sterilization center notwithstanding, Srinagar city witnessed the highest number of dog bite cases. In the first nine months of 2019-20, SMHS hospital received over 3200 cases of dog bites from Srinagar city alone. Last year 4500 dog bite were reported from Srinagar city.
Around 700 children under the age group of 10 years and around 800 elderly people above 60 years of age were bitten by dogs in 2018, read the data. Besides, 750 cases of adolescents were also reported in the hospital during the period.
“Actual figure however, are expected to be even higher as these do not include the cases treated at periphery hospitals in various districts,” an official at the hospital said.
Veterinary Officer, Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Dr Javaid Rather told The Kashmir Monitor that the sterilization process is halted during winter as the cases of dog deaths surge.
“We have to work according to the guidelines of Animal Welfare Board of India, which suggest that during winter season dogs may suffer hypothermia which can lead to the death of animal. That is why sterilization is stopped for two months,” Dr Javaid said.
He however said that proliferation rate of dogs is quite high which may be one of the reasons for increased dog bite cases. “In Shuhama dog sterilization center, five to six dogs are sterilized daily but due to the unprecedented situation the sterilization was closed since August. In November the process resumed for few days and later was halted again as the temperature dipped,” he said
Dr Javaid said Animal Birth Control Center, Tengpora, will take two more months for completion. “It would conduct 60 surgeries per day which means above 15000 dogs will be sterilized per year”, he said.
There are three categories of animal bites. Category I involves touching or feeding the animal, lick on intact skin, which requires no action.
Category II involves nibbling of uncovered skin, minor scratches or abrasions without bleeding; in that case, the wound needs to be cleaned and the patient administered Anti-Rabies Vaccination (ARV).
The third category involves single or multiple transdermal bites or scratches, licks on broken skin or contamination of mucous membrane with saliva. In that case, the wound needs to be cleaned and the patient is given Anti-Rabies Vaccination along with Rabies Immunoglobulin.