HYDERABAD: It is not only humans but also animals, including dogs, who suffer dog days of summer. At least 50 persons visit city’s Fever hospital everyday with a dog bite in summer months. The cause for this surge in dog bites is simple - dogs, who do not have sweat glands, go wild owing to the blistering heat. An astounding 4,000-odd persons have been reported to be bitten by dogs in the first four months of the year under GHMC limits.
“The first four months of the year is crucial as it coincides with dogs’ breeding season as well as hot summer. Dogs are furious during this period. Hence the bites,” said Dr Sampath Kumar, deputy civil surgeon, Anti-Rabies Vaccine clinic at the Institute of Preventive Medicine.
Statistics available with him, however, suggest that an overall decline of up to 15 percent in the total number of dog bite cases over the last four years. “Anti-rabies virus are available in all government hospitals and PHCs now. The municipal corporation’s animal birth control and anti-rabies vaccination programme (ABC/AR) has had some effect,” he said. At the Fever hospital, as many as 23 people have died of rabies in 2013 and 2014, whereas 5 persons have lost lives to rabies this year so far. “All rabies patients invariably die. The reasons are many.” said Prof K Shankar, superintendent, Fever hospital.
Soon after one receives a dog bite, the wound has to be washed using soap and running water for 10-15 minutes and then apply antiseptics as first-aid. “An immunoglobulins and a tetanus toxoid injection has to be taken within 48 hours and the five-dosed anti-rabies treatment has to be started. People often take it casually after first or second dose,” said the superintendent adding that the vaccine is given upto 28 days of the incident in different scheduled intervals.
All dogs may not be rabid. Not only dogs, any animal can be rabid, he pointed out. Further, a bite on the neck or closer to the head is more fatal than one on the legs.
“It takes, even months, for the virus to reach the brain from the legs whereas one who has been bitten by a rabid dog on the neck can die in 3 days,” he said. While vaccination can prevent human beings from rabies infection, Sampath Kumar, felt that a little bit of concern for animals and birds by placing some water for them to drink might help better.
GHMC veterinary section’s dog squads catch anywhere between 100 to 150 stray dogs every day. Dr Venkateswara Reddy, chief veterinary officer, GHMC, said the corporation has been following
Animal Welfare Board’s rules at its ABC/AR programme. “We are sterilising dogs for birth control, deworming them to prevent skin diseases and administering anti-rabies vaccine too at our 5 ABC/AR centres. Anyone, including activists who cry foul, can check our centres,” he said.