KOCHI: Now, fake news about the spread of Covid-19 is affecting pets with many owners abandoning the animals in the streets following rumours that they are responsible for spreading the virus. Private veterinary doctors across the state say the situation has never been worse.
“There are rumours in social media that hold pets responsible for the spread of Covid-19. This is baseless. The American Veterinary Medical Association has said there is no evidence at present of pets getting ill due to Covid-19 or spreading it to humans,” said Dr Kishore Kumar, a veterinary surgeon in Kochi.
He said changing the name of the virus from coronavirus to Covid-19 added to people’s confusion. “Coronavirus is present in dogs. However, this novel coronavirus is different. Mutation is the villain here and we have no evidence to prove canines are spreading it,” Kishore said.
Surya Teresa, a researcher and dog lover, recently prevented her neighbour from abandoning her dog after coming across such rumours.
“The pets consider their owners as parents. Will you abandon your child? I raised my dog for 17 years and even if it posed a threat, I would not think of abandoning it. In any case, pets spreading the virus is just a rumour,” said Surya, who owns two dogs.
Vets in trouble
The Covid-19 outbreak has affected everyone, including veterinary doctors. “This is the first time that consultations have come down drastically. Earlier, we received over 17 cases on a weekday. This has now come down to one or two,” said Dr Vinu R Nair, a veterinary doctor in Kottayam. Meanwhile, as per the Union Government, medical help for animals is treated as an essential service and will not be suspended during the 21-day nationwide lockdown imposed by the Centre since Tuesday.
Consultations come down
From 17 cases on a weekday, veterinary consultations have now reduced to one or two