When it comes to veterinary critical care units, there are very few facilities in the country.
Thanks to famed veterinarian Jasmeet Singh, Bhubaneswar has one.
Recipient of several honours and awards such as Excellent Academic Performance by Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India and ISVS Gold medal Award in 2013 and 2014 for his contribution to surgical operation in birds and snakes, Singh specialises in Canine Anaesthesia, Oncology and Otolaryngology.
His centre, VetCare, has transformed the pet care scene in the temple City.
As Bhubaneswar's pet-loving population gets bigger, he gives The City Express insights into the evolution of animal health-care over recent times.
Here's an excerpt:
What kind of pets do people in Bhubaneswar mostly keep?
The idea of keeping a 'pet' has changed over the last decade. Animals are now treated more as "companions" and people are much more sensitive towards them. The nature of care given to them has undergone a massive transformation. People in the city own more dogs. But the interest in birds has gone up.
What are some of the lesser detected diseases pet-owners should be aware of?
Dogs older in age mostly have kidney and hepatic diseases. The female species, however, are way more susceptible to mammary tumours. They also develop pus in the uterus.
How have the changing climatic conditions affected health of animals?
Immensely. Tick fever was rare a decade ago. Now, it is an epidemic. Ehrlichiosis, a bacterial illness transmitted by ticks that causes flu-like symptoms, is one of the biggest threats now. Since people started using high end drugs, ticks have developed drug resistance now as they tend to change their genome structure after a while.
India's tropical climate and growing humidity level has heightened the spread of tick-related diseases, so much so that sometimes, blood transfusion is required. We now do RT-PCR tests for diagnosis at the molecular level.
What are the most common diseases affecting pets in present times?
Most pet-related diseases include tick fever, dermatological and gastrointestinal ailments.
You have specialised in cancer treatment for animals. Brief us a little about early detection and symptoms.
I do chemotherapy for animals. In dogs, the early signs of cancer are lumps on the skin. Blood cancer or Lymphoma is the most common and under-diagnosed forms of cancer in animals, dogs specially.
Venereal Granuloma (VG) is also a common kind of tumour. It is important to know which kind of drugs need to be administered for which type of cancer.
For instance, common tumour and Lymphoma respond to the same drug, which can be as cheap as Rs 50. It is a misnomer that expensive drugs for cancer can prolong a pet's life.
We cannot drag an animal's life beyond 18 months, with chemotherapy.
For early detection, I do Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology(FNAC) in which a fine-needle syringe is inserted into the tumour mass and cells are aspirated, spread over slide and examined under a microscope.
For urinary bladder cancer, we insert a catheter inside the bladder to collect urine which is then centrifuged and cells are stained for cancer diagnosis. We do ultrasound-guided biopsy for tumours in liver, spleen, uterus and kidney.
Apart from cancer and ticks, what ailments strike pets? Do they go through depression?
Anxiety in pets is very common. It is common yet often sidelined. If two pets are raised together and one of them dies, or if a family member dies, they slip into depressive phases. They stop eating. they become extremely sluggish and behavioural changes follow.
We must identify these symptoms and give anti-anxiety drugs to help them recover.
Some of his most difficult interventions are amputation of a hyna's forelimb, removal of a tongue tumour in a parrot, removal of a uterine tumour in a dog and repairing fractures of a rock-python.
He advises regular vaccination and de-worming of dogs, a balanced diet and bi-annual visits to the vet for healthy pet-care.
Based in Raipur, he keeps coming to the Capital every month to treat animals.