MADURAI: It was a near-fatal experience for a jallikattu bull after taking in too much plastic. Thanks to the timely action of veterinarians, the bull was saved, finally. The doctors from Veterinary University Training and Diagnostic Centre here, removed 15 kilograms of polythene bags and plastic materials from the animal’s gut.
The sufferings of the bull, owned by one B Arunkumar (27), an electrician, in Marani near Oomachikulam began in January. “When we took two of my bulls for a swimming, we noticed that the belly of one of the bulls, two-year-old Ramu, bloated,” said Arunkumar, who was training Ramu for his debut in jallikattu next year.
Ramu began showing signs of exhaustion and lack of appetite, following which veterinarians at the nearby dispensary administered injections, which served only as temporary relief. The symptoms aggravated a few days ago when Ramu began to choke, and fell unconscious.
The issue was later referred to Veterinary University Training and Diagnostic Centre in Madurai after the veterinarians at the nearby dispensary gave up on Ramu’s condition. Last Friday, a team of three doctors from the centre - Dr R Uma Rani, Dr S Sabitha and Dr Manoj Kumar - reached the cattle shed.
After a two-and-a-half-hour long surgery, the veterinary team removed 15 kg of polythene bags and plastic materials from the bull’s stomach. Ramu showed signs of recovery and was up on his feet again on the very day of the surgery and is expected to return to normalcy by next week, said the doctors and added that Ramu would have eaten the plastic when he was grazing in the fields nearby.
“Several such incidents of death of cattle and goats due to plastic consumption go unnoticed or unreported in the district since the cattle owners do not suspect this possibility and think that their cattle died a sudden death after prolonged bloating of stomach,” Dr Uma Rani pointed out. She added, “Ramu survived the plastic for over six months only because he was of a pure breed. Had it been a hybrid, the bull would not have had survived for over a month.”
Dr Uma Rani said that cattle feed on plastics and other foreign bodies due to indiscriminate feeding habit of livestock when they are let to graze free in open fields. Moreover, when the livestock is not fed adequately,usually the stray ones end up eating mostly plastic items thrown out in the open space. Throwing light on bigger picture, she stressed on the pressing need for proper disposal of plastics, which cannot be digested by livestock.