Canine terror looms large in Kashmir, more than 30,000 dog-bite cases in SMHS alone

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SMC fails to open dog sterilization center at Tengpora after two years

Srinagar: Canine terror looms large across Kashmir as more than 30,000 dog bite cases have been reported in Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital (SMHS) alone, for the last five years.

Official data of anti-rabies clinic SMHS hospital accessed by Free Press Kashmir reveals that more than 3,700 dog bite cases were reported in SMHS hospital in the current fiscal year which indicates the hospital has received 10 cases on an average daily.

As per the year wise data, in 2019 more than 6,900 dog bite cases were reported in anti-rabies clinic across Kashmir.

2018, 2017, and 2016 reported more than 6,300, 6,800, and 6,500 cases of dog-bite respectively.

The data of SMHS hospital suggested that 2020 reported less number of dog bite cases.

The reason officials said that the mobility of people on roads was less in 2020 due to the lock-down imposed to restrict the spread the COVID-19.

“Actual figures 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.

As Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) has failed to open dog sterilization center at Tengpora, Srinagar tops the list with more than 2,800 cases of dog bite were reported in 2020.

Srinagar is followed by central Kashmir’s Budgam and Ganderbal with 175 and 148 cases respectively.

North Kashmir’s Bandipora, Baramulla, and Kupwara reported 135, 129, and 56 cases of dog bite respectively.

Similarly, South Kashmir’s Pulwama, Kulgam, Anantnag, and Shopian reported 114, 42, 41, and 37 respectively.

Moreover, 49 cases have been categorized in “other” implying people whose district is not known to hospital authorities.

Earlier in 2019, SMC had said that they are going to open dog sterilization center at Tengpora and claimed that center would cater around 60 surgeries every day.

However even after two years the center is still under construction.

An official at SMC said that due to the two consecutive lock-downs in 2019 and 2020, the work was halted in the center due to which it was not made functional.

Dr Javaid Rather, Veterinary Officer, SMC said that sterilization center is under construction.

“Some work is still pending in main operation theater. Interior work in center including electric fitting, and flooring is also to be done. This will take two working months to make the center functional,” he told Free Press Kashmir.

He said that sterilization is halted during winter because of the “apprehensions of dog death”.

“We have to follow the Animal Welfare Board guidelines, according to which dogs may suffer hypothermia during winter season which can lead to the death of animal. This is why the sterilization process is paused for two months,” he added.

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 category III involves single or multiple trans-dermal 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.

According to the data the prevalence of category III dog bites are more as compared to the other two categories.

In 2020 more than 1,800 category III dog bite cases were reported in SMHS hospital while as more than 1,400 category II dog bites were registered and more than 27 were reported in category I.


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