While the public attention these days is focussed on the stray dog menace in the city, the fact is that the man who died from rabies in October last year — the only such death in several years in Chandigarh — had got the disease from his pet Pug.
The dog had not been vaccinated for rabies. When it bit owner Navdeep Gera, a businessman of Sector 18, he too did not get the vaccination. His wife Rashmi Gupta blames the veterinary doctor for “utter negligence’’ and alleges “inhuman attitude of doctors in city hospitals’’.
Rashim said the dog started showing change in behaviour in the second week of September. “It stopped eating, drinking and wanted to be left alone. It refused to enter the home and remained very lethargic, drooling at the mouth and lower jaw dropping,” recalled Rashmi.
They took the dog to Dr Ravinder Singh, a veterinarian at Naya Gaon, who said that there was nothing to worry, the dog could be suffering from tick-fever. However, the next day, on September 13, the dog died, Rashmi said.
It was much later that she got to know that the change in dog’s behaviour was actually signs of rabies.
“Navdeep and I were pet lovers and we used to take the dog to Dr Ravinder Singh for vaccination. We later realised that he did not vaccinate our dog for rabies, nor could he diagnose when the dog got the disease,” Rashmi said.
“Further, when my husband consulted the doctor for anti-rabies vaccination as he had been bitten by the Pug, the veterinarian said that there was no need for it as the dog was fully vaccinated. We blindly trusted the doctor, but because of his wrong advice my husband died of rabies on October 25,” Rashmi said.
Dr Ravinder Singh, however, insists that the dog did not show symptoms of rabies when it was brought to him. “Moreover, I am nobody to recommend someone for the anti-rabies vaccination. I am a veterinary doctor and I am only responsible for the health of animals,” he said.
Rashmi said doctors in various hospitals refused to attend to her husband in his last days when “my husband only wanted an injection of sedation for relief’’.
“I can never forget October 25, the day my husband died and how almost every hospital in the Tricity refused to admit him. We spent four hours in PGIMER, where doctors refused to attend on him. My father-in-law and children begged those two young doctors at PGI’s emergency, but they refused to help,” Rashmi said.
However, Manju Wadwalkar, PRO of PGIMER, said she was not aware of the case. “If anything of that sort happened and information is given to us, then we will look into the matter,” she said.
Doctor’s advice: Go for vaccination
A rabies specialist says that about six per cent of fully vaccinated dogs can also get and cause rabies. “Therefore, we advise every pet owner to go for vaccination after being bitten by a dog even if it is fully vaccinated,’’ she adds.
Once rabies is established in a person, then there is almost nothing that can be done, apart from keeping the patient comfortable, by using powerful tranquilisers and sedatives to keep him free from physical pain and emotional upset, she says.