By: Salman Hashmi
The rising mercury is taking a toll on the city’s animals, causing a 15-20 per cent rise in the number of dehydrated animals being brought to veterinary hospitals this year. The worst affected in the city are the cattle tied to poles around temples, and overworked horses used in Victorias and even birds.
There has been a 15-20 per cent rise in dehydrated animals being brought to the Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) hospital this year, said Col J Khanna, director of SPCA Parel. “The calves, while being fed and given water, are made to stand for long hours, making them tired and dehydrated. They need to cooled off regularly by gently spraying water on them,” he said.
On March 25, the city recorded its second hottest March day in a decade with 40.8 degree Celsius.
Cases of heat strokes in stray dogs have risen by 50 per cent since last year, according to Abodh Aras, chief executive officer, Welfare of Stray Dogs. “The dogs suffer from respiratory ailments in this heat as their lungs have to expand and contract with greater force in the dry weather,” he added. A lot of gastro cases have also been observed in stray dogs and cats as they consume food that gets rotten soon in the heat and the horses suffer from nose bleeds because of the dehydration.
Among the birds, pigeons are the most affected. Kites, owls, crows, parrots, sea gulls are some of the birds found lying unconscious on trees or on the ground and brought to the hospital,” said Khanna.
Even pets, who spend more time indoors, are being affecting by the heat and suffer from skin diseases and diarrhea. “Pets left inside cars even under a relatively mild 28 degree Celsius may also suffer as the temperature inside a car can climb to 32 degree when parked in the shade and 60 degree in the sun. In case of pets indoors, in the absence of proper ventilation, they too may suffer from heat stroke,” said Dr Manilal Valliyate from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Animal activists have been surprised at how early in the year animals are being brought in for dehydration this year. Debasish Majumdar, an animal activist from Thane SPCA, said: “Animals are being brought in for treatment as early as second week of March. A major cause is deforestation which leaves these birds with few natural places to roost,” Majumdar said.
“Place mud pots that are filled with cool, clean water outside your home or at places, where there are homeless or working animals. To help birds, place bowls of water on window sills, on balconies, on terraces and in gardens,” said Dr Valliyate.