Not only humans but animals too are affected by air pollution levels which can adversely affect their lungs, trigger asthma and cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Air pollution also increases risk of acute cardiovascular events and development of coronary artery disease in animals. Several cases of fauna being affected by the toxic pollution have been reported across city’s veterinary hospitals.
Studies show that domesticated, ‘indoor’ animals have an increased risk of tumours when exposed to polluted air over an extended period of time, and the same is no doubt true of animals who live and sleep outdoors, like monkeys and community cats and dogs. Working animals such as bullocks, donkeys, horses, camels, and other species are highly affected by air pollution, since they’re on the road throughout the day, inhaling the polluted air emitted from the vehicles that surround them. Particulate matter in the air has been linked to cardiac arrest in animals, and veterinarians sometimes attribute those deaths to the effects of air pollution.
Here are some tips by People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India which is currently running Delhi Mechanisation Project which seeks to rehabilitate overworked and abused working animals — including bullocks, donkeys, ponies, and horses — after replacing them with e-rickshaws and to provide their poor owners and their families with better opportunities.
“Many animals are suffering because of Delhi’s air pollution crisis,” says PETA India Emergency Response Coordinator Neha Chaturvedi. “You can help them weather the problem by following our tips and volunteering with your local animal protection group to help community and working animals,” she added.
For companion animals
*Keep them indoors: Keep companion animals indoors with windows and doors closed when possible.
*Filter the air: Use an air purifier to filter the air in your home.
*Avoid long walks: Dogs should be taken outside only for short walks during this time, and prolonged exercise should be avoided as much as possible.
*Keep them hydrated: Make sure your companion animals drink enough water. Keep their bowls filled at all times.
For working animals
Avoid dry food: Concentrate feeds should be dampened to reduce dust inhalation. This is particularly important when nosebags are used.
For community animals
Stay alert and save a life: Keep an eye on all animals you see outdoors. Make sure that they have adequate water and shelter. If you find an animal in distress, contact PETA India’s emergency helpline on (0) 98201 22602 for advice or a referral. Don’t leave the animal’s side before help arrives.
Look out for the symptoms
As it may not be possible to keep animals indoors at all times, look out for these early symptoms of poor health and take the affected animal to the nearest veterinary service provider:
*Laboured and/or open-mouthed breathing
*Vomiting and/or loss of appetite
*Unusual or excessive coughing or sneezing
*Swelling or inflammation of the eyes, mouth, and/or skin
*Any discharge from the eyes and/or nose
*Uncoordinated walking or inability to stand