Vaccination An Essential Aspect Of Healthy Pet Ownership, Say Animal Care Experts - Eastern Mirror
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Vaccination an essential aspect of healthy pet ownership, say animal care experts

By EMN Updated: Jun 08, 2024 11:23 pm
A pet Labrador being vaccinated at a veterinary clinic.

Chentiru Imchen
DIMAPUR — Many families in Nagaland keep dogs as pets but not many seem to be vaccinating them, though it is an essential aspect of healthy pet ownership and veterinary care.

Veterinarians have stressed the importance of vaccinating domestic animals, especially dogs, and the need to spread awareness on timely vaccination, as it not only protects their health but also helps to break the chain of spreading infectious diseases among animals and, possibly, to humans.

According to animal care experts, vaccines stimulate the immune system to create antibodies, which protect animals against various diseases that can be even fatal.

Dr. Wati, who runs a private clinic ‘Animal Health Care Centre’ in Dimapur, told Eastern Mirror that people should look into the vaccination history while acquiring a new pet.

Speaking about illnesses in pets, he said that many pet owners in Nagaland are unaware of many other viruses beside rabies that can be spread through pets.

He said some common diseases caused by viruses which pets are vulnerable to include canine parvovirus, canine distemper, hepatitis and influenza. As a result, many young pets, especially dogs, die before reaching the age of three months.

The veterinarian went on to say that a bacteria called Leptospira that is typically excreted from the urine of rats can infect other animals and humans, which can be fatal.

Deworming is also equally important for animals to get on a regular basis, he added.

On some people keeping ferocious dog breeds as pets, Dr. Liben of ‘PAW Veterinary PetCare Clinic’ shared that in order to avoid the dangers associated with such breeds, owners should make sure to raise them in a loving and comfortable environment.

He added that socialising these dogs during the puppy stages is a very important aspect to keep them composed.

“It gives them exposure and helps develop a positive relationship. It also reduces the chances of showing behavioural problems later as adults. To stay out of danger and for the wellbeing of the pet, it is essential to go for frequent checkups to a clinic,” he shared.

“India is a rabies endemic region”, and so, it is important to vaccinate animals with booster doses for rabies each year to boost their immunity, he asserted.

Don’t leave out the cats

‘Infected dogs show more tendency to bite everything, which is why dogs are the main agent,’ Dr. Wati said, while reminding that diseases like rabies can be transmitted not just by dogs but even by cats, though less likely. So it is equally important to vaccinate cats too, he added.

“Vaccinating both dogs and cats is mandatory,” also shared Dr. Liben.

“There is no treatment for rabies, whether it’s a human or dog. Once rabies is confirmed or once they show signs of rabies, in the case of dogs or cats they will die within 10 days of the observation period,” he continued.

Dr. Wati also shared that the effectiveness of rabies vaccine depends on the maintenance and storage of the vaccine.

“Rabies vaccine must be stored in cold temperatures of about 4 to 7 or 8 degrees Celsius,” he said, while explaining that “cold chain” involved in the proper storage of the vaccine should be maintained to ensure the potency and efficiency of the vaccine.

“If an animal is given rabies vaccine that was bought from a seller who did not maintain the cold chain, it is still at risk of contracting the disease and potentially, spreading it to others,” he cautioned.

More than 12000 dogs vaccinated

The Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services regularly organises free vaccination camps across Nagaland, wherein hundreds of pets are being vaccinated every year. These vaccines come from state-centre sponsored schemes. 

As per the reports of the department, vaccines are provided to the state under the Livestock Health and Disease Control Programme by the central government, where rabies is one component under economically important disease. The scheme is known as Assistance to State for Control of Animal Diseases (ASCAD).

According to the data provided, as many as 12,260 pet dogs were vaccinated during the year 2022-2023 and 9,800 dogs sterilised.

As on April 22, 2024, about 4,000 dogs in the state were vaccinated and 7,500 sterilised for the FY 2023-2024. 

With growing numbers of pet owners in the state, veterinarians have expressed the importance of properly administering vaccines for the safety of both pets and the public.

By EMN Updated: Jun 08, 2024 11:23:38 pm
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