What to do when a street dog is sick?
If the dog is in your home:
Take it to your local vet.
If the dog is on the road:
Try and take it to your local vet
Contact your local councillor or local animal welfare NGO or activist for advice and help
If you can get no help from any of these, contact KMC direct.
Control Room Tel: 033 2286 1212-4 (24 hours a day)
Help Line 033 2226 9909; 155360; (toll-free) 18003453375 (Mon-Fri: 1000-1800; Sat: 1000-1700)
Kolkata has one veterinary hospital, which has a 24-hour clinic for emergencies:
West Bengal University of Animal and Fishery Sciences,
Kshudiram Bose Road,
Kolkata 700 037
Tel: 033 2556 3123
This can be useful not just for traffic accidents, but if, for example, the dog needs an emergency caesarian section at 3 o’clock in the morning.
Directions to the veterinary hospital
From the south: Head north up Central Ave. Continue past Sova Bazaar Metro Station to the Swami Vivekenanda statue, where you turn right onto Bhupendra Bose Ave. Continue straight along here, over the canal, past RG Kar Hospital (on your left) and then over the railway bridge. The veterinary hospital is just beyond Belgachia Metro Station, on your right.
From the north: From the airport (Dum Dum), get onto Jessore Road heading south. Continue along here, over the Nagerbazaar Flyover. The road bends to the right, you cross a railway line, and the hospital is soon on your left. (If you reach Belgachia Metro Station or RG Kar Hospital, you’ve gone too far – turn around and go back.)
What to do when a street dog has a traffic accident?
In addition to the above:
Be careful, because the dog may bite.
A traumatised dog should be handled with care, and will usually require professional help.
If possible, take the injured animal to the nearest good vet, or ask the vet to come and attend. If that is not possible, ask for help at the nearest thana, or from a local animal welfare NGO or activist.
Do not delay. Prompt action may be the difference between life and death for the dog.
What to do when a dog dies?
Unfortunately, Kolkata does not yet have a pet crematorium. There are reports of plans to establish one.
The city’s main pet burial ground is a long way south of the city. Set among fields beyond Thakurpukur Bazaar, the Nikhil Bango Kalyan Samity Pet Burial Ground offers burial plots for deceased pets. In early 2018, the charge was Rs1,200 for the first six months, with another tariff applicable thereafter. The address is:
Kolkata 700 104
(Near Thakurpukur Bazar, Dream Engineering College)
Tel: 9830168739, 9831385640
The burial ground is open 24 hours a day. If you are considering going there late at night, be aware that it is located in a fairly isolated area, so you may feel safer waiting until early the following morning. If you can, take someone with you.
Get on to Diamond Harbour Road (NH12) and head south, through and beyond Behala. Turn right at Thakurpukur Bazaar on the intersection with Bankrahat Road. Follow Bankrahat Road for about 7 km, when the burial ground will be on your left.
(The Belgachia animal hospital also has an area set aside for animal burials.)
Brief guide to First Aid for injured animals
This is taken from the book, First-Aid for Animals, by Gautam Grover and Maneka Gandhi. It was published in 1996 so it’s a bit dated, but costs just Rs100 and you can buy it from Sterling Publishers (Tel: 011 26387070), and from Amazon here.
When you come across an accident or an animal in severe distress, immediately proceed with the basic emergency drill:
If breathing appears to have stopped completely, check for a heartbeat.
Normal heartbeat can be felt by placing the fingertips on the lower part of the chest wall on the left side, just behind the front leg.
The ABC Drill
Airway – Ensure that there is nothing blocking the animal’s nasal passage. Squeeze the nasal passage with a flat palm. Blow into the nose, it helps clean the nasal passage.
Bleeding – To control bleeding, tightly press a cold compress or cloth against the wound. Repeat and bandage. If blood is bright red and pumping, it is from an artery. Apply a tourniquet above the wound. If the blood is dark red and flowing regularly, apply the tourniquet below the wound.
Collapse, Convulsions and Lack of Consciousness – Ensure the animal in place where it will not receive any further injury. Start artificial respiration. If it does not respond, try mouth to mouth respiration. Convulsions occur in cases of heat stroke, severe exhaustion and poisoning. Do not restrain an animal when it is having a spasm. Lay it on its side and ensure that it doesn’t swallow its tongue and the airway is unobstructed. Administer glucose and a warm drink orally, once the animal recovers from the fit. The vet may administer Diazepam by injection to calm the animal.
Taking the pulse: The normal pulse rate of cats is 110-140 beats/minute, and of dogs, 80-120 beats/minute. The smaller the breed, the higher the pulse. Put your index and middle finger over the artery at the point where it crosses the thigh bone on the inside of the thigh. Count the pulse rate for 10 seconds and multiply by 6.
Artificial Respiration: If possible, lay the animal on its right side, open its mouth and take out anything blocking the air passage. Pull the tongue forward. Press down firmly with both hands below the shoulder and over the ribs. Release immediately and briskly.
Mouth-to-mouth respiration: Clear the animal’s mouth of any foreign obstacles, hold it closed and blow into nostrils.
Common Problems and How to Administer First Aid
Blood in vomit – Don’t feed the animal, take it to the vet. The bleeding could be due to:
- A foreign body like a sharp edged nail, glass etc.
- Internal injuries
- Nasal bleeding
Burns – Wash with plenty of cold water. Give a painkiller tablet. Cover the burnt area with a clean soft cloth, either dry or soaked in tea decoction. Keep the animal clean and warm to avoid shock. The animal must be given either plain water or water diluted with glucose. Call the vet.
Choking – If something is stuck in the throat, try to get it out with your fingers or a long spoon. Hold the tongue down with a hanky if necessary. If the animal loses consciousness, clear the throat by massaging it downwards. Open the mouth and examine for any foreign body which is causing choking. If visible and not sharp, then slowly pull out with forceps and give artificial respiration. NEVER give your dog or cat small chicken or fish bones. These are the most common causes of choking.
Heat Stroke – Increase in body temperature beyond the point of normal physiological temperature is called a heat stroke. It is due to hot weather, high humidity, inadequate ventilation, exposure to direct sunlight and overcrowding. Never leave your pet parked in a locked car in the sun or muzzle it for long durations in summer. The symptoms of a heat stroke are:
High rise in temperature.
Oral mucosa inside mouth and tongue.
Inner lips turn bright red in colour.
High pulse rate.
Extreme cases will have glassy eyes and grey lips.
Place animal in a cool, well ventilated place or a shaded area
Give small amounts of cold water containing glucose or sugar frequently
Ice packs should be applied on the head, forehead and all over the body. If you cant get ice, apply water all over the body and cold towel compresses on the head and chest
Give cold milk to drink
Once first aid has been administered, and the animal is stable, consult a vet.
Your First Aid Kit
Nobody can fully plan for every emergency, but it always helps to be equipped with the basics. Keep a first aid kit in your house and car for when you come across a sick or injured animal. Your first-aid kit should contain:
- Gauze bandages
- Cotton wool, cotton rope
- Adhesive tape
- Dettol, Savlon
- Antiseptic, antibiotic ointment
- Betadine lotion
- Disposable gloves
- Clean piece of white cloth
- Tissue paper
- Tincture of Benzene
- Tincture of Iodine
Useful extras – Torch, Blanket, Old Rugs, Paper, Pencil Chains and Tape Muzzle
Usually, skin disorders are manifested by itching, hair loss (alopecia) or thickened skin masses and bee sting kind of eruptions on the affected part. Wash the affected area with a mild antiseptic lotion, like Savlon. Keep the animal in a dry and clean place. Identify what kind of skin infection the animal is suffering from.
Bacterial infections – there will be oozing of pus and blood.
Fungal – there will be crust formation and blackening of skin with loss of hair
Localized and generalized lesions
The appearance of ringworm in the shape of circular patches of infection
Reddening of skin with severe inflammation and lesions
The first site of infection will be around the ears, eyes and forelimbs
Continuous scratching and oozing of fresh blood
Allergies and Eczema – there will be
Only reddening of area without much loss of hair
Bee sting eruptions on the affected part
If there is loss of hair, then:
Apply Gentian Violet (‘Blue Medicine’) and Gamma Benzene Hexachloride mixed in equal quantities on the affected area
Bathe the dog with Petmosol soap
There are two kinds of Mange, Demodectic and Sarcoptic. Most vets say that there is no medicine for Mange, and that the dog has to be put down. This is not true. Even dogs that have lost all their hair can be cured easily, with a combination of medication and dedication.
The mites live in hair follicles and sebaceous glands. Loss of hair and thickening of skin is found.
Squamous type – Scaly wrinkled, often resembling ringworm infection, sebarrhoea (pus-filled crusty lesions on the face of the animal)
Pustules type – formation of pustules, hyper and secondary bacterial infections may develop.
Bathe the dog once a week with Petmosol soap manufactured by ICI.
Apply Ecktodex, one teaspoon in one litre solution for 5-7 weeks.
You can alternatively apply Gamma Benzene Hexachloride solution, sold as Escabiol.
Consult the vet for further medication.