Pets are part of most families and give us company, entertainment and compassion. Veterinarians play an important role in maintaining the health of our pets. In many parts of the world, World Veterinary Day (WVD) is observed to remind the pet lovers the importance of pet care, and how they can keep them healthy. Since vaccines are very important to animals' health, this year, World Veterinary Day (WVD) focuses on the importance of vaccination. On this occasion, our correspondent Odeal D’Souza speaks to eminent veterinarian Professor S. Yathiraj, chief executive, Lakeside Veterinary Hospital and Research Centre, Bangalore about the advancements and treatments in veterinary science. Prof. Yathiraj was the former dean at the Veterinary College, Bangalore and director of research at the Karnataka Veterinary, Animal and Fisheries University (KVAFSU), Bidar.
While most of us think that veterinary science has to do with animals, it is only a small part of the truth. Veterinary science helps the human health too through the monitoring and control of infectious diseases which are transmitted from animals to humans. This science further helps in maintaining the food supply through the livestock, health monitoring and treatment.
Veterinary science began mushrooming during the 1980s and 1990s. It was in 1990 that clear demarcation emerged between, dairy, poultry, laboratory, companion and wild animals. “After 2000 there has been clear cut demarcation in these fields and currently separate industries are flourishing in areas such as dairy, hatchery, equipments, feed, medicines, dog food, breeders, diagnostic centres, hospitals of tertiary level services and many more. Hence there is tremendous scope for anyone who is looking for a career in veterinary science,” explains Veterinarian Prof. Yathiraj.
Also, there has been a tremendous growth in terms of diagnosis and treatment of diseases in animals. “Many diagnostic kits and life saving medicines are available at affordable prices today. There has been tremendous growth in livestock sector in terms of heat detection, automated milking techniques, identification of animals by utilising the computer technology. Mobile apps are the current trend with regard to various aspects of feeding, fodder availability, scientific feeding methods, biomarker kits for diagnosis of various diseases, modern vaccines, nanotechnology in treatment of diseases, availability of imaging techniques like Ultrasonography, and many more,” he adds.
Pet care is one of the important focus areas today that has increased the demand for veterinarian professionals in urban India. “Basic things to be observed in pet care are adopting proper feeding and management practices, following proper protocols in deworming and vaccination, providing sufficient exercise, regular grooming and bathing as per need of the animals, adopting oral hygienic practices, checking the skin and hair regularly and above all getting the animal examined by a veterinarian at least once in three to six months even if they appear apparently
healthy,” explains Prof. Yathiraj.
According to Prof. Yathiraj the common diseases that occur in pet dogs are broadly classified under infectious and systemic disease. The most common infectious diseases are Leptospirosis, kennel cough, hepatitis, para influenza, parvo viral gastroenteritis, corona viral gastroenteritis, rabies, ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, parasitic infections, scabies, demodicosis, tick and flea infestations, etc. Similarly systemic diseases encountered are related to gastrointestinal tract, skin, renal system, reproductive system, respiratory system, hepatic disorders, cardiac diseases, renal failure, skin, eye , ear, epilepsy, congestive heart failure, cancer ( both systemic and skin), etc. Hence it is important to vaccinate all the pet animals against major diseases following the proper guidelines.
Speaking of the contributions of the Government of India towards veterinary science, Prof. Yathiraj goes on to add that the government should invest liberally as per requirement both on veterinary education and animal husbandry sector as this will contribute to the increase of GDP in a big way. There has been a steady increase in terms of contribution to the national GDP from livestock sector as compared to agriculture sector which has been witnessing a steady decline. Also, so far, there have been no suicides reported among farmers in the livestock sector unlike
other sectors in agriculture.