Increased awareness among pet owners and a quieter Diwali this year has meant fewer reported cases of injuries to pets such as burns and dehydration at the Bai Sakarbai Dinshaw Petit Hospital, Parel.
There has been a 25-30% drop in the cases reported as compared to last year, said officials at the hospital. So far, the Bombay Veterinary Hospital, as it is commonly known, has reported 18 cases of injured canines, 10 injured cats and around 20 dehydrated birds.
“We treated about 25-30 cases of canine injuries last year, but this Diwali we have treated only about 18 canines. Not a single pet is critical this year,” said Col (retd) JC Khanna, secretary, Bombay Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA).
Most cases of canine injuries reported were of stray dogs, not pedigreed ones. “Strays are more susceptible to burn injuries as they frequently walk over partially-lit firecrackers on the streets,” added Khanna.
According to private veterinary practitioners, owners have learnt to take care of their pets during Diwali, which has reduced cases of pet distress. “Pets can be distracted from firecrackers with the use of television or soft music. They can also be fed in tune with their behavioural changes to avoid gastric problems,” said Dr Vaibhav Pawar of Paws and Claws, a pet care centre.
Pets suffer from decrease in appetite, conjunctivitis and fear owing to the pollution and noise generated by firecrackers during Diwali, said doctors. Pets are scared of firecrackers as they sound three times louder to their ears compared to the human ear.
“This year birds suffered the most. The air pollution makes them fly higher than usual and while they do so, they tire out and dehydrate. As their body is low on glucose, we give them a glucose dose, after which they usually take a week to recover,” said Khanna.