World Leprosy Day 2024: 8 essential tips to prevent leprosy in pets - Hindustan Times

World Leprosy Day 2024: 8 essential tips to prevent leprosy in pets

By, New Delhi
Jan 28, 2024 05:55 PM IST

As a responsible pet parent, understanding the risks and taking preventative measures against leprosy can ensure the well-being of your furry companions.

World Leprosy Day is observed internationally every year on the last Sunday of January to increase public awareness of leprosy. This year the occasion will be observed on Tuesday 30 January, 2024. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness among the general public about the disease's stigma and to inform them that it is a treatable condition caused by a specific type of bacteria. Leprosy, sometimes referred to as Hansen's disease, is a persistent bacterial infection that can afflict both people and animals, including pets. Leprosy cases have been documented in chimpanzees, dogs, cats, armadillos, and other animals; however, they are uncommon. Despite the low risk, conscientious pet owners ought to be aware of the disease and adopt the necessary safety measures. (Also read: World Leprosy Day 2024: Date, history, significance )

Learn how to safeguard your beloved pets from the threat of leprosy with these crucial tips.(Unsplash)
Learn how to safeguard your beloved pets from the threat of leprosy with these crucial tips.(Unsplash)

Tips to prevent leprosy in pets

Dr Deepak Saraswat, Head Veterinarian, Zigly shared with HT Digital some necessary safety measures for pet parents to keep their furry companions content, healthy, and leprosy-free.

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1. Get your pet regularly checked by a vet

Annual check-ups allow vets to catch health issues early. Make sure to tell them about any new lumps, skin lesions, or nerve damage that could indicate leprosy. Catching it early makes treatment easier.

2. Ensure pets receive all recommended vaccines

While no leprosy vaccine exists yet, keeping your pet UTD on core vaccines like rabies strengthens their immune system to fight infections. Discuss special geo-targeted vaccines with your vet.

3. Keep pets away from raw meat diets

There are speculations that raw meat could expose pets to leprosy, especially wild game. Cook all meat fully before feeding pets.

4. Prevent contact with other possibly infected animals

Monitor your pet outdoors and keep them leashed. Don't allow contact with stray animals or with species potentially carrying leprosy.

5. Use pest control

Use pest control when necessary to prevent access to garbage and other potential sources of contamination.

6. Control rodent problems

Keep rodent problems (rats, mice, or other animal pests) under control, as rodents can carry and spread the bacteria that causes leptospirosis.

7. Limit access to standing water

Prevent your pet from drinking from puddles or other sources of water that may be contaminated with animal urine.

8. Follow good hygiene practices

Practice frequent hand washing and maintain good overall hygiene to minimise the risk of infection.

Although there are still a few cases of leprosy in pets, responsible pet parents need to be aware of the symptoms, indicators, and modes of transmission. Adopting these proactive steps supports the wellbeing and health of cherished pet family members! If you are worried about animal infectious diseases or pet leprosy, consult your veterinarian.

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