Mira-Bhayandar: The Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation's (MBMC) veterinary department is struggling with an outbreak of tick-borne diseases that are posing a threat to the lives of stray dogs at its sole sterilisation centre located in Shire Gaothan in Uttan.
In a precautionary measure, the centre has been temporarily closed since August 10 to initiate a disinfection procedure aimed at eradicating the ticks (Ixodida) that have infested the cages. “The last batch of 26 dogs brought to the centre for sterilisation will be kept there until they are ready to be released in their neighbourhoods, following which we will begin the disinfection process,” confirmed the head of MBMC's veterinary department, Dr Vikram Niratle. Tick-borne diseases can produce severe and painful symptoms, and in some cases, be fatal due to high temperatures and other complications. Ticks can transmit single or multiple organisms through a single bite, thereby risking a dog’s immune system.
“The disinfection procedure envisages cleaning of cages using high pressure water jets at regular intervals, followed by heating with the help of fire guns and spraying insecticides in cages, cracks and crevices.” added Dr Niratle. This responsibility was entrusted to a Bhayandar-based trust by the MBMC in November 2022. Under the revised agreement, the MBMC pays Rs1,650 per dog, regardless of gender, and covers sterilisation of dogs, administration of Anti-Rabies Vaccination (ARV), post-operative care, and releasing the dogs back to their territories within a week. The agency, equipped with a van and 100 cages at the sterilisation centre, operates with a dedicated team of doctors, dog catchers, and support staff.
Fire guns deployed to get rid of ticks in dog cages. | FPJ
MBMC uncertain about current dog population in the city
The MBMC claims to have sterilised 44,935 dogs between 2004 and 2022 under the Animal Birth Control (ABC) project. From December 2022 until July 2023, the newly appointed agency sterilized 3,891 dogs. The censuses in 2007 and 2012 revealed the dog count in the twin-city to be 18,828 and 8,275 respectively. However, the MBMC remains uncertain about the present dog population in the twin-city, despite a comprehensive census conducted under the Union Government's Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying, and Fisheries (DAHDF) in 2018. Neverthele
MBMC reports 30 daily incidents of dog biting
Dog-biting incidents have witnessed a sudden surge across the twin-city. Official statistics reveal that in 2022, a total of 6,612 dog bite cases were reported from medical institutions, including public health centres (PHCs), and a hospital operated by the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC).
Additionally, the government hospital received 640 cases within the past four months. This results in an average of approximately 30 dog-bite victims visiting the civic-run medical facilities daily to seek the crucial Anti-Rabies vaccine (ARV) that is administered to people suffering from dog bites.
Fire gun used to kill ticks. | FPJ