On Day 4 of his volunteering trip to Hyderabad, India, Dr. Cliff and the PFA Hyderabad crew spent an exhausting day travelling around Hyderabad and its surroundings on dog rescue calls that kept coming in one after another.
Rabies or Canine Distemper?
The first one was a female dog who appeared to have back problems and trouble walking. However, she would not give in easily to being caught. Even with her unsteadiness, she bolted off leaving the PFA crew to chase her down. When they finally netted her, Dr. Cliff examined her and found no physical signs of injury. He suspected she had a neurological problem possibly from the onset of Rabies. Accordingly, they had to muzzle and handle her with careful protocols. A positive diagnosis of Rabies can only be made by doing a biopsy of the brain after the animal dies. Consequently, there was nothing to be done, other than taking her back to the shelter and watching for signs of disease progression. Dr. Ashad at the shelter checked her out and was also worried about possible Canine Distemper, a viral disease similar to Rabies. While Rabies attacks the brain and nervous system, Canine Distemper attacks the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems. Both are fatal. If she had either, she would have to be humanely euthanized.
Rabies In India
Rabies is a neurological disease that affects mammals only. It is caused by a virus that damages the nerves. While it is preventable with regular vaccinations, this is an impossible task where large populations of stray dogs exist. The virus is transmitted by direct contact through broken skin or mucous membranes. Humans mostly get it after receiving bites from infected animals.
Each year, 50,000 people die from Rabies around the globe. Of them, 30,000 are on the Indian Subcontinent, and most are children! These are shocking and tragic statistics. Consequently, Rabies remains a very serious threat in India, and the PFA Hyderabad team takes no chances. The only way to keep everyone safe is to take suspected cases off the street and place them in isolation for 5 – 7 days to observe symptoms.
The second call was about another dog who was having trouble walking, but when they arrived on the scene, the dog was already dead. At first, Dr. Cliff assumed he had been hit by a car. However, a talk with people living nearby revealed that he might have been beaten. This left Dr. Cliff and his daughter Emily without words to express what they felt in their heavy hearts. Cruelty to animals is illegal in India but rarely reported. And lax enforcement almost never holds perpetrators accountable. PFA arranged to dispose of the dog’s body.
Checking up on Cupcake
Checking up on Cupcake from Episode #2 was just the antidote they needed to get their spirits back up. She was convalescing from an open paw wound and Emily had taken her out of her cage on occasion to pet her. They had developed a bond and now, Emily was on a mission to convince her dad to bring Cupcake back to Canada with them. Will she succeed? Find out in Episode #6.
About People For Animals, Hyderabad
PFA Hyderabad advocates for domestic animals, wildlife, lab animals as well as pets. They also investigate animal abuse in the entertainment and factory farming industries. Their success is very dependent on private donations through membership programs. For more information or to donate, visit PFA Hyderabad.
To see more rescue missions like this by Dr. Cliff Worldwide Vet, subscribe to our YouTube Channel.
About Dr. Cliff
Dr. Cliff Redford, DVM, is an experienced veterinarian and owner/operator of the Wellington Veterinary Hospital in Markham, Ontario, Canada. Fondly known as Dr. Cliff to his clients, he has tended to the wellness of pets and animals for over two decades. Hands-on experience in his clinic, combined with animal advocacy and rescue missions locally and across the globe, has allowed him to curate a vast body of knowledge on animal health and welfare, including preventative counselling, soft tissue surgery, advanced dental procedures, internal medicine and emergency care.