Srinagar, October 16: Between April 2023 and October 14, 2023, 4843 animal bite instances were registered in Kashmir, which is a worrying increase.
According to the official information provided by the Anti-Rabies Clinic at SMHS Hospital, of the 4843 bite cases, 3311 included dogs, 1224 involved cats, and 308 involved other animals.
597 incidents of bites were recorded in April, 792 in May, 848 in June, 745 in July and August, 770 in September, and 346 up to October 14.
Srinagar had the most instances, with 346 people seeking medical assistance for animal attacks between April and October 2023.
Other districts also reported sizable numbers, including 189 instances in Budgam, 168 in Baramulla, 104 in Kupwara, 142 in Bandipora, 103 in Ganderbal, 165 in Pulwama, 24 in Shopian, 36 in Kulgam, and 50 in Anantnag.
Despite some attempts at sterilisation by the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), the uncontrolled population of stray dogs was a significant contributor to the rise in the dog population, according to Dr. Muhammad Salim Khan, head of the Department of Community Medicine at Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar.
“A female dog’s lifespan is between 12 and 14 years, and from the time she is two years old until she is old, she gives birth once every six months. The growing dog population is a result of these frequent births, he added.
According to Dr. Khan, humans should stay away from regions where dogs are allowed to wander freely, particularly in the morning, evening, and at night.
“As a precaution, one should always carry a stick or cane. Dog attacks may be particularly dangerous for young people and the elderly. It’s important to avoid provoking dogs by throwing stones at them, which is a typical mistake made by kids. Additionally, people should keep their distance from pups whose moms can turn hostile, according to Khan.
He said that Kashmiris were well renowned for their love of dogs and for often giving them bones and leftover food.
For companion dogs, it’s crucial to seek the advice of a licenced veterinarian and make sure they have the required anti-rabies vaccine. Additionally, he advised dog owners to follow a three-dose rabies vaccination regimen (0-7-21) to acquire pre-exposure prophylaxis against the disease.
According to Dr. Abdul Hameed, a consultant at the SMHS Hospital’s Anti-Rabies Clinic, the frequency of animal bite cases is on the rise.
According to Dr. Hameed, there are three types of animal bites.
“Category 1 entails touching, eating, or licking intact skin; in this situation, we provide patient counselling. Patients in category 2 have abrasions and scrapes without bleeding, and they need anti-rabies immunisation. Patients in category 3 had several bites and were bleeding. Patients in category 3 get anti-rabies serum (rabies immunoglobulin). Every patient receives free vaccinations and immunoglobulins, he added.
Since 2013, nearly 60,000 individuals have been bitten by dogs.
In 2013-14, 6041 dog bite cases were reported to SMHS Hospital, increasing to 7324 in 2015-16, 6548 in 2016-17, 6802 in 2017-18, 6399 in 2018-19, 6984 in 2019-20, and 4798 in 2020-21.
Through the Animal Birth Control (ABC) initiative, the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) has sterilised almost 3000 dogs in various wards across Srinagar.
In an attempt to control the number of stray animals and reduce the danger of dog attacks, two sterilising facilities have been operationalized.