In Karnataka, an outbreak of foot and mouth infection (FMD) resulted in many animal deaths. All attempts are being made to contain the infection. The first symptom of FMD is high fever, then ulceration in the mouth which results in excessive salivation. It is the saliva which spreads the disease through water. Next, lesions appear in between the hooves which get infected and filled with maggots.
Despite free vaccination provided by The Animal Husbandry Department, the villagers are not willing to get their animals vaccinated because there will be reduction of milk by two to three litres for a minimum period of four days. They fear the loss of income but fail to understand that a bigger loss would be incurred if their animal succumbs to the infection.
An animal has to be vaccinated twice a year for a period of five years continuously in order for it to develop immunity against the virus. Infected young calves normally succumb to this infection.
During the camp, the volunteers, in groups of five, went to four nearby villages accompanied by an Animal Health Department doctor with antibiotic, vitamin injections and de-worming suspensions. An average of 25 animals was treated at each village. These animals were not in a suitable condition to travel to the camp since they were recuperating from the viral infection.
The animals which made it to the camp site underwent general health checkups. Apart from cattle, herds of sheep and goats were treated and de-wormed. In conjunction with World Anti Rabies day, 60 dogs were also given anti rabies vaccination, de-wormed, and treated for skin ailments. In addition, health cards with their details were given to the owners.
It was an exposure of a different kind for many of the volunteers, who enjoyed being close to the animals and the local hospitality.