Valley-based doctors have advised animal lovers to get their pets vaccinated citing reason that they could spread infections to humans.
Doctors say diseases that pets carry can be harmful particularly to pregnant women and sick people.
“People here rear cats mostly which can spread toxoplasmosis disease to humans. This disease is found in the feces of cats and from there it gets transferred to humans. It generally does not manifest clinically in healthy individuals but can cause long-term health problems in pregnant women and immune-deficient people and animals,” say the doctors.
Professor and HOD, Community Medicine, Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar, Dr Salim Khan told Rising Kashmir that nowadays people in Kashmir are more inclined to keep cats as pets, especially Persian/hybrids. "But they should get them examined by a Vet and vaccinate them against rabies."
“Be aware that toxoplasmosis is also found among cats which can be transmitted to humans, especially to pregnant women who are at high risk of catching the infection. The pregnant ladies are also vulnerable to fetal loss due to toxoplasmosis diseases,” he said.
Dr Khan said that they have been receiving cases of cat bites for a few months and the number is increasing. “So, it is mandatory for people to get their cats checked by a Vet and get them vaccinated as soon as possible."
Dr Mudasir Qazi, a veterinary doctor working in the Central Veterinary Hospital, Srinagar told Rising Kashmir that cats usually get infected by toxoplasmosis disease when they eat raw meat and rats. “So, it is better to feed them cat food only.”
According to the records, the Central Veterinary Hospital, Srinagar on an average receives 30-35 pet cases daily.
He however said that there are no toxoplasmosis disease cases in Kashmir so far.
Dr Qazi said that people should adopt cats at the age of two and a half months, as it is necessary for the kittens to get antibiotics from the mother's milk. “If the cats don't get antibiotics, their immune system becomes weak and they get infected by different diseases,” he said.
According to the doctor, there are pet breeders in Kashmir, who hide the exact age of cats. “So, people should remain cautious.”
Dr Qazi said that there are zoonotic diseases that can transfer from animals to humans and from humans to animals. “Since COVID- 19 lockdown, people started pet rearing which elevates their mood and diverts their attention. As a result pet culture in Kashmir has increased,” he said.
But Qazi said that, “We should get pets vaccinated to prevent them from contracting any dangerous diseases.”