Shortage of vets creates a crisis in Savanur taluk


Animals are still recovering from skin disease.

By Hamsaveni

There are only four veterinarians and 10 veterinary clinics to cover 64 villages in Savanur taluk in Haveri district. Cattle in the area are still recovering from lumpy skin disease.

As of 2022, Savanur taluk had 30,748 head of cattle, 63,950 sheep and goats, and 30,000 chickens. The taluk contributes seven percent to the animal husbandry of Karnataka.

Somangowdru Mallangowdru, a farmer from Jallapura village, said: “Veterinary services in the taluk are bad because the availability of veterinary doctors is low. If we call a doctor today, he will come in two days. It is not the doctors’ fault but the government’s job to appoint more veterinary doctors in the villages. Vaccination helped us to save our cattle from lumpy skin disease. I have spent a lot of money on medicines to treat the disease.”

Lumpy disease is caused by a virus called Lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV). It is a communicable disease that generally spreads through vectors or biting flies like mosquitoes and ticks and harms animals like cows and water buffaloes. According to one of the articles in The Times of India, initially, small lumps appear on the body of cattle, which later develop into wounds. In the process, cows eat less food, and their capacity to produce milk also gets affected; humans, however, remain unaffected by the disease.

Anand, a villager from Bairapura, said: “The need of veterinary doctors and clinics is more in villages than in any other places. In villages, animal husbandry is a part of farmers’ life. It gives us an opportunity to earn money. Veterinary services in Savanur is the worst.”

Parashuram  Allur, a farmer from Allipura, said: “If diseases like lumpy skin disease attack our cattle again, with inadequate veterinary staff, it would be really tough for farmers and veterinary doctors in rural areas. Farmers in Savanur lost cattle worth around Rs 70,000 to Rs 80,000. I spent a lot of money on my cattle, and they are recovering. We need more veterinary doctors in our taluk to cover all villages. We need doctors to attend to sick animals at the earliest, which is not happening now.”

Dr Ravindra Gujarathi, a veterinary doctor in Savanur taluk, said: “Shortage of veterinary personnel is a problem in rural areas. It is tough for us to cover all villages and attend to cases. We try to do our best. The distance between each village in Savanur is three km to five km. When the lumpy skin disease was at its peak, it was tough for veterinarians to treat the animals. We had to work day and night to bring the situation under control. Vaccination did help but it was chaotic.”

Veterinary clinics in the taluk lack good facilities and advanced equipment to treat animals. “In emergency cases or for blood tests, we need to take the animals to the district veterinary hospital.”

N. Ramesh, Joint Director, Admin, at the animal husbandry department, informed The Observer: “Four hundred veterinary doctor posts are to be filled very soon. We are aware that a lot of rural areas lack veterinary doctors. A case regarding the same is running in the court and we are expecting the judgment to come out at the end of the month. These 400 posts will fill in the shortage of veterinarians.”

As per one of the articles of Deccan Herald, there are at least 1000 posts vacant for the veterinary doctors across Karnataka.

According to data from the animal husbandry department, a total of three lakh animals were affected by lumpy skin disease statewide. Of these, 26,680 died. About 25,000 head of cattle were affected in Haveri. Of these, 2,833 died. The government has spent Rs 5.08 crore in compensating for the cattle deaths. About 2,500 cattle farmers in Savanur have received the compensation.

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