…plans to start 24/7 service from July
When Rinzin Lham and her family adopted some puppies a few months ago, they knew nothing about pet care services in the country. One night, the family drove to the hospital after their dog fell sick only to find it closed.
They learnt that the National Veterinary Hospital doesn’t cater emergency services at night.
She is not alone.
There are more than 5,000 registered pet dogs in Thimphu thromde alone. Not having 24/7 services is still a concern among pet owners and individuals rescuing random free-roaming dogs at night.
However, they need not wait long. The veterinary hospital has plans to provide 24/7 emergency service starting July this year.
According to veterinary superintendent Dr Kinley Dorji due to the shortage of staff, the hospital was not able to provide 24/7 service.
He said as the staff were engaged in the Nationwide Accelerated Dog Population Management and Rabies Control Programme they could begin the service in July. “We will have a dedicated para veterinary worker on duty from 9pm until morning.”
Currently, the hospital provides services from 9am to 3pm and emergency services from 3pm to 8pm. The hospital claims to have an on-call vet after 8pm but not many are aware of the service.
The hospital, according to Dr Kinley Dorji, receives roughly 30 dog-related cases in a day. Common diagnoses include the annual outbreak of Parvo-viral gastroenteritis, canine distemper, skin diseases, and allergic dermatitis, among other minor issues.
Besides, the hospital also sees increasing numbers of accidents, mostly run over by vehicles, dogs biting themselves and emergency choking.
Many pet owners are questioning the efficiency of the vet hospital, as most of them lost their pet after treatment at the hospital. Some said that the x-ray machines at the hospital were dysfunctional and had to take the pet to Maya Foundation in Paro.
A pet owner, Sonam said that the hospital lacked expertise in critical cases involving surgeries and emergency services during off-hours. He said that the pet was later treated by Jangsem Animal Shelter.
While there are no accurate numbers of dogs dying after the surgeries and treatments, Dr Kinley Dorji said that some might have died due to unavoidable complications, adding that only vet doctors conduct the surgeries.
He said that the hospital does not have screening machines required to decide if the dog is fit for surgeries, adding that the hospital only checks the blood pressure for now.
Besides, the use of top-off injectable anaesthetic could pose risk to the animal due to overdose; cannot do surgery for a longer duration. “The hospital will soon have anaesthetic gases that will address the risks posed by the injectable anaesthetic.”
The hospital currently has services including, x-ray, blood testing, operation theatre, and a ventilator, among others that cater to common treatments such as injuries, wounds, antibiotics, indigestions and eye problems.
Dr Kinley Dorji said: “Dogs avail the most services at the vet hospital.”
The three-storey hospital, was inaugurated in 2018 to meet the increasing demand for modern animal care and treatment for pets and domestic animals.