Study identifies most prevalent health problems and diseases among street dogs in Nepal's top tourist destination
Street dogs are found everywhere, particularly in the urban areas of Nepal. Neither the authorities nor the locals care about their shelter, food and health. Not only is the aspect of animal care highly overlooked, but the impact of street dogs in public health is also neglected.
Researchers have studied the health problems and diseases in street dogs of Pokhara, Nepal's second largest city, which is 200 kilometres west of the capital Kathmandu and best known for its natural beauty and touristic attractions.
Researchers Mohan Acharya and Santosh Dhakal, both graduate research assistants in animal health sciences at US universities, found that mange infestation and wounds were the two most common health problems in the street dogs of Pokhara.
In research titled 'Major Health Problems and Diseases of Street Dogs in Pokhara Valley, Nepal' and published in the International Journal of Applied Sciences and Biotechnology (IJASBT), Mr Acharya and Mr Dhakal analysed the prevalence of health problems and diseases among street dogs in Pokhara, their impact in public health and on Pokhara's tourism industry, and recommended suitable actions for stakeholders.
"Street dogs could hamper tourism in Pokhara as they bark at people, fall in traffic accidents, carry and roam with open wounds, pass faeces everywhere and even bite pedestrians," said Mr Acharya. "Dogs are reservoirs for over 60 zoonotic diseases including rabies, a dangerous disease that could easily pass from rabid dogs to human and is 100% fatal. Sporadic rabies cases have been reported in and around Pokhara in the past."
With almost 100 human rabies cases recorded per year, Nepal has one of the highest rates of human rabies deaths per total population compared to other countries.
The researchers analysed the health problems and diseases prevalent in 171 street dogs rescued by the Himalayan Animal Rescue Team in 2011. Mange infestation (40.35%), wounds (18.12%), respiratory tract infection (7.60%), gastrointestinal problems or diarrhoea (5.26%), parvovirus, distemper, canine transmissible venereal tumour, and maggots, among others, in the descending order of prevalence, were the most prevalent health conditions in the street dogs.
Mr Acharya said that the lack of knowledge among donors and activists working in animal care also inspired him to conduct this research. "International donors donated medicines for [canine] kidney disease, diabetes, arthritis, dental care, and obesity, none of which were common among street dogs in Nepal and of which less than 10% was useful," said Mr Acharya. "So I analysed the data to overcome this problem and inform the donors about the kind of medicine required to treat street dogs in Nepal."
The study recommends that authorities and organizations working in this sector identify economical and healthy ways to minimize street dog populations in major cities in Nepal.
The research article 'Major Health Problems and Diseases of Street Dogs in Pokhara Valley, Nepal' appears on a recent issue (Vol. 4(1), 2016) of the International Journal of Applied Sciences and Biotechnology (IJASBT), pages 53-56. The article is made available online via Nepal Journals Online (NepJOL) platform, which is part of the JOL Project supported by INASP.
About the Journal
The “International Journal of Applied Sciences and Biotechnology” (IJASBT) is an international online journal published quarterly in English language by SEM-Biotech Publishing, Birganj, Nepal with an aim to cover peer-reviewed research and review articles describing recent advances and applied aspects of various sciences and biotechnology.
NepJOL hosts over 110 journals published from Nepal, covering the full range of academic disciplines. The objective of NepJOL is to give greater visibility to participating journals and to the research they convey. NepJOL was initiated in June 2006 and officially launched in September 2007. It is a project supported by the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publication (INASP) and locally managed by Tribhuvan University Central Library. It aims to promote the awareness and use of Nepal-published journals in all disciplines by providing access to tables of contents (TOCs), abstracts and full text on the Internet.
INASP is an international development charity working with a global network of partners to improve production, sharing and use of research information and knowledge, so that countries are equipped to solve their development challenges. In particular, INASP works to strengthen the availability, access and use of international research information by researchers in developing countries and the production, quality, dissemination and access of research outputs from researchers in those same countries.
Disclaimer: Research published in journals hosted on the NepJOL platform is selected by the journals in accordance with their own editorial processes and criteria. INASP and Tribhuvan University Central Library provide hosting and guidance on good practices but are not involved in selection of research.
For Further Information
Thakur Amgain, Communications Consultant, INASP
Dr Sangita Shrestha, Communications Officer, INASP