Md Hamid, a resident of Oxygen area in Chattogram, has three dogs, one of which has recently been suffering from allergies. Hamid was very worried about his ailing dog, named Sand Burner, as he could not bring it to the veterinary hospital at the Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (CVASU) – where he usually took his pets if they had a problem.
The Shahedul Alam Qaderi Teaching Veterinary Hospital (SAQTVH) at CVASU, in Chattogram, provides treatment for domesticated and pet animals, but it was closed when the Covid-19 shutdown began in the last week of March.
Hamid said, "I have some dogs and cats. I called doctors' mobile phones to get treatment for my ailing dog, which could have recovered more quickly had I been allowed to take him to the hospital."
"Veterinary doctors are also not willing to visit my house to examine my dog because of the novel coronavirus pandemic," he added.
Hamid speculated that in Chattogram there are around 50,000-60,000 pets – many of whose owners are now worried.
Sabiha Oishi, who has seven cats of different ages, said she used to be able to take her pets to the veterinary hospital at CVASU, but now she is worried as the facility is closed.
She said, "The animal hospital at CVASU charges very little to treat animals, while it provides excellent services. It can even cure animals by operating on them if it has a complex physical condition."
Mir Rezuan Rahman, president of Chattogram Bird Breeders' Association, said, "We could get the DNA of our birds tested to determine their genders. We could also plaster the wings of our birds if they were broken, but now we cannot get any of those services."
The hospital's Director Dr Bhajan Chandra Das said, "University teachers and intern doctors treat animals here. When the university was closed for the general holidays, the veterinary hospital was closed too."
"We posted some contact numbers at the veterinary hospital so pet owners could contact us in case of emergency. Many people are receiving our services through telephone," he added.
According to sources, around 11,000 animals have been treated at SAQTVH over the last two years.
Sources at the hospital said around 4,000 animals – including goats, lambs, chickens, pigeons, rabbits, dogs, cats, and myna birds – received treatment at the hospital in 2019.
Usually, the facility conducts different tests like pregnancy tests, x-ray, ultrasonography, and blood tests for ailing animals – plus performs autopsies on deceased animals.
The veterinary hospital can also provide artificial insemination operations on some animals and conduct c-section operations on cows and goats. Doctors there can perform orthopedic surgeries on dogs, cats and rabbits.
According to the Department of Livestock services in the district, there are around 1.75 lakh livestock animals in Chattogram. Two veterinary hospitals in Double Mooring and Bahaddarhat in Chattogram city were kept open for these animals.
"Along with these hospitals, a special team has also been working so that we can overcome any crisis," said District Livestock Officer Dr Mohammad Reazul Islam.