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KNOWING ANIMALS

It is important for us to inculcate basic knowledge of the animals around us, irrespective of whether we own one or not, for the sake of ecological balance

What do I do when I see an injured cow/ horse on the road?

Unlike the case of an injured cat or dog, an injured cow or horse can cause much more damage to you, if threatened. Do not, under any circumstance, directly approach the animal. First, call for back up. Call an animal aid and ask them for directions. Explain the situation to them. By the time they arrive, try to provide the wounded animal with water (possibly in a bucket) to calm them down. A horse's hind legs are very strong, try not to scare them as their kick can be lethal. In case a calf is wounded, do not try to take them away from their mother, she might charge at you.

You can apply simple first-aid, if you gain the animal's trust. Begin with patting the animal, let them know that you're a friend. Offer them food. Washing the wound and providing the wounded animal with a place to sit – a mat or a straw bed would be helpful. Stay with the animal and offer reassurance till animal aid arrives.

My wife is pregnant. Is my cat's litter box dangerous for my wife during pregnancy?

If a cat consumes raw meat and hunts outside, it might contract a protozoan called Toxoplasma gondii. This causes a disease called toxoplasmosis. For healthy adults, it is like flu but, when a mother becomes infected with toxoplasmosis during her pregnancy, her unborn child can become infected with toxoplasmosis via the placenta. This can lead to foetal death.

Cats that become infected with toxoplasmosis shed the organism in their faeces for a short period of time. Even if your cat is shedding the organism, it takes a minimum of 48 hours for the oocysts to become infective. Cleaning the litter box daily prevents transmission. Use of proper hygienic practices can prevent infection. It is advisable that someone else cleans your cat's litter box. If at all your wife has to change the litter box, she should wear gloves.

Keeping your cat indoors is a good way to prevent your cat from becoming infected with toxoplasmosis. Also, avoid feeding your cat raw meat and do not allow your cat to hunt. These practices will remove the possibility of exposure of your cat to toxoplasmosis.

Can ducks be incorporated in paddy field to prevent insects? Can they replace pesticides?

Use of ducks in rice paddy fields is an age-old practice that is now being revived. It is a natural and efficient way for ensuring the healthy growth of crops. Ducks feed on insects and weeds, without touching the plants. Their wading oxygenates the water and stirs up the soil. Their droppings are a natural fertiliser.

(Views expressed and information provided are personal. Send your questions to manekaanimallove@gmail.com)

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