Impact of lockdown on street animals | Adamas University

Covid-19, Lockdown

Impact of lockdown on street animals

Student contributor: Ms. Kasturi Dan (BSc 1ST year Student, Department of Biochemistry, School of Life Science and Biotechnology).

From the mouth of a street dog:

Hello everyone”, I am Kalu, or Lalu or whatever name you may use to call me, I always respond to you anyway. Now you must be wondering who is this Kalu or Lalu. I am the street dog you cross every day while going to work, school, etc. We are born on the road, spend our entire life there, and eventually die there. We survive on whatever little we get.

In the morning, I just sit right in front of the corner tea-stall where many people gather and sometimes a few kind ones throw me some biscuits and that becomes my breakfast. Well, sometimes I receive none but I never complain, I still sit there every day. Getting lunch is usually easier. I just have to wait outside the roadside hotels and food stalls where so many people eat regularly and most of them keep plenty of food on their plates. Dinner might not be that plenty but it is still enough. Usually, apart from small fights with my fellow mates for food or sudden acts of cruelty like throwing of stones at us without any provocation by some silly kids and sometimes even adults, we street dogs don’t have much problem in surviving, but that was until a few days back when suddenly almost all shops closed, streets have become so empty. It feels weird. What has become to this busy city? Where has everyone gone? And the very few who still come out are wearing a strange thing covering their nose and mouth and they seem so frightened. There are no tea stalls, roadside food stalls or hotels open for me to get food, and even if I at all find some stalls open and people in them, they just chase me away if I go near them. Nobody gives me biscuits anymore. I don’t remember the last time I ate a proper meal. I am becoming weak day by day. I completed one year just yesterday and received a cruel birthday present from a very kind man who used to give me biscuits almost every day. When I saw him, I ran to him with such great expectations that I will finally get something to eat but instead of food, he suddenly picked up a brick and threw it at me. Ouch! It hurt. I don’t have much breath left in me to even scream or shout but I was shocked at his behavior. Why did he hurt me? What did I do wrong? I was just happy to see him. We just want some love, is that our fault? I don’t know what is going on but can guess that people are themselves afraid, too afraid to act sensibly. But don’t hurt us, don’t misunderstand us. We have not brought or are responsible for whatever it is you are afraid of. Then why are you being cruel to us? This is our world too. We have as much right to live like you. So please let us live too. Please…

Scientific Facts regarding the transmission of SARS-COV-2 form animal to Human and vice versa:

Although very rare it was reported previously that some of the coronavirus (Severe acute respiratory syndrome or SARS and Middle East respiratory syndrome or MERS) among large coronavirus families which infect animal can also infect human beings. COVID-19 causing virus SARS-COV-2 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing, and talking.

Domesticated animals and birds like dogs, pig chicken cannot be infected by SARS-COV-2. It was tested on beagle dogs. Five three months old dogs were inoculated and kept along with two other uninoculated dogs. According to the swab test report among the virus inoculated five beagle dogs two were seroconverted but the other three and the two uninoculated dogs were all reported seronegative for SARS-COV-2. Moreover, when a similar kind of test was performed on pigs, chickens, and ducks none of them showed the presence of viral RNA in the swab test. These studies show that these animals might have very low or zero susceptibility to the novel coronavirus.

However, this report indicated that cats can be infected by SARS-COV-2. A study conducted by the Jianzhong Shi et al. showed five domestic cats were subjected to SARS-COV-2 in their nasal region. After a six days incubation period viral RNA, as well as infectious virus particles were detected in the upper respiratory tracts of all experimental models. They have also reported the cat to cat transmission is possible through droplets. But these cats are tested in laboratory conditions where this small batch of the animal was subjected to a very high dose of SARS-COV-2. This kind of high dose is not at all possible in a real life scenario. Moreover, there is no such report found which indicate that the infected cats can transmit the virus to a human. (These preliminary reports not gone through the peer-review process).

Reference:

1.  Susceptibility of ferrets, cats, dogs, and different domestic animals to SARS-coronavirus-2. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.03.30.015347

2. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00984-8

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