With rapid urbanisation in the Kathmandu Valley, concrete jungles have replaced cultivable land and animal husbandry is becoming a matter of the past.
This seems to have put the existence of the Central Veterinary Hospital at stake.
The Tripureshwor-based veterinary hospital was established in 1970 as a referral hospital, but after 46 years of its establishment the only veterinary hospital in the country rarely receives targeted animals like cow, buffalo and goat.
According to the hospital administration, it registers an average of 50 cases daily. Of them, hybrid pampered dogs and roosters account for 70 to 75 per cent animal patients brought to the hospital, Dr Arjun Aryal, veterinary officer at the out-patient department of the hospital told The Himalayan Times.
Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur share nearly 70, 20 and 10 per cent of animal cases brought to the hospital respectively. The hospital deals with chicken post-mortem, seasonal disease, labor complication, abortion and dystocia, among others.
Former president of Nepal Veterinary Association, Dr Ram Krishna Khatiwada, expressed dissatisfaction at the government’s failure to give due priority to the hospital. “The hospital staffers are busy killing time attending only to pet dogs, which are mostly brought for rabies vaccination and other minor ailments.
It’s better to pull down the shutters if the hospital should exist in such a pitiable condition. People carry their pampered pets to the hospital just for free or low cost treatment,” he said.
“If the dogs brought to the hospital are not to be counted, the hospital is no different from a district veterinary offices that receive only a few animal patients on a daily basis,” said a staffer at the hospital requesting anonymity, “With no emergency and general patient wards now, the hospital is really in a bad shape,” he added.
The hospital collects a revenue of approximately Rs 40,000 per month from the treatment of animals and birds. However, this is only 10 per cent of its total expenditure of Rs 400,000.
Registration fee for treatment of animals and birds starts from as low as Rs 5. The hospital charges the highest fee of Rs 200 for ultrasound, major operation and postmortem of elephants, horses and monkeys.
Though the hospital was initially headed by a gazetted first class officer, the government scrapped the post. The hospital is now headed by a gazetted second class officer with only 24 staffers. Of them, two are veterinary doctors and others are junior level staffers.
Dr Rebati Man Shrestha, a retired veterinary doctor of the hospital, suggested that the government develop the hospital as a veterinarians’ training centre rather than shutting it down completely.