According to officials from the department, more than 10,000 domestic animals died during cyclone Gaja in Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Thanjavur and Pudukottai districts.
The teams comprising veterinarians, livestock inspectors and other officials from the department were deputed to carry out enumeration, ensure safe burial of the carcasses and to prevent the possible transmission of any diseases. Due to the lack of man power, officials from other districts across Tamil Nadu were also deployed
Among the total animal deaths due to the cyclone, Nagapattinam accounted for the majority. Dr P Nedunchezhian, regional joint director (RJD) incharge of animal husbandry Nagapattinam, said the number of deaths were more than 8,900. He said that a total of 52 teams were deputed for the district to conduct medical camps and monitoring. “One positive is, no bacterial infection — including hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) – has spread among the cattle. But to be safe, we have procured enough HS vaccinations,” Nedunchezhian said.
While HS is common among the cattle, Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) also known as ‘goat plague’ is common among goats and necessary vaccinations for the same were also sent to all the four districts, he added. Doctors said that during the time of natural calamities, animals undergo more stress and it could lead to them getting more exposed to infections. “Hence, apart from vaccination drives and other measures, medical camps were put up in certain villages,” an official said.
Meanwhile, RJD in-charge of Tiruvarur, Dr M Madhanagopal said that uprooting of trees, building collapse and drowning were the most common reasons for the animal deaths during the cyclone. More than 500 animals and poultry died during the cyclone in Tiruvarur district.
On the other hand, in Pudukottai, around 700 goats and cattle had died in the cyclone and in Thanjavur, the number was around 800. A source from the department said that since a lot of agricultural lands were destroyed, providing green fodder to the cattle was proving to be a challenge. “We are trying to source as much green fodder from the government farms,” the source added.