(Bihar Times) Some years ago , an excellent handbook called Ethnovet Approach to Animal Health and management was brought out by Shri Vardhaman Jivdaya Kendra.
The important thing about this handbook which is in both English and Hindi is that it is meant for farmers and people who work with animals in the rural areas. There are no vets in the field in India. The government veterinary services simply do not exist. Rural veterinary centres are either devoid of medical staff or have a compounder who gives injections of water to poor people who bring in their sick animals. If they die, no action can be taken against the vet who turns up once a week and takes money to prescribe any medicines that give him a kickback. In my own constituency we have not seen a rural vet for many years. The vet appointed to the centre lives 90 km away in the city and comes when he is tipped off that there will be a “surprise” inspection. Even if he were to be present, he knows nothing as government vets stop learning the day they get their permanent jobs. And he is simply waiting till he gets his heart’s desire – a posting at a government slaughterhouse where he can be paid much better by the illegal butchers.
India is the largest milk producing country in the world. All farms are run by animals. Horses and bullocks ferry people. Goats and sheep and chickens are grown everywhere. Dogs exist in every village. So what does an animal owner do when his animal has a gastric upset, colic, cough or worse ? This book gives not just ways of handling animals , their feed, ailments, insemination, and body systems but homemade remedies of plants that are easy to find and make. All this in very simple language.
For instance , in case of minor fractures, reduce pain by feeding the fresh roots of Mimosa Pudica ( Chuimui, lajjabati) which have been boiled in 500 ml of water for 10 minutes. This should be given for 3 days. Hot poultices of Litsea Sebifera( Bahurandhrika , Adhavara,medalakdi ), turmeric ( Haldi) and sodabicarb ( Baking powder or Khaneka Soda)should be made fresh and applied on the crack every day for a week and Cissus quadrangularis (Hadjodi, Vedhari,Harsankar) 100ml should be given orally.
If an animal is bleeding, crush the leaves of Ocimum basilicum ( Babai Tulsi/Damro) or Margosa (Neem) and apply the pulp over the wound. Apply a 5% potassium permanganate solution. Clean the area with a decoction of Margosa and Annona squamosa leaves ( sharifa, sitaphal ) mixed with jackfruit leaf ( Kathal) powder mixed with butter and apply the paste.
Flies lay their eggs on any open wound , however small and thousands of animals are eaten from inside by maggots. Take the fresh juice of Annona Squamosa ( sharifa ) or Ocimum Sanctum (Tulsi) leaves , make the leaf into pulp and insert into the wound. An application of milky juice from Ficus Bengalensis ( Bargat, Vat) will bring out the maggots.
If the animal has a burn, apply potato mash if nothing else is available. You can also make Carron Oil. This is made by using the lime used in pan(betel leaf) , mix with water in a container. Take the top watery part , put into another container and mix with an equal part of vegetable oil. This emulsion is called Carron Oil.
Sore teats or teat wounds are common in milking cattle . The skin starts cracking , small swellings and pus filled blisters appear. Apart from a soothing antiseptic lotion to be applied , you can also make 10 ml tulsi juice or Margosa(Neem) leaf juice or mix both together and then mix in 100 gms of butter or vegetable oil and keep in a bottle. Apply twice daily.
For cows that have eaten plastic here is a possible remedy :Mix 1/2 kg jaggery and 1/2 kg salt to water. Water can be cold or lukewarm. Give this solution to the cow to drink. One hour later give the mixture of 1 kg mustard oil and neem oil and feed the cow with the help of a bamboo stick. Repeat the treatment in the morning and evening, both. After two days the plastic will start coming out from the cow's mouth and its dung. After four days its intestines should be clear of the plastic.
For an animal that has caught cold, has difficulty in breathing, with temperature and a nasal discharge and cough, try inhalations. Pour boiling water into a bucket with tea leaves, Margosa leaves and eucalyptus oil in small quantities. Hold the head of the animal above the bucket with a sack or towel on its head and let him breathe this steam for about 20 minutes, twice a day. Rub 250 gms vegetable oil mixed with 50 gms of camphor on the chest and cover with a gunny bag. You can also take black mustard, make it into a paste with some water and apply to the chest. Give dry heat fomentation.
These are only some of the recipes. There are dozens more. What I suggest is that instead of waiting for an animal to fall ill and then look for leaves and roots , one could actually get them first and then make the medicines and store them.
The book is priced at Rs 150 plus postage and you can get it from Ashok General Stores, 200, 3rd Kumbharvada, Somji Building, Dr MG Mahimtura Marg, Mumbai 400004 Ph: 022-3889961. My office buys 50 at a time and then sends them to rural animal caretakers. I urge you to give this book as a gift and if you have any recipes that have worked for animals, send them to me and I will forward them to the authors to use in the next edition.
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