Personally, I have always felt that the best doctor in the world is the Veterinarian. He can’t ask his patients what is the matter…he’s just got to know.Will Rogers
According to the Indian Ministry of Agriculture from 2017, India has more than 355 million cows and buffalo for dairy production. That is a mammoth number in itself. Like every being, these animals fall sick too and they are treated by Veterinary doctors. According to a report of Indian Express there were 63,000 registered veterinarians in 2014, whereas the requirement is between 1.1-1.2 lakh. This gap maybe attributed to the lack of infrastructure and funds, but also it cannot be neglected that the knowledge/interest of study of animal diseases amongst the students and public is not as significant as is on their human counterparts. This is quite a funny and ignorant assumption, considering the plethora of animals and their widespread population all across the country and globe.
I learnt a lot about this field after staying with Dr. Malini for a week, who is a veterinary doctor, and accompanying her while she goes around to visit ailing animals. It would not be wrong for me to admit that only then did I realise the dearth of knowledge the common public, particularly the urban population, have of this amazing area and how different is the life of a veterinarian from professionals of other areas.
Veterinary study is dedicated towards the study of medical sciences of animals. Similar to a human medical course, it is also a 5 year long study. Thereafter, you can either work as a government’s affiliated Veterinary officer (VO) or establish your own practice. It is a very important field of study particularly for the upliftment of rural areas where most people depend on agriculture and dairy farming.
This field however does not bring the glitters and sparkles laden life of a metro to most professionals. The area of practice is usually the rural belt. So a regular day of a VO starts with being in the hospital early morning. People start to flock around since then and the routine of prescribing pills and medicines, normally based on description of the symptoms the owner can elaborate, begins.
Thereafter, the doctor starts the daily program of field visits. With the kit comprising of medicines, injections, drips etc, the scene looks nothing less than that from the old hindi cinema where a doctor is always accompanied with a briefcase.
Unlike human patients, here the patient has nothing to say through words but can only give a long desperate gaze to the doctor. I personally felt it nothing less than a herculean task to identify the trouble only from external swelling on the animal’s body, to otherwise from the body temperature measured with a thermometer placed gently in the rectum or otherwise by pushing your hand completely into the rectum of the animal. This continues till late evenings, when finally the doctor can call it a day and head home.
The experience of witnessing all of it was very enriching. The love and compassion we often find missing in our routine is exhibited here in abundance. The pain in the eyes of the owner when their animals are given injection, the way they talk to the grieving animal to stay strong while patting it gently, as though the animal can hear, is quite profound. And above all the job these doctors are doing is more humanitarian than humans do for each other. So to all the young students and animal lovers, there is a lot more you can do than showing love for animals. Let your love become your passion and maybe also your profession.