NEW DELHI: It’s not part of the regular treatment but in a pinch, alternative medicine in the form of homeopathy, ayurveda or herbal concoctions, does the trick. And the doctors responsible for animals at the National Zoological Park, Delhi, find, that they sometimes work when allopathy doesn’t.
“We started using them seven-eight years ago,” says Delhi zoo veterinary officer Paneer Selvam. “We get them wheneve necessity arises.” The zoo’s standard line of treatment is allopathy but whenever a particularly difficult case comes up, Selvam consults practitioners of alternative medicine. ‘About two years ago, one of the Asiatic lions had hind-quarter paralysis. Another one developed the condition some time back.
In both cases we first tried with allopathic treatment but when that didn’t work we used homeopathic treatment,” says Selvam, “In my experience, we have got good results.” A Himalayan black bear that was afflicted with the same condition a year ago and was cured by homeopathy. “Many of the zoo vets prefer to try alternative medicine now,” says Selvam.
One of the first time he tried it was some years ago with an old white tiger with a stone in the urinary bladder. Surgery was too much of a risk for the aged tiger and homeopathy was used instead. But the black herbal concoction, a potent medicine for wounds, Selvam’s been using for a decade. “It is a very good ointment for maggot wounds,” he says.
The zoo doesn’t stock homeopathy or ayurvedic medicines. The vet says that homeopathic courses typically last for about three months and they stock enough for one. The decision to attempt the other lines for treatment isn’t Selvam’s own. Health issues pertaining to animals at the zoo are attended to by a health committee that consists of a team of doctors and meets once in three months.