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Mumbai animal hospital has no drugs left for surgerys; 300 pets sent back

The city's leading animal hospital has run out of three critical narcotic drugs. Unable to procure the drugs on their own due to a legal problem, the BSPCA management has now requested the FDA to bail them out

The health, and life of thousands of pets and other animals, are hanging in balance. The Bombay Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA), the only place where hundreds of citizens come every week to get their pets treated or operated upon — has run out of critical drugs needed to conduct surgeries. The shortage is a result of a recent ban on the import of certain narcotic drugs by the government.


Doctors operate on a cat which was brought to the hospital on Saturday. PIC/Suresh KK

As a result, other than emergency cases, doctors here are unable to conduct surgeries. On an average, the BSPCA conducts 10 surgeries a day and treats 20 to 25 other animals. The BSPCA officials have now stopped admitting animals that require surgery as three key narcotic drugs have completely run out.

In desperation they have asked one of their main distributors to request the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) to supply these three drugs on an emergency basis as a special case. Once these drugs reach BSPCA, doctors here say at least 150 pending operations on cats, dogs and other animals admitted to the hospital, can be carried out.

The medicines in question are Ketamin, an anaesthetic that is also used as a painkiller, Diazepam, which is used to treat anxiety and Phenobarbitone, which acts as an anticonvulsant. “We ran out of these medicines on March 23. Since then, we are unable to treat any animals other than one or two emergency cases,” said a doctor.

Secretary of BSPCA, Lt Col (Dr) JC Khanna has written a letter to one of their key distributors, asking him to approach the FDA on the hospital’s behalf. Speaking to sunday mid-day, a senior doctor at the hospital said, “We are performing emergency surgeries on a case-by-case basis, using Propofol as a substitute for Ketamine. These surgeries are mostly limited to dogs. But the result is not good, since the animals are crying in pain on recovering consciousness. Our sterilisation centre too is affected and there is a 35 per cent drop in cases being treated.”

Sanjay Kale, Joint Commissioner (Vigilance) FDA said, “Ketamine is a drug that is included in Schedule X which means that a chemist should have a Schedule X license. Many of us were busy with elections, hence it might have gone unnoticed. They should have directly approached us earlier.”

The distributor, who did not wish to be identified, said he has forwarded the letter to FDA but hasn’t got a reply. He said he would approach FDA officials on Monday again.

Milan Savla, a distributor dealing in Schedule X and narcotic drugs said, “Since December 2013 when Ketamine was included in Schedule X, there is no clarity in guidelines about prescribing the drug for veterinary treatment. Also, the distributor should have licence that allows him to buy the drug.”

Emergency case
A cat was rushed to BSPCA on Saturday, as she suffered from dystocia. She was operated upon using Propofol. The decision was taken after an X-Ray showed a dead foetus in the abdomen of the cat.

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