Friday, August 10, 2007

Sweet pills for Asiatic lion.

10 Aug 2007,
Tanushree Roy Chowdhury,TNN

NEW DELHI: Ghaghas, an Asiatic lion, is a medical miracle. Considered a 'lost case', it has roared back to life with homeopathic treatment.

Ghaghas arrived in Delhi in October 2004. Captured from the wild, he had adapted well to the zoo surroundings. But on March 15, Ghaghas left his meal unfinished. The keepers made a note of it and the zoo veterinary gave him injections which continued for the next three days.

He refused to eat for all the three days. By the next week, his appetite had fallen drastically and he had started salivating. The drugs administered did not seem to help him much and Ghaghas' blood samples were sent for tests. Though Ghaghas started eating in a few days, he showed symptoms of limping on his hind legs and was unable to stand properly.

"After a month, he could not lift his hind portion. We started feeding him mutton and chicken instead of the regular buffalo calf meal. He responded well to the change and ate 70-80% of the food which was a good sign. However, his condition did not seem to improve," said D N Singh, director of Delhi zoo.

Ghaghas was shifted to the squeeze cage or the treatment cage. When his condition did not improve in the coming weeks even after he was eating a good diet and was administered medicines and given hot fermentation, the authorities panicked. "In such a situation all one could do was to count days. Ghaghas developed pus in his legs and the hind legs got swollen. It was then we decided to consult wildlife experts from Gujarat considering that lions in India are found only in Gir forest (Gujarat)," added Singh.

Zoo authorities got in touch with the chief wildlife warden, Gujarat, who in turn recommended them to Dr R G Jani from Veterinary College in Anand. "After seeing Ghaghas' reports, Dr Jani recommended him homeopathy medicine. The lion showed improvement within two months and got back on all fours on August 3, almost six months after he fell ill. He is weak from the illness but has stabilised," said Singh.

However, the zoo officials are worried about their two-year-old lioness, Meera, who was born in captivity. She has started showing the same symptoms as Ghaghas since July 5. However, she has given up on eating completely and is currently admitted at the zoo hospital and is being administered intra-venous. The officials are worried about her fate. "The problem with most animals is that they show symptoms at the final stage which makes their treatment very difficult," said Singh.


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