Kolkata: She had been tipped to sniff her way to praise. But even before Bella could get an opportunity to prove her mettle, the cream-colored Labrador – barely 18 months old – was struck by a rare eye disease, leaving her sidelined and putting a question mark on her career. She is already under therapy, and the police officers have sought expert opinions on social media to support her recovery.
Bella had been identified as a proficient sniffer dog after a six-month training stint at Haryana under the Indo Tibetan Border Police Force. But just as she was to join the Kolkata Police Dog Squad in April, she was supposed to suffer from corneal endothelial dystrophy, a genetic disorder.
Despite numerous treatment stents in the past five months at Haryana and Kolkata, Bella is losing her eyesight and could soon be completely blind, feared the dog squad. Her trainers, though, are not ready to give up and are now asking for expert opinions from across the world on social media. Senior officers have taken to Facebook to seek opinions, said sources.
Officer said, “We want vets and ophthalmologists to give us their valuable feedback. Then, we can arrange for their visits at the kennel, if required. While some claimed it was hereditary, others have pointed to a vitamin deficiency. Ideally, we are looking at a recourse where Bella will finally respond to treatment.”
The dog squad has also moved the Lalbazar top brass, petitioning them to take her to Chennai at the Madras Veterinary College Training Hospital next week. “We will take the dog there as it has the best set-up in the country. We are preparing a detailed case history and different treatments she underwent in the past five months,” the officer counted.
Sources said vets attached with ITBP and the Kolkata Police had tested her several times. Her other health conditions are stable. “On April 6, we found her developing glass appearance. However, even after treatment, opacity recurred after 15 days. It showed cops consulting the Belgachia vet and college doctors. Bella was diagnosed with corneal oedema (swelling of cornea), and it is supposed that she has corneal endothelial dystrophy. Their medicine followed, but the dog did not respond to the medicines.
Then, the HODs of the ophthalmology departments of Calcutta Medical College and other specialists were roped in. “But since the diagnosis is to be set up, we are open to all suggestions,” said an officer.
Bella was one of the eight labradors and a golden retriever – all aged less than two years – who made an 1800km journey in AC SUVs to the national capital from Chandigarh and were then brought to Kolkata in two coups of the first AC of Howrah-Rajdhani last April. “Now, if we need to take her to Chennai, it will be another logistical challenge,” said an officer. Bella, said sources, will have at least another eight years of active service if she recuperates.