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Regina Cano: I have lived my entire life in Havana, Cuba – the island from which I’ve still never left, and which I love. I was born on September 9, and my parents chose my name out of superstition, but my mother raised me outside the religion professed by her family. I studied accounting and finance at the University of Havana, a profession that I’m not engaged in for the time being, and that I substituted for doing crafts, some ceramics, and studying a little English and about painting. Ah! – concerning my picture: I identify with Rastafarian principles, but I am not one of them. I wear this cap from time to time, but I assure you I just didn't have a better picture.

Ticks in Havana

December 12, 2011 | Print Print |

Regina Cano

Better cared for animals is the answer.

HAVANA TIMES, Dec 12 — A few weeks ago I visited a family in the Luyano neighborhood that’s dealing with a tick infestation. Every day, more than once a day, a family member in the house has to remove ticks from their dog (a mutt mixed with a Labrador).

This tick invasion is caused by a dog (another mutt) that a neighbor keeps on an adjoining roof and that spreads the parasite. This creates a danger for the owners themselves, as I’ve heard they have a newborn baby.

Some dog lovers here on the island still aren’t informed well enough about how to care for their canines or don’t have the resources to do so.

In cases like this, they sometimes choose to either put the animal out on the street or call the Zoonosis, a dog-catching service that’s responsible for picking up stray dogs rather than allowing them to suffer, multiply and end up with that many more strays that have to be sacrificed.

Nevertheless, there continue to be many stray dogs here, and their population is swelled by puppies that are frequently abandoned by humans and end up being the carriers and victims of numerous diseases.

A few months ago, making another visit, but at the house of a male friend this time, I saw that his Cocker Spaniel — as well as his house — was full of ticks that travel up through a ventilation shaft from a couple of floors below where a resident’s Doberman is apparently poorly cared for.

Notwithstanding all of this, you shouldn’t think that we have a situation of total abandonment with regard to pets here.

Havana has veterinary school-clinics that provides close to top-notch care, treatment and attention to pets. Likewise, there are neighborhood veterinary serves that pursue this same aim. These aren’t able to provide a full line of services, it’s true, but at least they can provide valuable information.

Having ticks on the walls of a home seems quite disgusting, because you can wind up finding them in your bed or even having to pick them out of your ears. Overcrowded housing in some neighborhoods and the climate here allow some pests and infections to be transmitted rapidly and constantly.

If it weren’t for the obligatory hygiene habits in a climate like this and some medical inventions, our pets and we ourselves would be covered with pus-filled blisters and peeling scabs.

However, the animal “carriers” that I mentioned cannot be treated continuously with chemicals to kill the pests, because at some point they’ll reach the point where they’ll be the ones that die.


What's your opinion?

  • http://elizabethfaraone@yahoo.com Elizabeth Faraone

    The poor animals. I took in a litter of four kittens that were born to a feral cat. Fortunately, I’ve been able to care for them properly. In Havana, it is a hazard to others to have an animal that has fleas and ticks. The solution, when there is an owner that can’t properly take care of a pet because of lack of resources, is to find someone who can better care for the animal or have the animal euthanized, and this is emotionally very difficult to do.