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Industrial pollution blamed as spate of pets mysteriously fall ill

By Anna Liesowska
08 December 2014

Vet clinics inundated with cases of cats and dogs suffering health problems and rashes in 'Dirty 30' Siberian city.

Dozens of cats and dogs in Bratsk, in the Irkutsk region, have been taken to veterinarian clinics suffering from mysterious skin irritations, breathing difficulties, and sickness. Picture: Bratsk Television Studio

Harmful industrial emissions could be behind a spate of alarming health problems in a Siberian city listed as one of the most polluted in the world.

Dozens of cats and dogs in Bratsk, in the Irkutsk region, have been taken to veterinarian clinics suffering from mysterious skin irritations, breathing difficulties, and sickness.

Others have become so itchy they have scratched all the fur from their bodies to the extent they are now even drawing blood.

While no conclusive evidence exists to say the issues are being caused by pollution from industrial plants, residents in the Irkutsk Oblast city say there is no other alternative.

Irina Ilyinykh told the Siberian Times she noticed her beloved cat, Ryzhik, began to suddenly lose fur about a month ago.

Ryzhik with thin tale


Ryzhik the cat with injured leg

Ryzhik, the cat, began to suddenly lose fur about a month ago. Pictures: Irina Ilyinykh

She said: 'Scraps of fur fell from his legs and tail, but that’s only half the problem – Ryzhik also itches himself until he is almost bleeding.

'The last two weeks we have all just been suffocating. And when I open the window in the apartment, Ryzhik starts nervously scratching.'

With a population of 255,000 and located on the Angara River, Bratsk has been listed among the New York-based Blacksmith Institute’s 'Dirty 30' list of the most polluted cities in the world.

Until recently the city’s reservoir, one of the largest anywhere on earth, was a source of drinking water even though tonnes of mercury were found at the bottom.

The main problem has been the gases released from large industrial plants, including those that manufacture aluminium, timber, and chlorine, as well as a coal-fired power station.

In 1992, for instance, the extent of pollution in the ground around a chemical plant amounted to the same as half the entire global production of mercury.

Polluted air in Bratsk

With a population of 255,000 and located on the Angara River, Bratsk has been listed among the New York-based Blacksmith Institute’s 'Dirty 30' list of the most polluted cities in the world. Pictures: Bratsk Television Studio

Vets in the city say they have been inundated with pets coming in for treatment, showing symptoms likely to have been caused by the environmental situation.

One clinic had 30 cats and dogs in the past two weeks alone, mainly with rashes, shortness of breath, dizziness and bald patches.

The illnesses have been felt particularly by younger animals that have not yet adapted to the environmental conditions, and by the oldest pets because of their poor immune systems.

Veterinarian Julia Afanasieva said: 'Of course, we cannot say for sure that all the cases are caused by emissions. 'But, symptoms such as a rash, shortness of breath and vomiting suggests that the reason may indeed be the poor environment.

'Some animals have been suffering from cardiovascular diseases. And we ourselves haven’t been feeling so good and the animals feel the same.'

Dog in the hospital


Black cat with veterinarian in clinic

One clinic had 30 pets in the past two weeks alone, mainly with rashes, shortness of breath, dizziness and bald patches. Pictures: Bratsk Television Studio

One local resident, who gave her name as Margarita, described the situation as a 'nightmare'.

She said: 'You know, we have had such a situation for a couple of months already, in which every day there is a smell of some industrial emissions.

'We were used to the fact that every Friday at the plants something was washed, mended, and, 'upgraded' but now this nightmare happens every day.

Comments (2)

Wow! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It's on a completely different topic but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Excellent choice of colors! ebecadgfegcfbefb
Wow! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It's on a completely different topic but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Excellent c
05/06/2016 13:14
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If the authorities don't address pollution in Russia, never mind Siberia; it will be the people who will be getting mysteriously ill next. So clean up your act!
jojnjo, Dublin
09/12/2014 09:22
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