In the past, parasitic diseases of domesticated animals were taught under preventive medicine in Department of Bacteriology. As the science advanced and major bacterial and viral diseases were controlled to some extent, the importance of parasitic diseases began to be realised. The impact of clinical and subclinical parasitosis on the health, vitality and production of the animals were appreciated and a separate post and office of the parasitologist under the Director of Animal Husbandry, Maharashtra state was created to survey, diagnose and control the parasites and their diseases in the old Bombay state in 1945. With the increasing importance of control of parasitic diseases it was necessary to introduce the subject to veterinary graduates and a department of parasitology was later on established in the college. The then existing post of parasitologist of the Government of Bombay State was thus converted in the post of Professor of Parasitology. In addition, posts of lecturer and a Research Assistant were also created.
Post-graduation leading to the degree of M.V.Sc. in parasitology of Bombay University started in 1960 and with that, the post of Assistant Professor was created. The Ph.D. by research was started in 1967. So far 60 students have obtained M.V.Sc. degree and 4 students were awarded Ph.D. degree in parasitology from this department.
Dr. S.R. Rao, M.Sc., D.Sc. was the first professor who continued in the post from 1945 to 1968. Dr. L.S. Hiregouder, Dr. Bhatwadekar and Dr. J.B. Katharia were close associates of Dr. Rao in the department during the period upto 1960. During this period, Dr. D.S. Jadhav, Dr. Mannari, Dr. Harpanhal and Dr. Mokasdar worked for brief period in the department.
Dr. L.S. Hiregouder, completed M.Sc. (Parasitolgoy) during this period, went to U.K. for higher studies. He made valuable contributions in the field of coccidian and arthropods of bats and domestic animals. He later on occupied the post of Professor in veterinary colleges at Anand and then Bangalore from where he retired few years ago.
Dr. Bhatwadekar’s contributions are mainly in the field of bovine coccidia and Oesophagostomum spp. of cattle. He later became Deputy Director of Animal Husbandry, Gujarat state and then retired. Dr. Kathuria joined R.V.C. but kept up his interest in parasitology.
In subsequent years Dr. N.S. Deodhar, Dr. V.G. Patil-kulkarni and Dr. M.A. Ghafoor worked in different categories and contributed to the growth and glory of the department. Dr. Deodhar was professor till 1976 after which he became Dean of this college and is retired at present. His chief research contribution was on the bionomics of infective larvae of Mecistocirrus spp. Dr. Ghafoor did his Ph.D on epidemiology of amphistome infection in bovines and contributed immensely in the development of museum in the department. He subsequently joined veterinary college at Parbhani and retired as Associate Dean of the college.
The good work of these stalwarts was carried forward with same zeal and enthusiasm by the subsequent Professors viz., Dr. S.M. Niphadkar and Dr. V.S. Narsapur. Dr. Niphadkar worked on helminth parasites of rodents in Bombay and their zoonotic significance. He was the person with great administrative mind and was instrumental in streamlining the departmental activities. Dr. Narsapur took over from Dr. Niphadkar in 1992 and continued the good work to the level of international recognition. His pioneering work on speciation and biology of oribatid mites and their role in life-cycle of anoplocephaline tapeworms is referred and quoted in number of national and international publications. Dr. Narsapur is one of the best teachers the college has ever produced.
The research highlights of the department are as follows:
Discovery of Eimeria bombayansis, E. mundaragi in cattle and E. gokaki in buffaloes
First report of Trichinella spiralis in pigs in India
Speciation, bionomics of Oribatid mites and first report of their role as intermediate host of Avitellina spp.
Prevalence of helminthic fauna of rodents in Mumbai region
Surveillance of amphistomes occurring in ruminants in Maharashtra
Standardization of immunodiagnostic assays for detection of hydatidosis and Cysticercus cellulosae in food animals
Surveillance of ixodid ticks of bovines in Konkan region of Maharashtra
Surveillance of helminthic infestation of zoo animals
Immunodiagnosis and genotyping of cystic echinonococcosis in food animals of Maharashtra state
Standardization of nested PCR for detection of canine monocytic ehrlichiosis