A local district government in the heart of Istanbul is using its thermal healing waters as veterinary therapy for injured, paralyzed, and diseased strays.
Hasan Güneş, the head of veterinary affairs at Istanbul's Esenyurt Municipality, told Anadolu Agency that animals that suffering paralysis or dogs with skin problems such as mange are being treated with spa water for the first time in Turkey.
Güneş said that the municipality established a veterinary unit as well as an animal shelter in 2011.
"Our animal shelter is like a five-star hotel, and we see ourselves as unique in Turkey," he said. "Animal rights groups that visit us also tell us that we're unique."
The shelter treats around 250-300 animals every month, Gunes said, adding that its capacity is around 600 stray animals.
As the Esenyurt district on Istanbul's European side has one of the highest qualities of mineral-rich water in Turkey and indeed Europe overall, Güneş said the municipality uses these healing waters to treat and cure animals.
"Stray animals get physical therapy here," he said.
"Each day three dogs receive physical therapy, and we have seen them benefit from it," he added.
A special section and a pool were created for the spa treatment, Güneş said.
According to Güneş, after being washed with a special shampoo in the thermal waters, animals suffering from mange quickly recover.
The shelter also helps people adopt animals whenever possible, he said.
Güneş plans to organize visits to the shelter this spring to give children the opportunity to get closer to the animals.