Ask the Expert..| Nov Dec 07

Dr. K. G. Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in Clinical Medicine. He has been a lecturer in clinical medicine at Vet College in Bangalore for 15 years, and has won the ‘best teacher’ award in the year 2000. He is a member of European Society for Vet Dermatology and is presently working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for South Asia.

Q : My dog Princy has boils/pimples around his mouth area. Do dogs also get pimples? If yes, what is the cure?
– Sudhir Narayanan, Chennai

Dr. K. G. Umesh : The answer is yes; it is also called chin “acne.” It is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the hair follicles on chin and lips of young animals. It is recognised almost exclusively in short-coated breeds. Chronic lesions may be scarred with pigmentation. Chin acne generally responds well to topical antibacterials like muporicin, benzyl peroxide or chlorexidine. Some short-coated breeds appear to be genetically predisposed to follicular keratosis and secondary bacterial infection. Therefore take him to your vet who may help to find underlying causes (eg demodex mites) or will suggest specific treatment.

Q : I have just got a new puppy, advice what should I keep in her first aid box and what precautions should I take around the house for her safety?
– Meera singh, Gurgaon

Dr. K. G. Umesh : Just like humans, dogs can occasionally injure themselves in a number of ways, which include road traffic accidents, cuts and lacerations, stings and bites, poisons and toxins. Other occasions when your dog may require emergency treatment include sudden onset of severe vomiting and diarrhoea. For a basic first aid kit I would suggest: cotton balls, paracetomol syrup for fever, an antihistamine or steroid ointment in case of an insect bite, hydrogen peroxide to clean out a wound, bandages to make a muzzle and to protect an injured area, balanced electrolyte solution to prevent dehydration from vomiting or diarrhoea, a triple antibiotic ointment, a rectal thermometer, and an astringent/gauze pads to help stop bleeding. Things you may consider harmless household items can be deadly to your puppy. He may tug or chew anything he finds including plants and electrical cords. Candles, burners or coins can also cause emergency. Do not leave hazardous items, including medicines, poisonous plants, detergents and cleaning agents. Try to avoid chocolates as well. Make sure that all gates shut securely and that your puppy will not be able to squeeze through or under your gate. Puppies soon learn that not everything in and around your home is for playing with and that some things are just not safe. In the meantime, do everything you can to ensure safe environment for your puppy to grow up in.

Q : My dog is having a runny nose with discharge, is this cold? And what is the treatment?
– Prashant Lal, Kota

Dr. K. G. Umesh : Running nose, like fever, is merely a symptom of a disease. Dogs can have nasal discharge for a variety of reasons including irritation from allergies, change in climate, inhaled gases, and foreign bodies. Discharge can also result from inflammation of the upper or lower airways. Fever and purulent discharge is common with some infections like distemper or pneumonia. Likewise, if discharge develops in one nostril, you should also consider growths or tumours as one of the causes. The best way to rule out all these diseases and to have specific treatment is get him examined as early as possible. Your vet is the right person to decide what test needs to be done immediately. Your vet might prescribe a few medicines to suppress discharge symptomatically till all the investigations are complete.

Q : My pet dog – Lara, gets scared of strange noises, certain people, dogs and urinates in fright. Is this a medical problem? And how do I solve this issue?
– Rani Goel, Hyderabad

Dr. K. G. Umesh : Some puppies/dogs will leak a small amount of urine when they are excited or nervous, even after they are housetrained. This is submissive urination and it’s a reflexive action that your dog may not be aware of. If a submissive dog meets a more dominant pack member (dog or person), normal canine behaviour may be to roll over on his back and urinate. Firstly, see your veterinarian so your dog can have a physical examination to rule out any medical problems that may be the reason for his inappropriate urination. Punishing your dog for something he can’t control will make his behaviour more likely to continue. If your dog greets you at the door and exhibits this behaviour, try to make your greeting as casual as possible. If you don’t make a big deal out of greeting your dog, he may stop regarding your home arrival as a big event, getting overly excited about it, and urinating. It’s better to crouch down to his level when you pet him – your dog will recognise your crouched position as non-threatening. Lastly, to help your puppy/dog feel more confident, introduce him to as many new experiences as possible for effective socialisation. Obedience classes build confidence and may help your puppy/dog get over this condition.

Q : I have noticed worms in my dog stool. Please advice.
– Srikant, Ooty

Dr. K. G. Umesh : Deworming is generally recommended every 2-3 weeks until 6 months of age and thereafter, once in 3 months. Your vet may recommend a suitable deworming drug depending on type of worms (round, tape, whip etc). There are many safe “All in one” drugs available to treat and control common types of worms in pets.