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 currently working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for South Asia.

Q: My dog’s fur has a lot of dandruff like thing in it and there has been a lot of hair fall. I don’t find new fur growing. Could you please help?
– Ramdev R, Trivandrum

Dr KG Umesh: A healthy skin and coat is less likely to have a lot of dandruff and loose hair to shed. Unlike human beings,
hair growth cycle in dogs is different. For example, hair does not grow continuously in dogs. Skin and hair growth is influenced by genetics, breed, hormonal influence, stresses, nutrition, illness and numerous environmental factors. A daily brushing works best because it helps to get rid of all of your dog’s loose hair. If you can’t brush him every day, aim for at least two good brushings per week. A balanced diet that is rich in omega fatty acids, minerals like zinc and digestible roteins will keep your dog’s coat strong and healthy, and will help decrease excessive shedding.

Q: I have a male Lab puppy of around three months.Please advise me what all precautions should be taken in terms of his good health
– Saurabh Shrivastava, Ghaziabad (UP)

Dr KG Umesh: Feeding your puppy a well-balanced diet is clearly necessary to keep him fit and healthy, and there is a whole variety of different types of products to choose from, including diets designed for Lab puppy and also food which delivers additional health benefits. Other activities such as exercise, training, grooming and regular visits to the veterinarian for preventive health care (vaccination and deworming) are equally important to keep your dog happy and healthy. Maybe one of the most important aspects to ensure a happy relationship between you, your family and your dog is to ensure that your dog’s requirements can be matched by your lifestyle and environment.

Q: My six-year-old German Shepherd is having infection on her front leg near the elbow area. It’s a black patch. I have seen many dogs have that kind of patch, but in my dog’s case it bleeds when she licks the area with little puss coming out. As per vets’ advice I have tried many medicines and creams, but it’s not healing, maybe because she keeps licking it. I need your advice on this?
– Sankriti, Lucknow

Dr KG Umesh: Considering the location and signs, your pet could be having callus pyoderma or deep pyoderma, which is simply bacterial infection of skin most often secondary to underlying causes. Certain factors that can predispose to this condition include pressure sore, parasites or allergies, etc. Some German Shepherds also develop unique skin diseases termed as German Shepherd pyoderma whose underlying cause is not yet established. I suggest you to consult vet who can run skins crape,ytology, culture and biopsy if required to find the cause.

Q: I adopted a street pup at the age of about 20 days. She is now two months old and having bowing of front legs with inversion at ankles. She has been diagnosed with rickets and given calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D. But no improvement is seen. Please help.
– Vikrant, Bhopal

Dr KG Umesh: Rickets is a disease of young, growing animals and most common causes are dietary insufficiencies of vitamin D or phosphorus. It is becoming uncommon due to availability of balanced pet foods. Calcium deficiencies can also cause rickets, and while this rarely occurs naturally, poor balanced diets that are deficient in calcium have been said to cause the disease. Feeding high-quality commercial food or a homemade diet is recommended. However, the bowing of legs cannot reverse with food or medications, including supplements. In this, I suggest you to contact a veterinary orthopaedic surgeon who can help to correct the deformity to some extent.

Q: I have a three-month-old male Golden Retriever. He urinates more than 20 – 30 times a day, sometimes white in colour and sometimes yellow. And he does poop four times or more and its colour is golden and black mixed especially blackish brown. Is there any problem with him? Can I train him to urinate at one place only?
– Aroonita Ghosh, Delhi

Dr KG Umesh: A young puppy needs to urinate and defecate frequently as he has a very small bladder and bowel. It is your
responsibility to ensure that you take your puppy to the chosen toilet area as frequently as he needs to go, generally as soon as he wakes up, after every meal and at hourly intervals. Take your puppy outside, wait with him until he performs and then praise him by giving him a snack or playing with him. Whilst he is learning, it is essential that you wait with him, so that you can praise him at the correct time. Young puppies will inevitably have ‘accidents’. It is important to ignore these, and to clean up well so that the smell does not linger, as this may encourage him to repeat the performance on the same spot. It is also possible to train your dog to urinate and defecate on command.