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. I have a six and a half years old Pug who has ear problem. His ear is red with excessive wax inside it. His vet puts Ciplox-D drop and gives him anaesthetics. Please advise.
– Jasmine, Kurukshetra
Dr KG Umesh: Inflammation in ear canal may occur as a simple reaction due to parasites, overgrowth of microbes or growths. It may also arise from allergic disease like atopy or endocrine or ear canal anatomical problems. Failure to address the underlying cause in a pet with ear problem dooms one to treatment failure. Your vet may advise series of tests including cytology to find out the underlying cause. Your vet can also show you how to properly clean and use ear drops at home. Keeping your pet’s ears clean is important because it helps prevent an environment in the ears that promotes inflammation.

Q. I have a 15 months old Rottweiler. He is extremely aggressive and unpredictable. We have a trainer, but even after numerous sessions his aggression is not controllable. As he has bitten everyone in the family, I receive suggestions to give him up, but I don’t want to. Some suggest me to neuter him, some suggest for progesterone injections. He demonstrates fear aggression too. Please help.
– Rohit Kapur, Pune
Dr KG Umesh: The two most common manifestations of aggressive behaviour (in growing puppy) towards humans are fear biting and dominance-related aggression. Fear biting is most commonly seen in a dog raised without appropriate human contact during the socialisation period of growth (6 to 12 weeks of age). When a dog shows aggression toward members of the pet parent’s family rather than strangers, the animal is probably attempting to establish dominance over those family members. So, if the pack leader (your dog) decides that a member of the pack (you or a family member) is getting out of line, he may bite that person to show them ‘who’s the boss’. If your dog is properly trained to sit, stay and come, he’ll be less likely to be aggressive with people because his first concern will be to obey your commands. A dog who is under control and knows you are the leader of his ‘pack’ will behave and won’t bite anyone. The more he gets outside and encounters lots of other people and unfamiliar things, the less likely he will be to act aggressively around people. So, provide your dog with a chance to socialise with people and other dogs. Although it is bit late, with the help of a qualified obedience instructor or dog behaviourist, it’s possible to correct this problem. This process will also require you and your family to make changes in the way you interact with your dog as well. Don’t abruptly reach for your dog or his collar or pull his legs. First have the dog sit and stay. Then leash him. Don’t disturb him when he is resting, sleeping, or lying in front of a door or on sofa or bed. Likewise, don’t let your dog sleep on bed, especially if he reacts aggressively when disturbed there. If your dog barks, growls, or ignores you, try to shift his attention to an exercise or a task he knows well. If this doesn’t help, walk away from him, or sequester him in another room. Banishment and withdrawal of attention are the most potent forms of correction. Neutering may help to some extent but not completely.

Q. My Indian mixed breed (neutered dog) is 12 years old. He was diagnosed with arthritis four years ago and was treated for the same. He has been facing problem in getting up on his own from hind legs over the last three months. His condition has been deteriorated a week ago. I help him in getting up by lifting him from behind. Once he stands up he is able to walk without any problem. After neutering he has gained weight and is overweight now. What should I do for medication?
– Ajita Sharma, Ahemdabad
Dr KG Umesh: Osteoarthritis (OA) can be a progressive problem in which pain and disuse lead to further deterioration of joint movement and function. Therapeutic exercise and physical modalities (cryotherapy, thermotherapy, therapeutic ultrasound, electrical stimulation) may be indicated to enhance motion or reduce pain, allowing improved function. Massage may be beneficial in reducing muscle spasms. Lifestyle changes, such as the use of ramps may also be considered. A physical therapy involves suitable exercise, avoiding obesity and, least important, medication. Low impact exercise is preferable, such as swimming or leashed walks. Many nutraceuticals and diets are promoted for management of joint problems, for example, use of Royal Canin ‘Mobility Support’ diet may benefit your pet. Please consult your vet before you make any change in the management.

Q. My dog had a fracture in lumber region near pelvic griddle. Now, he is suffering from anal fistula and urine & stool problems. He passes stool and urine in anncontrolled way. He urinates while walking, sleeping, climbing steps, etc. Sometimes when he tries to urinate he cannot. Is there is any permanent cure for anal fistula? What food should I give him? Kindly help me.
– Rama Iyer, Bangalore
Dr KG Umesh: The cause of perianal fistulas remains unclear, but it is believed to be immune mediated or related to reaction from some food allergens. Some believe that it is related to a form of colitis. Therefore, it is advisable to find underlying cause. If there are no causes determined, the medical management using immunosuppressive drugs such as cyclosporine or prednisone found to be encouraging. Azathioprine, another potent immunosuppressive agent, may be tried if prednisone or cyclosporine is unsuccessful. Surgery is now usually reserved for cases that involve the anal sacs or for selective fistulas that do not respond to medical management. Your vet may advise food trial using novel proteins which your pet has not been exposed. Likewise your vet can conduct neurological examination to assess bladder and bowel control.

Q My Chocolate Lab is of eight months. Her hind leg has been limping. Vet told me she is suffering from hip dysplasia and gave her some tablets. The treatment is going on for two months now, but she hasn’t improved at all. Please advise.
– Nagesh, Gokak
Dr KG Umesh: Weakness or limping in hind legs in large breed puppies like yours develops from variety of skeletal problems including hip dysplasia. Limping can also be the result of infection or trauma, metabolic, neuromuscular or degenerative diseases. The causes of hip dysplasia are complex and involve heredity and environmental factors, such as overeating and rapid weight gain. Most often, overweight due to excess energy/overfeeding or excess calcium supplementations predispose growing puppies to develop hip and joint problems. Treatment for hip dysplasia is based on the age and size of the patient, degree of pain, physical examination, x-ray findings, and your expectations for how active your pet should be. The conservative treatment includes enforced rest, anti-inflammatory drugs, and pain medication. Once the clinical signs are controlled, the therapy includes weight reduction if needed and an exercise programme designed to improve the strength of your pet’s rear legs.