Dr K G Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in Clinical Medicine. He has been a lecturer in clinical edicine 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 puppy has mange. Please suggest remedy for it. How long does it take to cure? –Manisha Rai, Mumbai
Dr KG Umesh: Demodicosis, also known as red mange, is a skin condition caused by a microscopic parasitic mite, Demodex (normally present in hair follicles). Most localised rashes of demodicosis heal with minimal treatment. Generalised demodicosis requires more aggressive long-term therapy depending on the underlying cause. Secondary bacterial skin infections are also be treated. Periodic rechecks including followup skin scrapings are usually performed every 2 to 4 weeks to help identify whether the mites are being eradicated. The treatment must be continued until 2-3 consecutive skin scrapings until no mites are showing at all. Good nutrition for strong immunity and minimising stress are important for recovery.
Q: I have a female stray who is six months old. She is very sick and thin, despite we feed her. She has shed her fur and has maggots. She runs away whenever we try to take her to the veterinarian. Please advice how we can help her. – Apoorva Srivastava, Ajmer
Dr KG Umesh: Feeding this puppy a well-balanced diet is clearly necessary to keep her fit and healthy. You may choose puppy food based on your vet’s recommendations. You may collect medicated spray for maggots treatment and prevention from your vet that is convenient to apply on her. Your vet may also recommend preventive health care kit including de-worming tabs. Over a period of time she may be well socialised to handle and take her to vet.
Q: My seven-year-old dog Bhulo has severe tick and flea infestation. Could you please suggest a safe method for removing these pests? – Aheli Sarkar, Kolkata
Dr KG Umesh: A generalised tick/flea life cycle consists of egg, larva, nymph, and adult. Ticks for example lay their eggs (as many as 18,000 in some species) in sheltered areas on or near the ground. Successful control of ticks/fleas depends on eliminating these pests from the dog and the environment. To control these pests on a dog, all animals in the household must be part of the flea/ticks control programme. There are two basic categories of ticks/flea control products: Adulticidesand Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs)/Insect Development Inhibitors (IDIs). It is always best to treat the dog and the environment on the same day. The use of these insecticides must be preceded by a thorough vacuuming; special attention should be paid to the areas under furniture, carpets, near pet bedding, and along mouldings. Make sure that other pets/dogs he frequently contacts/visits are free from fleas and ticks. The veterinarian will choose a product or products that combine safety, efficacy, and ease of use for the client. Often a combination of adulticide and an IGR or IDI is used.
Q: I have been told that a dog’s tongue should be pink in colour. It signifies good health. Is it true? My dog’s tongue has become reddish colour for the last two month. – Swapnil Jain, Nagpur
Dr KG Umesh: Signs of good health in a pet includes bright eyes, shiny skin and coat, strong muscles, better digestion, healthy teeth and bone and better immunity, to name a few. The healthy tongue
may have different shades of pink/red colour in puppies and adult pets. The colour of tongue is determined by pigments as well as blood supply. Some breeds like Chow Chow have black coloured tongue normally, while blue or purplish colour may be result of poorly oxygenated blood. So, the colour of tongue alone will not determine heath status and take your pet if you notice any ulcer, cuts or growths on his tongue.
Q: My dog is ferocious and fearful. He attacks people and us too. We need to tie him. Please do help to correct him. – Sowmya, Kochi
Dr KG Umesh: The two most common manifestations of aggressive behaviour of dog 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). Such an animal fears people who are unfamiliar to him and he may attempt to bite when feeling threatened. When a dog shows aggression toward the members of his pet parent’s family rather than strangers, the animal is probably attempting to establish dominance over those family members. The more he gets outside and encounters lots of other people and unfamiliar things, the less likely he will be aggressive around people. So, provide your dog with a chance to socialise with people and other dogs. Take him out and about, and spend lots of time with him. 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’s under control and knows you are the leader of his ‘pack’ will behave and won’t bite anyone. Non-confident canines require very gentle training and lots of patience from their pet parents. With the help of a qualified trainer 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.
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