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: We have a three-month-old Labrador pup. She is having skin problem as her skin is peeling off continuously. I have applied some medicines after consulting the vet, but we see no improvement. She is very energetic and lovely. Please advice.
– SP Venugopalan, Chennai

Dr KG Umesh: There are many diseases and conditions which can cause peeling of skin in puppies. Poor nutrition, dry skin, inherited skin diseases, parasites like fleas and mites, simple infections like impetigo or pustules can cause crusts and scaling skin in puppies. If there is no improvement with conventional medication, your vet may advise basic investigations to find out the underlying cause.

Q: I want to buy a dog for my son who is nine years old. Do advice breeds which will be suitable. We stay in Mumbai.
– Mohit Agrawal, Mumbai

Dr KG Umesh: Dogs come in different shapes and sizes, all with different characters and temperaments. Therefore choosing a right breed is an important step as he will soon become an integral part of your family. The size of your house and more importantly, the availability of open space nearby for exercise will influence the type of dog you should choose. Spaniels, Pug, Beagles, Dachshunds, Maltese to Pekingese are few examples who provide great company as well as live happily in a smaller space with kids. You may choose Labradors or Golden Retrievers (provided you have adequate space) who are affectionate and friendly.

Q: I have a two-and-a-half years old Daschund. There is a growth on the right side of her body. Can you please help me to find out what exactly is it?
– Samrat Dey, Darrang, Assam

Dr KG Umesh: The lump or tumour that is not causing any pain or discomfort to your pet could be simple lipomas to benign tumours. If you notice this lump growing in size or inflamed with pain or discoloured skin, etc requires immediate attention. Problems like lipoma may not cause any harm while abscess or cyst, panniculitis or cancer require medical attention. It is best to seek your vet’s advice ASAP.

Q: My dog is one-year-old and has developed Wobblers Syndrome. Please suggest treatment for this disease.
– Karthik, Bengaluru

Dr KG Umesh: Cervical Spondylomyelopathy or Wobblers Syndrome is the most common disease of vertebral column in neck in large and giant-breed dogs. Young Great Danes to middle age Dobermans are commonly affected. It is believed to be mostly genetic but the body conformation and nutritional factors may also contribute development of the problem. Compression of spinal cord in the neck region causes weakness and wobbly gait affecting both front and hind legs. Imaging studies including X-ray and MRI are required to confirm the diagnosis. Approximately 50 percent of dogs may improve with medical management starting at the right time using anti-inflammatory drugs and physiotherapy. Surgical treatment offers a success rate of approximately 70-80 percent. Consult your vet for further information.

Q: My Pug’s skin disease is not getting cured in spite of my repeated vet visits. He initially got red and subsequently blackish blisters all over his body and they keep spreading to the rest of his body. Please help.
– Parag Goyal, Muzaffarnagar

Dr KG Umesh: Dogs are highly susceptible to skin diseases due to poor skin barrier function or poor nutrition. Fleas, mange or allergy or hormonal imbalance with poorly controlled secondary bacterial or yeast infection can lead to recurrent skin problem. Allergies like atopy are some of the most common causes of chronic problem in dogs. It is essential to find the underlying cause of chronic skin problem as many diseases can cause the same symptoms. Therefore correct diagnosis is essential to determine the correct treatment.