Ask the Expert… l July-Aug 2014

Q: Geisha, my two and a half years old Pug, has developed a deep corneal ulcer. Please let me know on the course of action.
–Nishi Chand, Lucknow
Dr KG Umesh: Many disease processes (infections, trauma, foreign objects) can destroy one or all of the thin layers that make up the cornea, forming painful indentations called ulcers. Other causes include entropion and distichia, conditions in which one or more eyelashes rub against the cornea. Disorders that affect the nerves to the eyelids causing poor or absent blink reflexes or diseases that cause inadequate tear production (keratoconjunctivitis sicca or ‘dry eye’) also invariably cause corneal ulceration. Some ulcers may penetrate deeper into the cornea and spread across its surface. Dog breeds with prominent eyes, such as Pekingese, Pugs and Boston Terriers are affected most commonly. Removing the source of irritation at the earliest will heal ulcer without any complication. Superficial ulcers often respond to antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. More serious ulcers often require appropriate surgery and in some cases your vet may cover the ulcer with the conjunctiva or the third eyelid to promote healing.
Q: The tongue of my dog seems to be very pink, almost red, though my dog is behaving normal and eating properly. Please advice.
–Zoya, Bhopal
Dr KG Umesh: A healthy tongue is normally pink unless, of course, you have a Chow Chow or another black-tongued breed. Sometimes, it may turn red due to temporary congestion or soon after eating. Signs of a tongue problem can include a reluctance to eat, abnormal chewing, excessive drooling, a bloody discharge or a bad smell coming from the mouth. Take him to your vet, if you notice any of these signs or lumps or growths or persistent discoloration.
Q: I have a three-month-old Pug. We give him  home-made food during the day and dog food for dinner. Do advice if his diet is fine.
–Vikram Mehta, Ghaziabad
Dr KG Umesh: As the pet parent of a new puppy, you’ll want him to grow up fit and healthy, and reach his full genetic potential; all you have to do is to provide your puppy with the correct diet right from the start. Homemade food may not deliver all nutrients your puppy needs. As their requirements are different from us, it’s difficult even for an experienced breeder/pet parent to get the nutritional balance just right. The advantages of reputed commercially prepared puppy food are that they meet all of dog’s nutritional requirements and they don’t require any food supplements including calcium. There are two main types of complete puppy dog food: moist in cans or pouches and dry in packages. Both types can be made from meat, poultry and grains, and provide balanced nutrition. You can also choose small breed puppy food specifically designed for puppies like yours, which offer additional health benefits. These are available in vet clinics and pet shops.
Q: My 13-month-old male Lhasa Apso, Joey, is being neutered. I would seek your advice on his diet after the surgery. His body weight is seven kg. Is he overweight? Suggest a diet for him.
–Samrat Dey, Assam
Dr KG Umesh: Your pet is gaining excess weight because he is eating more than his requirement and/or spending less energy. Activity level and appetite do not change with neutering. If you feed your dog a pet food, the label on the package will provide a guideline as to how much to feed daily. There is no need to feed him any homemade food or snacks while he is eating pet food. Don’t forget to take into account the calories in treats and other tidbits he eats—they shouldn’t make up more than 10-15 percent of his daily calorie intake. Try to exercise your dog as much as he can. The more muscle he maintains, the more calories he’ll burn and less fat he’ll carry. Start keeping a record of your dog’s weight. If possible, weigh him once a week. Give him two to four small measured meals a day so you can regulate his portions. Please contact your vet for further details including correct diet.
Q: We have two four-month-old Spaniels who are fed dog food. I wish to feed them mutton/chicken/fish/liver once or twice a week. Please advice.
–Meeta R, Udupi
Dr KG Umesh: A nutritionally balanced diet is crucial for the healthy growth and development of a dog in order to prepare him for an active, long and healthy life. Home-made diets frequently provide inadequate nutrition for dogs when fed as the sole source of nutrition, which can lead to a number of health consequences. Bones from either fish or animals must never be fed as they are more likely to cause obstruction or injury in digestive tract. Many pet parents are unaware that even human grade raw meat and eggs can contain food borne harmful organisms that are harmful to pets as well as family members. We suggest continue feeding your pets on prepared pet food from reputed manufacturer which is safe and specifically made to meet all their nutritional requirements to have the optimum growth and body condition. All they need is recommended quantity of prepared pet food and water.