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 has been advised cataract surgery. Can you advice me about the surgery plus the pre and post operative care?
–Rahul Prashar, Jammu
Dr KG Umesh: Cataracts have many causes, from genetic to metabolic, nutritional to toxic, traumatic to inflammatory. Some pure breeds have inherited cataracts. Cataracts are characterized by the time of onset, position within the lens, appearance, cause and stage of development. Accordingly surgery is planned. Prior to recommending surgery, your vet may run blood work to make sure that your dog is fit for anaesthesia and surgery. The surgical procedure includes conventional surgery (manual removal of lens) or phacoemulsification (takes approximately less than 30 minutes) which involves ultrasonic destruction of the lens. The softened lens material is then aspirated from the capsule. An intra-ocular lens is implanted within the empty capsule, restoring refractive and focusing ability. Some vets suture in an intraocular lens. Postoperative medications should be administered to reduce the risk of complications like infection, inflammation, bleeding and scarring.
Q: My two-year-old female Pomeranian was spayed when she was five months old. But the problem is that she is bleeding after every six months, even after spaying. How can I stop that? Will it affect her health? Please help.
–Pritisha Kalita, Jorhat
Dr KG Umesh: There are several causes including incomplete removal of ovary tissue or hormonal imbalance in the body. The bleeding may also be due to infection, trauma or growths. Please get her examined from your vet to find the underlying cause. If any ovarian tissue is left, it may be removed with conventional or laparoscopic surgery.
Q: My two-month-old female Cocker Spaniel puppy has a habit of biting, which is increasing day by day. How can I check it? Also advice on her vaccination and deworming schedule.
Dr KG Umesh: Most chewing behaviour is seen in young puppies due to their strong desire to explore. As dogs mature, this desire decreases and they are less likely to be destructive. This type of behaviour may start after a change in the dog’s routine or as a result of boredom. Some puppies may also play by biting hands and fingers. To the puppy, this action may seem acceptable if they have been allowed to do it elsewhere. It is important that the whole family does not encourage the puppy to hand bite. If the puppy does try to bite, give her the command “No”, and distract their attention with a toy. Many of these habits can be modified quite easily if done correctly and persistently. Act early before bad habits become established. Ignore your puppy when she behaves inappropriately, rather than giving her attention. Provide chew toys that do not resemble in appearance or texture unacceptable chew items. Prevent access to unacceptable chew items. Exercise and play with your dog regularly to alleviate excess energy and provide positive interaction. Reward your dog with praise for chewing on appropriate items. Your puppy must receive complete vaccinations (seven in one, 3 to 4 doses at intervals of 3-4 weeks) and Anti-rabies (two doses
3 weeks apart) before she completes 20 weeks of age. It is adequate to deworm routinely every 2-3 weeks until 6 months of age and then as advised by your veterinarian. There are many safe, effective products available which will eliminate these worms.
Q: My one-year-old Labrador is suffering from excessive hair fall since last 15 days. Kindly suggest some solution.
–Sanjay Baghla, Sri Ganganagar
Dr KG Umesh: Photoperiod (light intensity) is main factor besides nutrition, genetics and health that can cause dog to shed hair excessively during some seasons and therefore, can be physiological. Dogs may also shed excessive hair because of stress, worms, harsh climate and general illness. Hair alone takes away approximately 30 percent of protein from the diet for his health. Hence balanced and complete nutrition containing nutrients like omega fatty acids, zinc and quality proteins is most important for healthy skin and hair coat. 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. Bathing your dog regularly with a rich oatmeal shampoo will help to keep his coat healthy, without leaving his skin dry. A healthy coat is less likely to have a lot of loose hair to shed. A pet food like large breed puppy containing above nutrients will help decrease excessive shedding.
Q: I have nine puppies and they are ignoring milk replacement that I am giving them because their mother doesn’t have enough milk to feed them. Do advice a proper diet for them. Also guide me how to keep them clean.
–Ann Certiza, Chennai
Dr KG Umesh: Commercially available orphan puppy formula or starter should be given at the puppy’s body temperature. Bottle feed formula every 2-3 hours, until the puppies’ bellies are full, but not bloated. Avoid feeding a puppy while he is cradled on his back. Do not force the puppy to nurse, or allow him to nurse too fast. After each feeding, the puppy should be burped. Hold him against your shoulder and gently massage his back or pat him lightly. Ask your vet who will advise on quantity and frequency of feeding until they are weaned or attain eights weeks of age. Make sure that room temperature is warm enough for puppies to sleep comfortably as they are unable to regulate body temperature in first few weeks. You can introduce solid/dry pet food at the age of 3-4 weeks. Puppies will sleep 90 percent of the time and eat the other 10 percent. Puppies under three weeks of age lack voluntary elimination and must have the urination and defecation reflexes stimulated using a cotton ball with mineral oil on the anogenital area. Healthy puppies seldom cry. Generally puppies gain a weight of 2-4 gm per kg of adult body weight per day or 5-10 percent of his birth weight each day. Weighing daily is better than weekly, during first few weeks and it may help for higher survival rate than waiting for additional signs like diarrhoea to appear. Ask your vet for suitable safe cleaning solution for puppies.