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 three-month-old Labrador is not house trained and he urinates everywhere in the house. He urinates once in 20 minutes which makes it very difficult for us to take him outside. Please suggest some tips to train him.
– Jayaprakash OR, Chennai
Dr KG Umesh: A young puppy needs to urinate and defecate frequently as he has a very small bladder and bowel. This gives you as a puppy parent plenty of opportunity to praise your puppy for performing in the right area, allowing him to learn quickly. Do not punish your puppy for doing wrong. It is your responsibility to ensure that you take your puppy to the chosen toilet area as frequently as he needs to go, generally as soon as he wakes up, after every meal and at hourly intervals. Take your puppy outside, wait with him until he performs and then praise him by giving him a snack or playing with him. Whilst he is learning, it is essential that you wait with him, so that you can praise him at the correct time. Young puppies will inevitably have ‘accidents’. It is important to ignore these, and to clean up well so that the smell does not linger, as this may encourage him to repeat the performance on the same spot. Do not scold your dog for mistakes, but rather reward him when he is correct and he will soon want to go outside. It is also possible to train your dog to urinate and defecate on command.
Q: My four-year-old Pug suffers from epilepsy. During that period he shivers and is not able to stand on his own and discharges saliva. He suffers from this every month and the fits continue for 15-20 minutes. Please help.
– Vaishali Upadhyay, Vadodara
Dr KG Umesh: A seizure (convulsion or a fit) is caused by excessive, disorganised electrical brain activity that is not consciously controllable. Epilepsy is one of many medical conditions that can cause seizures. There are numerous potential causes of seizures in dogs – either problems within brain or disorders outside brain (liver, heart, kidney, drugs, metabolic, etc). A dog diagnosed with a seizure (without any underlying cause or disorder) may require lifelong medication and sometimes, seizures may continue to occur despite medication, and in these cases, recheck visits are important to make sure that the additional medication or dose adjustments are done. Keep record of all medications or signs to share with your vet on regular basis. Do not change the dosage or stop giving medication without consulting your veterinarian. Your pet can have good quality life with available safe drugs and proper medical attention.
Q: I have a yellow Labrador. He had a stone removal surgery. After surgery, he is very weak and shivers sometimes. We give him vegetarian diet. Is it sufficient?
– Shiwani Sharma
Dr KG Umesh: Just like their pet parents, dogs need a balanced diet which contains just the right amount of protein, fat, carbohydrates, many different vitamins and minerals to ensure that they stay in peak condition. These nutrients must be present, not only in the correct amounts, but also in the correct proportion to each other to provide a nutritionally complete and balanced diet. The food you are currently feeding to your pet is inadequate and does not meet recommended nutritional requirements. Prepared vegetarian pet food from reputable pet food manufacturers come with a guarantee of nutritional adequacy, quality and safety. There is no need to feed any supplements like calcium or home diet while he is feeding on balanced food, except clean fresh water.
Q: Recently I have noticed two different kinds of fleas – one brown like a tiny balloon and the other one which scurries through the fur and leaves dirt on my nine-year-old Scooby. Do let me know are these lice or mites? My dog is really scratching himself and seems uncomfortable. He has lesions in certain areas due to scratching.
– Vikas Singh, Ludhiana
Dr KG Umesh: Ticks lay their eggs (as many as 18,000 in some species) in sheltered areas on or near the ground. Seed ticks hatch from the eggs and can climb/attach themselves to shrubs or blades of tall grass. They also can live indoor or live on other small mammals or rodents. Once on a dog, they attach themselves
to the skin and feed on blood, causing painful nodules wherever they attach. The different life stages of ticks may be found on dogs before they engorge with blood. Successful control of ticks depends on eliminating these pests from the dog and the environment. Tick control should be done year-round, as different tick species are active at different times of the year although they tend to increase in number during warm weather. To control ticks on a dog, all animals in the household must be part of the ticks control programme. Tick control products for adult dogs include a variety of drugs and chemicals available as collars, shampoos, sprays, dips, powders, long lasting topical spot on, and oral medications.
Q: I have a two and a half months old golden Lab. My vet gave him three vaccines. I want to know how many vaccines are required for my pooch?
– Kalpna Sharma, Gurgaon
Dr KG Umesh: The vaccination to puppy will involve an initial course of 3-4 injections until 20 weeks of age followed by booster injections every year throughout your dog’s life. These booster injections not only help maintain his immunity, but they also provide a good opportunity for your veterinarian to carry out a full health check. The vaccination generally contains seven in one vaccine, which protect your dog against distemper, parvo virus gastroenteritis, hepatitis, leptospirosis (2-3), parainfluenza and another separate dose vaccine for rabies. There is some variation according to region and it is important to discuss a suitable vaccination programme with your local veterinarian.