Ask the Expert.. | Sep Oct 2011

Q: My one-year-old male Rottweiler has got a problem with his elbows on the front legs. Water like liquid fills in them. The veterinarian had pricked the water out with a thick syringe and put a medicine in but he is again suffering from the same problem. Do advice.
– Ketan Verma, Ludhiana

Dr KG Umesh: From your description, I assume that your pet may be having a condition ask the expertcalled hygroma. This is a non-painful, fluid-filled swelling under the skin that commonly develops on elbow joint. Generally they do not pose a problem for the dog unless infected. Periodical aspiration, inserting a drainage and surgical removal of hygroma are some of the treatment options. The hygroma in dog is believed to be caused by repeated trauma on the skin over a bony prominence, particularly in large/heavy breeds lying on hard surfaces. Therefore prevent further trauma on elbow by providing soft padding over the elbow and avoid hard surfaces. There are also commercial products (elbow caps) available for protecting the elbows and for dogs with hygromas. Ask your vet for the same.

Q: I have a three-year-old male Spitz dog. Can I keep another male dog of large breeds like Doberman, Boxer, Mastiff, Bulldog, etc?
– Rahul Chakraborty, Kolkata

Dr KG Umesh: It’s not impossible that the two male dogs would get along forever without problems but the relation you have with your Spitz dog is very special and bringing in another male does jeopardize it. It is likely that there will be some conflict between these two, they may go to war in six months, a year, two years, even several years later as they decide to try for a change in pack order. It’s just so much happier for the dog and safer for you when your dogs are of opposite sex.

Q: My Pug initially had red and subsequently blackish blisters all over his body and they keep spreading to the rest of the body. Please advice.
– Parag Goyal, Muzaffarnagar

Dr KG Umesh: Any chronic or recurrent skin problem in pets requires some investigations to find the underlying cause and appropriate treatment. Dogs with recurrent skin problems may develop secondary bacterial or yeast infections that need to be addressed before treating primary skin problem. Likewise, some skin diseases like atopy or hypothyroidism may require lifelong treatment. Please take him to a specialist vet ASAP.

Q: My pup after relieving himself keeps sniffing his poop and tries to eat it, to my horror, I somehow manage to pull him away. Please do advice – how do I deal with this problem.
– Niharika, Lucknow

Dr KG Umesh: Coprophagia, or eating of faeces, is very common in dogs, and is often seen in puppies. It is not dangerous to the dog’s health, but can be unpleasant habit to live with. Treating the problem can be simple and involves thinking ahead. Any faeces deposited in the garden should be removed as quickly as possible. A dietary imbalance or parasites can on occasions cause coprophagy. Make sure that your dog is receiving complete and balanced food and dewormed regularly. One method of training is to walk your dog on an extending lead and purposely direct him towards some stools. As soon as he stoops to try to eat faeces, pull the dog gently and effectively away and at the same time, unpleasant distracting noise such as “NO” should be sounded and immediately after this, make him ‘sit’ and praise for compliance with kind words and physical contact. The dog should not be punished as he will not associate the punishment with the action. This type of exposure should be repeated several times. We suggest professional training if it is associated with behavioural problem. Some advise products containing (or spraying) pepper or mustard on faeces and are ethically questionable. Feeding a slice of pineapple or peppermint oil may work in some dogs.

Q: My six-month-old Alsatian puppy King had indigestion and vomited the food- after which he ran to our garden and started eating grass and plants. Do let me know if this is normal.
– R Seth, Ghaziabad

Dr KG Umesh: It is not uncommon for dogs to eat grass and is generally un-harmful to the dog providing the grass has not been chemically treated. Some suggest dogs do this to relieve an excess of digestive juices that accumulate in the stomach when it is empty. Some dogs will graze on fine grass and may even digest it to provide roughage in the diet. It is important that dog’s main diet is nutritionally balanced and the correct amount of food is being fed for the dog’s life stage. If he is on dog food, all he needs is only water. If the grass eating is accompanied by prolonged or persistent vomiting, and particularly if the vomits contain blood, veterinary advice should be sought.

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