Ask the expert… l Nov-Dec-2015

Dr KG 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.

 

pedigreeQ: My Labrador when left for 6-7 hours becomes very sad. Do let me know how to keep him happy when I am not there.
–Rashi, Jalandhar

 

Dr KG Umesh: Dogs are one of the most social creatures on earth. So when it comes time for you to go to work or leave the house for long periods of time, it can make your dog lonely or anxious. Do you have a set routine each day before you leave the house? Perhaps you jingle your keys or put your bag near the door. Your dog picks up on these cues, and associates them with your leaving. Try to mix up your normal routine by doing your usual activities in a different order. Practice leaving–Plan short trips that allow your dog to gradually adjust to being alone. If your dog seems comfortable after half-hour departures, and exhibits no anxious behaviour, increase your time away. Go for a walk or keep your dog busy. Before you leave, bury toys and hide treats where he can find and “dig” them up. Keeping a TV or radio on can also provide “company” for your pooch. Getting another pet is also not a bad idea.

 

Q: My ten-month-old pet Bond is an Indian breed called ‘Chippiparai.’ He bites his skin due to itching and also has had huge hair loss. Please advice.
–Sabari Krishna, Trichy

 

Dr KG Umesh: Dog’s skin is thinner than our skin and is highly susceptible to diseases. Itching and hair loss can be result of many disorders causing inflammation including parasites, allergies or dry skin. Skin and hair coat alone takes away approximately 30 percent of protein from the diet for its health. Hence balanced and complete nutrition is most important for healthy skin and hair coat. Evening Primrose oil capsules or sunflower oil/Saffola oil/corn oil and zinc capsules everyday in the food may also help him to improve his hair coat in the short term when no underlying cause identified.

 

Q: I am planning to buy a Lhasa Apso puppy. I want to know how to make him comfortable on the first day in my home. Also please guide on his care.
–Sreeya, Hyderabad

 

Dr KG Umesh: Changing homes and leaving his mother is stressful for a puppy. It could cause an upset stomach. Once your puppy has settled in, you’ll likely want to change his diet to puppy food. Make sure you replace the original food with the new puppy food gradually, over a period of three to five days. Make sure that he has a comfortable bed which is placed away from draughty areas. You may find that placing a covered warm water bottle in the bed will help him as this will feel like snuggling up to his mom. If he has not been away from his mom for long (and if possible), then you could take a blanket or towel to his mom’s house and ask the pet owners if they will put it in his bed for a couple of days before collecting it again. The smell of his mom on the blanket would then be a comfort for him. You could also try putting a soft toy in his bed at night time, again so that he has something to snuggle up to (ensure that the puppy cannot destroy or eat the toy). Your puppy may be feeling separation anxiety from you as well as from his mom.

Leaving a radio on playing quietly overnight or a soft light on may also make him feel more settled. You could try putting a jumper or something else that smells of you in his bed too. There are other reasons why he may be restless. Is he fully toilet trained yet? Is he perhaps crying because he wants to go to the loo? Is he hungry? Ideally, take him out on the lead as often as possible to go to the toilet, stay with him until he goes and then praise him when he does. Make sure that he’s given the opportunity to go out last thing at night.

 

Q: My six-month-old Labrador is not active, but he is very playful. How do I do to make him more active?
–Parth Kyada, Rajkot

 

Dr KG Umesh: Dogs are social animals and need mental as well as physical stimulation to keep them active and healthy. Playing with your dog is a fun part of your relationship with him. In fact, play helps build the relationship. Most dogs love dog toys and find them really fun. You’ll be happy to see that they can hold your dog’s attention for hours. Playing usually requires two participants, but with some toys, your dog can play on his own. Your dog should play with toys made of firm, elastic materials that aren’t dangerous to him. Regularly exercising the dog will allow him to use up this excess energy, to toilet, mentally stimulate him and overall he will probably be better socialised with animals and people. It is generally better to take the dog out at least twice a day.

 

Q: My dog, Jag, will be two years old in January. He developed severe demodectic mange but has now recovered. He is being treated since February 2015, with Ivermectin orally daily. Jag has regular skin scrapings. Recently, I got benzoyl peroxide shampoo to bathe him. How long can it take for a cure? Is it safe to continue Ivermectin?
–Prof Kishwar Azad, Dhaka

 

Dr KG Umesh: Intestinal parasites or malnutrition in young dogs, some endocrine diseases, cancer or steroids use, etc are considered predisposing factors that may suppress the immune system sufficiently to trigger proliferation of the demodex mites and should be diagnosed and treated to optimise the therapeutic outcome. Secondary bacterial skin infections frequently complicate the disease and require topical and/or systemic antimicrobial therapy. It is recommended to continue treatment for one month after the second negative monthly set of skin scrapings.

 

In dogs who responded very slowly to therapy, extend treatment even further. It is recommended to monitor dogs closely for recurrence of clinical disease during the first 12 months after treatment has been discontinued. Dogs with demodectic mange should not be bred. Although, Ivermectin is not licensed for use in canine demodicosis, an evidence-based review concluded that oral Ivermectin at a dose of 0.3–0.6 mg/kg daily can be recommended as therapy in dogs which can tolerate with these dose without any adverse effects. Other optional drugs are Amitraz, Milbemycin Oxime, Moxidectin and Doramectin but unfortunately all these drugs may not be available in some countries.

Ask the Expert… l Sep-Oct-2015

Dr KG 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: I have a six months old female French Mastiff. She is biting our family members and does not respond to her name. Please advise.

 

–Aniket Bedi, Delhi
Dr KG Umesh: It is normal for puppies to be ‘mouthie’. Most chewing behaviour is seen in young puppies due to their strongpedigree desire to explore. As dogs mature, this desire decreases and they are less likely to be destructive. The dog will find it hard to distinguish between what it can and cannot chew, therefore having their own toys will help define suitable chewing items. There are many suitable toys for dogs and choose toys which have been manufactured using high-quality molded materials to increase durability. If the puppy does try to bite, command ‘No’ and distract his attention with a toy. Many of these habits can be modified quite easily if done correctly and persistently. When the pup stops the bad behaviour make sure you reward him with “GOOD (puppy’s name)!” Prevent access to unacceptable chew items.
Exercise and play with your dog regularly to alleviate excess energy and provide positive interaction. Make sure that your puppy is well socialised. Socialisation is the term describing the process by which a dog learns to relate to people, other dogs and his environment. And, if your dog is socialised properly, he’ll be comfortable around strangers and in new situations. So provide your dog with a chance to socialise with people/children/pets and other things.

 

Q: My 12 years old local Himalayan female dog Chocolate has breathing problems over a year. Early symptoms were spasms that looked like she is choking but since last three months there is also constant wheezing, congested and runny nose very often. Her blood report revealed high number of eosinophils, what could this be? No remedy is working but she is eating and drinking well. Please advise.

–Kanwal Cheena, Shimla
Dr KG Umesh: In dogs, as in humans, respiratory signs like coughing and wheezing, indicate an infection or inflammation of the lungs or airways. Dogs can develop respiratory signs for several reasons, and wheezing is because of narrowed or constricted airways, which is usually secondary to an underlying problem. It is also important to keep in mind that many disorders other than pneumonia can produce these symptoms – examples include heart failure, tumours or systemic or allergic diseases. Your vet may advise diagnostic tests, such as radiographs of the chest, ECG, blood tests and urinalysis to help him to identify underlying disease.

 

Q: My seven-year-old dog Bhulo has severe tick and flea infestation. Could you please suggest a safe method for removing these pests?

–Aheli Sarkar, Kolkata
Dr KG Umesh: A generalised tick/flea life cycle consists of egg, larva, nymph, and adult. The tick/flea feeds once in each stage before maturing to the next stage. Ticks and fleas lay their eggs in sheltered areas on or near the ground. Successful control of ticks/fleas depends on eliminating these pests from the dog and the environment. To control ticks or fleas on a dog, all animals in the household must be part of the flea/ticks control programme. There are two basic categories of ticks/fleas control products: Adulticides and Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs)/Insect Development Inhibitors (IDIs).
It is always best to treat the dog and the environment on the same day. The use of these insecticides must be preceded by a thorough vacuuming; special attention should be paid to the areas under furniture, carpets, near pet bedding, and along moldings. Make sure that other pets/dogs he frequently contacts/visits are free from fleas and ticks. The veterinarian will choose a product or products that combine safety, efficacy, and ease of use for the client. Often a combination of adulticide and an IGR or IDI is used.

 

Q: I have a six months old German Shepherd, with double coat. Suggest a nutritious diet for the proper growth of his body and good fur.

–Akhil Mahalker, Goa
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. Therefore, accurate feeding and the provision of all nutrients at optimal level is essential to maximise puppy’s genetic potential to grow. There are many commercial pet foods for puppy as well as ‘large breed puppy’ in particular available from reputed manufacturers. Large breeds have longer growth period than small breeds and therefore continue feeding puppy food until 16-18 months of age. Most of reputed puppy food contains nutrients required for fur health that includes high quality proteins, omega fatty acids, zinc as well as vitamins.

 

Q: My dog was in pet care for few days, where he got skin infection due to which he is shedding a lot of fur. Now an odour is coming. Please advise.

–Jyotishmoynath, Bengaluru
Dr KG Umesh: Hair loss/shedding is a common complaint with skin disorders and results from a number of causes. Bad odour can come from yeast infection secondary to parasites or allergies, etc. Dogs may shed excessive hair because of stress, worms, harsh climate and general illness. Therefore, my approach would be to find underlying cause(s) (like fleas, ticks, mange or allergy, hormonal imbalance, bacterial or yeast infection, etc) and then your vet will be able to recommend suitable medications that will eliminate the cause and therefore hair fall. Balanced and complete nutrition is most important for healthy skin and hair coat. Feed him balanced pet food that contains nutrients like omega fatty acids, zinc and vitamins required for skin and hair coat.

Ask the Expert… | July-Aug-2015

Dr KG 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 pup is having excessive shedding resulting in patches in his neck, elbows and behind the ears. He was given treatment and now he has red spots on his elbow. We give him Pedigree three times a day. We give him supplements too. But he has a bad habit of consuming his own faeces. Please help me.
– Aafrin, Coimbatore

 

Dr KG Umesh: Some physiological reasons like light intensity besides nutrition, genetics, health can cause dog to shed hair excessively. Dogs also may shed excessive hair because of stress, worms, harsh climate and general illness. Therefore, my approach would be to find underlying causes (like fleas, ticks, mange or allergy, hormonal imbalance, bacterial or yeast infection, etc). Coprophagia, or eating of faeces, is very common in dogs, and is often seen in puppies. Treating the problem can be simple and involves thinking ahead. Any faeces deposited in the garden should be removed as quickly as possible. Basic training teaching basic commands will surely help. Some advise products containing (or spraying) pepper or mustard on faeces are ethically questionable and feeding a slice of pineapple or peppermint oil may work in some dogs. Continue feeding recommended quantity of complete food–Pedigree puppy food.

 

Q: One ear of my German Shepherd is not standing. He is six months old. Please advice.
– Hajur Singh, Bijnor

 

Dr KG Umesh: If there are no signs of ear infection, this can be considered ‘normal’ and many a time they become erect as ear cartilage becomes tough. Wait and watch is simple answer until he grows to an adult.
Q: My thirteen years and nine months old dog is diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), please tell me which medicine to maintain his creatinine.
– Snigdha Sarkar Majumder, Bilaspur

 

Dr KG Umesh: CKD is one of the most common medical problems in older dogs and is a leading cause of death in these pets. Chronic renal failure develops over several months or years, so the changes you see may be subtle. Once chronic renal failure develops, it cannot be reversed and is usually progressive. Any measure, therefore, that helps prevent/delay or slow the progression of the disease will help a pet live longer. Management goals are to reduce the workload of the kidneys, treat secondary problems, and improve the quality. Therapy may take days to weeks, sometimes involving regular haemodialysis. Periodical monitoring of kidney function during therapy helps vet to provide you likely prognosis and quality of his life. Once your pet stabilises, he needs special attention and care. Your veterinarian will recommend a well-balanced special ‘Renal Diet’ by Royal Canin for your pet which is proven to prolong life and improve quality of life.

 

Q: I have a four-month-old female Pomeranian puppy, whom I am feeding home-cooked diet. She has now become fussy to eat home food and eats little, resulting she is not active. What do I do now?
– Nilesh Kokare, Mumbai

 

Dr KG Umesh: There are number of reasons for your pet to behave like this. For example, she may have fear for new food, previous bad experience with the food, poor palatability or simply, she may be a fussy eater. Some dogs may refuse food/skip meals, when they have consumed more energy than they would require (which is common in our experience). Small breeds are generally fussy eaters. Please make sure that you are not overfeeding her and monitor her body weight at least every two weeks. A nutritionally balanced diet is crucial for the healthy growth and development of a dog in order to prepare her for an active, long, and healthy life. Therefore, accurate feeding and the provision of all nutrients at optimal level is essential to maximise puppy’s genetic potential to grow. Studies have clearly shown that many home-prepared diets are deficient, excessive or unbalanced in essential nutrients. Therefore feed your pet puppy food which is designed to meet her requirements.

 

Q: I have a female Labrador mix who is one year old. The problem we are facing is her fur which is everywhere – even when we are eating. What diet should we give her. What should we do to reduce or stop shedding.
– Richa Behl, Aligarh

 

Dr KG Umesh: Hair loss/shedding is a common complaint in our country in dogs with skin disorders and results from number of causes. Unlike human beings, hair growth cycle of dogs is different, e.g. hair does not grow continuously in dogs. Photoperiod (light intensity) is main factor besides nutrition, genetics, health that can cause dog to shed hair excessively during some seasons and therefore, can be physiological. Dogs also may shed excessive hair because of stress, worms, harsh climate and general illness. Make sure she is free from fleas, ticks, mange or allergy, hormonal imbalance, bacterial or yeast infection from your vet. Hair alone takes away approximately 30 percent of protein from the diet for her health. Hence balanced and complete nutrition is most important for healthy skin and hair coat. Evening primrose oil capsules (one cap per day) or 2-4 tsp of sunflower oil/saffola oil/corn oil and zinc capsules everyday in the feed may also help her to improve her hair coat in the short term when no underlying cause is identified.

Ask the Expert… | May-June-2015

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 pedigree 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.

Ask the Expert… | Jan-Feb-2015

Dr KG 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: I have a one-year-old Labrador female, who is 20 kg. Do suggest a diet to keep her healthy.
–Vikram Nishad, Allahabad

 

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 pedigreeto ensure that they stay in peak condition. Our research indicated that most home-made diets/baby foods fed to dogs in our country are inadequate and do not meet recommended nutritional requirements. Prepared pet foods from reputable pet food manufacturers come with a guarantee of nutritional adequacy, quality and safety. Please remember that it is not possible to feed your dog a consistent and adequate home-prepared diet without considerable time, effort and expertise. It is difficult even for an experienced pet parent to prepare balanced diet for dogs. There is no need to feed any supplements like calcium or home diet while he is feeding on balanced food like Pedigree except clean fresh water.
Q: In the eye of our Pug pup (three months old), there is whiteness along with a minute spot just above pupil. Do suggest what to do.
–Alok Pant, Kashipur

 

Dr KG Umesh: Pugs are prone to eye injuries. Inherited eye problems, infections, exposure to foreign bodies, entropion, ectopic cilia, etc may cause superficial to deep injury resulting in variety of lesions from ulcers to scars on white or cornea of the eye. If he is not exhibiting any pain or there is no red eye, it is unlikely to have infection or inflammation. However, determining the cause and correcting the problem at the earliest is important. Please visit your vet ASAP.

 

Q: We are told that a dog’s tongue should be pink in colour as it signifies good health. Is it true? My dog’s tongue has taken a reddish colour for the last two months. Is this fine?
–Jishnu Bhattacharya, Kolkata

Dr KG Umesh: Rich blood supply in tongue can cause variation in normal pink colour of tongue due to excessive panting or licking in healthy dogs. Some breeds also have normal pigmentation on their tongues. Dogs with any tongue problem may be unable to eat or chew food and may drool with bad smell. It’s very important that you have your pet seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible if you notice any abnormal colour like bright red, pale white, blue or purple.

 

Q: My three-year-old Spaniel does not let me touch her ears. We have tried to clean her ears with an epiotic ear cleanser, but she growls and gets angry. She is scratching her ears with her paws. Do advice.
–Diksha, Chennai

 

Dr KG Umesh: Otitis externa is inflammation of the external ear canal. Certain factors that can predispose ear problems include pendulous ears in breeds like yours or Basset Hounds, anatomical changes in lining of ear canal, humid and hot climate, chronic exposure to water, etc. Otitis externa may occur as a simple inflammatory reaction due to parasites, overgrowth of microbes or growths. It may also arise from allergic disease like atopy or endocrine. Affected animals are often very irritated by the inflammation and exhibit signs such as scratching at the ear, shaking the head, holding the head tilted to one side. If inflammation or pain is severe, your vet may prescribe pills/administer injections to control pain/infection or clean ears under sedation. Your vet can show you how to properly clean and instil ear drops at home. Keeping your pet’s ears clean is important because it helps prevent an environment in the ears that promotes inflammation.

 

Q: Waffle, who is 11 years old, has developed a wart under his right eye and another one below his jaw. It is like a little lump which we have been monitoring it and the two warts do not seem to be increasing in size. Are these harmful? Why do they occur?
–R Sudha, Pondicherry

 

Dr KG Umesh: Warts are common in senior pets and these growths are unlikely to cause any harm as long as it is not growing in size and spreading. The cause of warts in dogs is not well determined, although virus has been implicated in some types. If you are not sure, your vet may advise biopsy to understand the nature of growth. These warts may be removed surgically under local anaesthesia for cosmetic reasons.

Ask the Expert… | Nov-Dec- 2014

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: Julius – a fawn Labrador – is five years old. His hair colour is changing around his eyes and his snout, though his activity/food level remains normal. Do let us know if he is greying and if it is fine?
–Deepti, Karnalask the expert cats
Dr KG Umesh: The colour of hair relies on several factors, including the melanosomes (their number, size, shape and distribution), the type of melanin, abnormalities of keratin that alter its opacity and exogenous substances coating or penetrating the hair shaft, although the major factor is undoubtedly the presence or absence of melanin. Hair or fur colour is under genetic control. Greying is not currently thought of as a good marker of biological ageing, but is related to chronological ageing. Nutritional deficiencies (Tyrosine, malnutrition or inborn errors in metabolism), metabolic disorders and drug therapy have been linked with the greying process. Therefore feed him complete and balanced diet before your vet investigates possible causes.

Q: Please provide a diet plan for a one-year-old St Bernard puppy.
–R Preetham, Mysore
Dr KG Umesh: The amount of time taken for a growing large breed puppy to become adult is approximately 18- 24 months. 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. Therefore, accurate feeding and provision of all nutrients at optimal level is essential to maximise puppy’s genetic potential to grow. Puppy’s nutritional requirements are almost twice that of an adult dog and are different to human. For example, puppies not only need significantly more protein than adult dogs and babies (approximately six times each day) but also require highly digestible proteins and energy dense food for optimum growth. Our research indicated that most homemade diets/foods fed to dogs in our country are inadequate nutritionally and growth and development may not be optimum. It is difficult even for an experienced breeder to prepare a balanced diet for puppies at home. Therefore feed a complete puppy food and some pet food companies have a specifically designed puppy food for large/giant breeds. Don’t supplement anti-vitamins or calcium or home food while he is feeding on puppy food.

Q: I have a nine-to-six job but want to bring home a small breed puppy. Please advice.
–Sangeeta Desai, Bengaluru
Dr KG Umesh: Pet parenting a dog is a big responsibility and giving your dog the best care and attention can help to improve the quality and length of your dog’s life. Dogs are social animals. They need a lot of attention, especially when young, and sufficient time must be set aside for their training, exercise and grooming. In particular, toilet training puppies will be difficult if you spend a lot of time away during this critical period. If your lifestyle means your dog would be on his own for most of the day, then perhaps you should reconsider your choice of pet. Another choice of pet like cats/hamsters may be more suitable.

Q: My GSD named Kiara is one year and two months old. The trainer we had trusted her with has not trained her well. Kiara is very energetic and she runs around the house. She has become very hyper and lacks basic command training. She still poops inside the house in the garage. Please advice.
–Urmi Chakraborty, Kolkata
Dr KG Umesh: All the concerns you mentioned here may be due to poor socialisation while raising your dog from puppyhood. Socialisation is the term describing the process by which a dog learns to relate to people, other dogs and her environment. And, if your dog is socialised properly, she’ll be comfortable around strangers and in new situations.
So, provide your dog with a chance to socialise with people/children/pets and other things. Reward is, of course, the best motivation of good behaviour; so it’s important to praise the dog while she’s doing the right thing, not afterwards (ignore unwanted behaviour). In the canine-human pack, it is imperative that the dog understands that she is lower ranking than any human and a dog who’s under control and knows you are the leader of her ‘pack’ will ‘behave’. If your dog is properly trained to ‘sit’, ‘stay’ and ‘come’, she’ll be less likely to be shown these behaviours with people because her first concern will be to obey your commands. Lastly, exercise and play with your dog regularly that helps to bring down her energy/excitement. Visit your vet who can help you to find a good professional trainer.

Q: My female boxer dog is one and a half years old. She has started scratching her neck and thighs too much. What should I do?
–Ranvir Grewal, Sangrur
Dr KG Umesh: Itching in dogs result from a number of reasons including simple causes like dry skin to parasites, infections and allergies. Therefore, finding the underlying cause will help to find the specific treatment. You may not be able to find permanent solution with symptomatic treatment with shampoos or medications like anti-histamines/steroids. Visit your vet before her itching becomes generalised.

Ask the Expert… | Sep-Oct- 2014

Dr KG 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.

Pedigree
Q: Bonker, my eight-year-old black Labrador, has patches at the rear body next to the tail. He was diagnosed of fungal infection and there is very less hair in that area. One of the medicines given to him was Ketoheal. This problem has been going on for the last six months. Please advice.
– Jyothi Rajan, Salem

Dr KG Umesh: There are number of conditions that can cause patches of baldness in senior dogs and this includes parasites, allergies and endocrine diseases. It could also have been caused by some local infection. Most often, fleas and flea allergy cause rashes or hair loss on lower back extending to base of tail. The rashes may persist or recur until you control fleas on his body as well as his environment. It is recommended to investigate underlying cause by running a few tests including skin scrape examination.

Q: My Beagle, who is one year old, has very high energy levels. In spite of his walks, three times a day, he is forever jumping around and chewing and destructing things. He has chewed up a lot of our personal things (shoes, kids toys) and furniture, not to forget licking the walls. Please advise.
– Abhilash, Jodhpur

Dr KG Umesh: Puppies love to chew. Generally, they chew to entertain themselves, because they’re teething/they love to explore your home or if they’re a little bored and want to expend some energy. This behaviour can be due to a number of reasons, including separation anxiety, insecurity, fear (sounds, etc inside the house), attention seeking destruction and boredom. It is important that the whole family does not encourage the puppy to chew or bite. If he does try to bite, command ‘NO’, and distract his attention with a toy. Provide chew toys that do not resemble in appearance or texture of unacceptable chew items. For example, a plush toy may be similar to a pillow, child’s stuffed animal or chair cushion. Toys and chews not only help prevent chewing behaviour but also help to train him to become more confident and obedient pet. 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. Ignore your puppy when he behaves inappropriately and you reward the pup with ‘GOOD (puppy’s name)!’ when he stops bad behaviour. Put an aversive substance (bitter apple, etc.) on unacceptable chew items. Consultation with a behavioural trainer is also suggested.

Q: There is a bad smell coming from my Dalmatian’s ears. There is no discharge. We had put soliwax ear drops, once in 15 days, but that did not help. She is five-year-old and also been scratching her ear with her paw, resulting in a light scratch on the right ear, where the soft pink part of the ear is. Please help.
– Bhawna Malhotra, Aurangabad

Dr KG Umesh: Persistent bad odour from ears comes for several reasons. Chronic ear infection caused by resistant organism or the deep infection that has never been cleaned or treated aggressively enough. Frequent cleaning with ear buds/irritant solutions may also predispose ear canal to react with excess secretion and therefore malodour. Most frequently, an underlying disease (parasites, atopy or allergy or seborrhoea/endocrine disease) predispose ears to development of bad smell. Failure to address the underlying cause in a pet with ear problem dooms one to treatment failure. Your vet may advise series of tests including cytology to find the underlying cause. Therefore each factor must be considered in your pet and, if present, must be corrected before the ear disease will stay in remission.

Q: There were traces of blood in our pet’s urine (11-year-old Lhasa Apso), and she is urinating frequently. Her vet says she has kidney stones. Do let us know about her treatment.
– Kirti K, Vadodara

Dr KG Umesh: Blood in urine is often associated with severe urinary tract infection, stones, growths or tumours anywhere in urinary tract passage. Your vet may advise urine analysis, radiograph or scanning to locate and possibly identify the cause. In pets with complete blockage, emergency surgery is usually required. If pet urinary passage is not blocked, some form of stones can be dissolved by feeding a special diet. This food is available only with vets. Some types of stones depending on the location in urinary passage can also be removed by voiding urohydropropulsion, basket retrieval and laser lithotripsy. Once the stone is removed and the composition analysed by laboratory, your pet may receive a special veterinary diet and medical treatment (may be life long) to prevent any recurrence.

Q: I have a four-month-old Pomeranian, who has very less fur and has hairfall. We are giving him vitabest tonic and senovit tablets for healthy fur, but it is not working. His weight is approx 2.5 kg and not eating properly. Please advice.
– Jaspreet Singh, Jalandhar

Dr KG Umesh: Hair shedding is common in dogs as their hair cycle and the barrier function is different from man or other animals. Dogs generally shed hair seasonally, which may be related to photo period and unique hair cycle. Hair shedding in healthy pets may be triggered by any stressful events, illness and poor grooming and nutrition. Dogs are susceptible to nutritional, allergic, endocrine and parasitic skin diseases that also cause hair loss. If your pet is free from any skin disease but has only hair shedding problem, regular grooming and feeding complete nutrition particularly zinc, biotin and omega fatty acids can help to reduce hair loss. Please consult your vet at the earliest to identify underlying cause and therefore, the specific treatment.

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.

Ask the Expert… l May-June 2014

Dr KG 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: I have a one and a half years old Maltese female and we have just moved to Pune from France. How can I ensure she stays healthy and doesn’t get affected by ticks and fleas? She has a flea collar and we got frontline too. Is it safe to use both the collar and frontline? Also how do I protect her from the harsh heat?
–Siddhi, Chandigarh

Dr KG Umesh: Successful control of ticks and fleas depends on eliminating these pests from the dog and the environment. To control ticks or

Dr. KG Umesh

Dr. KG Umesh

fleas on a dog, all animals in the household must be part of the flea/tick control programme. Flea and tick control products for adult dogs are available in different formats including oral medications. There are two basic categories of flea/tick control products: Adulticides (these products kill adult fleas) and Insect growth regulators (IGRs)/Insect development inhibitors (IDIs) (these products prevent fleas/ticks from hatching or maturing). The veterinarian will choose a product or products that combine safety, efficacy, and ease of use for the client. Often a combination of adulticide and an IGR or IDI is used. Thorough cleaning of the house and yard should precede any application of insecticides. It is always best to treat the dog and the environment on the same day. The use of these insecticides must be preceded by a thorough vacuuming; special attention should be paid to the areas under furniture, carpets, near pet bedding, and along moldings. Heat and heat stress affect skin and digestive health and in addition to heat stroke, the susceptible pets are prone to develop number of heat related diseases. Therefore, a well-balanced nutritionally complete diet confers some protection against the effects of heat stress. Feed during cooler part of the day, if possible, or increase frequency of feeding to pets as they tend to eat less in summer. Remember to give them plenty of water and avoid exercising your pet in the mid-day heat.
Q: My parents do not want to adopt a female dog and flatly refused. Please tell me which gender of dog to adopt?
–Yagya Sharma, Navi Mumbai

 

Dr KG Umesh: Males (particularly unneutered) can be more dominant, territorial and easily distracted than female dogs. On the other hand, males can also be more playful, active and independent. Female dogs tend to be easier to housebreak, easier to train and more connected with their pet parents but in certain circumstances they can be more demanding of attention. Aggression can be a problem in any dog of any breed, however it is usually more apparent in males and in intact males in particular. Male dogs tend to be larger than females of the same breed and may be a little more extrovert. Remember, female dogs come into season twice a year as part of their reproductive cycle and unless you are prepared to have her neutered, or use some other form of oestrous control, this could be an inconvenience. However, most dogs who are properly socialised as puppies and given the proper training and care can grow up to be wonderful companions – whether they are male or female.

 

Q: My German Shepherd, who is 10 years old, has been diagnosed with joint pain in the front legs and shoulder blade. He does not like going for his walks. How can I take care of him in terms of treatment and food?
–Vaishali Rawat, Jaisalmer
Dr KG Umesh: Osteoarthritis (OA) can be a progressive problem in which pain and disuse lead to further deterioration of joint movement and function. Physical rehabilitation can play an important role in the management of osteoarthritis. Therapeutic exercise and physical modalities (cryotherapy, thermotherapy, therapeutic ultrasound, and electrical stimulation) may be indicated to enhance motion or reduce pain, allowing improved function. Massage may be beneficial in reducing muscle spasms. Lifestyle changes, such as the use of ramps may also be considered. A physical therapy involves suitable exercise, avoiding obesity and, least important, medication. They are strongly recommended to prevent progression of joint disease. Low impact exercise is preferable, such as swimming or leashed walks. An optimal balanced nutrition helps to reduce the health risks associated with feeding excess nutrients such as calcium and phosphorus, which could aggravate skeletal problems, and also excess calories, which could lead to obesity and cause complications in joints. Many nutraceuticals and diets are promoted for management of joint problems, for example, use of Royal Canin ‘Mobility Support’ diet may benefit your pet. Please consult your vet before you make any change in the management.

 

Q: We have recently adopted two Chihuahuas (four months). Please give some tips for their dietary and exercise needs.
–Poonam Singh, Amritsar
Dr KG Umesh: Feeding your dog a well balanced diet is clearly necessary to keep him fit and healthy, and there is a whole variety of different types of products to choose from, including puppy diets designed for specific stages of life and foods which deliver additional health benefits (puppy small breed). Other activities such as regular exercise (if not, will tend to gain weight), training, grooming and regular visits to the veterinarian are equally important to keep your dog happy and healthy. Maybe one of the most important aspects to ensure a happy relationship between you, your family and your dog is to ensure that your dog’s requirements can be matched by your lifestyle and environment. Remember, puppies grow almost 12 times faster than babies. Baby food or homemade food will not meet puppy’s dietary requirements. Prepared pet foods from reputable pet food manufacturers come with a guarantee of nutritional adequacy, quality and safety. Please remember that it is not possible to feed your dog a consistent and adequate home-prepared diet without considerable time, effort and expertise.
Q: Heera, my eight-month-old Lab, each time we want to take him for a walk he holds his leash in his mouth and makes us run after him for 15-20 minutes. Only after this game, he is happy and we can take him out. This happens both in the morning and evening. Why does he do it and how can we train him not to do it?
–H Joshi, Faridabad
Dr KG Umesh: It is not uncommon for pets do exhibit this behaviour and most of the pet parents enjoy this moment before they take their pets for walk. To train a dog most effectively, we need to understand how dogs learn. Learning in the ‘doggy world’ consists of trying out new behaviours and seeing what happens as a consequence of this behaviour. If the behaviour (action) is followed by a good consequence, this behaviour will be repeated. One example could be begging at the table which is rewarded by getting food. If the behaviour (for example, the begging) is, however, followed by a negative consequence (in this case, no food given), the behaviour will eventually be stopped. Effective training should work on the same principle and should be a combination of information (what you want the dog to do), motivation (a reason for your dog to do it), and timing (when to reward a good action). Some of the remedies include teaching your dog to sit, even when excited. You’ll start this training in unexciting situations and gradually build to more and more exciting situations until the dog is totally steady. Always praise and reward during the desired behaviour, the sit. Keep your dog under leash or other control for about 15 minutes until he is settled. The best correction for this behaviour is to withhold attention. Ignore and turn your back on the dog, or leave the room, until your pet has progressed to the point of being able to ‘sit’ on cue. If you are unsure, seek professional trainer’s help.

Ask the expert… Mar-Apr 2014

Q: I have a St Bernard pup who is five months old and refuses to go for a walk. Please advice the exercise, food and supplement needs for a St Bernard.
– Balraj, Jabalpur
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, longKG umesh (3) copy and healthy life. Giant breeds like St Bernard take longer time to mature and generally become adult by age of 20-24 months. It is necessary to keep a puppy from gaining weight too quickly and becoming fat to avoid bone and joint problems. Puppies are fed 2-4 small meals per day to accommodate in their tiny stomachs. There is no need to add home food while he is feeding on a balanced pet food and clean fresh water. Overfeeding and excess calcium may result in skeletal or joint problems in the later part of the growing puppy’s life. I would suggest feeding ‘large breed puppy’ diets specifically designed for giant breeds, that are available in veterinary clinics and pet shops. In their first few months, puppies will get all the exercise they need from their naturally energetic play in the house, so you don’t need to give them any extra exercise. Limiting formal walks and training in the first 10 to 12 months of life will also help. They may need a 20 to 30 minutes jog every morning or a shorter walk combined with controlled training games. Repeat the workout later in the day.
Q: Rustam, my five-year-old Labrador, keeps wagging and knocking off objects. The tail area is swollen–the area also seems to hurt him, please help.
– Rohini Kapur, Meerut
Dr KG Umesh: Swelling in tail may result from injury, inflammation or infections of skin or bones. Get him examined by your vet before it worsens with movement of tail. You can try bandaging the swollen area to keep the tail immobile and until you take him to the vet.
Q: My 10 years old GSD is overweight, how do I reduce the weight?
– Rajat Singh, Patiala
Dr KG Umesh: Obesity is the most common canine nutritional disease in dogs. If you feed your dog a prepared pet food, the label on the package will provide a guideline as to how much to feed daily. These recommendations are a guideline only and you should make adjustments according to your dog’s individual needs. Senior dogs need approximately 20 percent less energy than adult dogs. Don’t forget to take into account the calories in treats and other tidbits he eats—they shouldn’t make up more than 10 percent of his daily calorie intake. Try to exercise your dog as much as he is able. The more muscle he maintains, the more calories he’ll burn and less fat he’ll carry. Not only that, when you fill his time with fun activities, he’ll spend less time hanging around the food bowl. This increased activity won’t just benefit your dog; it will benefit you as well. Instruct family members and visitors not to give your dog any treats or table scraps. Don’t give your dog one heaping bowl of food that he can eat whenever he wants. Instead, give him 2-4 small measured meals a day so you can regulate his portions. Start keeping a record of your dog’s weight. If possible, weigh him once a week. Keep lots of clean, fresh water available. Finally, be sure to take your dog to your veterinarian for a checkup and expert advice. Your vet may give you guidelines on exercise appropriate for your dog’s age and health as well as specific advice on how much he should be eating. He can also check for, and treat, any weight-related problems.
Q: Chulbul is a two years old Lhasa who has dark tear stains. We clean his eyes with cotton – but the stains don’t go. Do advice if we can apply eye drops and how do we clean the tear stains?
– K Malik, Nasik
Dr KG Umesh: Chronic tearing (causing streak and staining of hairs) in dogs is often the result of breed related conformational abnormalities. Shallow orbits and prominent globes with tight-fitting lids and small lacrimal lakes, inflammation of lacrimal apparatus, obstruction of nasolacrimal duct (drain tears to nostrils), any irritation or pain due to eye or eyelid diseases can cause an overflow of tears from the conjunctival sac. Conditions that lead to excessive lacrimation should be ruled out before congenital or acquired dysfunction of the lacrimal drainage system is diagnosed. Your vet runs tests to evaluate nasolacrimal drainage system patency. Determination of the cause is essential before treatment can be instituted and requires a mechanistic approach at first. Treatment is aimed at correcting the primary problem such as lubricant therapy for dry eye, or canthoplasty surgery for lagophthalmos and exposure, allowing more effective distribution of tears.
Q: I have two children (aged seven and ten years) and Pumkin is our seven months old Labrador who keeps jumping over them. How do I teach Pumkin not to jump on my children?
– Mrinalini, Chattarpur
Dr KG Umesh: Pumpkin has a very friendly behaviour of wanting to greet people when he sees them. The tricky part is teaching him that it is good to greet people, but not by jumping up. He may have been rewarded for jumping up as a puppy, whether this was intentional or not, he has learnt that this is an acceptable way to greet. Shouting at him after he has already jumped will just confuse him as he has already performed the action. The best method to try and stop the dog from jumping is to try and retrain him, and it is always easier to start at home. If he jumps up to greet kids when they enter the house, just ignore him and give him no attention. Wait until he has all four paws on the ground. Wait for him to sit. If he doesn’t sit, tempt him with a small treat to sit and then praise him. Crouching to greet the dog should automatically stop him from jumping as kids are at his level, but wait until he is sitting and before kids do this. Teach the children to fold their arms, stand still and shout ‘off’ whilst showing the dog no eye contact. The dog will soon get bored as the child is not interested enough. Once you have established a good routine at home, you can start introducing him to other people. Some advise squeezing the paws (until it is uncomfortable for the dog) every time he jumps. Lastly, obedience classes will also be beneficial to him, as there will be general advice for all types of training and modification.