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.