Dr. Pradeep Rana is a well-renowned vet in Delhi. He has his veterinary degree from College of Vet Sciences, Hebbal, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore. He is an expert in solving queries and curing pets. Dr. 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 won the Best teacher award in the year 2000. He is a member of European Society for Vet Dermatology and is presently working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for South Asia.
Q : My Spitz Snowey often suffers from loose stool. We give him homecooked food. He is 2.5 years old. Is this harmful and what are the remedies? –R N Nathan, Bangalore
Dr. Umesh : Diarrhoea is most common complaint in dogs caused by a number of factors including diet, infection, organ dysfunction (e.g., liver, kidney), stress, hypersensitivity and parasites. Acute diarrhoea is common and often needs only symptomatic treatment. However in chronic or recurrent cases, an accurate diagnosis is usually essential. If your dog appears happy and healthy, but have recurrent loose motions, introduce bland, non-spicy, easily digestible diet, low in fat. Food should be offered in 4-6 small feedings. If you are offering too much of milk, add water to it or stop it all together. Home-made diets vary with respect to quality, digestibility, nutrient content and therefore is not balanced and complete. I would suggest trying a commercial complete pet food like Pedigree Active for small breed, which helps your pet to get consistently good quality faeces. If diarrhoea does not clear within couple of days, seek your vet.
Q : I have a 2-year-old Labrador, who hardly wants to eat anything. I have to feed him forcibly at times. He has lost 5 kg weight and is 26 kg now. What should I do? –J. Dhariwal, Kolkata
Dr. Rana : It is extremely unusual to find a Labrador who is refusing food and most of the times we as pet owners are responsible for their plight! Let’s admit that we pamper them no-ends and do not realise that we are actually causing a lot of harm to them health-wise and by the time we realise, it’s too late and very difficult changing their finicky eating habits. You have been offering him new and tasty things, so he wants something different each time. Pay a visit to your vet and let him rule out if there is any health reason involved.
Q: My 5-year-old St Bernard cannot control his bladder. At night, he urinates on his own bed too. We let him out frequently but still it happens. We don’t see any other symptom of being unwell. Please advise. –Puneet Johar, Amritsar
Dr. Umesh : Dogs are very clean animals, and can be toilet trained effectively. If this behaviour is occurring in regular occasions, there can be number of reasons as to why!!
- Has the pet got access to the outdoors?: Maybe his usual toilet area has been blocked off.
- Is there an underlying medical cause? : Incontinence, urinary infection, bladder infection or stones. Your vet will be able to examine and diagnose these problems.
- Is there an underlying behavioural cause? : Behavioural problems like submissive urination, stress, a breakdown in toilet training, territorial marking or separation anxiety. Once again, these behavioural problems can be modified effectively.
As there are so many causes, your vet may advise some tests on urine to rule out some medical causes. Treatment includes diet, drugs, behavioural modification and also neutering depending on underlying cause. It is important that the affected area like bed etc is cleaned promptly using appropriate cleaning solution to prevent him to mark this area as “Spot.”
Q : Cherry, my 5-year- old Doberman has bad breath? What to do? –Kavita Sahay, Mumbai
Dr. Umesh : Halitosis or bad breath is often result of dental or oral diseases. Gums inflammation and plaque both contribute to the unpleasant odour in the mouth. Most dogs over two years of age, who haven’t received regular dental care, have these dental problems. Tartar is basically the result of a build of invisible plaque on the teeth. Dry pet food (Pedigree) as well as chews such as Denta bone can reduce the amount of tartar accumulating on the teeth due to chewing action. However once tartar is formed, professional cleaning by a vet is necessary. If your dog allows you, it is extremely useful to regularly brush his teeth to prevent the dental disease. Bad breath can also arise from some internal diseases. Visit your vet for further info.
Q : What are the symptoms of heat stroke in a dog. What should one’s immediate actions be after recognising the same. –Gitanjali Sarkar, Jaipur
Dr. Rana : Heat stroke occurs in dogs exposed to a high environmental temperature and placed under stress. Old and young dogs, obese dogs, and dogs with heart or respiratory problems are at risk of developing heat stroke. The most frequently noticed signs are excessive panting, dry mouth, increased heart rate, vomiting and diarrhoea. Other signs include loss of consciousness, convulsions or muscle tremors and excessive salivation. Heat stroke can be associated with alterations of all organs and systems of the body and rectal temperature may go up to 105-108F. Pets can only cool down by panting, so make sure they have access to shade, proper shelter and water when outside. Lower his body temperature by immersing him in cold water or spraying him with cold water, before taking him to vet. Monitor rectal temperature as hypothermia can develop rapidly. Stop cooling him when temperature reaches 103F. Don’t attempt to “freeze” him with icepacks. Like wise, do not administer medicines like Crocin to reduce temperature. Take him to vet as early as possible. Remember to give them plenty of fresh and clean water, so they don’t become dehydrated in the warm weather. If you’re taking a trip in the car, take a large bottle of water and a bowl with you. On a scorching day, avoid exercising your pet in the midday heat and stick to early morning or late afternoon when temperatures are cooler. Although your pet’s coat acts as protection from the sun’s rays, bald areas like the nose and ears can be susceptible to sunburn – white and pale coloured animals, thin-haired and recently clipped dogs are at a higher risk.