Oral Cavities: Causes, Conditions and Controls

Dr Sonal Shrivastava

Dr OP Shrivastava

Oral cavities can be painful for your dogs and may lead to other oral problems. Here’s your guide to oral health.

 

 

 

Problems of oral cavity in dogs include the conditions affecting the tongue, lips, cheeks, pharynx, salivary gland, tonsils, palate and teeth.

 

Warning signs…
Oral cavity problems usually exhibit the signs like: Derangement in prehension; Mastication and bolus formation; Halitosis; Ptyalism; Dysphagia; Pawing at the mouth or face; Excessive salivation; Facial swelling; Sneezing and nasal discharge; Oral hypersensitivity; and Oral haemorrhages.

 

Inflammatory disorders
Stomatitis, gingivitis, glossitis, faucitis, cheilitis and periodontitis: These include inflammatory processes of the oral mucosa, gingival, tongue, glossopalatine folds, lips and periodontium respectively. These can be caused by Dental plaque/calculus, Immune mediated diseases (for example, food hypersensitivity, allergic contact dermatitis), Idiopathic disorders (for example, Ulcerative eosinophilic stomatitis), Immunodeficiency, Infectious diseases, Metabolic diseases, Neoplasia, Nutritional disorders and Physicochemical/traumatic causes.

 

Periodontal disease: It is the inflammatory disease of the supporting structure of teeth (which includes gingivitis and periodontitis).

 

Stage I Gingivitis (Mild or Simple Gingivitis) is characterised by swelling, congestion, redness, pain, tender gums, salivation, halitosis, bleeding.

 

Stage II Gingivitis (Moderate Gingivitis) is characterised by loss of attachment of tooth upto 25 percent with destructive periodontitis, presence of purulent material, intense pain, bleeding, intense halitosis, heavy plaque deposit, change in appetite and abnormal behaviour.

 

Stage III Gingivitis (Severe Gingivitis) features loss of attachment of tooth upto 50 percent with profuse salivation, heavy plaque and little calculus deposits, intense pain, excessive salivation, malodour, bleeding gums, anorexia, and mobility of tooth.

 

Stage IV Gingivitis (Advanced Gingivitis) is characterised by loss of attachment of tooth more than 50 percent with bony pockets, heavy tartar, pain, heavy salivation, intolerable halitosis, anorexia, swelling of face, mobility of tooth. Consult your vet immediately, who can conduct various tests to diagnose it. This disease can be treated by antibiotics, antifungal treatment, Anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive drugs and oral washes. Your vet can also do dental scaling, gingivectomy and gingival flap surgery or root canal therapy. Your vet will be the best judge.

 

Pyorrhoea or alveolar periostitis: It is the severe stage of periodontal disease and it can only be treated by palliative therapy, which includes removal of tartar, antiseptic mouth washes and extraction of affected tooth, if necessary.

 

Dentistry
Dental calculus/tartar: Dental calculus is a mineralised plaque. A plaque is a yellowish grey substance that adheres to the tooth surface, composed of bacteria, salivary glycoprotein, and extra cellular polysaccharides. It can be treated by dental scaling.
Dental caries: It is an active, progressive disintegration of the tooth structure characterised by decay and pocket formation in the calcified tissue of the tooth. Its treatment includes removing necrotic tissues through drilling, disinfected and filled with filling material.

 

Carnassial tooth abscess: The carnassial tooth may become infected and result in formation of an abscess around the root. A classic symptom of this problem is discharge through the face below eye.

 

Treatment: Extraction of carnassial tooth corrects the problem. Extraction presents a difficulty due to the shape of tooth and the size and disposition of its three roots. The most satisfactory method is to divide the tooth between its roots and then to extract each part separately.

 

Polyodontia (congenital supernumerary teeth) and retained deciduous teeth: These conditions even after eruption of permanent teeth may cause malocclusion. Treatment includes dental extraction. The principle of extracting supernumerary and deciduous teeth is to displace the root with a root elevator. The first step is to loosen the gums around the neck of the tooth. Then the elevator is inserted around the root, separating from any alveolar attachment. The tooth is pulled from the socket applying rotational force.

 

Impacted teeth: Impacted teeth can be uncovered surgically. A small longitudinal incision of the gum, over the unerupted tooth eases eruption.

 

Fracture of tooth: It is common in dogs due to accident or biting on hard objects. Treatment includes smoothing off the tooth using dental drill or bur, sealing the pulp cavity and restoration of crown after endodontic treatment. In cases of longitudinal fracture of tooth where pulp cavity is exposed, extraction of tooth is recommended.

 

Avulsion of tooth: It is the detachment of a tooth from alveolar bone without fracture. It may occur due to trauma. In case of young dog, reimplantation of the detached tooth is practiced while in mature dog, endodontic treatment is carried out prior to reimplantation of the tooth. Purulent alveolar periostitis, pulp necrosis and resorption of root are the postoperative complications.

 

Conditions affecting salivary gland
Ranula (salivary cyst or mucocoel): Ranula is a transparent cyst occurring under the tongue close to the phrenum linguae. It is a retention cyst originating from the ducts of the sublingual salivary gland. Treatment includes incising the cyst to drain out the content. The cyst wall is then touched with tincture iodine to destroy its lining and prevent further accumulation of the fluid.

 

Salivary gland tumours: Salivary gland tumors are rare in dogs. Most are seen in dogs older than 10 years. Most salivary gland tumors are malignant, with carcinomas and adenocarcinomas the most common. Local infiltration and metastasis to regional lymph nodes and lungs are common, as is local recurrence after surgical excision. Treatment includes radiotherapy, with or without surgery.

 

Conditions affecting tonsils/tonsillitis: It is the inflammatory condition of the tonsils. Symptoms of acute form include retarded appetite, difficult deglutition, cough and vomition and pain on opening of the mouth. While, the chronic form is characterised by recurrent attack of acute symptoms, intermittent vomiting and hypertrophy of tonsils. Acute tonsillitis can be treated by Antimicrobial therapy or Intravenous infusions while Chronic tonsillitis by Tonsillectomy.

 

Tumours
Epulis: It is a benign mesenchymal tumour that arises from the periodontal connective tissue and is often located near the incisors in the gingival tissue. Surgical biopsy of the oral mass is diagnostic, but fine needle aspirate or scraping may also be useful to rule out other tumours. Fibromatous and ossifying epulides are treated with surgical excision. Radiation therapy is also an effective treatment method for acanthomatous epulis. To prevent recurrence, the periodontal membrane at the neck of the tooth should be excised. In some instances it may be necessary to extract one or more teeth to expose the periodontal membrane.

 

Odontoma, chondroma, adamantinoma and osteoma: These neoplasms involve the hard structures surrounding the oral cavity. Their slow growth is usually accompanied by deformity of the mouth. These may be removed by a chisel, curette or rongeur, if they are recognised early.

 

Viral papillomatosis and warts: Viral papillomatosis is caused by Canine Oral Papillomavirus (Papovavirus) and is characterised by benign growths affecting the lips, buccal mucosa, gingiva, tongue and pharyngeal structures. If many papillae are present in buccal cavity treatment with vincrystin or anthiomaline is satisfactory. If single wart or papilla is present surgical extraction may be done.

 

Malignant tumours: These tumours include Malignant Melanomas, Carcinomas and Sarcomas. Malignant Melanomas are among the most common neoplasms in the tissues surrounding the oral cavity. Animals do not respond well to surgery and radiotherapy. In case of Carcinomas, basal cell carcinomas rarely metastasise and surgery may be employed if the tumour is accessible. Radiotherapy can be used alone or combined with a surgical procedure. Squamous cell carcinomas frequently metastasize. Deep radiotherapy of the initial tumour with or without treatment of adjacent lymph node is preferable. Since neurofibrosarcoma, osteogenic sarcoma, mast cell sarcoma, fibrosarcoma, spindle and round cell sarcomas respond poorly to radiotherapy and may be treated with radioactive implants and x-ray therapy as well as surgery.

 

Salivary gland tumours: These tumors are rare in dogs as most are seen in older pets of more than 10 years of age. Most salivary gland tumours are malignant, with carcinomas and adenocarcinomas the most common. Local infiltration and metastasis to regional lymph nodes and lungs are common, as is local recurrence after surgical excision. Radiotherapy, with or without surgery, offers the best prognosis.

 

Conditions affecting palate
Cleft palate and harelip: Cleft palate and harelip are congenital and are usually seen in puppies of brachycephalic type. Surgery is the only effective method of treatment and is indicated in the presence of a very narrow cleft in young pup. The patient is placed on his back and the mouth held open by a speculum. The edges of the cleft are freshened and then approximated with interrupted sutures of stainless steel wire.

 

Elongation of soft palate: This condition is common in certain brachycephalic breeds. It is manifested by noisy stertorous breathing, snoring, shortness of breath on exercise and frequently by reflex vomiting. Treatment includes radical resection of soft palate (uvulectomy).

 

Other disorders
Paralysis of facial nerve: Treatment includes administrations of Vitamin B1, B6 and B12.

 

Foreign bodies in mouth: Treatment involves removing the foreign bodies from the mouth and application of antiseptics.

 

Oronasal fistula: Oronasal fistula results most commonly from advanced periodontal disease on the palatal side of the canine teeth. As the palate of bone between the canine tooth and nasal cavity breaks down the fistula develops. Construction of a periosteal flap is the treatment of choice.

 

Mandibular fracture: Treatment of this includes pinning and wiring.

 

(Dr Sonal Shrivastava (medicine), Dr Debosri Bhowmick (surgery) and Dr OP Shrivastava (obstetrics & gynecology) work at Getwell
Dog Clinic, Saraswati Colony, Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh).

“Just Like Oxygen is Important For Life, So is Cell-Pet® Important For Our Pets… For Longevity And Health. Let’s See How.”

Fungal Infection : The treatment started on 15th July 2016 July 2016, This dog has  been suffering from severe fungale infection for many months now without any  improvement or healing taking place.The picture was taken on 21 July 2016, Lots of healing has alredy taken place since the Cell-Pet® treatment started only 6 days ago. The owner only gave him 6-7 drops of Cell-Pet® twice a day by mixing on 20 ml water and also making sure that the dog drank all the water containing the Cell-Pet® Prior to being given more water to drink. It is important that animals and humans alike, drink the best quality water available.Pet’s Owner is so happy with Cell-Pet® Amazing improvement in less than 2 months as we an see, the Pic taken on 5th September 2016.

 

untitled-18Skin Burns : At the end of June the Cell-Pet® Team visited an NGO in India and came across the very traumatised dog that has been suffering from burnt skin for at least the past 3 months and was in obvious discomfort The Cell-Pet® Team decided to give the dog 3 drops of Cell-Pet® diluted in 15ml’s purified water orally and Recommended that his doasage be administered twice a day for 3 days. On day 4 and 5 the Cell-Pet® dosage was to be increased  to 5 drops twice a day and to 7 drop twice a day from day 6 onwards. The Treatment Started on 3rd July 2016. The anti-septic cream dilution was well stirred in order to to ensure that the Cell-Pet® is evenly distributed. This is very important as Cell-Pet® is highly concentrated and acidic. In addition to the oral dosage, the caretaker decided to apply and anti-septic lotion to which 5 drops of Cell-Pet® was added.Picture taken 24th July 2016, Lot of improvement in skin burn case… Giving 6-7 drop Cell-Pet® mixed in 20 ml water every day… The wounds have healed very nicely and no infection occurred at all! The veterinarian was very pleased with the result achieved in less than 1 month.

 

Cell-Pet® is a registered blend of natural plant-sourced minerals, nutrients and electrolytes and is not a medicine. Enchantrix Organic Pvt Ltd and the manufacturers make no medical claims or otherwise for the treatment, prevention, cure or mitigation of disease. If your Pet has a medical condition, we recommend you consult a Veterinarian.

 

How to take care of newborn puppies

Dr Karthik V Kuttan

If you are either a breeder or a pet parent, arrival of a litter of newborn puppies will always be an excitement! But it’s vital to know how to take care of the newborns. Let’s see how.

 

 

 

Canine pregnancy is unique among all domestic pet animals as whelping, an act of giving birth, in dogs is longer in duration than others. The duration could be ranged from 6 to 8 hours on an average, but could be upto 24 hours depending upon the litter size. Mother dogs will exhibit nesting behaviour, restlessness, floor scratching and greenish black vaginal discharge as signs of approaching parturition. There will be a drop in rectal temperature of the dog about 24 hours prior to parturition.

 

Average litter size
In general, average litter size in canines can be ranged from 1 to 12 puppies, depending upon the breed. Greenish vaginal discharge or appearance of the first water bag can be considered as reliable signs of commencement of parturition. Each puppy is delivered at about half an hour to one hour interval. If a delay in expulsion of puppies or any other problem occurs at the time of parturition, immediate veterinary assistance should be sought.

 

Whelping process and neonatal care
Newborn puppies are delivered with fetal membranes covered all over the body. The mother dog usually tears off the fetal membranes and facilitates breathing in the neonates. If the dog is not caring her newborns, it is the duty of the breeder to break and clear the fetal membranes from the face and the body of the neonates. The neonate is then vigorously rubbed over his back with a towel to stimulate respiration. The head of the neonate is kept in a downward direction in order to drool out the aspirated fluids from the nostrils. Traditional method of swinging or shaking the puppy is no longer practiced because of the risk of cerebral trauma. As the neonate begins to breathe normally, the umbilical cord is legated at about two cm from the body, the cord is severed and antiseptic lotion is applied at the broken end. The neonate is then dried either by wiping with a towel or by using a hairdryer.

 

Neonates are not small adults
Canine neonates are poikilothermic, which means they are not able to maintain body temperature by themselves, they depend on environmental temperature to keep themselves warm. Warmth can be provided by placing the neonates over warm water bottles covered with a towel or a 40 watt electric bulb. Environmental temperature should be maintained at 30-33°C for the first 24 hours and later brought down to about 26-30°C within 4 to 6 days. If the temperature is too high for the neonates, they tend to move away from the heat source and if the temperature is low, they tend to cuddle together as ‘puppy piles’.

 

Mother’s need
A healthy canine neonate appears to be active with pink mucous membranes and will crawl around in search of heat. They are born with their eyelids and ear canals closed and will open only at about 10-14 days after birth. During this time neonates solely depend on their mother for nutrition. It is always necessary to provide colostrum, the first milk which is rich in nutrients and antibodies, to the neonates within half an hour after birth. The colostrum is rich in proteins and other nutrients and also contains maternal antibodies that provide sufficient immunity to the newborns. The puppies should be fed at two hour interval if they are not kept with their mother. Since puppies represent the economic part of dog breeding, reducing the neonatal mortality eventually increases the financial return of the breeders. So, the success of a breeder depends on the neonatal care that he provides to decrease neonatal mortality.

 

(Dr Karthik V Kuttan is Deputy Manager (AH), Kerala Livestock Development Board, Kolahalamedu, Idukki, Kerala).

Food items to be avoided for your pooch

Dr Anuradha Nema

Dr Anuradha Nema

Sharing our food with our pet is something many of us do and love to do. Generally pet parents slip something or anything from their plates under the dining table for their pooches. But pooches shouldn’t be given every food we eat. Let’s find out why is it so.

 

 

This article has listed some of the food items we normally eat, which are however dangerous if eaten by our pooches. Here the point is we should not poison our pooch by giving the eatables meant for us (human).

 

Chocolates: Caffeine and theobromine present in chocolates have toxic effects on cardiac and nervous system of dogs. Cooking chocolate contains the most theobromine followed by dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning among pooches include increased heart rate, vomiting, diarrhoea, restlessness, hyperactivity, muscle tremors and increased urination. In acute cases, there may be seizure, coma and ultimately fatality may follow within 24 hours.

 

Alcoholic beverages: Alcohol is toxic to dogs. Its toxicity can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, difficulty in breathing and tremors. In extreme cases, it may also cause depression of the central nervous system and fatality.

 

Coffee and tea: Coffee and tea we normally drink contain caffeine that stimulates the central nervous system and the heart, which is bad to our pooches. Symptoms of caffeine poisoning among pet dogs include vomiting, restlessness, a racing heart and fatality in severe cases.

 

Egg white (raw): Raw egg white contains Avidin, a protein, which depletes Biotin (Vitamin-B). Biotin is essential for growth and coat health. Its deficiency can lead to hair loss, growth retardation, weakness and skeletal deformity.

 

Raw fish: Feeding raw fish to our pooches can result in thiamine deficiency, which may lead to loss of appetite, seizures and even loss of life.

 

Milk and dairy products: About 50 percent of dogs are lactose intolerant, i.e. insufficient amount of lactase enzyme is present to breakdown milk lactose. Heavy milk feeding to our pooches may result in loose/watery faeces.

 

Grapes and raisins: Consumption of graves and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. As little as a single serving of raisins can lead a dog to fatality. Repeated vomiting and hyperactivity are early signs of grapes and raisin poisoning among dogs.

 

Baby food: Dogs consuming baby food can result in nutritional deficiencies and loose/watery faces. It won’t meet growing puppy‘s nutritional requirements.

 

Bones from fish, poultry or other meat sources: Bones/splinters can cause choking, obstruction or laceration of digestive system among dogs.

 

Liver (large amounts): Raw liver or excessively cooked liver (three servings a week) can lead to Vitamin-A toxicity in dog. It can affect the pet’s muscles and cause deformed bones, excessive bone growth on elbows and spine, weight loss and anorexia. Liver toxicity is more common in cats.

 

Excessive fat: Too much fried foods or fat trimmings from ham and other meats could lead to pancreatitis, an inflammation of pancreas with symptoms ranging from mild discomfort to an extremely painful condition with a life threatening blood infection (sepsis) and internal bleeding. Poultry skin is also high in fat content. Another concern is that food with high fat is hard to digest and slows movement of stomach for dogs.

 

Onion and garlic: Onion and garlic contain sulfoxides, disulfides and thiosulphates. Dogs consuming these items can develop haemolytic anaemia due to destruction of the red blood cells. Onion is more toxic than garlic. In this case, cats are more susceptible than dogs.

 

Yeast dough (bread): Too much dough to a dog can expand and produce gas in gastro-intestinal tract, causing pain and may rupture stomach or intestines.

 

Potatoes (green) or potato sprouts: These vegetables contain solanine glycosides which can cause vomiting, abdominal pain, bloody diarrhoea, nervous system stimulation, depression, trembling, paralysis and cardiac arrest among dogs.

 

Mouldy or spoiled food, garbage: Spoiled food can contain multiple toxins that can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and can also affect other organs, if consumed by our pooches.

 

Avocado: Avocados contain a substance called ‘persin’, which is highly toxic in most animals, including dogs. Consumption of avocados among dogs can cause abdominal pains, vomiting and diarrhoea.

 

Table scraps (large amounts): Generally table scraps aren’t nutritionally balanced. Take care that fat should be trimmed from meat and bones should not be fed. Another concern is that whenever we give our dog extra food high in fat, sugar and calorie, then there is risk of dogs becoming obese. Therefore table scraps should never be more than 10 percent of the diet.

 

Macadamia nuts: Toxicity of macadamia nuts may cause muscle weakness, inability to walk, especially in the hind legs of the pet. Other adverse effects include vomiting, staggering gait, depression, tremors and elevated body temperature.

 

Highly salty food: Avoid giving your dog too much salt, particularly when the pet has kidney problem. Another concern is that salty food items are often high in calorie and fat, so amount of it for dogs should be limited.

 

Xylitol (sugar free chewing gums): Doggies consuming diets containing sweetner xylitol can cause a sudden drop in their blood sugar, resulting in depression, loss of co-ordination, seizures and even life threatening.

 

(Dr Anuradha Nema is Assistant Professor at the Department of Veterinary Surgery & Radiology, College of Veterinary Science & Animal Husbandry, Rewa, Madhya Pradesh and Dr Vichar Nema is Assistant Commandant in Siddarth Nagar, UP).

All you need to know about roundworms

Dr Amarnath Muthukrishnan

Dr Amarnath Muthukrishnan

Canine roundworms are a serious health issue in dogs which, if not treated earlier, can result in severe illness or even death, especially among puppies.

 

 

Roundworms belong to Ascarid family and two important species in dogs are Toxocara canis and Toxascaris leonine. Before you treat roundworms in dogs, it is important to know about how roundworms spread, its symptoms, and how it should be treated.

 

How roundworms spread…
Roundworms need a host for completing its highly complex lifecycle. They spread through one of the following routes:

 

From mother’s womb to pup: Prenatal infection is the most common cause. The already infected mother transmits roundworm larvae to infect the developing fetus. Puppies thus are born with worms in their intestines.

 

Through mother’s milk: Nursing mother dogs may pass the larvae to puppies via milk.

 

Through other dogs: Infected adults release microscopic worm eggs in their feces or vomit, which in turn may be ingested by other dogs and puppies (You know dogs have this habit of licking and sniffing other dogs’ feces). Although older dogs rarely fall ill due to this, they become lifelong carriers of roundworms in their intestines.

 

Through other animals/birds: The occasional predation of roundworm infected mouse, rodent or bird by your unguarded dog may result in infection.

 

Symptoms that your pup is infected…
There are usually no symptoms in primary stages of infection. Worm eggs and larvae can remain dormant in pet’s body and become active only during pregnancy and also in conditions of stress. As the population of roundworms increase, they begin to show in feces or vomit and are quite large (up to 5 inches) to be visible. Highly infected pooches will show ‘classic’ signs – pot-belly and persistent diarrhoea. Other signs include weakness, lethargy, weight loss, insomnia, stomach pain, and a dull coat.

 

Prevention is  better than cure…
• Dispose dog feces as soon as possible to avoid the transmission.
• Treat females before breeding and during late pregnancy.
• Deworm puppies at a young age, preferably as early as 2 or 3 weeks.

 

Treatment…
untitled-29Treatment for Roundworms in dogs is a proven, effective dewormer chewable tablet containing three active ingredients – Praziquantel, Pyrantel Pamoate and Febantel – active against major species of worms, including roundworms. Seek your veterinarian’s advice for dosage and prevention.

(Dr Amarnath Muthukrishnan is a senior veterinary surgeon at Amulya Pet Specialty Clinic, Salem, Tamil Nadu).

Cell-Pet

“Just Like Oxygen is Important For Life, So is Cell-Pet® Important For Our Pets.. For Langevity And Health. Let’s See How.”

 

untitled-17Fungal Infection : The treatment started on 15th July 2016 July 2016, This dog has  been suffering from severe fungale infection for many months now without any  improvement or healing taking place.The picture was taken on 21 July 2016, Lots of healing has alredy taken place since the Cell-Pet® treatment started only 6 days ago. The owner only gave him 6-7 drops of Cell-Pet® twice a day by mixing on 20 ml water and also making sure that the dog drank all the water containing the Cell-Pet® Prior to being given more water to drink. It is important that animals and humans alike, drink the best quality water available.Pet’s Owner is so happy with Cell-Pet® Amazing improvement in less than 2 months as we an see, the Pic taken on 5th September 2016.

 

untitled-18Skin Burns : At the end of June the Cell-Pet® Team visited an NGO in India and came across the very traumatised dog that has been suffering from burnt skin for at least the past 3 months and was in obvious discomfort The Cell-Pet® Team decided to give the dog 3 drops of Cell-Pet® diluted in 15ml’s purified water orally and Recommended that his doasage be administered twice a day for 3 days. On day 4 and 5 the Cell-Pet® dosage was to be increased  to 5 drops twice a day and to 7 drop twice a day from day 6 onwards. The Treatment Started on 3rd July 2016. The anti-septic cream dilution was well stirred in order to to ensure that the Cell-Pet® is evenly distributed. This is very important as Cell-Pet® is highly concentrated and acidic. In addition to the oral dosage, the caretaker decided to apply and anti-septic lotion to which 5 drops of Cell-Pet® was added.Picture taken 24th July 2016, Lot of improvement in skin burn case… Giving 6-7 drop Cell-Pet® mixed in 20 ml water every day… The wounds have healed very nicely and no infection occurred at all! The veterinarian was very pleased with the result achieved in less than 1 month.

 

Cell-Pet® is a registered blend of natural plant-sourced minerals, nutrients and electrolytes and is not a medicine. Enchantrix Organic Pvt Ltd and the manufacturers make no medical claims or otherwise for the treatment, prevention, cure or mitigation of disease. If your Pet has a medical condition, we recommend you consult a Veterinarian.

 

How can I help my ageing dog live

how-can-i-help-my-ageing-do-livegoogle chromecast extension

What makes our pooches special?

Amrita

Amrita

 

Pet parents would definitely agree that pooches are precious. They are special and will always be special. Let’s see why.

 

 

Recently, a Bengaluru girl made news when she turned down a marriage proposal because the prospective groom did not like dogs. While many may not agree with her decision, those who love the four-legged will understand exactly why she did it. It also brings to mind a quote I read of Charles de Gaulle, former president of the French Republic, “The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs.” A recent survey titled ‘Pets Over Everything’, conducted by the overseas corporate housing firm ADOBO, has revealed how important and valuable pets are to their pet parents. As per the results of the survey, most pet parents were seen to value their pets more than their material things. Not just that, nearly two-thirds of the respondents said they ‘prefer their pets over their significant others’. Similar survey by the AP and Petside.com revealed that 14 percent of people who participated said that they would rather break up with their partner rather than parting with their pet.So, what is about the pets who make them take precedence over everything and everyone else?

 

Unconditional love
Actor Robert Wagner rightly said, “A dog will teach you unconditional love. If you can have that in your life, things won’t be too bad.” Anyone who has ever had a dog for a pet would agree that if there’s one thing that’s most special about dogs is that they give you their unconditional love. No matter how your treat them, how many mood swings you subject them to and how many times you turn them away, they still want to be with you, love you and seek your love. And the only thing they want in return is to be with you.

 

Always there for you
Dogs provide us with a sense of comfort, companionship and security that no matter what happens they will always be there for us. Many dog lovers find this aspect most appealing about their pets. “They are always happy to see us; the joyous welcome they give us makes us feel loved, wanted and valued,” says Pritika, an ardent dog-lover. It’s no wonder then that author Dean Koontz said, “Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.”

 

De-stressing effect
Everyone who has a dog will agree that dogs are the biggest de-stressors ever. No matter how tensed, irritable or angry one is with one’s life, the moment our dogs come around us, the tension dissipates. “I can actually feel my nerves relaxing the moment my dog nuzzles me, or comes and sits by me. The moment I see or touch my dog, I feel at peace. In my stressful work life, I can’t imagine how I can survive without my dog to calm me down,” says Anmol, who works in the newsroom and often suffers from anxiety attacks. Like him, there are many who feel that spending time with dogs is like meditation. “They calm you down, bring about that sense of peace and relax your jittery nerves, just as in meditation,” says Radhika, a psychology student. That’s why author Kristan Higgins said, “When an 85 pound mammal licks your tears away, then tries to sit on your lap, it’s hard to feel sad.”

 

Dogs are always faithful
Renowned dog trainer Cesar Millan rightly says, “Dogs don’t rationalise. They don’t hold anything against a person. They don’t see the outside of a human but the inside of a human.” In a world where relationships have become so fragile, dogs seem to be the most faithful. Their feelings don’t change with the tide of time. They continue to love us, stand by us and remain loyal to us despite our failings or shortcomings.

 

Love you for what you are and who you are
And last but not the least, one thing that is most endearing about dogs is that they love you for what you are, not for who you are. For them, we are their whole world, their entire universe and their very raison de etre. It is not for nothing that photographer and writer Roger Caras said, “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”

Helping your dog empty his anal sacs

Garima Singhal with Bruno Boo

Garima Singhal with Bruno Boo

If your dog suddenly takes to rubbing his butt on the floor, bed or carpet, or starts to ‘scoot’-drag his butt on a surface as he moves along, or is chasing his butt, or licks, chews or tries to bite his anal area, you might be in for a not so pleasant and slightly dubious experience of expressing your dog’s anal glands.

 

As a pet parent, you should be aware of the most common problem with anal glands occurs when inflammation of the anus causes swelling at the site of the anal gland discharge. The material of the gland starts to accumulate, creating discomfort for the pet. Some dogs bite their rear or twirl continuously in a circle, and in some dogs, there is a gross fishy odour, which indicates that it is time for a clean up,” says Lopa Saikia, co-founder and pet groomer at Ruff in Bangalore

 

The anatomy…
Anal glands or anal sacs are small grape like glands located just below the anus to the either side. These are located just below the sphincter of the anus, the flap-like opening that covers the anus when not in use. In dogs, these glands are occasionally also referred to as ‘scent glands’. You might have noticed how dogs sniff each other’s bums when they meet. These glands secrete vital pheromones that carry all sorts of information about the dog – where they’re from, what they do, what’s their position in the pack hierarchy and so on. The glands are connected by two tiny ducts that lead to the anus. Secretions of these glands are expelled with every bowel movement, which is also the reason why dogs insist on sniffing, inspecting, and if need be, overriding every dropping and poop they encounter.

 

The problems…
In times of stress, the odours of these glands can change, and occasionally, if you notice a very musty, distinct odour about your dog that has nothing to do with flatulence or skin infections, it could be stress, and it is helpful to detect the source and cause of this stress and rectify the situation. These scent glands are located so strategically that if the diet of the dog is consistent and the dog has regular, well formed and reasonably hard stools, they empty out on their own. For thousands of years, dogs and cats have existed with anal glands in their body, without needing human assistance to empty them. But since veterinary science and grooming methodologies became prevalent and commonplace, more and more dogs are regularly getting their anal glands expressed. Due to recurrent expressing, the tiny ducts that connect the gland to the rectum get inflamed and swollen and shut. Also, the muscles in the anal area which are responsible for the movement of fluid from the glands loses its tone and is no longer able to perform the natural function of emptying the anal sacs. This causes accumulation of the anal gland fluid and severe pain, itching, irritation, and inflammation. To get rid of this discomfort, the dog starts to scoot along the floor or bites or claws at his anus. The secondary effect of an inflamed anal gland is that the infection can travel up the gastrointestinal tract and cause poor health of the GI tract and even leading to irritable bowel disease and inflammation of other internal organs.

 

How to express the anal glands yourself?
For mild cases, if you do not wish to vist the vet or the groomer, you can learn to express the anal gland yourself. But it is best to have someone who knows the process teach you the first time, and then follow up on the instructions. Only attempt to express the gland when there are two people involved in the process and you are sure of your dog’s temperament that he or she will not react aggresively as the process can be more than a little painful for the dog. Looking at it from behind, the glands are located on each side of the anus, one at 4 ‘o’ clock and the other at 8 ‘o’ clock immediately around the anal opening.

  • Things you will need: Keep treats handy. Have a washcloth or disposable paper towel ready to prevent squirts.
  • Readying for process: Small dogs can be placed on a table, while you can kneel behind a big dog.
  • Restrain: One person can restrain the dog by placing one arm around the dog’s neck and the other around his body and reaching all the way under his belly. Do this in a gentle way without appearing threatening to the dog.
  • Treat and appreciate: Treat the dog for being calm and for allowing you to handle him
    this way.
  • Ready yourself: Put on a pair of disposable latex surgical gloves and wet the index finger and thumb with petroleum jelly or a water based lubricant.
  • Finding them: Locate your dog’s anal glands by lifting his tail and palpating on either side of the anus at 4 and 8 ‘o’ clock.
  • Expressing anal sacs: Holding the towel over the anus, begin applying firm but gentle pressure to the sacs. This should cause some of the fluid from the sacs to be expelled through the rectum and out through the anus.
  • Clean him: Wipe your dog’s behind clean. Give him a gentle wash with water if required.If you are alarmed at how messy this process will be, the secretions are minute for a minor impaction, and you shouldn’t smell anything. If you do, take your dog to the vet for examination in case of an infection or inflammation. Under no circumstance should expression of the anal gland be a regular procedure and nature should be allowed to do its job which is best for the dog’s health and well being.(Garima Singhal is a behaviourist, neurobiologist, school teacher and a long-term per parent)

 

untitled-7Tips to take care of your pet’s anal health

  • Never: DO NOT express your pet’s
    anal glands.
  • Balanced diet a must: Feed them a species appropriate diet which results in a well-formed, firm stool so that the glands express on their own and there is no cause for fluid build up.
  • Fibre works for dogs too: If there is a mild buildup, then increasing fibre, or probiotics, which would lead to harder and firmer stools will usually solve the problem.
  • Stop: If you have been getting the glands expressed till now, it is time to stop and change the pet’s diet to allow the system to revert to normal.
  • Seek a vet: If there is an underlying infection of some sort, due to which fluid accumulation or buildup of any sort has happened, or if the duct has swollen shut to the point that the animal is scooting or biting his rear, they might need to have the glands expressed once. Once the inflammation is dealt with, revert to the
    fourth point.
  • Take help from a professional: In the case of an emergency, as described in the fifth point, it is important to get veterinary or grooming help from professionals who know how much pressure to apply to just allow for the glands to open and empty. If you see blood or pus around the anus, or if there is severe redness and inflammation, or there is swelling and severely foul odour or if your dog is in extreme discomfort, DO NOT attempt to express the gland by yourself. It is best to get professional medical help.

Choosing the right treats for your dog

Dr Ritesh Sood

Dr Ritesh Sood

 

If you are a pet parent, you would know how satisfying it is to reward your dog with some treats. But it is important to choose the right treat for your pooch.

 

Dog treats are always known to be one of the best ways to bond with your pet. They can offer great motivation for your dog during training and while inculcating good behaviour. It is hard to resist yourself from sharing these healthy tidbits to your pooch when he looks at you with those big, round eyes and drool dripping down his jaws, after a busy work-out and training session. However, one thing that has always bothered many pet parents is to choose the right treat for your dog. Below is a quick guide that you could use while buying treats for your dog.

 

Age matters
The dog’s nutritional requirements essentially vary on the basis of their age. Each dog, of any breed, will have to be given different treats that meet their needs when they are at different life stages. Puppies, aged between 0-2 years, are prone to indigestion and low immunity, and need treats that can not only provide nutrition but these additional health benefits. On the other hand, for adult dogs aged between 2-7 years, select treats that can provide health benefits such as supporting skin health and overall fitness. Senior dogs aged 7 years and above commonly have weak joints and are much stressed. Treats with added benefits like supporting joint health and stress control are of much benefit for senior dogs.

 

Nutrition & quantity
Undoubtedly, dogs love treats and it is hard to deny them of it. However, it is important to know that the treats should be fed moderately. Overfeeding may lead to obesity issues. Choosing a nutritious treat is just as important to ensure your pet leads a healthy life. Select treats that offers a balanced nutrition and includes special health benefits. A word of advice, treats ideally should not constitute more than 10 percent of your dog’s total calorie intake.

 

Ingredients
Even though treats are not fed as a diet, it is vital to ensure that ingredients in the treats don’t disrupt their appetite. Many forms of treats are available in the market but one must choose the right treats depending on the breed and age of the dog. Treats with special health benefits and nutrition are much more preferred over the treats that only provide nutrition. You may also choose treats that are low in calories, low in fat and high in protein. Do consult your vet for advice.

 

Do not overfeed
Dog treats are just as important as their regular meals. It can sometimes be detrimental to their overall health if you over feed your dog with treats. It is essential for pet parents to be highly responsible while choosing the right treat and offering it to them at healthy moderation. After all, healthy pets make happy pets and pet parents.
(Dr Ritesh Sood is product manager – Animal Health Division at The Himalaya Drug Company.)