How to handle HOT DAYS for your canine friend

Dr Ashwini Kumar Singh

Dr Ashwini Kumar Singh

 

The dog days of summer provide lots of opportunities for fun with your dog but the hot months can be uncomfortable—even dangerous—for pets. Here’s how to take care of your pets during the hotter days.

 

 

 

It’s difficult enough simply to cope with rising temperatures, let alone humidity, but things really get tough in areas that are hit with the double blow of intense heat and storm-caused power outages. Keeping pets safe during the summer is easier if you know what the risks are and how to manage them for your dog’s safety. First, let us see what are the common hazards in this weather and how to prevent them:

 

 

Untitled-22Dehydration: Prevent dehydration by providing your dog with unrestricted access to fresh and cool water both indoors and outside. Ice cubes and frozen chicken encourage your dog to take in more fluids and help keep him cool. You can also feed your dog wet dog food during the summer to increase his fluid intake.

 

 

Heat stroke: Heat stroke is a serious risk to dog’s health – in worst case scenarios, it can Untitled-33be fatal. You can prevent heat stroke by restricting your pet’s exercise during the hottest hours of the day (early morning or late evening are the best times for exercise during the summer), by making sure he is well hydrated, providing cool places for him to relax, providing opportunities to swim, cooling mats, and by never leaving your dog unattended in the car during the day.

 

 

Untitled-44Burned pads: Under the summer sun, asphalt on sidewalks and streets can heat to a temperature that can burn a dog’s paws. To avoid scorched paws, walk your dog very early in the morning or in the late evening when the streets have cooled off. Always put your hand down on the asphalt for about thirty seconds – if you find it too hot, it is too hot for your dog to walk on without hurting his paws.

 

Untitled-55Parasites: This is the season for fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes; which can be life threatening or cause self-mutilating behaviors. Feeding your dog a high quality diet, without preservatives or chemicals will build his immune system, making him generally more resistant to parasite infestation. There are a wide variety of preventatives on the market, including chemical spot-on treatments, repellent shampoos, essential oils, and flea/tick collars. Cleaning your house frequently and keeping your dog well groomed will also reduce the risk of parasite infestation.

 

 

Untitled-66Sunburn: Dogs can burn in the sun just like people can. White, light-colored, and thinly coated dogs have an increased risk of sunburn. Sunburn causes pain, itching, peeling, and other problems. To prevent sunburn, apply a waterproof sunscreen formulated for babies or pets. Be sure to cover the tips of your dog’s ears, nose, skin around its mouth and back.

 

 

Untitled-77Seasonal allergies: Your dog may be allergic to one or more seasonal items, which include fleas, grass and various plants, and mold. If you suspect your dog may have seasonal allergies, is scratching and perhaps losing fur. Keep such things at bay. In case, you think that your dog is behaving abnormally, seek help. Here are a few danger signs to watch out:

 

 

Watch the humidity: It’s important to remember that it’s not just the ambient temperature but also the humidity that can affect your pet. Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves, and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels—very quickly.”

 

 

Untitled-88Symptoms to watch out: Keep an eye on your pets during particularly hot spells; watch for indications that they are having difficulty with the heat. Signs that your dog is in distress due to heat include vomiting or drooling, fatigue, heavy panting or obvious difficulty breathing, diarrhea, or seizures.

 

 

Battling heat stroke: If you feel your dog is suffering from heat stroke, then move your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned area. Apply ice packs or cold towels to his head, neck, and chest or run cool water (not cold) over her. Let him drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes.

 

Untitled-99Seek a vet: Even if you believe your pet has suffered from only a mild case of heat stroke, and you feel you’ve treated it successfully, you should still get your pet to a veterinarian. Heat stroke can potentially cause serious internal problems that may not become obvious for some time, possibly even until days after the event.

 

 

Cooling off tips for your pooch

Time for a swim: When you are going for a swim in the morning, take your dog along. Since they are exposed to harsh rays throughout the day, it is important for dogs to take a dip in the water as well. And what’s more? Dogs are great swimmers themselves, and you don’t have to worry about them. But, do keep a close watch.

 

Provide plenty of water, plenty of shade: Dehydration in dogs and cats is a real possibility during the summer, especially if your pet is the type to run and play outside for extended periods without drinking sufficient water. Telltale signs of dehydration include dry gums, loss of skin elasticity, excessive drooling. Don’t let this happen. Give your active pet plenty of playtime breaks in the shade with access to fresh water.

 

Never leave ‘your dog’ in the car: You may think leaving your pet in a car for a few minutes is no big deal, but it can lead to heat stroke. In bright sunshine, your car acts like an oven, becoming much hotter inside than the outside air. So, either take your pet with you or leave him at home during shopping trips.

 

Don’t expose them to harsh sun rays: It is a must to take your dogs out for a walk but take them out early morning If you plan to take them for a jog along in the evening, make sure you take them out when the sun has set. Remember to keep them in the shade always. Be especially careful with pets with white-colored ears, which are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets, which typically have difficulty breathing. Always carry water with you to keep your dog from dehydrating.

 

Keep a check on your dog’s diet: While we are busy eating watery fruits to keep ourselves hydrated during summer, it is important to keep a check on your dog’s diet also. Make them drink water regularly, and include summer foods to cool them off.

 

Groom your dogs: It is important to groom your dogs. You can trim their fur to keep their body light but never shave them.
Cool your pet inside and out: Keep your pet from overheating with a cooling body wrap, vest, or mat. If your dog doesn’t find baths stressful, one can also go for a cooling soak.

 

Keep the pet cool: Pets respond differently to heat than humans do. (Dogs, for instance, sweat primarily through their feet.) So, always keep them in a room with cooler or air-conditioner.

 

(Dr Ashwani Kumar Singh, veterinary physician & surgeon is intern at Government Veterinary Hospital, Bharatpur, Rajasthan).

Canine babesiosis – a tick to worry!

In summer months, our pooches need to be safeguarded against tick infections like Babesiosis. Here’s more on this tick transmitted canine disease.

 

Dr Priya Chettri

Dr Priya Chettri

Dr GM Arpitha

Dr GM Arpitha

Dr A Sangaran

Dr A Sangaran

Babesiosis is an emerging, tick-transmitted canine disease caused by haemoprotozoan
parasite of the genus Babesia. The disease is distributed worldwide and infection is more common in areas where tick infestation is very high and when routine acaricide use is not practiced.
History: Victor Babes was the first person who recognised Babesia in the red blood cells of cattle in 1888. Later in 1893, Kilborne and Smith named it as Babesia, classifying them as protozoans.
Species: There are two Babesia species that cause Babesiosis in dogs – Babesia canis and Babesia gibsoni. While, there are three subtypes of Babesia canis – Babesia canis canis, Babesia canis vogeli and Babesia canis rossi.

 

Risk factors

  • Transmitted by the bite of brown dog tick ‘Rhipicephalus sanguineus’: Dogs who spend a lot of time outdoors are at an increased risk for tick bites and for contracting this parasite. This is especially true in the summer months, from May through September, when tick populations are higher.
  • Recent dog bite (Babesia gibsoni).
  • Blood transfusion from infected donor dog.
  • Immunosuppression.
  • Splenectomy.
  • Transplacental transmission – from the mother dog to the developing foetus through placenta.

How it infects?
Dogs become infected with Babesia sp., when a tick feeds on the blood and releases ‘sporozoites’ into the dog’s bloodstream. These sporozoites invade the red blood cells and multiply leading to the formation of ‘merozoites’ which may be ingested by a new tick during a blood meal. Following ingestion by the tick, Babesia sp., undergoes rapid multiplication, resulting in numerous sporozoites (in the tick salivary glands) that are infective to healthy dogs by the infected tick feeding.

 

Signs and symptoms

  • Fever
  • Inappetance
  • Lethargy
  • Pale mucous membranes
  •  Vomiting
  • Bounding pulses
  • Splenomegaly (enlarged spleen)
  • Lymphadenopathy(enlarged lymphnode)
  • Dark discolouration of the urine (Haemoglobinuria) – often coffee coloured
  • Jaundice
  • Hemolytic anaemia

Disease is less severe with Babesia canis vogeli than with Babesia gibsoni infection.

How is Babesiosis diagnosed in your pet?
It can be difficult to confirm a diagnosis of Babesiosis. Blood tests may show a decrease in the number of red blood cells and platelets (thrombocytopenia), but this is not specific to Babesia. Blood smears can be examined for the presence of the Babesia organisms. If they are present, the diagnosis can be confirmed, but they may not always show up on a smear (taking blood from a cut on the ear tip or from a toenail can improve the odds of finding the parasites).
The most current and best way to diagnose Babesia canis is polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing. Blood can also be tested for antibodies to Babesia, though this can sometimes produce misleading results. Specialised testing can check for genetic material from Babesia, and while this is the most sensitive test, it is not widely available and has some limitations as well. Generally, a combination of lab tests along with clinical signs and history are used to make a diagnosis.
The diagnosis can be further complicated by the fact that dogs infected with Babesia may also be infected with other diseases carried by ticks, such as Erlichia, Lyme disease, or Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

 

Which breeds are susceptible?

  • The disease can occur in any dog breed
    at any age, but young dogs tend to
    suffer with more serious illness.
  • Babesia canis vogeli infections are more prevalent
    in Greyhound breeds.
  • Babesia gibsoni infections are more prevalent in American Pit Bull Terriers.

 

What treatment you should give?

If your pet is severely anaemic, he may require a blood transfusion.

Preventing Babesiosis

  • The secret of keeping your pet free from Babesia is good tick control.
  • Check your dog periodically for ticks (ticks must feed for at least 24-48 hours to spread Babesia). This is especially important in peak tick season or if your dog spends time in the woods or tall grass.
  • The best way to remove the ticks is to grasp the tick’s mouth parts with the help of small tweezers and pull them. Try not to crush them.
  • Brush or comb your pet regularly.
  • Use collars that contain acaricides such as Deltamethrin, Cypermethrin, Flumethrin (Tick Collars) combined with fipronil spray. These are quite effective in repelling ticks. Fipronil spray is more effective than the dropper form.
  • Treat your yard and garden with acaricides to control the ticks.
  • Blood donor dogs should be screened for Babesia spp. by blood smear, serology and molecular technique such as PCR.

 

(Dr Priya Chettri and Dr Arpitha GM are perusing MVSc in Veterinary Parasitology and Dr A Sangaran, PhD, is a veterinary parasitologist and professor at Madras Veterinary College, Chennai.)

Mineral Magic and its effect on coat condition!

Dr AK Singh

Dr AK Singh

The eyes may be the windows to the soul, but the condition of a dog’s coat and skin give a better indication of his overall nutritional status. The skin is the largest organ of the body and when it is not getting the nutrition it needs, problems are readily observed. Nutrition plays a key role in maintaining healthy skin and coat condition in dogs and cats. The coat of an animal is its first line of defence. Maintaining a coat that is healthy in appearance is important to the animal and to the pet parent for aesthetic reasons.

Untitled-5The skin, the largest organ in the body, serves as the second barrier to outside antigens. Cracks in the skin may allow bacteria and toxins from the environment to enter the body. The health of both the skin and coat of dogs and cats is affected directly by the nutrition of the animal. Therefore, feeding a complete and balanced diet is critical in maintaining skin and coat health.
Nutritional deficiencies and excesses, both can have detrimental effects; however, genetic defects in some animals may also result in a decrease in absorption of some essential nutrients needed for optimal skin and coat health. The most notable nutrients involved in skin and coat health include protein, fatty acids and zinc, as well as select vitamins and trace minerals.

Dr AP Singh

Dr AP Singh

Know more about your dog’s skin…
Adult skin is composed of three layers: the epidermis, the dermis and the hypodermis or subcutis.
Epidermis: The epidermis is the outermost layer of the skin. All epidermal cells are derived from the basal membrane (stratum basale), which is composed primarily of keratinocytes although other cells, including melanocytes, are also present. Keratinocytes have many functions, including production of keratin, a fibrous, sulfur-containing protein; and production of a lipid secretion which has an integral role in the regulation of the stratum-corneum barrier function and desquamation.
Dermis: The dermis supports the epidermis and consists of a matrix of collagen and reticular and elasticin a ground substance of chondroitin sulfate and hyaluronic acid. The tensile strength and elasticity of the skin is largely attributable to the dermis, which is also responsible for the maintenance and repair of the skin and modifies the structure and function of the epidermis.

Dr Preeti

Dr Preeti

Hypodermis: The underlying hypodermis is made up of loose connective tissue, elastic fibers, and variable amounts of fat. This layer acts as an energy reserve, as an insulator, and as protective padding and maintains the body contours.
Know more about your dog’s hair…
Three types of hair are present in dogs: the primary or guard hairs; the fine secondary hairs; and the tactile or sinus hairs, including the whiskers, which are responsible for the perception of touch. Each hair is divided into a free part or shaft, and a proximal part and root.
The hair is housed in an epithelial pit called a hair follicle and is attached, via the hair bulb, to the dermal papilla in the base of the follicle. It is here that mitotic activity occurs, which leads to the production of the hair matrix. Melanocytes, which produce the pigment melanin, are situated in the hair bulb.
Associated with the hair follicles there are:

  • Sebaceous glands, except in the footpads or on the nose, which produce sebum.
  • An erector pili muscle which elevates the hair and helps in the expression of sebum.
  • Apocrine sweat glands (except in the skin of the footpads and nose), which predominantly function as pheromone secretory gland, rather than a thermoregulatory action.
  • Eccrine sweat glands (only in the skin of the footpads), which are activated under nervous control, particularly in stressed or excited dogs.

Functions of skin and coat…
Major functions of the skin and coat include:

SS Kullu

SS Kullu

  • Maintenance of an enclosing natural barrier between the animal’s internal environment and the outside world.
  • Preservation of the animal’s shape.
  • Protection against water loss
  • Protection from physical, chemical, and microbial injury imposed by external agents.
  • Storage of nutrients.
  • Sensory perception.
  • Thermoregulation.
  • Vitamin D synthesis.
  • Important indicator of health status.
  • Significant role in communication (e.g., pilo erection, excretion of pheromones).
  • The protective function of the skin and coat is enhanced by the presence of an emulsion of sebum.

This emulsion also provides a physical barrier, maintains skin hydration to keep it soft and pliable, spreads over the hair coat to produce a glossy sheen, contains antimicrobial substances and is immunologically active.

Different minerals for maintaining healthy skin and coat condition…
Some of the different minerals required for a healthy coat and skin include:
Zinc
Zinc is a transition metal found throughout the body. It is present in most tissues in relatively low concentrations. Zinc is the co-factor for around 200 zinc-containing enzymes involved in cell replication, carbohydrate and protein metabolism, and membrane structure. It is essential for the transport of vitamin A in the blood and plays an important role in reproduction. It is also crucial for collagen and keratin synthesis and is therefore a fundamental element involved in skin and coat health, and wound healing.
Common sources of zinc: Whole grain cereals and meat are rich natural sources of zinc. Zinc can also be found in mineral salts such as zinc sulphate and zinc oxide.
Deficiency of zinc: Absolute dietary deficiencies of zinc are considered rare in dogs, but a relative deficiency may occur when the availability of dietary zinc is reduced through nutrient interactions or where intestinal absorption of zinc is impaired through disease or genetic factors.
Intestinal absorption of zinc can be inhibited by:

  • Excessive levels of dietary calcium, iron and copper, which compete with zinc for intestinal absorption sites.
  • High levels of dietary phylate, found in cereal-based diets, which chelates zinc.
  • Inherent defects of zinc absorption.
  • Prolonged enteritis or other malabsorption syndromes.

Most cases of zinc-responsive dermatosis in dogs have been associated with the feeding of poor quality, cereal or soy-based dry food, the effects of which may be exacerbated in some animals by other predisposing factors.
Lethal acrodermatitis is an inherited disease of English Bull Terriers in which a defect of zinc metabolism is thought to give rise to severe systemic, as well as cutaneous, signs that resemble experimental zinc deficiency. The condition is unresponsive to zinc supplementation and is usually fatal, with an average survival time of seven months for affected puppies.
Pathophysiology: Zinc plays a critical role in regulating many aspects of cellular metabolism, a number of which are concerned with the maintenance of a healthy skin and coat. It is an integral component of a wide range of metallenzymes and, as a cofactor for RNA and DNA polymerases, its presence is of particular importance in rapidly dividing cells, including those of the epidermis. Zinc is also essential for the biosynthesis of acids, participates in both inflammatory and immune systems and is involved in the metabolism of vitamin A.
Clinically, two zinc-responsive dermatologic syndromes are recognised, although there is considerable overlap between the two:
Clinical signs: Signs of zinc deficiency are confined mainly to the skin, but may be accompanied by:

  • Growth and other abnormalities in young animals.
  • Depressed appetite due to a diminished sense of taste and smell.
  • Weight loss, impaired wound healing, conjunctivitis, and keratitis.
  • Generalised lymphadenopathy, particularly in young animals.

Cutaneous signs are characterized by:

  • Focal areas of erythema, alopecia, scale, and crust with underlying suppuration, which develop symmetrically particularly around the face, extremities, mucocutaneous junctions and pressure points of the limbs.
  • Hyperkeratotic footpads with deep fissures.
  • Dull and harsh hair coat.
  • Secondary pyoderma.

Copper
Untitled-11The bodies of dogs and cats contain a very small amount of copper. In 1984, Meyer reported a total body content of copper to be 7.3 mg per kg body weight in young dogs.
Role of copper in the body: Copper facilitates the intestinal absorption of iron and its incorporation into haemoglobin. It is an active element in many enzymes. Copper plays an important role in reducing cellular damage caused by free radicals. Copper is also involved in the synthesis of collagen in the tendons and the myelin within the system. Copper also participates in the synthesis of melanin, which is a hair pigment. Common sources of copper: Foods that have high copper content include meat (lamb, pork, duck) and protein rich grains (peas, lentils, soy). Copper may also be added to pet food in the form of mineral salts, however, copper oxide is a poorly available form of this mineral. Deficiency of copper: Copper deficiency can result in anaemia, loss of hair pigmentation and hyperextension of the lower limb. Copper is stored in the liver and although toxicity is rare, certain breeds are pre-disposed to copper storage disease, for example, Bedlington Terriers; involved in tissue, pigment and protein synthesis Other minerals and vitamins Other minerals and several vitamins also may have an effect on skin and coat health. A deficiency in iodine, responsible for a normal functioning thyroid, will create skin lesions and poor hair coat. Although rare, vitamin deficiencies can result in several skin and coat problems. Vitamin A is important in proper keratinisation of the skin. Deficiencies will result in hyperkeratinisation, poor hair coat, and alopecia. Vitamin B-complex vitamins, namely biotin, will manifest similar deficiency symptoms as vitamin A. However, most lesions of the skin characteristically occur around the face and eyes. A deficiency is rare, although it may be caused in animals fed with raw eggs due to avidin, a protein that binds biotin, rendering it unavailable to the animal.

 

(Dr RK Yogi, Dr AK Singh, Dr Preeti, Dr AP Singh and Dr SS Kullu are research scholars at National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal).

Nutritional Approach to Canine Osteoarthritis

Canine OA is a common cause of joint failure with stiffness, loss of mobility, and varying degrees of inflammation and pain. Degenerative joint disease (DJD) also known as osteoarthritis (OA), or simply arthritis is a debilitating disorder affecting a wide range of animal species and humans.

 

12What is Canine OA?
Osteoarthritis is the disease of synovial joint with the  involvement of synovial cavity and articular cartilage which covers the bone. It is associated with pain, lameness and discomfort to the dog.

 

The most critical part of the joint is synovial membrane which has got synoviocytes that secretes synovial fluid, and articular cartilage which covers the bone and consists of chondrocytes and matrix. Viscosity of the synovial fluid is important for sustaining and maintaining the joint. Articular cartilage and synovial fluid both are live tissues and are in the dynamic state.
Osteoarthritis can be a result of trauma followed by infection.

 

Diagnosis
The beginning stages of OA are not readily apparent; but, once the deterioration has reached the synovial membrane and/or the bone 1234beneath joint cartilage, painful inflammation begins. The first visible sign of osteoarthritis pain may come in the form of a limp, sensitivity to touch in a certain area (for example, along the spine); a decrease in activity; stiffness (especially after rest); difficulty getting up, lying down, or climbing stairs, or an inability to jump.

 

 

 

Joint Supplements and how they work
Doctors generally follow the multimodal treatment, thus starting from diet management to reduce weight, physiotherapy,
Untitled-3anti-inflammatory drugs along with NSAID and antibiotics. While the multimodal treatment has got definite role in managing the lifestyle of the dog, long run use of NSAID and antibiotics has its own pit falls. Here comes the requirement of nutritional supplements which can help in managing the joint and reducing dependence on NSAID and other drugs. As a pet parent, one can always look for the following in nutritional supplements:

 

Glucosamine HCL or Glucosamine Sulphate: Glucosamine is an amino monosaccharide unit of glycosaminoglycan, which is the building Untitled-4block of the cartilage matrix seen within joints. It is the raw material for making GAG. The actual chemical makeup of glucosamine accounts for its favorable absorption through the gastrointestinal tract and favorable cartilage reaction. It can be added as a chemical molecule or even as part of shell fish or any marine source. Glucosamine HCL is a smaller molecule so bioavailability is more.
Chondroitin Sulphate: Is GAG  (Glycosaminoglycans) used for articular cartilage synthesis? All GAGs not only provide the raw material for production of articular cartilage but also play a role as analgesic and anti-inflammatory, thus reducing the dependence
on NSAID.

 

The efficacy of the raw material is dependent on the purity or the grade of the raw material. Some of the companies use human grade raw material for early and sustained efficacy.
Glucosamine/Chondroitin Combination
When given in combination, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate reportedly support cartilage production and protect existing cartilage by inhibiting enzymes in the joints that break down cartilage. Glucosamine also works as raw material for chondroitin synthesis in the body.

 

Methylsulphonylmethane (MSM)
A source of organic sulphur in a form the body can readily use, MSM is also thought to have some anti-inflammatory and pain reducing actions. It is thought to help maintain flexibility of ligaments.

 

Dimethyl Glycine (DMG) is a molecule which is very important for early recovery of the joint. It works as an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antioxidant, metabolic enhancer, promotes immunity, improves cardiovascular function; thus helping the joint to recover fast from injury or osteoarthritis. Manganese Amino Acid chelate has got a possible role in prevention of osteoporosis, collagen formation, synthesis of GAG, thus helpful in supporting treatment of osteoarthritis. All these molecules help in supporting the treatment of arthritis, osteoarthritis, hip dysplacia, following joint surgery, cruciate ligment injury, joint pain, vertebral disc conditions and other associated conditions. These are effective in dogs of all breeds and ages.

 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Specific Omega-3 fatty acids, known as Poly unsaturated fatty acids, are often recommended in pets because they have far-reaching benefits in the body. These fatty acids are very well known for protecting heart health but also support the brain/nervous system, the kidneys, skin health, the immune system, and the joints, especially beneficial in performance dogs. It is available in Green lipped mussel. Nutritional management of osteoarthritis is very important for early recovery and lifestyle management of affected dogs, hence strongly recommended.
– By Col Virendra Kumar MSD Animal Health

Learn about common skin disorders

A dog’s skin is an indication of her overall health and hence forms a basic criterion while adopting a puppy. Here are a few common skin disorders our pets can suffer from.

 

Dr. Nandani Kumari

Dr. Nandani Kumari

Dr. Saroj Kumar Thakur

Dr. Saroj Kumar Thakur

Skin disorders are one of the most common health problems in dogs. These canine skin diseases are classified on the basis of first its causative agents, secondly  of being secondary or
primary or on the basis of acute, self-limiting to chronic or long lasting problems which require long lasting treatment.

 

General symptoms of skin infection in dog
Generalised  symptoms of skin infections include scratching, licking or chewing of skin, scabs, redness or inflammation, hot spots (one particular area where itching is intense), round scaly patches on the face and paws, dry flaky or otherwise irritated skin, rashes, lesions, drainage of bloods or pus, swelling, lumps or skin discoloration and rubbing face against furniture, etc.
Types of skin infections
1. Allergic Dermatosis (Eczematous dermatoses)
Allergic reactions may result due to various allergens. Eczema may be defined as an inflammatory reaction of the epidermis to certain exogenous of endogenous substances against which the cells are sensitised.
Causes: Chemicals or drugs like antibiotics and Sulphonamides, animal products like milk, meat of different animals and poultry, eggs, wheat corn or soy, flea bite, distemper virus and worms like ascarids, hook worm, tape worm, whip worm may sensitise the skin causing allergy (worm allergy). It can also be caused by pollen of several flowers, chlorinated water, soap solution, etc.
Symptoms: It includes itching, redness of the affected area and swelling either as diffused oedema or localised oedema of the superficial layer of the skin. Dry moist eczematous (an inflammatory condition of the skin attended with itching and the exudation) reactions. In chronic cases, lesions may become dry, thick, accompanied with constant itching and redness. In most cases, there may be exudation of serum and pus.
Treatment:  Your vet may prescribe Phenargan, Betnosole or Zincovit syrup. Consult your vet for dosage and treatment.

 

2. Canine atopic dermatitis (CAD)
Canine atopic dermatitis is an important hereditary (being passed from one generation to another) and chronic (an ailment persisting since a long time). It usually starts between 6 months and 3 years of age with some breeds of dog such as Golden Retriever starting at an earlier age.
Symptoms: Dogs with CAD are itchy, especially around the eyes, muzzle, ears and feet. Some of the allergens associated with CAD include pollens of tree, grasses and weeds as well as house dust mite. Flea allergy is commonly associated with CAD.
Treatment: Treatment includes avoidance of the offending allergens if possible, but for most dogs this is not practical or effective. Other treatments include antihistamines, steroids, cyclosporine and immunotherapy (a process in which allergens are injected to try to induce tolerance). Shampoos and medicated wipes might be used to prevent the severity of infection.

 

3. Immune mediated skin disorders and autoimmune diseases
Deficiency or overactivity of immune response might also be responsible for skin diseases.   Insufficient immune response is associated with secondary skin diseases like increased susceptibility to demodectic mange and recurrent skin infections such as Malassezia infection or bacterial infections. Pemphigus foliaceus is the most common autoimmune disease of dog. Other autoimmune diseases include bullous pemphigoid and epidermolysis bullosa acquisita etc.
Symptoms:  It includes blisters in the epidermis, which rapidly break to form crusts and erosions, most often affecting the face and ears initially, but in some cases spreading to the whole body. Marked hyperkeratosis (thickening of pads with scale) might be evident in paw pads.
Treatment: Azathropine and other drugs can be used as immunosuppressive agent. Keeping away the allergens and regular cleaning with shampoo as they need more of prophylactic treatment rather curative, is recommended.

 

Ringworm (Dermatomycosis)
Fungal in origin, it should be treated immediately to avoid transmission of the infection to other pets and people in the house. The dermatophytes have affinity for keratinised tissues, e.g. skin, hair and nails and hence they produce cutaneous reactions known as ringworm infection.
Causes: Microsporum canis, Microsporum gypseum and Trichophyton mentagrophytes, etc.
Symptoms: It includes inflammation, scaly patches and hair loss. The fungus generally affects the upper layer of skin. There may be little apparent/visible lesions, which may show alopecia (loss of hair), scaly or crusted appearance. Lesions are circular (ring like) and may be 1-4 mm in diameter. Periphery of the lesion is raised and the central part is depressed like a  thallus. Erythematous (reddish) patches along with stub of hairs can be seen within the lesion.
Treatment: Your vet may prescribe Grisovin/Grisofulfin (Glaxo), Idofulvin ointment, Leucos (Water and ether extract of leucos aspara)  and Tincture iodine application. Consult your vet for proper treatment.

 

Pyoderma
It is a clinical condition which results in due to pus forming (pyogenic) bacterial infection of the skin. This is accumulation of pus within the skin.
Causes: Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, E.Coli, Pseudomonas and proteus are the common bacterial invaders.
Symptoms: The lesions vary according to nature and distribution of infection. Exudation (discharge from the lesion) of pus and serum can be seen. Formation of micro abscess which may create large pus filled cavities and sinuses are also visible. Ulceration is not uncommon. Alopecia, Erythema and scales are formed. Interdigital pyoderma is very much painful and may affect the walking.
Treatment: Cleaning of pyoderma (containing pus) lesion with topical antiseptic preparations like bovispray. Removal of dead tissue to facilitate drainage of pus and accumulating blood is also recommended.

 

Untitled-5Parasitic skin ailments
A lot many of ectoparasites (parasite living outside the body) are responsible for skin problems in canines. Of these, most common are Sarcoptes scabies, Demodex canis, Rhipiciphalus  sanguineus,  Dermacanter  andersoni and Ctenocephalus canis  (Dog Flea), etc. They also have varying but similar symptoms. Treatments vary according to causative agents.

 

 

(Nandani Kumari is a Ph D scholar at Department of A.G.B., R.V.C., B.A.U. while  Saroj Kumar Thakur is A.I.O., F.S.B., HOTWAR, Ranchi, Jharkhand.)

 

What causes depression in DOGS and how to HELP them ?

Dogs are strikingly similar to humans as far as emotions are concerned. Like humans, dogs too get depressed when things do not go as they wish. While, we can rationalise our feelings and seek a way out, our dogs are not so lucky…they need our love and care in such difficult times.

 

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Dr Suranjan Sarkar

“My dog is not active, not eating much, not playing, always tries to be alone in the corner of room, she shows no interest when I call, I guess she must be very sick, doctor please cure her” – this is a type of statement when a sick dog is brought to my clinic. I then examine the dog and may find all his vital signs normal – temperature, pulse rate, blood pressure and ECG – all appear just fine. Then why are these complaints becoming more and more common and why are these dogs withdrawn from their surroundings? That’s the time when I start talking to pet parents to understand the underlying problem. I ask them about their daily routine, their occupation, how their dog was brought home, who takes care of their dogs, when their dogs go outside and who plays with the doggy, etc, etc. Then I get to understand the problem – these dogs are suffering from depression.
It almost always begins like this – “My son/daughter used to take care of our doggie, now that they have shifted to other city for higher studies, there is nobody to take care of our dog. We don’t even take our dog out for nature call as we get it done in our toilet, so our dog stays indoors all the time without any playmate.” So these poor guys, who are social animals, get rightfully depressed.

 

What causes depression in dogs?
Dogs are social animals but in modern times they are very isolated. They are bred in kennels and their litter gets separated at an early age of 35 to 45 days. These pups live in a house with humans as their companions. Most houses have only one dog in their house, with both parents on job and children to school. In such cases, doggies are forcibly left alone during the day time for 6 to 8 hours. Even in the evening, family members become busy in their work. Children play with dogs in early childhood but later become busy with their studies and other forms of entertainment. Thus, ignorance, isolation and inability to express their feelings take a toll on dog’s life.

 

Depression signs to look out for?how to help
These signs are very similar to humans suffering from depression:
Appetite change: Some dogs, when depressed, may want to eat more and become obese. This is very common in Labradors living in apartments. They are retriever dogs and due to lack of exercise and boredom, they resort to eat more and become obese and lazy. On the other hand, there are some dogs who lose interest in food and eat less than before and become thinner.

 

Sleeping all day: This is a very common symptom. You may be around him and want to play with him but he shows no interest and sleeps all the time.

 

Lack of interest: Your dog may show lack of interest in normal activities which he used to like earlier, such as going out for a walk, playing with ball, etc.

 

Paw licking or chewing: Dogs chew their paw when left alone out of boredom and they make it a severe wound. This habit evolves into OCD or obsessive compulsive disorder. Even after repeated dressing and innumerable visit to vet clinic and application of anti allergic medicines, etc, the wound in foot pad or between the toes don’t go away because problem lies elsewhere.

 

Hiding: It is very common to find depressed dogs hiding deep under the bed where your hands can’t reach to fetch him. He wants to stay there so that nobody can disturb him.
All the above signs happen to be there in many medical conditions as well, so it’s better to take your dog to vet for thorough examination before you can declare him “depressed”.

 

(Dr Suranjan Sarkar runs Pluto Pet Clinic in Ranchi.)
www.plutopetclinics.com

What are Puppy Mills? How to STOP them?

Bringing home a pup is a dream come true for many pet parents. But, have you ever wondered if your pup is coming from an ethical breeder or from a puppy mill?

 

Often animal welfare organisations and activists talk of puppy mills mushrooming here and there. So, what are puppy mills?

 

Dr Amarnath Muthukrishnan

Dr Amarnath Muthukrishnan

Dogs’ apathy…
In puppy mills, female dogs are bred at every opportunity with little to no recovery time between litters.Since, it is more of a business, very little attention is given to the upkeep of animals. Dogs live in cramped cages, with no room to play or exercise. They are not given fresh food or water, have little or no veterinary care, and have little protection from weather. Sometimes, even the cleanliness is compromised, which means that they might end up living in unclean premises, with urine or faeces around.

 

Problems associates with pups from puppy mills…
Puppies coming from puppy mills are not healthy and can suffer from many problems. “Such puppies suffer from malnutrition as they are separated from mother as early as 25 days. Their immunity will be compromised as they lack mother’s feed after 25 days of age. Moreover, they tend to pick up all kinds of viral diseases live parvo, corona and helminthic diseases immediately when they are out from mothers care in such early age,” tells Dr Amarnath Muthukrishnan.
“Puppies in mills are found with bleeding or swollen paws, feet falling through the wire cages, severe tooth decay, ear infections, dehydration, and lesions on their eyes, which often lead to blindness,” he adds. Besides, it is very harmful for the mother dogs as well. “Involuntary removal of puppies from mother also makes the mother sick, as no puppies are there to suckle the milk produced by the mother and their mammary gland gets physiological swelling and they have painful teats for many days,” he adds.

 

Identifying pups from puppy mills…
But, how can pet parents know if he is buying a pup from a puppy mill? Dr Amarnath shares, “If your puppy has a poor body weight or does not wants to come near anyone in the shop or does not wants to be handled, beware, he might be from a puppy mill.” Other indicators include: lesser skull conformation on the breed’s standard; and thin boned puppies with positive for skin turgidity test or skin elasticity tests. “Besides, such puppies always ask for food to eat
(as they are mainly starved in cages),” he shares. “You never find healthy and heavy boned active puppies from puppy mills where they keep animals for sale in cages,” he adds. “It’s also common to find dogs in puppy mills with collars that have been fastened so tightly that they become embedded in a dog’s neck and must be carefully cut out,” adds Dr Amarnath.

 

Ethical breeding…
It is very important for the breeders to use ethical breeding practices. “In case of females, the right time is to breed on or after third season or estrus cycle while in case of males, ideal time is 14–16 months of age,” shares Dr Amarnath.

 

Spaying/neutering…
Pet parents can save their pets from unwanted litters. Ethically, male dog can be castrated on or after a year and female dog after a whelping is ideal. “Still medically, they can be removed at the age of five months and eight months respectively for males and females. If the pet parent can’t maintain the litter, it’s very much ethical to remove the reproductive organs as early as per medical age to prevent orphan puppies,” he says.

 

Laws in India…
Dog Breeding, Marketing and Sale Rules 2010, is yet to be notified into law by the Ministry of Environment and Forests. All persons who wish to breed their dogs are legally required to register their animals with the Animal Welfare Board of India as per the Stray Dog Control (Animal Birth Control) Rules, 2001 under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

 

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

find out how emotional contentment leads to MENTAL WELLNESS!

Mental wellness is emotional contentment and satisfaction or a state of persistent happiness. Mental distress in dogs and cats is caused by fear, anxiety and frustration, emotions that invariably lead to behavioural challenges. Here’s how to ensure mental wellness.

 

Dr. M.K Sharma

Dr. M.K Sharma

Physically, stress affects dogs and cats just as it does to us, causing a marked increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and nervous output. If the stress is chronic, the immune system can become depressed, leaving the body susceptible to a wide variety of diseases.

 

Promoting mental wellness in our pets means reducing stress in their lives as much as possible which in turn promote our life as well. It is done by ensuring that the emotional and physical needs of our pets are being met. Physical needs include ready access to food, water, and shelter, and the ability to eliminate when the need arises. Some important aspects for promoting wellness are:

 

  • Provide fresh food and water to your pet on a daily basis.
  • Dogs and cats are creatures of habit. Make a schedule for your pet and stick to it.
  • Daily walks, exercise sessions, play periods, and/or grooming sessions will all contribute to overall mental wellness and contentment of your pet while promoting physical vibrancy at the same time.
  • Catering to your pet ’s instinctive cravings will help prevent boredom and the stress that it causes. Provide enough variety, novelty, and interaction.
  • Be sure to properly establish a dominance hierarchy between you and your pet through proper training.
  • A houseful of visitors can be stressful to both dogs and cats, who of ten view the human visitors as territorial intruders. When you have guests at home, keep your pet in a quiet place.
  • Have your pets neutered. This is especially true for male dogs and cats, who can become quite stressed and frustrated if not allowed to roam, fight, and satisfy their territorial and sexual urges.
  • If your pet becomes highly stressed when travelling, consider hiring a pet sitter to take care of your pet at your home while you are away.
  • Pain, injury, and illness can cause havoc on a pet’s mental health. So prioritise your pet’s preventive health care programme and consult your
    vet regularly.

 

(Dr MK Sharma is veterinary officer at Government Veterinary Hospital, Pratapgarh, Rajasthan).