Ask the expert…May-June 10

Q: Can you advice me about Toxoplasmosis in cats? Also what is the prevention/ cure for cats and people around them?
– Rajesh Talreja, Mumbai

 

A: Dr KG Umesh: Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic disease caused by Toxoplasma gondii. Toxoplasmosis is usually transmitted from ingestion of undercooked meat, sporulated oocysts (eggs), paratenic hosts, and it can be congenital. Acute toxoplasmosis in pregnant women leads to serious disease and/or defects in the fetus. Disease in cats may cause brain disease, liver disease, pancreatitis, respiratory disease and eye disorders. Cats with symptomatic toxoplasmosis are often immunosuppressed. Prevention: Do not feed raw or undercooked meat to cats, keep cats inside and do not let them hunt. Washing hands with soap and water after handling a cat or contacting any urine, feces or other bodily secretions is one of the simplest and most important means of infectious disease control. Pregnant women should avoid contact with cats and cat feces, which are more than 24 hours old. Do not let the cat lick the person in question, particularly on the face, nor should they handle the cat. Practice good hygiene (wash after handling uncooked meat, wear gloves while gardening, cover sandboxes, clean litter boxes daily. Freeze meat to -20oC (-4oF) for two days or cook meat to 160°F and thoroughly clean areas where raw meat is prepared, wash fruits and vegetables prior to consumption). Keep the cat in good health by having regular examinations by a veterinarian, as well as up-to-date vaccinations and regular fecal exams to check for parasites. Feed a high-quality commercial cat food that does not contain any raw ingredients.

Ask the expert…May-June 10

Q: Can you advice me about Toxoplasmosis in cats? Also what is the prevention/ cure for cats and people around them?
– Rajesh Talreja, Mumbai

 

A: Dr KG Umesh: Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic disease caused by Toxoplasma gondii. Toxoplasmosis is usually transmitted from ingestion of undercooked meat, sporulated oocysts (eggs), paratenic hosts, and it can be congenital. Acute toxoplasmosis in pregnant women leads to serious disease and/or defects in the fetus. Disease in cats may cause brain disease, liver disease, pancreatitis, respiratory disease and eye disorders. Cats with symptomatic toxoplasmosis are often immunosuppressed. Prevention: Do not feed raw or undercooked meat to cats, keep cats inside and do not let them hunt. Washing hands with soap and water after handling a cat or contacting any urine, feces or other bodily secretions is one of the simplest and most important means of infectious disease control. Pregnant women should avoid contact with cats and cat feces, which are more than 24 hours old. Do not let the cat lick the person in question, particularly on the face, nor should they handle the cat. Practice good hygiene (wash after handling uncooked meat, wear gloves while gardening, cover sandboxes, clean litter boxes daily. Freeze meat to -20oC (-4oF) for two days or cook meat to 160°F and thoroughly clean areas where raw meat is prepared, wash fruits and vegetables prior to consumption). Keep the cat in good health by having regular examinations by a veterinarian, as well as up-to-date vaccinations and regular fecal exams to check for parasites. Feed a high-quality commercial cat food that does not contain any raw ingredients.

Ask the expert…May-June 10

Q: Can you advice me about Toxoplasmosis in cats? Also what is the prevention/ cure for cats and people around them?
– Rajesh Talreja, Mumbai

 

A: Dr KG Umesh: Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic disease caused by Toxoplasma gondii. Toxoplasmosis is usually transmitted from ingestion of undercooked meat, sporulated oocysts (eggs), paratenic hosts, and it can be congenital. Acute toxoplasmosis in pregnant women leads to serious disease and/or defects in the fetus. Disease in cats may cause brain disease, liver disease, pancreatitis, respiratory disease and eye disorders. Cats with symptomatic toxoplasmosis are often immunosuppressed. Prevention: Do not feed raw or undercooked meat to cats, keep cats inside and do not let them hunt. Washing hands with soap and water after handling a cat or contacting any urine, feces or other bodily secretions is one of the simplest and most important means of infectious disease control. Pregnant women should avoid contact with cats and cat feces, which are more than 24 hours old. Do not let the cat lick the person in question, particularly on the face, nor should they handle the cat. Practice good hygiene (wash after handling uncooked meat, wear gloves while gardening, cover sandboxes, clean litter boxes daily. Freeze meat to -20oC (-4oF) for two days or cook meat to 160°F and thoroughly clean areas where raw meat is prepared, wash fruits and vegetables prior to consumption). Keep the cat in good health by having regular examinations by a veterinarian, as well as up-to-date vaccinations and regular fecal exams to check for parasites. Feed a high-quality commercial cat food that does not contain any raw ingredients.

Ask the Expert.. July Aug 13

Dr KG Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in Clinical Medicine. He is working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for South Asia.Ask the expert cats

Q: Polka, my Persian, keeps grooming himself. He kind of retches and vomits some fur too. How can we reduce his excessive grooming habit?
-Kavita, Mumbai

Dr KG Umesh: During the routine activity of grooming, cats swallow varying quantities of hair. Length of grooming is highly variable among cat breeds with short or long hair coat. If small quantities of hair accumulate in the stomach or small intestine, the cat can cough and retch until the hairball is vomited. Occasionally a large mass of entangled hair called trichobezoar accumulates and can be as large as nine cm long. Clinical signs include vomiting, anorexia and may lead to a potentially serious obstruction. This condition is very rare. Hairballs can be diagnosed by radiograph or endoscopy. Hair ball diets containing high fibre diets to bulk the lumen, or lubricant laxatives such as paraffin wax are prescribed to treat the obstruction. Itching in some cats, sometimes, manifests as excessive grooming behaviour. Fleas, allergies, mange or fungal infections that stimulate itching must be ruled out.

For queries about your cat, call us at 1800407112121 (Toll free) (toll free from all BSNL nos.) or email us at whiskas.india@eu.effem.com

Ask the Expert.. May June 13

Dr KG Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in Clinical Medicine. He is working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for South Asia.

Q: My cats are two and three years old. What is the best age to neuter and are there any side effects in terms of health?
– Ayush, Delhi

Dr K G Umesh: Spaying/castration is an irreversible means by which a cat is rendered sterile. Spaying at a young age prevents mammary cancer and neutering at any age prevents unwanted kittens, noisy heat cycles, roaming, fighting and possibly even urine marking in the house. The procedure entails complete removal of the uterus and ovaries in females and testicles in males. Surgery is preceded by a fasting period and requires general anaesthesia and hospitalisation. However, most hospitals/clinics discharge cats the same day as surgery. Complications are unusual/rare but may include post surgical haemorrhage or infection. Postoperative care includes restriction of exercise for a week, protection of the incision from contaminants, and daily monitoring of the incision for inflammation or discharge. The incision must stay dry and suture removal is usually performed 7-10 days after surgery. There are also hospitals/clinics, which conduct spaying with Keyhole or Laparoscopy methods, with minimum invasive surgery and on out-patient basis. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you on what exactly is involved with the operation and also on the best time for it to be performed. The traditional age for spaying is six months. However, the last few years has brought us a great deal of research into ‘early’ spaying and we now know that there is no problem with spaying as early as eight weeks of age.

Ask the Expert.. March April 2013

Dr KG Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in Clinical Medicine. He is working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for South Asia.

Q: I am shifting from Bengaluru to Pune. I have two cats – three and five years old – who have never travelled. What is the best manner to travel with them – by road or flight? How do I accustom them to travel? Should I buy separate crates for them?
– R Murli, Bengaluru

Dr K G Umesh: One of the best investments you must make when you have cats is to buy a modern carrying

ask the expert cats

Shy and Molly

cage/crate that can be easily cleaned and disinfected. Cats being transported by whatever means should always travel in a safe carrier. If your cats live together and are familiar, you can put them in a single carrier. The pets should also have a tag to make it easy to track them if they get lost. Visit a vet prior to your journey to ascertain that the pets are in good health and are vaccinated. Give them a light meal about two hours before they travel. Let your pets ‘try out’ the carrying container before the trip and put a familiar-smelling stuff in the container to help your pets settle. Give your pets the opportunity to go to the toilet before they are put in the carrying containers. If you are planning to travel by road, make sure your cats are accustomed to car travel. This can be done by letting the cats just sit in the car without the car moving. When the cats are comfortable with this, take the cats round the block, and gradually move up to taking the cats on journeys for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, etc. You will also know if they are likely to be sick or excitable in the car. If your pets’ car sickness is truly motion related, your vet can also prescribe medications to fight travel illness.

Drop unwanted pounds!

It’s time to do a reality check on yourself and your dog and here’s how to adopt a fitness regime for both. After all, it’s always fun to have a partner in weight loss.

Temptations: When we talk about ‘more food’, it means feeding the dog more than the recommended amount of food. Dogs by nature love to eat, it is difficult to resist those soulful looks begging for food. Once they develop a liking for what you eat, dogs can refuse to eat their regular pet food. Could that be a problem? Well, start linking your twos and twos together for you are in for a royal surprise!

Sedentary lifestyle: Sedentary lifestyle leads to more weight gain. It becomes a vicious cycle. Basically, when a pet parent is physically active, he will spend time playing with the dog. This playtime is extremely important for a dog, as it gives him the much needed exercise, which helps burn calories and keeps weight gain in check. However, if all the dog does is eat and sleep, the both the pet parent and dog will suffer from a weighty problem! Both end up being couch potatoes, battling obesity.

Total food intake: Finally, there is the question of feeding the right amount of food. Love is also expressed via food, pet parents assume that their dogs need to be fed large amounts. As a result, contribute to their weight gain.

Scientific mumbo-jumbo…

Obesity occurs when the energy intake (calories) is higher than the amount of energy the dog expends. Thisdog health happens when the dog consumes more. And, unfortunately, a dog is an opportunist. He will eat if food is there, whenever and wherever! So, it is the pet parent’s responsibility to ensure that the dog’s calorie intake is regulated, so that the calories cannot be metabolised into fat and stored in the body. Also, to burn the calories consumed, the dog needs to use energy. This happens when the dog is physically active. If the dog does not burn the calories, it will settle in his body, resulting in layers and layers of unsolicited fat.

Check if your dog is obese…

Your pooch is obese if:

  • You cannot see and feel the outline of his ribs without excess fat covering.
  • When viewed from above, you cannot see and feel your pet’s waist.
  • When viewed from side, his belly is not tucked up, but hanging loose.

An obese dog means unhealthy dog…

Besides suffering from excessive weight and lethargy, being overweight can result in many health problems, which can reduce the quality of life of your faithful companion. Some of the health problems include:

  • Breathing problems while exercising or playing
  • Heat intolerance
  • Spinal problems
  • Lowered resistance to diseases, especially viral infections
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Dental problems
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Joint problems
  • Skin problems
  • Heart diseases

Basically, when a dog is obese, it prevents him from leading a healthy, happy and playful life, both indoors and outdoors.

Together, let’s shed the weight…

Exercise and play: Pet parents should get up from their couches and start moving! They should have a scheduled playtime for their companions and take them out for a brisk walk, play a little catch or allow them to run around.

Studies show that people, who exercise with their dogs, have more fun during the exercise routine. This helps to take the monotony out of working out alone and also works wonders for the dog. Just a simple walk with the dog can be an exhilarating experience for both the dog and his pet parent. The time that pet parents spend exercising with their dogs allow them to spend quality time with each other while strengthening their bonds.

Eating & feeding right: The pet parent should control his portions while eating meals. It is best to opt for fibre-rich food that fills the stomach and makes the person feel satiated rather than consuming junk food and processed food. When the person controls his portions, he will not overeat. A human needs 2,000 calories a day to function optimally. So, the person can divide his food into 5 to 6 small meals that give him his daily calorie requirement. He should concentrate on eating whole grains, fresh veggies, fresh fruits, cereals, lean meats, poultry and fish.

Similarly, even the dog’s food intake should be regulated. No amount of sad eyes should buckle the pet parent into feeding table scraps to the dog. Furthermore, pet parents should feed just the recommended amount of dog food to their pets. The amount is best decided after speaking to a vet. Even if the dog refuses to eat and begs for your food, don’t give in. You have to be strong and not give in to those soulful looks begging for more! Consult your doctor/vet: Do check with your doctor/vet to rule out the possibility of any disease leading to weight gain.

Be a responsible pet parent: Be responsible for yourself and your pet, stick to your exercise routine on a daily basis. Have fun together!

It is the ultimate buddy system that can help both the dog and the pet parent win the battle of the bulge! So, get, set and go…!

Ask the Expert.. Jan Feb 2013

Dr KG Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in Clinical Medicine. He is working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for South Asia.

Q: My three-year-old cat Tom is having a lot of hair fall, especially in certain area patches. Is this some allergy? What should we do?
– Ashish Shukla, Ghaziabad

Dr K G Umesh: Hair loss/shedding is a common complaint with skin disorders and results from number of

ask the expert

Chokki

causes. Cats may shed excessive hair because of stress, worms, harsh climate and general illness. Therefore, my approach would be to find underlying cause(s) like fleas, ticks, mange or allergy, hormonal imbalance, bacterial or yeast infection, etc and then your vet will be able to recommend suitable medications that will eliminate the cause and therefore hair fall. Balanced and complete nutrition is most important for healthy skin and hair coat.

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