Table of Contents
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.
+ Just Fur Fun
+ New face
+ Breed Profile: Charming Collies!
+ Pawsome weekend!
+ Pawfect twosome!
+ Care 24×7
+ Rabies fact check
+ Say no to rude food!
+ Paws and their stars
+ Picture Perfect
+ Beauty regime for a Lhasa Apso!
+ New Face
+ Book Review
+ Strays – our guarding angels
+ Drop unwanted pounds!
+ Each act of kindness
+ Ask the expert…
+ When it’s tough to say ‘Goodbye’!
+ Missing you, Harry!
+ Wags’ for the wonderful vet
+ ‘Treat’ them right!
+ Care for the Loving Heart!
+ Sweat it out!
Q: Muffin is in the initial stages of her pregnancy but her rabies vaccine is due. Is it safe to give it now?
–Meena Singh, Jalandhar
Dr KG Umesh: Administration of modified live vaccines is not recommended during pregnancy. Routine vaccinations should be current or done prior to breeding. A puppy’s early immunity is dependent upon consumption of colostrum containing high levels of antibodies and, therefore, dependent on the female dog’s immune status. Killed vaccines like rabies may be given during high risk situations
Q: My six-month-old Dalmatian pup is suffering from ticks. Please advice.
–Varun Kapoor, Ajmer
Dr KG Umesh: A generalised tick life cycle consists of egg, larva, nymph and adult. The tick feeds once in each stage before maturing to the next stage. Ticks lay their eggs (as many as 18,000 in some species) in sheltered areas on or near the ground. Successful control of ticks depends on eliminating these pests from the dog and the environment. To control ticks or fleas on a dog, all animals in the household must be part of the flea/ticks control programme. There are two basic categories of ticks control products: Adulticides and Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs)/Insect Development Inhibitors (IDIs). It is always best to treat the dog and the environment on the same day. The use of these insecticides must be preceded by a thorough vacuuming; special attention should be paid to the areas under furniture, carpets, near pet bedding and along moldings. Make sure that other pets/dogs he frequently contacts/visits are free from fleas and ticks. The veterinarian will choose a product or products that combine safety, efficacy, and ease of use. Often a combination of adulticide and an IGR or IDI is used.
Q: I have two dogs – Sasha (female GSD – five years) and Sandy (male Lab – four months). Sasha sleeps through the day and is lazy. Sandy does not like to go for his walks and we have to coax him with treats- it takes almost 10 minutes to motivate him, once out he is always looking back and wants to go home. Please advice.
–Ankush Jain, Shimla
Dr KG Umesh: Dogs, too, can become complacent and lazy when it comes to fitness. If your dog hasn’t done much exercise in the past, it’s best to start off slowly. In fact, before you get your dog started on any exercise programme, you should take him to the vet first for a thorough check-up to rule out any medical causes. Start off with 10-15 minutes a day of walking to allow your dog to build up his cardiovascular and muscle strength. Eventually, you can work up to an hour a day – again, if it’s appropriate to him. Exercise to their abilities, not yours. In the summer time, opt for an early morning or evening workout when the sun and heat are less intense. Give them some fresh, cool water again once you get back home. Puppies generally sleep 12-18 hours a day. Poor socialisation or interaction, fear or shyness or even a previous bad experience may de-motivate puppies to play or walk.
Q: Hero, my three-year-old Dachshund, is fully house trained. Last two weeks, he has been eliminating in the house. Please help.
Dr KG Umesh: As there are so many causes of house soiling, it is best to seek veterinary advice to determine the true cause of the problem. It is not unusual for dogs to have an occasional accident in the house. If this behaviour is occurring on regular occasions, there can be a number of reasons as to why. If the dog has soiled in the house, it may be that his access to his usual toilet area has been blocked off. There are many medical problems that can cause signs of incontinence. Some causes of incontinence can be due to urinary infection or bladder stones. The other possibility for your dog house soiling is if there is an underlying behavioural cause, such as, submissive urination, stress, a breakdown in toilet training, territorial marking or separation anxiety. Once again, these behaviour problems can be modified effectively. If your dog has house soiled, it is important that the affected area is cleaned promptly using a biological washing powder in warm water. If it is not cleaned effectively, he may mark that spot on repeated occasions.
Q: Joey, my Basset, loves to jump on the sofa or bed. He is four years old. More recently, I have noticed him being uncomfortable while jumping, his hind legs seem to quiver. Do advice.
–R Kumar, Trichy
Dr KG Umesh: Shivering or tremours in hind legs in large breeds is common as a result of variety of skeletal, metabolic, neuromuscular or degenerative diseases. It can affect joints, muscles, tendons or bones. This can also be the result of infection or trauma. It could be simply minor problem like ‘muscle pull’. Therefore, get him examined as early as possible.
Dr K G Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in Clinical Medicine. He has been a
teacher’ award in the year 2000. He is a member of European Society for Vet Dermatology and is currently working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for South Asia.
Q: My dog is often coughing. The vet is saying he has allergy and has given anti-allergic medicine, cough syrup and a tablet. But it’s not yet cured and recurred recently. What’s the cure?
– Rahul Chakraborty, Kolkata
Dr KG Umesh: Recurring or long-standing cough in a dog can be due to chronic bronchitis or airway collapse; however, diseases such as infections, heart disease and other chest diseases must be considered. Appropriate management of cough requires confirmation of disease and exclusion of other causes of cough. Tracheal collapse is a common cause of acute or chronic cough and respiratory distress in dog and is seen most often in toy and small breed dogs. Dogs with airway collapse generally have a chronic honking (goose honking) or seal bark cough that is paroxysmal in nature. Coughing is often triggered by eating, excitement, exertion, or pulling on the leash. Your vet may advise radiography, ECG, echo, fluoroscopy or bronchoscopy in addition to some blood tests. Medical therapy for animals with airway collapse includes management of obesity and concurrent medical conditions as well as control of infectious or inflammatory airway disease. Dogs who fail to respond to aggressive medical therapy may require treatment surgically or stents in case of tracheal collapse.
Q: We live in an apartment and have two kids aged 10 and 6, wanting to adopt a pup. Can you advice on a suitable breed?
– Jai Raina, Pune
Dr KG Umesh: One of the most important aspects to ensure a happy relationship between you, your family and your dog is to ensure that your dog’s requirements can be matched by your lifestyle and environment. The size of your house and more importantly, the availability of open spaces nearby for exercise will influence the type of dog you should choose. Small breeds like Boston Terriers, Pugs, Spaniels and Dachshunds, etc may be better suited if space is limited. The initial cost of your puppy must certainly be taken into account, but be aware that other costs continue for the rest of his life. The daily cost of feeding, veterinary visits, kenneling during holidays and regular grooming sessions for certain breeds. Preventive health (vaccinations, de-worming) and practicing good hygiene will keep away most of transmissible diseases.
Q: My Pug is two and a half years old and vaccinated. His nails on the paws are very sharp and he keeps prancing and in his zest, someone or the other always gets scratched by his sharp nails. Also when someone gets hurt, scratched – what do we do? Does the person require a tetanus injection?
– Malini, Jamnagar
Dr KG Umesh: Unlike cats, there are no serious diseases that are transmitted by a dog scratch. However, pet nails contaminated with harmful bugs can result in some infection in humans. Try to minimise your chances of getting scratched: Avoid rough play and other activities with pet who could lead to biting and scratching. Keep your dog’s claws trimmed. If you do get scratched or bitten, wash promptly with soap and water. Practice good hygiene at home. Generally, there is no need to get tetanus shots.
Q: I have a 45-day-old Rottweiler puppy, under process for KCI Registration. Please advice on his food and vaccination?
– Girish Chougala, Gokak
Dr KG Umesh: A nutritionally balanced diet is crucial for the healthy growth and development of a dog in order to prepare him for an active, long and healthy life. Therefore, accurate feeding and the provision of all nutrients at optimal level are essential to maximise puppies’ genetic potential to grow. There are many commercial pet foods for puppy as well as specifically for ‘large breed puppy’ available from the reputed manufacturers. Giant breeds have longer growth period than small breeds and therefore, continue feeding puppy food until 22-24 months of age. Your vet will advise vaccination schedule (DHLPPi + Corona and Rabies) every 2-3 weeks, ideally starting at 6 weeks of age until 20 weeks of puppy age and then followed by annual boosters
Q: My Golden Cocker is 10 years old. Under her right eye, there is a small lump/extra growth. It gives the appearance of a small human mole. What should we do?
– Manish, Bikaner
Dr KG Umesh: Warts or benign growths are common in senior pets. However, any growth/lump in a senior pet requires immediate medical attention. Your vet will decide suitable action depending on place and nature of growth.
I’m: Rama Vedashree
My pet’s name: Mikito
My vet’s name: Dr Anju Singhal
Veterinary clinic/hospital: Clinic with Necessary Medical Facilities, Gurgaon
How I came across my vet: Referred by my neighbours.
Do I visit the vet for regular check-up or only in case of medical condition: Regular check-ups.
How long have I been visiting my vet: Since last three years.
Toughest medical challenge faced by me and my pet: Mikito had very indigestion and stomach upset, which turned out to be infection with pancreas affected.
Role played by my vet in helping to overcome it: Proper medication advice and recommended necessary diagnostic, diet and medicines.
A special quality about my vet: Very warm and friendly.
A ‘Thank You’ note for my vet: Thank you Dr Anju for all your services.
I’m: Varsha Bhat
My pet’s name: Harry
My vet’s name: Dr Ghoore
Veterinary clinic/hospital: Government Hospital, Pimpri, Pune
How I came across my vet: His hospital is just a few footsteps away from our house.
Do I visit the vet for regular check-up or only in case of medical condition: For both purposes.
How long have I been visiting my vet: Since last six months.
Toughest medical challenge faced by me and my pet: Harry had vomiting and dysentery as it was his first summer in life.
Role played by my vet in helping to overcome it: It was on Sunday, mostly all vet clinics were closed, but I called up Dr Ghoore who prescribed some medicines on phone. After having the medicines Harry was fine after sometime. Then Dr Ghoore visited our home to see if Harry was alright.
A special quality about my vet: Dr Ghoore helped a lot when Harry got so unwell and he even didn’t charge anything for that.
A ‘Thank You’ note for my vet: Thanks a lot Dr Ghoore!
I’m: Uma Devi
My pet’s name: Boo
My vet’s name: Col (Dr) Prakash Rao
Veterinary clinic/hospital: Small Animals Clinic, Secunderabad
How I came across my vet: From my neighbourhood.
Do I visit the vet for regular check-up or only in case of medical condition: For regular check-ups.
How long have I been visiting my vet: For around 16-17 years.
Toughest medical challenge faced by me and my pet: Not so far.
Role played by my vet: Role of an excellent guide. Col (Dr) Prakash has always been there for my pet, giving me the right advice regarding food habits, grooming and pet related queries.
A special quality about my vet: Approachable and an accommodating vet.
A ‘Thank You’ note for my vet: Many-many thanks Col (Dr) Prakash. You truly are the best doctor/vet I have ever known. You are an angel! My Boo is lucky to have you as his vet.
I’m: Ashvina D Bativala
My pets’ names: Elsa and Benji
My vet’s name: Dr N B Shivprakash
Veterinary clinic/hospital: Westend Specialty Petcare & Nursing Centre, Bengaluru
How I came across my vet: Through a relative.
Do I visit the vet for regular check-up or only in case of medical condition: Only in case of medical condition.
How long have I been visiting my vet: Since last six years.
Toughest medical challenge faced by me and my pet: Elsa’s neutering as she had false pregnancy.
Role played by my vet in helping to overcome it: He gave me the confidence that I was doing the right thing.
A special quality about my vet: Dr Shivprakash is very calm, understanding and always listens to his furry patients.
A ‘Thank You’ note for my vet: Dr Shivprakash, thank you very much for being my Elsa and Benji’s doctor. We are lucky to have you as our vet.
Send in your entries to the questionnaire along with a picture of your dog and your vet at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m: Sunita Mittal
My pet’s name: Muffin
My vet’s name: Dr Rana
Veterinary clinic/hospital: Niti Bagh Pet Clinic, New Delhi
How I came across my vet: Dr Rana is popular vet among my friends.
Do I visit the vet for regular check-up or only in case of medical condition: Regular check-ups.
How long have I been visiting my vet: Over the last one and a half years.
Toughest medical challenge faced by me and my pet: Muffin sometimes gets epileptic fits.
Role played by my vet in helping to overcome it: Dr Rana advises me not to get tensed and helps a lot to overcome Muffin’s trauma.
A special quality about my vet: He loves dogs and it is visible in his eyes.
A ‘Thank You’ note for my vet: Dear Dr Rana, You have really helped to bring wellness to our dearest furry family member. You are simply THE BEST!
I’m: Aspi M Bharucha
My pet’s name: Eva Bharucha
My vet’s name: Dr Bhagat
Veterinary clinic/hospital: Dr Bhagat’s Clinic, Thane, Mumbai
How I came across my vet: From my friends.
Do I visit the vet for regular check-up or only in case of medical condition: For regular check-ups.
How long have I been visiting my vet: Since last nine months.
Toughest medical challenge faced by me and my pet: Eva’s gastrointestinal problem.
Role played by my vet: Dr Bhagat attended Eva instantly and saved her from the fatal syndrome.
A special quality about my vet: He is quite gentle and friendly with all animals.
A ‘Thank You’ note for my vet: Thanks a lot Dr Bhagat for being with us whenever Eva needs you.
I’m: Arun Kumar Nair
My pet’s name: Coco
My vet’s name: Dr Shivajirao Talikar
Veterinary clinic/hospital: New Hope, Navi Mumbai
How I came across my vet: Recommended by my friends.
Do I visit the vet for regular check-up or only in case of medical condition: Regularly.
How long have I been visiting my vet: Since May 2010.
Toughest medical challenge faced by me and my pet: Once Coco suffered from hip dysplasia.
Role played by my vet in helping to overcome it: A big and dedicated role while diagnosing the ailment.
A special quality about my vet: His solutions are very effective.
A ‘Thank You’ note for my vet: I thank you Dr Shivajirao from the bottom of my heart for being with us whenever we need you.
I’m: Ketan Verma
My pet’s name: Nawab
My vet’s name: Dr VK Sobti
Veterinary clinic/hospital: Dr VK Sobti Vet Clinic, Ludhiana, Punjab
How I came across my vet: A friend of mine, who is a lifetime pet parent, informed me about Dr VK Sobti.
Do I visit the vet for regular check-up or only in case of medical condition: I visit him even in the slightest case of medical condition, apart from regular check-ups.
How long have I been visiting my vet: One year since I got my Rottweiler puppy Nawab.
Toughest medical challenge faced by me and my pet: Nawab got a serious stomach infection when he was just four months old. Since he didn’t take food or water, he had to be put on glucose for eight days straight.
Role played by my vet in helping to overcome it: Dr VK Sobti saved Nawab from the life-threatening situation and brought him back to life for me.
A special quality about my vet: Highly experienced PhD and retired head of department of Punjab Agriculture University. I had always been with a friend’s side whenever he visited Dr VK Sobti with his dogs when I didn’t have any pet.
A ‘Thank You’ note for my vet: Thank you Dr VK Sobti for everything.
Dr K G Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in Clinical Medicine. He has been a lecturer in clinical medicine at Vet College in Bangalore for 15 years, and has won the ‘best teacher’ award in the year 2000. He is a member of European Society for Vet Dermatology and is currently working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for South Asia. Q. My dog Mumtaz, a seven-year-old Spitz, has been diagnosed with diabetes. She is on dog food; we also give her roti and curd. Please do advice food and medical care to be taken. – T Raghav, Coimbatore
Dr KG Umesh: Dogs generally develop type I diabetes which typically requires lifelong insulin injections. The goal of treating a diabetic animal is to minimise blood glucose fluctuations, eliminate the symptoms associated with high blood glucose levels (excessive drinking, urination and appetite), and improve the quality of the pet’s life. The most important factor in a diabetic animal’s life is routine. You have to follow instructions meticulously given on medications and diet. As in diabetic people, a good daily routine of eating and exercising for diabetic pets will help prevent irregular fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Diets that are high in simple carbohydrates (sugars), which can cause a spike in blood sugar levels, are avoided. Diets containing complex carbohydrates and fibre are preferable, in moderation. There are several different commercial prescription diets available that can meet the needs of all diabetic patients. Achieving and maintaining an ideal body weight is helpful in the treatment of both type I and type II diabetes mellitus. Once your pet has started any treatment for diabetes mellitus, monitoring for signs of low sugar levels (hypoglycemia) is also very important. Too much insulin/low sugar levels can cause disorientation, sluggishness, seizures, coma, and even death, if prolonged. If you notice that your pet seems disorientated or weak but is still responsive, offer food immediately. If your pet is unconscious (cannot be awoken despite loud calling and shaking), apply a sugary solution like corn syrup or maple syrup to the gums. In both of these cases, contact your veterinarian. Likewise, watch for general signs of illness, which can include changes in appetite, weight loss, decrease in activity, sluggishness, dull or poorly kept coat, and changes in behaviour such as hiding and aggressiveness.
Q. What are the main dog vaccines to give and what is their frequency in the life span of a dog? Do any of the vaccines have any side effects which can be harmful? – Karuna Sabharwal, Bareilly
Dr KG Umesh: In the past, infectious diseases, such as those caused by parvovirus and distemper virus, have been significant cause of illness and death in dogs, especially young animals. Vaccination against these and other diseases like hepatitis, influenza, leptospirosis (all in one) has proved to be a very effective means of reducing the incidence of these diseases. It is important to discuss a suitable vaccination programme including rabies and coronavirus with your local veterinarian. The vaccination will involve an initial course of injections (usually at six weeks of age), followed by booster injections at various times (every 2-3 weeks) until 20 weeks of age and then every year throughout your dog’s life. These booster injections help maintain his immunity, but they also provide a good opportunity for your veterinarian to carry out a full health check.
Q. Guddu, my GSD pup, is chewing everything in the house. Please help. – Karan Shukla, Agra
Dr KG Umesh: It is normal for puppies to be ‘mouthie’. Most chewing behaviour is seen in young puppies due to their strong desire to explore. As dogs mature, this desire decreases and they are less likely to be destructive. The dog will find it hard to distinguish between what it can and cannot chew; therefore having their own toys will help define suitable chewing items. There are many suitable toys for dogs and choose toys which have been manufactured using high-quality molded materials to increase durability. If the puppy does try to bite, command ‘NO’, and distract his attention with a toy. Many of these habits can be modified quite easily if done correctly and persistently. When the pup stops the bad behaviour, make sure you reward the pup with ‘GOOD (puppy’s name)!’ Prevent access to unacceptable chew items. Exercise and play with your dog regularly to alleviate excess energy and provide positive interaction.
Q: My 11-year-old Dalmatian named Silky has lost two front teeth. What do I do? – Madhu Ghosh, Kolkata
Dr KG Umesh: Just like people, they need to have their teeth brushed and cleaned. But the fact is, probably the number one health problem for dogs, apart from being overweight, is periodontal disease. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 80 percent of dogs show signs of periodontal disease by the age of three. The accumulation of tartar and plaque and the resulting gingivitis can lead to more serious disease. Tartar accumulates, and eventually the healthy pink gum starts to look red, and swell. At this point, without medical intervention, gingivitis or inflammation of the gum takes over. This process leads to bad breath. And worse, it often leads to damage of jawbones, and loss of teeth. Please consult your vet if your pet has lost teeth due to trauma or any other disease.
You can lightly brush Silky’s teeth at least twice a week to remove plaque deposits. A child’s nylon toothbrush dipped in a toothpaste made for dogs should be used. Do not use toothpaste made for humans, which can cause nausea in dogs, if swallowed. An alternative to brushing is using a dental chew. Studies by Waltham have shown that certain specifically designed dental health chews (Dentastix) result in a significant reduction of plaque and calculus accumulation, gingivitis and malodour. Dry dog foods also help prevent dental plaque accumulation.
Q. I have adopted two St Bernards – Tipsy (female, three months) and Turvy (male, four months). I have adopted them from different breeders – need your advice how to bring two dogs up. Also, I will like to mate them, so when is the right time to do so? – Harpreet, Ludhiana
Dr KG Umesh: Pet parenting a dog is a big responsibility and giving your dog the best care and attention can help to improve the quality and length of your dog’s life. Feeding your dog a well-balanced diet is clearly necessary to keep him fit and healthy, and there is a whole variety of different types of products to choose from, including diets designed for specific stages of life and foods which deliver additional health benefits. Other activities such as exercise, training, grooming and regular visits to the veterinarian are equally important to keep your dog happy and healthy. May be one of the most important aspects to ensure a happy relationship between you, your family and your dog is to ensure that your dog’s requirements can be matched by your lifestyle and environment. Most vets recommend mating after first ‘heat’ or few months after they become adults. St Bernars are considered puppy until age of 24 months.
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