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Dogs & Pups, January February 2005 Issue

Dogs & Pups, March April 2005 Issue

Dogs & Pups, May June 2005 Issue

Dogs & Pups, July August 2005 Issue

Dogs & Pups, September October 2005 Issue

Dogs & Pups, November December 2005 Issue

Ask the Expert:Nov-Dec 2005

Dr. Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in Clinical Medicine. He has been a lecturer in clinical medicine at Vet College in Bangalore for 15 years, and has won the ‘best teacher’ award in the year 2000. He is a member of European Society for Vet Dermatology and is presently working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for south Asia.

Q?:?Jackie, my two-year-old male German Dachshund dog has developed fungal infection on his ears. The itch is so strong and irresistible that he keeps shaking his ears very violently. This causes blood to ooze from his ears’ corner. At present, I am applying “Wokazole lotion” after cleaning the ears with hydrogen peroxide solution.  But it is not helping. Please advise what to do?
–?A.K. Prasad, Bina Project

Dr. Umesh?:?Otitis externa or inflammation of outer ear canal is common in dogs. Many factors can cause or contribute to the development of this ear problem in dogs. Parasites, foreign bodies, allergies, etc can be a cause. Likewise ear structure (for e.g., floppy ears), errors in cleaning ears/medications predispose dog to develop this ear problem. Recognition of underlying cause and treatment of all the factors contributing to the ear infection are the key to successful clinical management. Hydrogen peroxide may not be suitable for cleaning all types of ear infections and sometimes can aggravate the problem. Do not use cotton tipped applicators to clean ears! Depending on severity and duration of ear infection, your vet may perform variety of tests from examination of discharge to radiography. Therefore, I suggest taking him to your vet as early as possible to find underlying cause and appropriate cleaning and medication protocol.

Q?:?I have a five-year-old Pomeranian Jimmy who has suddenly lost appetite after my 10-year-old German Shepherd – Hero, died. Jimmy refuses to eat anything and has lost 2 kg weight. What should I do?
–?Sonakshi Verma, Lucknow

Dr. Umesh?:?What he requires immediately is your company to replace Hero, keeping him occupied, may help to overcome this problem. Physical activity like walking or exercise will also help him become more relaxed and comfortable in his surroundings. Identify situations and environments that Jimmy will need to be comfortable with and help him gradually to live without his lost friend. Acquiring another companion puppy/dog is not a bad idea if it is suitable to your home. Jimmy will require visit to the vet if he continues to refuse food and lose body weight.

Q?:?My pet’s name is Tin Tin. We will soon become parents. What precautions should the “would be parents” take during pregnancy period and after the birth of the baby? Also, Tin Tin is losing a lot of hair and salivates profusely? Apart from this, we are also very concerned about the difference the birth of the baby will make to Tin Tin as our attention would be divided. How should we handle this?
–?Hitarth, Baroda

Dr. Umesh?:?Hair do not grow continuously in dogs but rather in cycles (Mosaic pattern). Photo period is main factor besides nutrition, genetics, health that can cause dogs to shed hair excessively during some seasons and can be physiological. Dog hair can be a problem only to those who have developed allergy to it. Some diseases found in dogs can be transferred to humans, so it is essential to insist on strict hygiene rules for the entire family. Because young children/baby may not fully understand the importance of personal hygiene, the pet that has not yet been toilet trained poses a health risk for children crawling around. They can put their hands in dog faeces, and pick up certain skin infections or roundworm eggs from the floor or ground. Young children are likely to have less resistance than adults and can pick up a mild or serious type illness. Likewise, saliva from infected dogs might transmit certain infections to susceptible babies.

Discourage kissing or excessive licking. Therefore regular vaccination, deworming and health check-up of Tin Tin is extremely important and you need to follow strict hygiene rules to prevent your dog from passing on germs and diseases to children.

When baby arrives: With the baby in your lap and your pet on a leash held by someone else, let Tin Tin sniff, lick and explore the baby. A couple of minutes are more than enough time for this initial introduction, then lavish Tin Tin with attention and praise. On the second or third meeting, if all seems safe, repeat this exercise at least twice daily until you’re comfortable that the two will get along. It’s not a good idea to leave your baby alone. Monitor Tin Tin’s body language! Reward good behaviour with treats and compliments of “good dog!” And sure to give him lots of individual attention so he’ll know that he still holds a special place in your heart and hasn’t been ‘replaced’.

Q?:?My Dalmatian Spotty, who is four-year-old, jogs with me for 45 minutes every day. Recently I noticed he has started panting more than he used to. What is a safe amount of time to jog with my dog?
–?R Subramanian, Chennai

Dr. Umesh?:?Dogs, too, can become complacen­­t and lazy when it comes to fitness. Before you start your dog on any new exercise routine, make sure you get the ‘all clear’ from your veterinarian first (joint, lungs, heart etc). Not all dogs are built for speed or endurance. Also note that dogs with short snouts like Pugs and Bulldogs aren’t able to breathe as efficiently as dogs with longer snouts, so you’ll have to count them out of too vigorous activities. Since your dog is only too eager to please you, he’ll try and keep up with you even if he’s too tired or in pain. You’ll need to keep a close watch for any signs of fatigue or discomfort like heavy panting or limping. If you see that your dog is struggling, stop and take a break. If you think he’s okay to continue, proceed at a slower pace. Otherwise, head back home and give your dog a break for a couple of days before you work out again. Exercising your dog in extreme heat puts your dog at risk for dehydration or heat exhaustion. In the summer time, opt for an early morning or evening workout when the sun and heat are less intense.

Dogs are a lot more vulnerable to heat exhaustion since they are only able to sweat through panting and the pads of their feet. Be sure to schedule regular stops every 20 minutes or so and give your dog a chance to top up his fluids. Give him some fresh, cool water again once you get back home.

Ask the Expert / Sep-Oct 2005

Q : I have a 2-year-old German Shepherd (male) who weighs around 20 kg. Although, I keep him fully vaccinated, duly de-wormed and well groomed, still he has a problem of itching and hair falling. He is also quite active but consumes a low diet (maximum two chapattis/75-100g of Pedigree food). I want him to gain more weight. Kindly guide me. –Tarun Kumar Goel, Delhi

Dr. Umesh : Itching (and hair fall) is most common sign associated with many skin affections. Ectoparasites (fleas), allergies (Atopy), and bacterial skin infections (pyoderma) account for majority of cases. Please take your pet to your vet to rule in or rule out common causes based on history, examination, skin scraping, and allergy testing etc. Dogs with severe continuous itching should be evaluated for Scabies, flea allergy, Atopy (pollens allergy) and yeast infections etc. For e.g., if fleas are present, they should be suspected as cause and aggressive flea control should be instituted to eliminate fleas from environment. Please consult your vet at the earliest to identify underlying cause and therefore, the specific treatment. I would also like to point out that your dog is not receiving complete and balanced food. While he is on Pedigree, feeding home diet like meat/chapattis makes his food unbalanced. This could result in imbalance of some essential nutrients required for your dog. Hence, I suggest to feed a balanced and complete diet like Pedigree exclusively so that your dog not only enjoys eating but also show visible signs of health. I suggest to start him on Pedigree “Active” which is energy dense and should help him to put on weight as well as improve skin and coat condition. If your dog is still not putting on weight despite adequate intake of calories (even after 2 weeks of Pedigree Active feeding), I would advise you to get him examined by your vet to rule out medical conditions that cause weight loss/maldigestion.

Q : Scooby is a Great Dane who was proactive but has a changed behaviour since we shifted to our farmhouse. Earlier, he played and jumped all the time and was quite hyperactive, leaving no chance for me to rest. What should I do? –Jitaakash, Gurgaon

Dr. Rana : Moving can be stressful and disruptive for everyone involved – including your dog. There are, however, steps you can take to make the experience less traumatic. You could have made some arrangements before shifting, e.g., you could have taken your dog for a visit beforehand. Well, it is not too late to help your dog get settled in and accustomed to his new surroundings. Introduce him to all new things/ people/animals etc. over a period of time. Wait until your dog is comfortable with one room before introducing him to the next one. Make sure he knows where his things are – point out the location of your dog’s bed, toys, food, etc. so he knows where to find them. Don’t coddle your dog if he is stressed. It may just perpetuate the behaviour. Finally, make sure that throughout the day, you maintain a normal feeding and walking schedule for your dog. This will go a long way in reducing your dog’s and your stress level.

Q : I have a litter of 4 Pugs. One of the smallest, whom I have kept on liquefied puppy food along with goat milk, has developed a breathing trouble due to which food comes out of his nose. He also repeats this while nursed by his mother. I have even tried to feed him myself but still the trouble continues. Moreover, unlike his littermates, he curls and sleeps after meals. Kindly suggest the appropriate measures to control this. –Janis

Dr. Umesh : Some puppies often start regurgitating after solid food is instituted or during nursing. If one among four puppies is affected, congenital defects like cleft palate (improper closure in roof of the mouth) or megaoesophagus (enlarged food pipe) are suspected. Puppies who may regurgitate acutely may have ingested foreign body lodged in food pipe. Likewise inflamed airways due to aspiration of food/milk in windpipe could be a cause. Affected puppies fail to grow normally and become very weak. Please get him examined by your vet immediately before he develops complications. Q :We recently got a new pup home and my 3-year-old Golden Retriever is not happy about it. He growls at the new puppy and does not obey our commands. How can I help him to adjust with the new puppy? –Lila D’Souza, Mumbai

Dr. Rana : Whatever may be your reason to add another dog to the family, just be aware that it is a huge change for an older dog – and unless you go about it the right way, it could create a lot of stress. Here are a few ways you can help make the process less stressful : With the puppy in your lap and your older dog on a leash held by someone else, let the older dog sniff, lick and explore the puppy. A couple of minutes is more than enough time for this initial introduction. Remove the puppy from the room, then lavish your older dog with attention and praise. On the second or third meeting, if all seems safe, allow the puppy onto the floor, and monitor that situation carefully for a few minutes. Remove the puppy from the room, and again, give your older dog praise and attention. Repeat this exercise at least twice daily until you’re comfortable that the two will get along. It’s not a good idea to leave your puppy alone with your older dog. There should always be someone there to supervise. When you talk to each of the dogs, use a happy, friendly tone of voice. Never talk to them in a way that is threatening. Reward good behaviour with treats and/or compliments of “good dog!”. Monitor their body language! Give your older dog some quiet time away from your puppy every once in a while. And be sure to give him lots of individual attention so he’ll know that he still holds a special place in your heart and hasn’t been ‘replaced’.

Ask the Expert/July-Aug 2005 | Dr. Pradeep Rana

Dr. Pradeep Rana is a well-renowned vet in Delhi. He has his veterinary degree from College of Vet Sciences, Hebbal, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore. He is an expert in solving queries and curing pets.

Dr. Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in Clinical Medicine. He has been a lecturer in clinical medicine at Vet College in Bangalore for 15 years and won the Best teacher award in the year 2000. He is a member of European Society for Vet Dermatology and is presently working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for South Asia.

Q : I have a four and half year old Spitz (male). Three months back, he was hit on his left hind limb. He is limping since then. What should we do? He gets aggressive, our doctor has suggested mating for him? What should I do? -Adite Shinde, Mumbai

Dr. Rana : If your pet is still limping, then contact your vet for further examination since there could be number of causes for his limping like soft tissue injury, dislocation of the hip joint, ligament damage, etc. Treatment would depend on the diagnosis. We know that generally small breeds are aggressive by nature but you can definitely find him a mate and perhaps take the help of an animal handler for mating him. Good luck !

Q : Why do dogs snore? My 5-year-old Alsatian snores really loudly? Is he stressed or is he ill? Or is this just normal? He shares the room with me and I keep yelling at him to keep quiet! – Mohit Kapoor, Gurgaon

Dr. Umesh : Snoring could be physiological or pathological findings in dogs, therefore, I suggest you to visit your vet to rule out any obstructions, growth or diseases in upper airway.

Obese, senior large breed of dogs and short-nosed dogs are more prone to develop snoring. Likewise incorrect posture during sleep can also be a cause of snoring in dogs. Consult your vet if your dog is overweight and has any signs of upper airway disease.

Q : I have a German Shepherd aged 5 months. I would like to have information on their food, vaccines, training, infections and their remedies. -Clarence Menon, Bangalore

Dr. Rana : It would be practically impossible for me to give answer to all your queries due to limited space but I’ll be very brief. Regarding the food of your pet, it is important to understand that dogs nutrition needs are different and they need food which is developed specially for them. There are a number of commercial diets available for different age groups and weight. Vaccines start as early as 6-7 weeks of age and the schedule will depend on the prevailing diseases in your area and your vet would be your best guide in this matter. Training of dogs is best started by the age of 4-5 months and if you do not have any experience in training dogs, then you could take the help of a professional trainer or pick guidelines from a good dog training book. A German Shepherd could suffer from a number of infections like Parvo, Corona virus, Distemper, Leptospirosis, blood protozoan parasites, sarcoptic or demodectic mange, fungal skin infections, etc.

Q : I noticed a tick stuck on my hand. My dog Julia is 6-months-old female lab puppy. How should I prevent Julia from ticks? – Rakhi Dev, Mumbai

Dr. Umesh : 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. Flea and tick control products for adult dogs include a variety of drugs and chemicals available as collars, shampoos, sprays, dips, powders, long lasting topicals, and oral medications. There are two basic categories of flea/ticks control products:

Adulticides: These products kill adults fleas and insect growth regulators (IGRs)/insect development inhibitors (IDIs). These products prevent fleas from hatching or maturing. The veterinarian will choose a product that combines safety, efficacy, and ease of use for the client. Often a combination of adulticide and an IGR or IDI is used.

Environmental control: A complete flea and tick control programme also includes a thorough treatment of the pet’s environment. Places where dogs spend most of their time will have the greatest numbers of deposited eggs and newly emerged adult fleas and ticks. Thorough cleaning of the house and yard should precede any application of insecticides. 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. A product containing an IGR and an adulticide should be used as well. Most products in India are available as liquid concentrate that needs to be diluted in water for use on dogs and environment. Make sure that other pets/dogs Julia frequently contacts/visits are free from fleas and ticks. Please visit your vet who can recommend a suitable and safe product for your puppy.

Q : Should I get Brownie, my one-year-old Doberman, neutered? Do dogs become fat and lazy after we get them neutered? – Mayank Verma, Ahemdabad

Dr. Rana : There are several health benefits to neutering. One of the most important concerns the prostate gland, which under the influence of testosterone will gradually enlarge over the course of the dog’s life. With age, it is likely to become uncomfortable, possibly being large enough to interfere with defecation. The prostate under the influence of testosterone is also predisposed to infection which is almost impossible to clear up without neutering. Neutering causes the prostate to shrink into insignificance thus preventing both prostatitis as well as the uncomfortable benign hyperplasia (enlargement) that occurs with aging. The only behaviour changes that are observed after neutering relate to behaviours influenced by male hormones. Playfulness, friendliness, and socialisation with humans are not changed. The behaviours that change are far less desirable. The interest in roaming is eliminated in 90% of neutered dogs. Aggressive behaviour against other male dogs is eliminated in 60% of neutered dogs. Urine marking is eliminated in 50% of neutered male dogs. Inappropriate mounting is eliminated in 70% of neutered dogs. Activity level and appetite do not change with neutering. However, if your pet tends to put on extra weight, then you can reduce the diet intake and increase the exercise level.

Ask the Expert/May-June 2005

Dr. Pradeep Rana is a well-renowned vet in Delhi. He has his veterinary degree from College of Vet Sciences, Hebbal, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore. He is an expert in solving queries and curing pets.

Dr. Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in Clinical Medicine. He has been a lecturer in clinical medicine at Vet College in Bangalore for 15 years and won the Best teacher award in the year 2000. He is a member of European Society for Vet Dermatology and is presently working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for South Asia.

Q : Honey, my 3-year-old Golden retriever, is on dog food. Recently, she has become very picky and has stopped eating. But she loves her treats. Please suggest what should I do? – Anjali Sharma, Delhi

Dr. Umesh : Your dog’s feeding behaviour is not surprising. There are number of reasons for your dog to behave like this. For e.g., she may have fear for new food, previous bad experience with the food, poor palatability or simply, she may be a fussy eater. Please make sure that you are feeding recommended quantity of the food, as some dogs can self-regulate their intake when fed excessively. Any dietary change should be made slowly to avoid stomach upsets. Gradually introduce the food over a period of 5-7 days period by mixing very small amounts of the new diet with the old diet.

There are also ways of encouraging dogs to eat. For e.g., try heating up food to body temperature before feeding or dry food can be moistened by adding hot (not boiling) water. Offer the food to your pet when it is cool. Hand feed your pet for the first time and praise her when she eats. She has to be trained differently if she is a fussy eater. If your pet stops eating altogether, consult your vet for advise.

Q : What is the best way to take care of a 4-6-weeks-old German Shepherd puppy? Please give information regarding food, nutrition and growth requirements. – Naveen, Darjeeling

Dr. Rana : Diet is extremely important in the growing months of a dog’s life, and there are two important criteria that should be met in selecting food for your puppy. I recommend a branded food, specifically made for puppies. This should be fed until your German Shepherd is about 18 months of age. I also recommend that you only buy food which has the AAFCO certification. Divide the day’s recommended quantity into 4-5 helpings.

Table foods are not advisable because they are generally very tasty, dogs will often begin to hold out for these and not eat their well-balanced dog food affecting their growth and health. We enjoy a variety of things to eat in our diet. However, most dogs actually prefer not to change from one food to another unless they are trained to do so by the way you feed them. Do not feel guilty if your dog is happy to just eat one food day after day, week after week.

Q : Can garlic prevent and control fleas on dog? – K Suresh, Hyderabad

Dr. Umesh : There are no evidence-based scientific reports available on efficacy of garlic (either topical or oral) on fleas. Therefore I cannot predict its efficacy and safety for controlling fleas. It is unlikely to be as effective as currently available approved anti-flea products. However, there are some health benefits to pets reported when fed at recommended level in the food. But, garlic can be toxic and unpalatable to dogs when fed excessively.

Q : My dog is 5 years old. How old is she in respect to human years? Does one year of a dog equal 7 human years? – Rohit Dewan, Delhi

Dr. Rana : Broadly, we say that 1 year of dog’s life is equal to 7 years of human life. However, the size of the breed does matter a lot in dictating the life expectancy since we rarely see a Great Dane over 10 years of age but can see lots of Lhasas who are 13-14 years plus. Hence a 5-year-old Apso would be approximately 36 years in human age while a 5-year-old Dane would be about 42 years!!

Q : I have a 2-year-old grandchild who loves to play with our Spaniel “Goldy”. While playing, Goldy often licks my grandson. Can Goldy transmit any disease/infection to him? What precautions should I take? – D’ Souza, Mumbai

Dr. Umesh : Dogs, like humans, are susceptible to a variety of diseases and conditions that are caused or exacerbated by poor hygiene. Some diseases found in dogs can be transferred to humans, so it is essential to insist on strict hygiene rules for the entire family. Because young children may not fully understand the importance of personal hygiene, a new puppy that has not yet been toilet trained poses a health risk for children crawling around. They can put their hands in dog faeces, and pick up certain skin infections or round worm eggs from the floor or ground. Young children are likely to have less resistance than adults and can pick up a mild or serious type illness. Likewise, saliva from infected dogs might transmit certain infections to susceptible babies. Discourage kissing or excessive licking.

Therefore regular vaccination, deworming and health check-up of Goldy is extremely important and you need to follow strict hygiene rules to prevent your dog from passing on germs and diseases to your child.

Q : I have a 4-year-old male Lhasa Apso. For the past few months, he sometimes wakes up at night and breathes deeply. He does the same thing when he barks loudly. I also feel that his front neck is swollen. His weight has increased suddenly by 3 kgs in the last one year. He has three small meals a day and the quantity is exactly as per the food instructions. He has minimum two walks daily. Kindly guide me. – H K Joshi, Ahmedabad

Dr. Rana : Your 4-year-old Lhasa Apso seems to have gained a lot of weight in the last 1 year and that would worry me as a vet. Is it a case of hypothyroidism or plain obesity? Well, run a test to check his thyroid! A lot would depend on this and the diet/exercise would have to be reviewed too. Regarding his sudden waking up with deep breathing at night is a problem commonly encountered by most of the Brachiocephalic breeds like Apsos, Tibetian Spaniels, Neopolitian Mastiffs etc, wherein there is involvement of enlarged soft palate partially blocking the airway. If the problem is severe, then one would have to surgically reduce the size of the soft palate. But if your pet inhales air really fast through his nose and his whole body gets stiff and the episode is over in less than a minute then it is definitely “reverse sneezing”.