Being a grandmother is truly a wonderful feeling, which I underwent recently, when my daughter (Golden Retriever MAGIC) had a litter. Those wonderful days of being a Grandmother were truly the most magical experience of my life. The plethora of emotions that I was engulfed with from the initial joy of looking forward to the bundles, then pangs of guilt as I saw the mother suffer during the last stages of pregnancy, the fear and anxiety during whelping and finally to the sad tears shed as I gave away each one. Those two months were truly amazing. Well, it all began with the first logical step, the match making. I would not settle for anything less for my beautiful, gentle, fair princess. I found ‘Muffin’, exactly the tall, dark and handsome kinds. He is dark golden, an import from Europe with excellent pedigree. “Magic & Muffin” form a perfect couple; we could picture this ideal recipe for charming little sweetie pies! The romance and tender moments soon resulted in the obvious. My child was pregnant and needed pampering. So I took extra care of her and added supplements to her diet, like dates, figs, fruits and greens and numerous supplements with regular exercise. As the D-day arrived I was concerned about Magic. We had made the arrangements, but soon we realized that she had her own plans and quickly shifted to her preferred spot, which was in the living room next to the couch. Quiet a few sleepless nights passed before she finally decided to bring her little ones into the world. The manner in which she handled everything on her own was truly incredible. She gave birth to eight cute puppies, out of which only six survived. We had six sweet darlings and after 10 days, the fun began. Our house became the most popular hangout for all kids in the campus and the pups gained popularity in no time. The pups grew fast, opened eyes on 15th day and walked on 18th day. After 4 weeks we shifted them to a big kennel in a large enclosure with a gate. It was amusing to see them play and fight amongst themselves and their toys, to see the ‘packing order’ being established, and to notice who’s the bully, sweet and shy one in the pack. We knew pups’s personality and had given them our own pet names. Soon, it was time to think about the inevitable, time to find good homes for my jewels. Puff! The magical muffins were all booked in an instant. They all found loving homes, I was happy for them but really missed their sweet antics. – Ramya Bharadwaj
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 presently working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for south Asia
Q : My Dog MnM was given Coronavirus booster, within half an hour, he was vomiting and became extremely lethargic. After 2 hours, he suddenly began to suffer from itching and a violent allergic reaction set in all over his body. His vet advised me to bring him in immediately for another injection. The reaction subsided in a couple of hours but the facial oedema left him only after 24 hours. Please guide what to do when the next Coronavirus booster is due. – Nanda Anil
Dr. K.G. Umesh : Dogs are very susceptible to certain infectious diseases, especially canine distemper, infectious canine hepatitis, parvovirus, parainfluenza, leptospirosis, and rabies. Combined vaccination (all in one) against all these diseases as well as kennel cough, corona viral gastro-enteritis etc has proved to be a very effective means of reducing the incidence of these diseases. The initial vaccination series consists of one injection of a combined vaccine (multivalent) given at 6 to 8 weeks of age or about 2 weeks after weaning. Boosters are given twice at 3-4-week intervals until 16-20 weeks of age. Thereafter they require annual vaccinations. In most states, the first shot of rabies vaccine is given at 3 months of age. These booster injections not only help maintain his immunity, but they also provide a good opportunity for your veterinarian to carry out a full health check.
Adverse reactions to vaccines in dogs are very uncommon. However, some dogs may develop allergies/adverse reaction to proteins/ chemicals present in a vaccine and such dogs generally show signs immediately (or after few hours) after injections. An adverse reaction to a vaccine or drug is managed by avoiding the offending protein (allergen). Fortunately, most of these signs are reversible with immediate medical intervention. Therefore I suggest getting his booster vaccination done where such facilities are available to handle adverse reactions and make sure that such vaccination reactions are recorded in the vaccination certificate/medical record also.
Q : My dog Ruby has been diagnosed to have symptoms of false pregnancy. Please tell me about this condition, and what should I do? – Antara, Mumbai
Dr. K.G. Umesh : Phantom or false pregnancy are not uncommon in unneutered female dogs and occurs generally about 70-80 days after the start of her season. Symptoms vary from mild to severe and may include, some or all of the following: reluctance to eat, nest making, nursing or guarding inanimate objects (toy, etc), swollen mammary glands, milk production, general distress, nervous signs including panting and breathlessness and change in temperament (some may snap). The good news is that Ruby should be back to normal in 2-3 weeks time, however, there are few things which you can do to help her. To reduce milk production, reduce water intake slightly and feed less carbohydrates and increase exercise. Remove the toys/objects, which she’s nursing, and remove her bed during the day so that she can’t nest. If the symptoms are severe and these actions don’t seem to help, then it may be necessary for your vet to give her some hormone/medical therapy in form of tablets or injections. Your vet might even suggest a mild sedative if she is very distressed. As she has already had one false pregnancy, she may more likely to have others and may experience more severe symptoms. I would suggest that you discuss with your vet the pros and cons of neutering (spaying) if you are not planning to breed from her.
Q : I have noticed my dog coughing and sneezing occasionally, and having a running nose. What could be the reasons? – Suparna Saha, Kolkata
Dr. K.G. Umesh : Cough, like fever, is merely a symptom of a disease. Dogs can cough for a variety of reasons including irritation from allergies, change in climate, inhaled gases and foreign bodies. Coughing can also result from inflammation of the upper or lower airways, which can be acute (e.g., kennel cough) or more chronic (e.g. bronchitis). Likewise, if cough develops with difficulty in breathing during exercise or walk, you should also consider heart problem as one of the causes. The best way to rule out all these diseases and to have specific treatment is to get him examined. Your vet is the right person to decide what test needs to be done immediately. Your vet might prescribe bronchiodilators or anti-tussives to suppress cough symptomatically till all the investigations are complete.
Q :We have 3 stray dogs who hang around our house and each time I step out with Misty and Bruno – my two Labs, they try to play with them. Can my dogs catch any diseases from them. Should I get the strays vaccinated? Please advise. – Nawal Verma, Ajmer
Dr. K.G. Umesh : To make your dogs feel more comfortable around their canine counterparts, start with dogs that you already know to be trustworthy. There is no harm allowing your pets to interact with these stray dogs as long as they are healthy, vaccinated and free from fleas and skin diseases. If you are unsure about their health and behaviour, I would suggest you to take the responsibility of providing complete preventive health care for these stray dogs. Your pets should always be leashed when you take them for a walk.
Q?:?Jhoomer, my pup (2.5 months) is a Spitz, please do let me know the immediate and yearly vaccinations and deworming schedules. –?Sarita Kumar, Mumbai Dr. Umesh?:?Infectious diseases like Parvo, Rabies, Hepatitis and Distemper have been a significant cause of illness and death in dogs, especially young animals. Combined vaccination (all in one) against these and other diseases like Kennel cough, Leptospirosis etc has proved to be a very effective means of reducing the incidence of these diseases. The vaccination will involve an initial course of injections followed by booster injections at various times 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 up. Generally, first vaccination is recommended from the age of 6 weeks and booster at 3-4 weeks interval until 16-20 weeks of age. This is followed by annual vaccination.
De-worming is an important aspect of looking after your dog. You will need to de-worm her regularly every 2-4 weeks until 6 months of age. For most adult dogs, it is sufficient to de-worm routinely every 3 months. There are many safe, effective products available which will eliminate all kinds of internal worms. Your veterinarian will be able to prescribe a suitable schedule and the treatment.
Q?:?I want my German Shepherd puppy to have very strong bones. How can I meet his calcium requirements? Also my Golden Retriever recently had a very bad tick problem. Is it safe to keep the two dogs together ? –?Deepak Deshmukh, Pune Dr. Umesh?:?A nutritionally balanced diet is crucial for the healthy growth and development of a puppy in order to prepare him for an active, long and healthy life. Some dog owners prepare homemade foods for their pets. But it’s difficult even for an experienced breeder/pet owner to get the nutritional balance just right. Growing large breed puppies like yours are prone to develop skeletal problems by either overfeeding or underfeeding energy or/and calcium. The best way is to get your puppy used to eating commercially prepared foods from the very start. The advantages of reputed commercially prepared foods are that they meet all dog’s nutritional requirements and they don’t require any food supplements including calcium. There are two main types of complete dog food: moist in cans or pouches and dry in packages. Both types can be made from meat, poultry, and/or grains, and provide balanced nutrition, with all the necessary nutrients including calcium. Your vet will advise right amount of calcium depending on what you feed. Successful control of ticks depends on eliminating these pests from the dog and the environment. Your veterinarian will choose a product or products that combine safety, efficacy, and ease of use for you. Often a combination of adulticide and an IGR or IDI is used.
Q?:?My dog Raja, a Great Dane, is 7 years old. Since last 10 days, I find him moving with difficulty. Their are no external signs of any injury on his leg. What do you think could be the possible reasons? –?Jayalakshmi, Chennai Dr. Umesh?:?Lameness or limping in senior large breeds like yours is common as a result of variety of skeletal, metabolic or degenerative diseases. It can affect joints, tendons or bones. This can also be the result of infection, malnutrition or trauma or it could simply be minor problem like “muscle pull.” Therefore, get him examined as early as possible. There are many safe medicines and physiotherapy available for management of joint or skeletal diseases in pets.
Q?:?I have a beautiful Cocker named Cocoa who is 11 years old. She has been bumping into a lot of objects, like furniture etc. Is she loosing her eyesight? What should we do? –?Vikram Chauhan, Gurgaon Dr. Umesh?:?Firstly, I suggest you to confirm with your vet whether she has developed blindness or some neurological problem. There are number of reasons including cataract (opacity of lens) for developing this clinical problem in a senior dog. Has this problem developed suddenly or over a period of time? Please take her to your vet who can help to find/rule-out underlying cause based on the onset of the problem, physical /neurological and eye examination. Based on the findings, he might also suggest further eye tests to confirm the cause. Sooner the visit, the better the chances of recovery.
Q?:?I have a 3-month-old Lab pup. She is having some problems over the skin. The skin is peeling off continuously. I have applied some medicines in consultation with doctor, but no improvement so far. Please help me.
Dr. Umesh?:?Skin affections are very common in dogs. Ectoparasites like fleas, mites (mange), and bacterial skin infections (pyoderma) may account for majority of cases. 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. You need to follow strict hygiene rules to prevent your dog from getting parasites/germs. Please consult your vet at the earliest to identify underlying cause and therefore, the specific treatment.
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