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 : The hair of my five-month-old Dalmatian puppy is falling heavily. Please advise. – Ajay, Bangalore
Dr. K. G. Umesh : Hair loss/shedding is a common complaint in dogs with skin disorders due to number of causes. Unlike human beings, dog’s hair growth cycle is different and it does not grow continuously. Photoperiod (light intensity) is the main factor besides nutrition, genetics and health that can cause dog to shed hair excessively during some seasons and therefore, can be physiological. Stress, worms, harsh climate and general illness may also cause excess hair fall. Consult your vet for finding out the underlying cause(s) (like fleas, ticks, mange or allergy, hormonal imbalance, bacterial or yeast infection etc) and for suitable medications. If there is no underlying cause identified, try Primrose oil capsules (1 cap every evening) or sunflower oil/saffola oil/corn oil 2-4 tsp and Zinc capsules everyday in the food. This will improve his hair coat in the short term when underlying cause is identified.
Q : My three-year-old Labrador, named Bruno, had been bitten on the neck by a Golden Retriever while I had gone out of station. The wound was half inch deep. Bruno’s vaccinations are up to date. I want to know what injections can be given to him now? – Rupal, Pune
Dr. K. G. Umesh : Firstly, please call your vet for best chances of quick and uneventful healing. All bite wounds should be taken seriously and washed immediately with soap and water. If not treated promptly, infection may develop soon. For e.g. a puncture wound (without tearing off the flesh around it) is usually a small hole that closes quickly. This can be deceiving, as the bacteria and damage are “trapped” below the surface, which can lead to infection. Many animal bites, even if rabies vaccination or stitches are not required, should be treated with antibiotics. Consult your vet for postbite vaccination if your pet as well as the Golden Retriever’s anti-rabies vaccination is up to date. If your pet is bitten by an unknown pet or any animal whose rabies vaccination status is unknown, he should be captured/quarantined for observation. Your pet should also undergo postbite vaccination as per recommendations of your vet.
Q : How can I prevent my pet from maggots? – Deepika Prakash, Chennai
Dr. K. G. Umesh : Maggots are the larvae of flies. They lay eggs, which develop into larvae that need to eat. They generally get attracted to any animal that has skin infection, poor skin/matted hair, bad smell etc. The larvae, which look like white grub worms, only eat dead tissue, but they can be extremely painful and irritating to the pet. These conditions can appear and get worse within hours. It is important to find the cause of the initial maggot attraction (is your pet vomiting, have diarrhea, a wound, etc) and to prevent further maggot infestation. Very old, young, or compromised animals will be more at risk. Applying safe fly repellents like neem oil around the wound may also help. Consult your vet immediately, rather than wait.
Q : My 6.5-year-old female dog Honey is urinating very frequently. What problem would this indicate? – Debasis Roy, Kolkata
Dr. K. G. Umesh : Urinary problems are commonly seen in dogs and cats. Symptoms can range from “obviously sick” to very few signs seen, depending on the length and severity of infection. In addition to increased frequency of urination, if you see any additional signs like urination in inappropriate places, difficulty when urinating (straining), discoloured urine, strong and/or foul smelling urine, lethargy and fever, may indicate presence of urinary tract infection (UTI). Inappropriate and increased frequency of urinations may also be indicative of other diseases that commonly affect older dogs including kidney failure, diabetes and Cushing’s disease. Consult your vet for finding out the actual cause so that your dog can be treated appropriately. It is very important to properly treat these infections, not only for your dog’s comfort, but because untreated UTIs can lead to kidney failure or a chronic, recurrent infection.
Q : My dog Shadow is constipated. What can I do to relieve him from this discomfort? – R Dhaliwal, Ludhiana
Dr. K. G. Umesh : Factors associated with causing constipation include dietary, foreign bodies (e.g. feeding bones), neurological problems, growths, metabolic diseases and pelvic injuries, to name a few. In most cases, the cause can be identified on the basis of clinical signs that the dog is showing. However, in some cases, no obvious cause is identified. The initial treatment involves administration of enemas and correcting dehydration. Diets also help to manage constipation. Most manufactured diets like Pedigree have adequate level of fibers to form well-formed feces and thus prevent diet-associated constipation. If constipation recurs or becomes a long-term problem, then continuous treatment may be needed to prevent recurrence. There are a variety of preparations in the market and your vet will be best person to advise you on which is most suitable for your dog.
Q?:?My Golden Retreiver Angel has started vomiting – we feed her twice a day. Why is this happening and what can I do to stop this?
–?Rishi Sud, Ahmedabad Dr. K.G. Umesh?:?Vomiting is only a clinical sign and not a disease. Vomiting, both acute and chronic, results from a number of causes. Most vomiting disorders are acute and reversible, requiring only supportive and symptomatic therapy. However, the vomiting patient often presents a challenge as it may be difficult to decide whether animal needs in-depth diagnostic evaluation or symptomatic treatment alone can resolve the problem. In contrast to acute problems, chronic ones are rarely self-limiting and it is usually essential to establish specific diagnosis and appropriate therapy. Q?:?Rani, my 3-year-old Pomeranian is always hungry. She eats thrice a day and still wants more. I cannot understand if we are feeding her less or she is over-eating. Please help.
–?Payal Malhotra, Amritsar Dr. K.G. Umesh?:?If she’s eating a lot, maybe she needs the food to fuel/match her activity level. Or it could just be that she’s bored. Or is she pregnant? Or has any signs of illness? Is she losing or gaining bodyweight? Some medical problems like diabetes or drugs may also cause this problem. Answer to some of these questions will help to find underlying cause for her voracious appetite. Contact your vet.
Q?:?Please provide a diet chart for my 3-month-old Labrador. Also, advise on a diet chart when he turns one.
–?Aman, Delhi Dr. K.G. Umesh?:?As the owner of a new puppy, you’ll want him to grow up fit and healthy, and reach his full genetic potential; all you have to do is provide your puppy with the correct diet right from the start. Homemade diets depending on the sources, vary with respect to quality, digestibility, and nutrient content and therefore is not balanced and complete. After all, weight for weight, a puppy needs up to two and a half times as many calories as an adult dog does. Some dog owners prepare homemade foods for their pets. But it’s difficult even for an experienced vet to get the nutritional balance just right. The best idea is to get your puppy used to eating commercially prepared foods from the very start. Labrador breed may not reach his adult size until he is 12-14 months old. Therefore continue to feed him puppy products like Pedigree until this age. Feed him 3-5 times per day until 5 months of age and thereafter 2-3 times per day until 9 months of age. Adult dogs are generally fed once a day.
Q?:?Goofy, my 6-year-old Labrador has started passing gas. How do I take care of this problem?
–?Prerna Shinde, Pune Dr. K.G. Umesh?:?Most of the gas that forms in the intestine comes from air swallowed during eating or through panting. Some gases are formed from bacterial fermentation of poorly digested carbohydrate or fibre in the colon. Also, malodorous gas may be generated by metabolic disturbances in the breakdown of food components. While it’s a natural part of your dog’s digestive process, the tendency to pass gas increases as your dog ages. There are a number of ways to decrease your dog’s intestinal gas: Check your dog food label. Many dog foods contain soy, which can be hard to digest. Cut out table scraps. Exercise not only helps move intestinal gas, it may also simulate bowel movements. Raise your dog’s food dish. Elevating your dog’s dish means he’s not bending his neck down as far, which can lead to swallowing too much air. Therapy is directed toward reducing the carbohydrate content of the diet, reducing gas surface-active tension, reducing intestinal bacterial colonisation, and improving gut motility. The combination of Yucca schidigera, Zinc acetate or charcoal may help to reduce malodor of flatus in dogs, as shown in a study at Waltham.
Q?:?Do advise me on the exercise needs of my 4-month-old Dane puppy. Also, let me know if I need to give him supplements like calcium and vitamins for the growth and development of his body.
–?Swami, Coimbatore Dr. K.G. Umesh?:?All dogs need and usually love their daily exercise. The amount your dog needs will depend not only on his size, but also on his breed. Bear in mind that some smaller breeds such as Jack Russell Terriers can have lots of energy, whereas some larger breeds such as Great Danes and St. Bernard’s are not always as energetic. Don’t make the mistake of over-exercising your dog if he’s still growing, because his bones aren’t yet strong enough to cope with the extra stress. Little and often is the rule until your dog grows to full strength. Remember that large breeds mature later than small breeds. Ask your vet for advice. Never supplement calcium or vitamins while he is fed on balanced and complete prepared foods like Pedigree. Overzealous use of calcium and feeding excessive energy is the most common problem for large breed puppies to develop hip and skeletal problems.
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