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Dog Training

How to Correct canine chewing

Chewing is both natural and necessary. It is a very common occurrence during puppyhood and growing life stage of dogs.

Nipun Biyani

Nipun Biyani

Puppies do not have hands to touch and feel to gain experience. Their main testing tool is their mouth. Puppies chew, bite and gnaw at any new thing to experience it. Chewing is quite normal for puppies. However, it turns out to be annoying when it comes to chewing on irrelevant household items like footwear, furniture and even on hands and feet of pet parents. If such behaviour of the pup is not corrected in time, it can result in bigger problems in future.
Excessive chewing or for that matter, any destructive behaviour in dogs may be because of one or more of the following reasons:

  • Teething or any other medical reason
  • Boredom/seeking attention
  • Separation anxiety
  • Lack of physical activity

It’s crucial to know the cause of such destructive chewing or behaviour and only then some corrective actions can be taken.

Tips to follow

  • If there is a medical reason behind the chewing, please ask your vet for the remedy and do what needs to be done in the best interest of you and your dog.
  • Use chew toys and chew bones and other chewable products to keep your dog occupied and distract him from damaging your shoes and furniture and the likes. Hollow rubber toys in which you may insert some treats or peanut butter is of great use and works very well in keeping your dog occupied.
  • Apply discipline techniques and positive reinforcement techniques when your dog behaves in a certain manner. Timing here is crucial as your pet should be able to relate both, praise and punishment, to his action. Use the techniques below only if you catch them in the act:
  • If your dog chews on undesirable things, disciplinary actions like loud voice or loud clap may be helpful in diverting your dog’s attention from chewing undesirable objects.
  • If your dog picks up a chew bone or a chew toy on his own, then appreciate your dog with a kind hug or a treat.
  • If the excessive and destructive chewing is because of boredom, then think about keeping your pet busy. Spend some time with your pet. That is all they want.
  • Your dog may not be comfortable if he does not get human company for long durations. You must start training your pet to stay alone or give him a made-up environment that he can relate to and assume that you are not too far away… like keeping the radio or the TV on, using a voice recorder, etc.
  • Your pet may get calm and less destructive if he is given ample physical activity. Agility training centers, group training activities, socialising events, etc are good places for dogs to consume their energy.
  • Use deterrents which you can apply to household items to discourage your dog from chewing them. Harmless to both dogs and humans, deterrents simply have the taste and smell which are unpleasant to dogs.
  • Ensure you are giving him proper daily exercise according to his breed and age.
  • Spend quality time playing with him to keep chewing at bay.

(Nipun Biyani runs Paws 2 Think – Premium Pet Products and Pet Salon- catering pet grooming service, food and accessories in Jaipur).

dog health

Canine mammary tumours

Tumours in dogs could be of different types, but canine mammary tumours represent 50 percent of all canine tumours and it’s the most common among female dogs. However, this dreaded disease occurring primarily in older dogs is curable. Here’s more on the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

What is canine mammary tumour?dog health

Canine mammary gland tumour (MGT) is one of the most common diseases among the older female dogs who are not spayed. This tumour is hormone dependent disease and its risk factor is just 0.5 percent for those female dogs being sprayed before their first estrous cycle, eight percent for those spayed after one estrous cycle and 26 percent for those spayed after two or more cycles. Canine mammary tumours are generally developed in the caudal mammary glands of the pets. Sporting breeds like Pointers, Retrievers, English Setters and Spaniels as well as others including Poodles, Boston Terriers and Dachshunds are prone to canine mammary tumours.

Causes and symptoms

Around 50 percent of canine mammary tumours are benign (mild). The tumours could be of singular or multiple occurring in any of the glands. But there are chances of both malignant (serious) and benign canine tumours occur simultaneously. Both tumour types can occur as firm, well-demarcated lesions, so it is impossible to distinguish malignant from benign lesions by appearance. Bleeding and infection of the mammary tumours are reported in rare cases.

Certain symptoms like rapid growth, local tissue invasion and ulceration are usually hallmarks of malignant tumours. Tumour size is probably the best prognostic indicator. But factors such as age of the patient, tumour numbers and tumour locations have less prognostic value.

Clinical signs

No specific clinical signs would be visible to prove the presence of canine mammary tumours except stumbling upon a lump while petting the dog. There will be firm nodules (lumps) palpable in the mammary chain or gland. And the surrounding tissues may be involved, which in turn results in the lymph nodes in the area that may also be enlarged. Spreading of the tumours in other body glands may cause some complications including: loss of appetite, weight loss, lethargy, etc.

Diagnosis

Physical examinations would be the primary basis for diagnosis of MGT. The malignant tumours could be cured only with surgery, but CBC, serum chemistries and thoracic radiographs should be evaluated before surgery. Evaluation of a biopsy is an important aspect for diagnosis of MGT.

There are certain tests including X-ray of the thorax and abdomen, abdominal ultrasound, biopsy of lymph nodes, blood examination, etc to find out the spread of the tumours.

Treatments

Any accepted methods of surgical removal of the tumours may be used. The vet should choose the simplest procedure to remove the entire tumours. Chemotherapy may have minimal anti-tumour activity, but adjunct chemotherapy may be used together with surgery, since the tumour can occur even after complete removal. But the following factors should be considered to decide to treat the patient with chemotherapy along with the surgery: i) size of the tumours, ii) whether the site of tumours is ulcerated or not iii) spreading of tumours in others body organs and vi) microscopic examination of the tumours’ characteristics.

The role of chemotherapy in dogs with malignant mammary tumours has not been defined. Chemotherapy is theoretically indicated in some dogs with malignant mammary tumours (due to the high metastatic potential of these tumours), but objective studies have not been published to support this recommendation. For most mammary tumours in dogs, hormonal therapy, immunotherapy, and radiation therapy have either not been investigated or beneficial.

Surgery is not recommended for dogs with inflammatory mammary carcinoma because it does not improve survival rate. Unfortunately, an effective treatment has not been discovered. Radiation therapy in combination with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug has been shown to provide the most effective palliation in dogs with inflammatory mammary carcinoma, but the prognosis remains poor.

Advice to readers

Veterinarian cannot distinguish benign tumours from the malignant ones without biopsies. So, surgery removal of the tumours is advisable for all mammary tumours followed by histology. Tumour size of more than three cm in dogs is considered malignant. Chemotherapy is not curative in malignant tumours. Though ovariohysterectomy has not been proved to increase survival, it is recommended because 50-60 percent of canine mammary tumours have estrogen receptors on their cells that may increase the recurrence of tumours.

It should be kept in mind that the female dogs spayed before their first estrus cycle are safe from canine mammary tumours.

(Dr M Chandrasekar is Associate Professor at the Department of Veterinary Medicine, Ethics and Jurisprudence, Madras Veterinary College, Chennai).

Canine hip dysplasia

How would you feel if you can determine whether your canine would suffer from canine dysplasia or not? Yes, hip scoring techniques just do that. But, if your canine is already suffering from this painful disease, there are ways to control them. Let’s see how.

The basics

Assessment of the coxo femoral joint (hip joint) for its congruity, conformity and the contoural landmarks of

dog health

Dr. TN Ganesh

the femoral head and acetabulum through a radiographic view of the hip is called ‘Hip Scoring’. Based on the phenotypic expression of the polygenetic genes responsible for manifesting Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD), further aggravated by the environmental factors such as diet, exercise intolerance, stress on the hip joints etc, the disease progress to damage of bone ends i.e. degenerative joint disease (DJD). Radiography is the confirmative tool to diagnose CHD. Scores are assigned to different criteria of the joint and are later summed up to reveal the hip scores. These scores in turn are helpful in arriving at a threshold score, in order to classify hip dysplastic dogs and differentiate from good hip joints.

The hip scores can be subjective or objective in nature. From the year 1930, all around the world, many methods of hip scoring procedures are practiced, of which, some renowned scoring schemes are Orthopaedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) method in the USA, BVC/Kennel Club method practiced in common wealth countries, Federation Cynologique Inernationale (FCI), Penn Hip (Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program) method, etc.

OFA method

The most commonly used radiographic grading system for CHD, was established by the OFA. One function of the OFA is to provide a service for the diagnosis and registry of hip status for all canine breeds.

Here, under sedation, the patient in dorsal recumbency (lying in back) in standard hip extended view radiograph is taken and the coxofemoral joints are evaluated for the following factors:

  • Congruity of the femoral head (ball) and the acetabular (cup) margin.
  • Amount of coverage of the femoral head by the acetabular rim, as defined by the intersection of the femoral head physeal scar with the dorsal acetabular rim (at least 50 percent of the femoral head should be covered by the acetabulam). Remodeling (bone changes) and flattering of the femoral head.

Based on the criteria mentioned below, the coxofemoral joints are given one of the seven grades. In German Shepherds, evaluation of CHD by the OFA radiographic method has reliability for correct diagnosis of 69.9 percent at 12 moths, and 95.4 percent at 24 months.

Penn HIP method (Quantitative Radiography)

Radiograph showing severe hip dysplasia

The Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program (Penn HIP) method is a stress radiographic method intended to provide a quantitative means of determining laxity (looseness) before the dog is 24 months of age. By correlating joint laxity with subsequent incidence and severity of CHD, this method can provide optimum predictive value.

The stress – radiographic method requires deep sedation or general anesthesia. The patients are positioned in dorsal recumbency, with the coxofemoral joints in a neutral flexion – extension angle to allow maximum lateral displacement of the femoral head. The neutral positioning avoids spiral tensioning of the fibrous elements of the joint capsule and hydrostatic influences that decrease hip laxity.

Radiograph – OFA Hip extended view

A compression view and a distraction view are obtained via the Penn HIP compression – distraction device. The distance between the centre of the acetabulum and the centre of the femoral head is measured on both views via templates or gauges. The distance is divided by the radius of the femoral head, a numerical value between 0 and 1 is determined (the distraction index). The index quantitates the relative displacement of the femoral head from the acetabular center.

In addition, the compression view delineates the articular surfaces and provides information concerning acetabular depth, thickness of articular carticular, and the center of rotation of the joint.

The distraction index quantitates passive joint laxity. Dogs with an index less than 0.3 rarely develop radiographic evidence of DJD. Hips with a distraction index of greater than 0.3 are considered to be susceptible to DJD.

Thus, the Penn HIP method shows promise for detecting susceptibility of CHD in dogs as early as 16 weeks of age.

Penn HIP Distraction radiographPenn HIP Compression radiographRadiograph showing FHNERadiograph showing THR

Treatment of canine hip dysplasia

The aims of treatment of CHD are alleviating pain, arresting secondary degenerative changes, and producing maximum joint function.

The treatment schedule for canine hip dysplasia should be based on:

  • age and health
  • clinical severity of the disease
  • radiographic appearance of the joint
  • intended function of the dog, and
  • financial constraints of the owner.

Medical therapy and management

The aim of medical therapy is oriented towards reducing pain and slowing the deterioration of the coxofemoral joint. Medical therapy should be reserved for patients with mild or intermittent clinical signs. Monetary considerations may prompt the client to choose medical therapy alone.

Exercise – the activity should be restricted to a level that the dogs can tolerate without signs of pain or exercise intolerance.

  • Short leash walks initially followed by gradual increase to maximum level of function does not cause pain or lameness.
  • Non-weight bearing activities (e.g. swimming) are excellent means of exercise and it avoids concussive trauma to the joints.
  • Severe exercise restriction results in increased exercise intolerance, loss of muscle mass and tone, decreased range of motion and exacerbation of cartilage (soft bone) destruction.

Weight – the patient weight must be maintained in the optimum range for the age and breed.

  • Obese patients should loose weight.
  • Diet control is a must by adapting to low caloric diet or maintenance – type dog food. Conservative therapy, consisting of exercise restriction and weight control, is effective in controlling pain and lameness in a significant number of dogs with CHD.

Anti–inflammatory and analgesic agents – anti-inflammatory and analgesic therapy using appropriate drugs is an adjunct in medically managed patients.

Surgical management

A hip dysplastic case which has progressed to osteoarthritis (damaged bones of joint) warrants a surgical management for effective pain reduction. The various surgical techniques adopted for the management of CHD are briefed as follows:

Pectineal myectomy: Pectineal myectomy (cutting the muscle) is proposed to relieve muscle spasm and the associated pain.

  • The pain relief has been attributed to release of muscle tension, reduced stress on the joint capsule and increased abduction resulting in articular alterations.
  • This procedure is performed bilaterally.

Triple Pelvic Osteotomy (TPO): Triple Pelvic Osteotomy (cutting bone in three places & joining after correction) is a surgical procedure designed to correct the biomechanical imbalances in a dysplastic hip, early in progression of CHD.

  • Hence, correction takes place before skeletal maturity and also before secondary degenerative changes to occur.
  • The goals of TPO are correction of femoral head subluxation and restoration of the coxofemoral weight – bearing surface area.

Femoral Head and Neck Excision Arthroplasty (FHNE): Femoral Head and Neck Excision Arthroplasty (cutting ball portion of bone) is a salvage procedure.

  • Joint function and pain are eliminated by FHNE and only a fibrous pseudo joint (false joint) exists. The pseudo joint is less stable than normal, and the range of motion is reduced.

Total Hip Replacement (THR): Total Hip Replacement (artificial joints) is a salvage procedure that can produce a functionally normal joint, eliminate secondary degenerative changes, and alleviate joint pain.

  • The candidate should be skeletally mature and have pain and/or lameness attributable to coxofemoral disease.
  • Here the affected joint is replaced with artificial (prosthesis) joint.

On a concluding note

The limited success in reducing the prevalence of CHD even in countries where hip scoring is routinely done and registries are made is due to insensitivity of detection methods, lack of parents or progeny considerations, and owner or breeder willingness to breed dogs with less than phenotypically excellent hips. Hence, routine hip scoring and breeding only those dogs achieving an excellent OFA rating at two years of age or dogs that have a Penn Hip DI of less than 0.3 at four months of age is indicated to control Canine Hip Dysplasia.

(The author is professor of surgery, Madras Veterinary College, Chennai and senior lecturer in Veterinary Surgery, Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of The West Indies, Trinidad).

grooming

Let your canine shine in winter

Dry skin, dry hair, cracking heels – all are signs of winter setting in…not just for you but for your pooch as well. Here’s how to take care of your canine in winter.

Grooming your dog is essential to responsible pet parenting. Here’s how to keep your pet well-groomed in winter:

Brushing: Regular brushing is a must to keep dry skin away. To help him stay warm, use a smart dog coat.

grooming

Fibas

Bathing: Prepare all in advance, have extra towels, make the bath quick, if you heat the room where you dry your dog will be great. Properly dry his coat. Get your dog used to a blow dryer. Use the blow dryer with caution and care.

Nail-clipping: Clip their nails regularly.

Cracking paws: Check your pooch’s paws for dryness and cracking. Use Vaseline to relieve any such symptoms.

Pamper your pet at a groomer, keep him hearty, happy and warm by cuddling up with him!

Beaming canine passengers

Have you ever seen the happiness, the excitement and the frenzy …when you take your lil’ Editorialpooch out for a drive? The moment you roll down the car window, two tiny paws and one beautiful head is ready to peep out…you exclaim, “No,” pull him back and roll back the window! He gives you a ‘not so happy look’ and maybe a bow-vow or two and then busies himself looking out, his excitement showing in his fast breathing and his bubbly disposition.

Yes, our pooches love to travel. Most often, they get the opportunity only while going to the vet’s place for their routine check-ups. But, you can make them happy more often…taking them out for a car ride…or better still, taking them out to some pooch-friendly places. Just take care of their needs while travelling and do hang on to him if he sticks his head out.

Sparkle loves his car rides, in fact he travels daily to work and back…not to forget to India Gate on weekends. Depending on his energy levels he will choose his way to sit. Energy levels high then Sparkle in upright with shining eyes; levels slightly low, then slouched comfortably on the car back rest and looking dreamily out; levels low then our chap curls up like a cat and snores to glory. Not only that, Sparkle has all the attention from neighbouring traffic and people. We often get an occasional wave from dog loving people. And when we spot a dog in a neighbouring car it feels so nice to see a beaming canine passenger.

This New Year let’s all do something to make our pooches happier…spend more quality time with them, love them and be a responsible pet parent. And those who are willing to go an extra mile can help their neighbourhood stray dogs in this chilling season. Give them food and a bowl of clean water. You can even donate a warm rug at the roadside to give them a cosy place to sit on. Winters are hard on them…let’s make it a little easier for them…because we love them, don’t we?

Sparkle wishes you all and his friends out there A Very Happy and Sparkling New Year, a year filled with love, shine and lots of Bow-Vows!

Canine bloat – act before it is too late

Bloat is a life-threatening emergency in breeds like Great Danes, German Shepherds and Boxers. What makes this disease even worse is that there are no home remedies and it needs immediate attention. Here’s more on this dangerous disease…

In addition to breed predilection, there appears to be a genetic link to this disease. The incidence is closely correlated to the depth and the width of the dog’s chest. Contact your vet, don’t wait till dawn!

Dog HealthOld and male dogs –at high risk

Dogs over seven years of age are more than twice as likely to develop gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV) or bloat as those who are 2-4 years of age. Also, male dogs have double the risk than females. Neutering does not appear to have an effect on the risk of bloat.

Depends on eating habits as well

Dogs fed once a day are twice as likely to develop GDV as those fed twice a day. It appears that dogs who eat rapidly swallow more air while eating or exercise soon after a meal are at a greater risk. It is also seen that dogs fed on high carbohydrate diet and fast fermenting food are highly prone to this extremely serious condition.

Temperament matters

Dogs who tend to be more nervous, anxious, or fearful appear to be at an increased risk of developing bloat.

The dangerous effects of GDV

The stomach dilatation is one part of the condition and the torsion (volvulus) is the second part. Post feeding, the stomach builds up gas and fills up, resulting in the following life threatening sequence:

  • Gas puts pressure on the other organs and diaphragm.
  • Pressure on the diaphragm makes it difficult for the dog to breathe.
  • The air-filled stomach also compresses large veins in the abdomen, thus preventing blood from returning to the heart. The spleen enlarges due to venous engorgement and becomes huge.
  • Filled with air, the stomach can easily rotate on itself like a balloon, thus strangulating off the blood supply. Once this rotation (volvulus) occurs and the blood supply is cut off, the stomach wall begins to die and the entire blood supply is disrupted. The animal’s condition begins to deteriorate very rapidly.

Symptoms of GDV

If the dog suffers from GDV, he starts getting into shock. Look out for following symptoms:

  • Tap the stomach of the dog, when he is in great discomfort, it may sound like tapping an air filled balloon.
  • The eye mucous membrane turns blood shot and you can see thick blood vessels of the eye.
  • The dog starts panting heavily and paces up and down restlessly. Other symptoms include non-productive vomiting (animal appears to be vomiting, but nothing comes up) and retching, abdominal pain, and rapid shallow breathing.
  • Profuse salivation in strings may indicate severe pain. If the dog’s condition continues to deteriorate, he will become pale, have a weak pulse, a rapid heart rate, and eventually collapse.

Treatment of GDV

Your veterinarian will first stabilise the dog by putting intravenous catheters and administer calculated amount of fluids required as per the size of dog. He will also give him antibiotics, antihistamincs and corticosteroids, besides monitoring oxygen perfusion. He will also decompress the dog first if the stomach distension is so much that the dog can’t breathe; either by passing a stomach tube or inserting a large needle bore into the stomach and releasing the gas.

After the animal is stabilized, X-rays will be taken to help determine whether or not a volvulus is present.

Some dogs develop disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), in which small clots start to develop within the dog’s blood vessels. To prevent or treat this condition, heparin, an anticoagulant will be given.

The vet will also monitor the heart rate and rhythm. Some dogs with GDV develop heart arrhythmias, and this is a common cause of death in dogs with GDV. Dogs who already have a heart disease or are prone to heart arrythmias are generally treated with appropriate medications.

Abdominal surgery…the last resort

Abdominal surgery is usually done to accomplish three things:

  • To assess the health of the stomach and surrounding organs, this depends upon how much time has passed on. If areas of the stomach or spleen have been irreversibly damaged or necrosed, then a splenctomy is performed. In such a case, the chances for recovery are very poor.
  • After stomach repositioning, stomach content evacuation is done and rinsed several times and checked for any Pyloric obstruction.
  • Gastropexy is performed i.e. Suture (fix the stomach to the abdominal wall in a way to prevent it from twisting again. If gastropexy is not performed, 75-80 percent of dogs will develop GDV again.

Post-operative care

Post-operative care involved is for 5 to 6 days extensive fluid therapy, antibiotics and protein supplementation. Start feeding after 36 hours of surgery since once the dog starts eating, the recovery is faster.

(Dr M S Hatekar is a leading practitioner in Pune. He has learnt Gastropexy surgery from Department of Invasive Surgery, North Carolina Veterinary School of Medicine. He can be contacted at drhatekar@gmail.com )

Dog Health

Canine cataract: symptoms, treatment and care

How cataract occurs?

There is a lens in the eye which has its place behind the pupil. It is transparent and focuses light onto the

Dog Health

Unilateral Cataract

retina. The retina sends the image to the brain, where vision is perceived. Cataract forms when the cells and the protein of the lens begin to deteriorate. The lens gets cloudy and the light cannot be transmitted to the retina. There are many different forms and causes of cataract formation.

What is a cataract?

The word ‘cataract’ literally means ‘to break down.’ This breakdown refers to the disruption of the normal arrangement of the lens fibers or its capsule. This disruption results in the loss of transparency and the resultant reduction in vision is called cataract. When the opacity is very small, it leads to blurred vision called immature cataract. When the entire lens becomes cloudy and there is loss of all functional vision, it is called mature cataract.

Cataracts vis-à-vis nuclear sclerosis

People often confuse cataract with another common problem called nuclear sclerosis. Nuclear sclerosis is a normal change that occurs in the lenses of older dogs. Nuclear sclerosis appears as a slight graying of the lens. The loss of transparency occurs because of compression of the linear fibers in the lens. It usually occurs in both eyes at the same time and occurs in older dogs. This condition does not significantly affect the vision of the dog and treatment is not recommended.

What are the causes of cataract?

There are several causes of cataracts which include:

Genetic: Cataracts in dogs are frequently inherited. Over 40 breeds of dogs are known to be predisposed to cataract e.g. Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, Terriers, etc.

Trauma: If the lens is punctured or damaged due to automobile accident, penetration of a thorn or stick, a cat scratch, etc usually lead to cataract.

Diabetes: Diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes) is a systemic disease where regulation of blood sugar (glucose) is not controlled. The lens requires some glucose, but when the levels are too high, cataract can form rapidly.

Old age: As animal becomes geriatric, all his body functions generally become sluggish and hence the eyesight. Age-related cataracts are usually very small and tend to progress very slowly.

Other causes: Nutritional deficiencies early in life, changes in blood calcium, exposure to certain drugs and toxins, exposure to intense microwaves, radiation therapy and electrocution may also alter both nutrition and structure of the lens, resulting in cataract.

How can cataract be diagnosed?

Diagnostic tests are needed to recognize cataracts and exclude other diseases. These tests include:

Complete eye examination: Such an examination includes fluorescein staining of the cornea, schirmer tear test, slit lamp biomicroscopy, etc.

Blood tests: Blood tests are usually done for diabetes and other systemic diseases.

Ocular ultrasound: Ocular ultrasound is performed if the retina cannot be examined because the cataract is too opaque, and if surgery is being considered.

An electroretinogram (ERG): It is also frequently performed prior to cataract surgery in order to evaluate the function of the retina. An ERG is especially important in determining underlying retinal disease masked by the cataracts (if the lens is too opaque for the entire retina to be examined).

How can cataract be treated?

Treatment for canine cataracts includes surgical removal of the lens, which may include one or more of the following:

Cataract surgery : Phacoemulsification is the most common technique used in both humans and animals to remove a cataract. Once the pupils have been dilated and animal is under general anesthesia, a small incision is made through the cornea. The lens is housed in a small bag called the lens capsule. A small tear is made in the front capsule and a circular piece of the capsule is removed. The phacoemulsification instrument uses ultrasonic waves to break apart the lens and then suck it out. Most of the lenses are removed by phacoemulsification, and then the lens capsule (the “bag”) is cleaned of any remaining lens material. Frequently an intraocular lens implant (a prosthetic lens) is then placed into the lens capsule. The lens capsule acts as a bag to hold the implant in place. There are lens implants for both dogs and cats, and these prosthetic lenses return the vision as close to normal as possible.

Extracapsular lens extraction: This is another cataract removal technique. It is used either when a phacoemulsification machine is not available or when a cataract is so hard or old that the phacoemulsification instrument isn’t powerful enough to break up and remove the lens. The surgical procedure requires making a larger incision through the cornea and a larger hole in the lens capsule so that the lens can be removed from the bag as a whole. A lens implant can still frequently be inserted during this type of procedure.

Intracapsular lens extraction: This is another surgical method that involves making a large incision through the cornea and removing the whole lens in its capsule. This procedure is generally used when a cataractous lens has shifted out of position and is no longer held firmly in place inside the eye. Because the lens capsule has been removed, if a lens implant is going to be used, it has to be sewn into place because there is no capsular bag left to hold it in the center of the eye.

Post-operative care of cataract surgery

Regardless of which type of procedure is used to remove a cataractous lens, there are many postoperative medications and important home care instructions to be followed after surgery.

After cataract surgery, the first one to two weeks are the most labour-intensive. The dog must be kept quiet and calm. Usually an Elizabethan collar is used to keep the dog from rubbing or traumatizing the eye. This collar should stay on at all times. Playing, barking and jumping should be discouraged and all pressure around the head should be minimized. Several topical (drops) and oral medications may be used after surgery, such as:

  • anti-inflammatory drops
  • dilating drops
  • antibiotic ophthalmic drops
  • oral anti-inflammatory drugs
  • oral antibiotics

(Dr S S Patil is PhD scholar at Centre of Advanced Studies in Animal Nutrition, Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar; Dr KB Kore is PhD scholar at Division of Animal Nutrition, IVRI, Izatnagar; and Dr PP Mirajkar is MVSc scholar at Division of LES, IVRI, Izatnagar)

Dog health

Understanding canine Hip Dysplasia

It’s very disheartening to see our loving pal suffer from canine hip dysplasia, which causes discomfort and mobility problems. Here are a few ways to improve or eliminate its symptoms.

Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is the most common development disorder of the hip joint, characterized by abnormal development of the hip joint. It usually occurs in both hind limbs, affecting both hip joints. Its effect ranges from very mild lameness to a crippling disease. Lameness may appear at any age.

Hip dysplasia is a hereditary condition and breeding of affected animals should be discouraged. The best way is to breed dogs with disease free joints based on radiographic evaluation and who have come from families with disease free joints. Do not breed dogs whose offspring have hip dysplasia. Dogs with hip dysplasia can produce normal pups and normal looking dogs can produce hip dysplastic pups.

How it occurs?Dog health

The hip joint is a ball and socket joint. The ball (the top portion of the thigh bone or femur) fits into a socket formed by the bones of the hip called the pelvis. In hip dysplasia, there is a loose and improper fit between the socket and the femur, the ligaments which hold them together also become loose, hence causing the ball to slide out of the socket partially in the initial stages (subluxation) and completely in long standing cases. When this occurs repeatedly, the ball gets worn out unevenly, causing erosions on its surface and exposing the underlying bone. Subsequently, bony proliferations occur (osteophytes) eventually resulting in degeneration of the hip joint (Osteoarthritis) and the dog becomes painful, lame and weak in the affected limb.

It is caused by multifactorial-genetics (polygenic-caused by many different genes), environment and nutrition (increased calcium and/or high calorie intake). However, the development of the disease is influenced by body weight, size and rapid growth patterns.

What are the clinical signs?

There are two types of clinical signs :

  • Young dogs who are between 5-8 months exhibit sudden decrease in activity, sore hindquarters, difficulty in rising and reluctant to walk or climb stairs. Initially, it may be noticed once in a while but will begin to get worse over time.
  • Older dogs show intermittent or continuous hind limb lameness after exertion, prefer to sit than stand, stiffness or difficulty in rising, reluctance to run and jump, short choppy steps of the hind limbs, loose or waddling gait, bunny-hopping when running and painful hip joint with decreased range of motion of hip. Shoulder muscles are stronger and thigh muscles are weak. Lameness and pain is usually due to secondary degenerative joint disease (DJD) and osteoarthritis.

How can it be diagnosed?

  • Physical examination : Laxity (excessive looseness of the hip), pain and/or crepitus (caused by rubbing of bony ends) of the hip joints.
  • Radiography : X-rays are taken to see the fit of the femur and pelvis and to look for bony changes in the hip joint. This is done under sedation. The severity of clinical signs often does not correlate with the severity of radiographic signs. Special radiographic procedures are also available to hip joints. Radiographic changes are seen between 6-18 months after which the disease progression is slow. They are graded by the principles laid down by the Orthopaedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) as borderline, mild, moderate and severe based on the radiographic evidence of damage to the hip joints. Another method of evaluation is a Penn Hip distraction method. Please consult your vet for further details of these procedures.

Radiographs are done to screen for presence or absence of hip dysplasia to select dogs who are suitable for breeding.

How can it be treated?

There is no cure but your dog’s pain and lameness can be managed by following certain conservative management procedures :

  • Restricting activity by limiting exercise to several regular 10 minute walks a day on a leash only for 6 weeks. Confinement to a small cage which encouraged the young pup to sit with his hind limbs spread was shown to reduce the incidence of CHD in genetically susceptible pups. 
  • Physiotherapy: Passive flexion and extension of hind limbs over a range of motion and distal to proximal massage helps prevent joint stiffness and reduces wasting of hind quarter muscles. 
  • Weight loss is absolutely essential for overweight and obese dogs. (To determine ideal body weight for each breed, consult your vet.) 
  • A restricted feeding programme during the rapid growth phase in suspected dogs. 
  • Pain control with analgesics: Consult your vet for the appropriate drug and dosage regimen. Do not selfmedicate. 
  • Chondroprotectives like glucosamine and chondroitin can be used. 
  • Acupuncture/shortwave diathermy/therapeutic ultrasound may give temporary relief from pain. 
  • Swimming is also useful – the aim being to build up muscle mass to support the hips. 
  • Surgical therapy: Surgery may be necessary if signs are severe and unresponsive to medical therapy or chronic in nature. 
  • In young patients, Pectineal myectomy (cutting the pectineus muscle) is an alternative to allow temporary pain relief. 
  • Triple pelvic osteotomy (cutting the bones of pelvis, rotating and fixing with special bone plates) are best performed before hip joint changes occur and is performed before the dog reaches skeletal maturity (usually within one year). 
  • Total hip replacements are indicated in skeletally mature animals with severe painful disease. 
  • Femoral head and neck arthroplasty: Surgical removal of femoral head and neck results in a false joint and pain free movement of hip. Best suited for dogs less than 25 kg. It is a common procedure that can be done with minimal instrumentation and gives good results.

(Dr. S. Ayyappan, M.V.Sc; Ph.D, F.ASIF (Swiss) has a Certificate in Canine Orthopedics (Swiss) and a Post Doc in Veterinary Surgery (USA). He can be contacted at: 9841249129/26475988, e-mail:jujups61@hotmail.com)

-Dr. S. Ayyappan

 


Did you know?

  • Canine hip dysplasia was first reported in 1935.
  • It is mostly seen in giant/large breed dogs like German Shepherds, Retrievers, St. Bernards, Labradors, etc.
  • Hip dysplasia can never be cured but clinical signs may be improved or eliminated with medical or surgical therapy.
  • The clinical signs may go through periods of exacerbation or remission throughout the animal’s life.

Canine liver disease

Think for a moment about filters. They extract impurities from liquids or air. That’s exactly what the liver does, too. (Of course, it does much more than that!) Like us, our dog’s entire blood supply filters through his liver for the removal of waste products. And given the complexity of the liver’s function, no wonder it’s prone to disease. It’s important to monitor your dog for symptoms of liver disease as he ages. When diagnosed early, the treatment for certain types of liver diseases can result in successful recovery.

What causes liver disease?

Liver disease refers to any disorder of the liver, whether it’s metabolic, inflamed, infectious, or cancerous. Here are some common causes for liver disease :

  • Infectious diseases (bacterial, viral, fungal)
  • Parasites
  • Copper and other liver storage diseases
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Poisoning
  • Trauma
  • Pancreatitis
  • Cancer
  • Drugs
  • Heart disease or congenital abnormality
  • Malnutrition

Signs and symptoms

Keep a keen eye out for the following :

  • Jaundice (yellowness of skin, mucous membranes, whites of eyes, and excretions)
  • Lack of appetite and weight loss
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased drinking and urination
  • Enlarged abdomen (due to a bulging liver or fluid retention)
  • Seizures
  • Behavioural changes (listlessness, depression)
  • Dark coloured urine
  • Anaesthesia intolerance
  • Gray-white and soft faeces

These symptoms can develop rapidly, or slowly over time. If you notice any of these signs, take your dog to your vet immediately.

Making the diagnosis

To determine a diagnosis, your vet will :

  • Feel your dog’s abdomen for abnormalities like liver enlargement.
  • Examine your dog’s tongue and gums for jaundice.
  • Take a blood sample and test for elevated enzyme levels that could indicate liver disease.
  • Take an ultrasound and biopsy in order to make a definitive diagnosis.

You may need to bring your dog in for repeat tests to see how well he’s responding to the prescribed therapy.

Variations in treatment

Eliminating what’s causing harm to your dog’s liver, and changing his diet, will increase his chances for recovery. Of course, treatment will vary, depending on the type of liver disease your dog has. For example, if he has copper storage disease, he’ll need to eat a special diet that’s low in copper. If his liver disease is a result of trauma, he’ll need rest, nursed care and a diet change. If infection is the cause, he’ll need to take antibiotics.

Dietary considerations

Dietary therapy is a critical part of your dog’s recovery. By moderately reducing the amounts of protein from your dog’s diet, you’ll decrease his liver’s load. By increasing highly digestible complex carbohydrates and high-quality fats, a quick energy release will provide the optimal conditions for repair and regeneration of his liver.

Do not give him table scraps or treats during his recovery from liver disease. He must only consume his prescribed medication, fresh water, and his special diet. Watch your dog closely for recurring symptoms and call your vet immediately if you spot any.

Controlled, not cured

Some types of liver disease just aren’t curable. In these cases, the disease must be managed through supportive therapy for the rest of your dog’s life. Ask your vet for more information on liver disease.

Dog Health

Tick troubles – All you wanted to know about canine babesiosis

Come summers and all responsible pet parents are wary of ticks, which can become a major health hazard for our loving pooches. Here’s some info about babesiosis, a common tick-borne disease. Watch out for this disease and protect your four-legged friend from misery.

Canine babesiosis is a tick borne haemoprotozoan disease of domestic dogs widely prevalent in tropical and Dog Healthsubtropical regions of the world including India. The disease is characterized by erratic fever, malaise, anorexia, weight loss, unthriftiness and severe anaemia of haemolytic nature. Because of haemolysis, babesiosis can be a life threatening disease.

How babesiosis is caused?

The disease is caused by several species of Babesia mainly B. canis, B. gibsoni and B. vogeli. Babesia sp. are generally found inside the red blood cells (RBC) and individual RBC may contain single or multiple organisms. As many as seventeen species have been identified to infect the canines, of which B. canis and B. vogeli are of similar size, and are larger than B. gibsoni. In India, B. canis is more prevalent in southern regions of the country, whereas B. gibsoni is more prevalent in northern regions and in and around Delhi. However, several species and sub-species of Babesia i.e. B. canis rossi, B. odocoileis, B. microti, B. equi etc. have also been identified in different countries of the world which differ in their pathogenecity, leading to various grades of symptoms.

How babesiosis is transmitted?

Canine babesiosis is transmitted between dogs mainly by the brown dog ticks, Rhipicephalus sanguineus. The life-cycle of brown dog ticks is shown in the picture above. However, the disease is also transmitted through Haemophysalis or Dermacentor spp. Besides, it can also be transmitted from the infected mother to the puppy or through blood transfusion.

Which season babesia infection occurs?

The disease is occurring in tropical and subtropical regions of the world and is more common during summer and rainy seasons due to enhanced activity of the vectors (ticks) owing to favourable climate. But, the chronic cases can be encountered any time of the year. Stress can flare up the disease further. This disease is not breed-specific.

What are the symptoms of babesiosis?

The naturally occurring cases of babesiosis are manifested by a wide variety of clinical signs such as partial appetite/inappetance/anorexia, dehydration, fever/no fever/erratic fever, dullness/depression, diarrhoea/constipation, pale mucosa, ticks on body, hepatolmegaly, vomiting/nausea, splenomegaly, rapid thready pulse, nasal discharge, ataxia/CNS signs, distended abdomen/ascites, dysponea/labored breathing, yellow coloured urine/coffee coloured urine, emaciation/weight loss, occular discharge, oedema and death.

The disease occurs in per acute (severe), acute (moderate) or chronic (mild) forms. Dogs usually suffering from per acute form, are characterized by shock due to low blood pressure, deficiency of oxygen, extensive tissue damage, shock, coma or death following one day of complete loss of appetite and lethargy. Acute phase is characterized by anaemia due to destruction of RBC, enlargement of spleen and increased number of platelets. It may also be fatal in pups. Chronic phase is characterized by intermittent fever, partial loss of appetite, lethargy, depression and loss of weight. Sometimes a typical signs such as distension of abdomen due to fluid accumulation, ulcer, epileptic fits, pneumonia and cutanious manifestations are also seen.

How babesiosis can be cured?

The treatment of canine babesiosis is complicated by the wide variety of host factors and Babesia spp. with differing degrees of drug tolerance and susceptibility. Small Babesia species i.e. B. gibsoni is more refractory to treatment than B. canis. Severely anaemic dogs should receive oxygen therapy and whole blood transfusions in addition to specific antibabesial drug. Supportive therapy with poly-ionic isotonic fluids, blood transfusion, and hepatotropic tonics helps in recovery. Both diminazine aceturate and imidocarb are toxic drugs; therefore treatment of dog should be undertaken under the strict supervision of the competent veterinarians.

Why treatment failures occur?

  • Improper diagnosis at early stages of infection.
  • The small Babesia (B. gibsoni) is difficult to treat than B. canis. The same dose rate and schedule, which are effective against B. canis infection, is not enough to cure B. gibsoni infection due to its different morphological nature.
  • Different organ failures, which remain undiagnosed.
  • Drugs became unresponsive due to severe anaemia.
  • Concurrent infection of Ehrlichia canis, Trypanosoma evansi or Dirofileria immitis etc.

Although, the antibabesial drugs are easily available in market but the treatment of ailing dogs requires professional skill because of many complications and should therefore be undertaken under the advice and care of the competent veterinarian.

How babesiosis can be controlled?

  • Control of canine babesiosis is possible only with the control of tick population by spraying kennels and dipping/ spraying or bathing dogs at regular intervals.
  • Although, treated dogs clear infection, but remain sub-clinically infected and may be re-infected and serve as source for further spread of disease. Such dogs should never be used for blood transfusions because it can produce infection in recipient animals.
  • At present there is no effective vaccine available against B. gibsoni to prevent or control the infection, but B. canis infection can be controlled by using cell culture vaccines derived from exoantigens of B. canis.
  • Common acaricides such as amitraz (2 to 3 ml/litre), fiproil and pyrethrins can be used to control the vectors or ticks.

(Dr. Shubhamitra Chaudhuri has recently completed his M.V.Sc. Veterinary Medicine under the guidance of Dr. J. P. Varshney (B.V.Sc. & A.H.; M.V.Sc. (Medicine) and Ph.D. (Vet. Med.), retired principal scientist (veterinary medicine) and a renowned canine expert. Dr. Chaudhuri can be contacted at 09411222306 or email at drshubhamitra@rediffmail.comdrshubhamitra@gmail.com while Dr. Vashney can be contacted at 9897224580 or email : at dr_jpvarshney@rediffmail.com or drvarshneyjp@yahoo.co.in)