Bengaluru-based pet care products company RACE launches exciting range of products which include DTICK Spot-on for all sizes of dogs. DTICK Spot-on is a combination of Fipronil and S-Methoprene and this unique combination protects dogs from ticks and fleas by killing all life stages – egg, larvae, pupa and adults unlike any other traditional ticks and fleas control product which kills only adults. RACE also introduces first-of-its-kind antiseptic and disinfectant wipe called HEXACLEAN which contains Chlorhexidine Gluconate 2 percent and CHLODERMA shampoo which contains Chlorhexidine Gluconate 4 percent effective against bacterial skin infections. For further details, contact at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Batra’s opened homeopathy cum veterinary hospital at Yusuf Sarai in New Delhi. Spread across three floors, the hospital was inaugurated by Maneka Gandhi along with Dr Mukesh Batra, founder and chairman of Dr Batra’s Healthcare Group. This new Pet care hospital offers a range of services from blood tests and x-rays to vaccination, grooming, surgical procedures, allopathic and homeopathic treatment and a pet shop. On the occasion, Maneka Gandhi said, “I am delighted to launch Dr Batra’s state-of-the-art pet care hospital, which is India’s first-ever homeopathy-cum-veterinary hospital. For the last eight years, Dr Batra’s has been supporting us by providing free treatment at our Animal Centre in Delhi.” Dr Mukesh Batra mentioned that in the UK, 50 percent of vets use homeopathy in their practice, where as in India the use of homeopathy for animals is relatively unknown. With the launch of this new hospital together with other facilities Dr Batra’s would be able to treat pets with homeopathy, a safe and effective treatment for pets. For further details, visit: www.drbatras.com
Newly opened Prime Animal Care Hospital at Noida is a destination with multiple medical facilities including surgery, laboratory tests, dispensary and others. Boarding facility also available at this hospital located at E-Block, Sector-72, Noida. For further information, contact Anupam Sharma at: 9212440050 or email@example.com
In humans, the dentistry has gone in a sea change in terms of product awareness and innovations as well as availability of products in dental care, oral hygiene and cosmetic dentistry but the pet dental segment in India is still in the budding phase. The awareness about pet dental health among pet parents seems to be the most important area of present discussion. A lot of innovations have happened in the area of pet dentistry also and some basic products are already available in the markets.
Here are a few common dental problems in dogs.
Halitosis or bad breath: This is the first complaint noticed in a dental problem. This can happen due to a bad stomach also. A detailed examination by your veterinarian is required to confirm the reason for bad breath. It is essential to keep our pet’s mouth clean and healthy to avoid bad odour from mouth.
Plaque and calculus: This is an outcome of the deposition of food materials or extra mineralisation of teeth. This can be rated as a first degree dental complication. The plaque can harbour some bacteria which may complicate the situation to worse levels. Calculus mostly remains as a cosmetic issue but of late can attract some complications. The treatment is removal of plaque or calculus by dental scaling which is done by a veterinarian. Tartar can be defined as a hardened plaque which cannot be removed through brushing.
Gingivitis: This can be considered as a second level dental complication where the gums are also getting involved. The supra-gingival plaque harbours micro-organisms causing tissue damage. If properly managed, gingivitis can be restricted at its level rather than progressing to advanced stages. The objective of treatment at this stage would be in restoring inflamed gingiva clinically back to healthy stage. Plaque control remains on high priority during management of gingivitis.
Periodontitis: It can be described as a third level of dental complication which has gone deep root into the dental structure. The pet parent may notice bleeding gums and teeth. He may also find a loose tooth or sometimes a lost tooth. A veterinarian will diagnose this stage of dental complication before confirming it as a ‘periodontal disease’. The prognosis is not good but an expert veterinarian’s objective would be to stop the progression of tissue destruction and to prevent lesions to other sites.
These complications can definitely impart a bad response in dogs like – malnutrition, loss of alertness, other health problems, even affecting internal organs, etc. It must be also worth mentioning that artificial set of teeth after tooth eruption is not (widely) practiced in our country. Hence loss of tooth may be considered as a permanent lose.
Preventing dental problems
It is prudent to discuss how we can prevent dental problems. The first lessons start at home.
Brushing: There is no alternative to brushing in keeping good dental hygiene. It is very important to use a good quality paste and brush exclusively designed for pets. Brushing not only helps to remove plaque and reduces accumulation of calculus but also help the pet parent to have a close watch of the pet’s mouth and act immediately on finding any complications. Brushing needs a lot of co-operation from your pet as well as a good level of motivation from pet parent. It is always advisable to inculcate the habit of brushing from a young age as it may be very difficult later.
There are oral rinses as well as plaque removing swabs in foreign markets which may be available in our country in the coming days.
Dental chews: Chews are the easiest way to clean the teeth. There are specially designed vegetarian chews available which can clean the teeth physically as well as enzymatically.
This proves to be an easier way for dental hygiene. Regular use of dental hygiene chews will remarkably reduce the plaque accumulation on teeth and simultaneously reduce the further progression of complications. It is very important to select the right chew for your dog based on her weight as there are different sizes of chews available. It must be considered that chews will help to prevent oral problems but is not a perfect alternative to brushing. Chews also reserve the advantage that it can be started at any age and need not require any handling to offer. It is highly recommended to have an expert consultation for selecting the right chews for your pet because some chews may potentially damage the teeth as well as the general health.
Professional dental management in pets include supra and sub-gingival scaling and polishing, root planing, crown polishing, extraction, periodontal surgery, etc. It is very essential to follow the rigorous dental hygiene recommendations by a professional after dental management to reduce chances of recurrence.
Commercial dental diets are also recommended to provide right nutrition to pets recovering from dental complications after professional management. They not only reduce the accumulation of plaque and calculus but also provide right nutrition to your pets.
Regular home care and periodic dental examination by a veterinarian is essential to control the complications affecting the teeth and related parts. It is always told that a good mouth is required for good nutrition and thereby good health. So, let’s start from the mouth to have a healthier and a happier pet wagging around you.
(Dr R Renjith Nair is product manager – companion animals at Virbac Animal Health India Ltd).
What is cardiomyopathy?
Cardiomyopathy (CM) is the most common cause of heart failure. It is of two types i.e. dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). The former one is more common in dogs and later one in cats. DCM is a specific condition characterised by dilated heart chambers with a thin heart muscle and decreased contractility of the heart muscle resulting into decreased ability of the heart to pump blood throughout the body. Other one is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy wherein the walls of the chambers of the heart get thickened leading to a decrease in pumping efficiency.
Which breeds are susceptible?
Doberman Pinscher, Labrador Retriever, Deerhounds, Boxers, Irish Wolfhounds and Golden Retrievers are some of the breeds who suffer commonly from cardiomyopathy. Cocker Spaniels and other smaller breeds may also suffer from cardiomyopathy less commonly. Cardiomyopathy has also been observed in German Shepherd, Great Dane and Rottweiler. Signs of distress come suddenly and the disease is generally seen in dogs of 4-10 years of age. However, cardiomyopathy has also been seen in young ones with distemper. Incidence of cardiomyopathy is greater in Doberman Pincher, Great Dane and Rottweiler. While in Boxers, heart enlargement is minimum but arrhythmias are more serious.
How heart works?
The heart of all mammals is made up of four chambers. The upper left and right chambers are called the atria (atrium) and the lower left and right chambers are called the ventricles. Blood flows from the veins of the body into the right atrium. It is stored there briefly as it is pumped on into the right ventricle. The right ventricle pumps blood into the lungs, where it receives oxygen. It then flows from the lungs into the left atrium where it is held briefly before going on to the left ventricle. The left ventricle contains the largest muscle of the heart so it can pump blood out through the arteries to all parts of the body.
What happens when heart fails?
Cardiomyopathy leads to a decrease in pumping efficiency. Development of congestive heart failure is quite common in dilated cardiomyopathy. As the failing heart enlarges, the left side loses its ability to contract forcefully to pump blood through the blood vessels. When this occurs, blood begins to pool in the right side of the heart, which supplies blood to the lungs for oxygenation and receives spent blood from the thorax and abdomen. Sometimes the damage is more apparent on the right side of the heart first, sometimes on the left. But, eventually, both sides are affected because one relies on the other. The dog’s heart works hard to compensate for these changes but eventually pet can no longer perform the activities as he has been doing in the past. This stage of the disease is called congestive heart failure. In congestive heart failure, the heart is no longer able to provide blood with adequate oxygen to supply the body. Without adequate oxygen, the body’s cells become desperate and trigger a series of responses. Various hormones are released by several organs in an attempt to correct the problem. These hormones conserve and retain fluids in an effort to increase blood volume and the output of blood. For several months, these compensatory responses help the situation. However, increased fluid retention eventually becomes harmful. More and more fluid leaks out of the capillaries, causing increased gagging and coughing, and reduced stamina. Fluid in the lungs causes pulmonary edema, fluid below the skin leads to peripheral or limb edema, and fluid in the abdomen results into ascites. Peripheral or limb edema is much less common in dogs.
What are the causes of heart failure?
Although cause of cardiomyopathy in dogs is generally unknown, deficiency of myocardial carnitine concentration in some dogs with cardiomyopathy has been observed and supplementation of L-carnitine in these dogs has improved their clinical condition. Dogs may suffer from dilated cardiomyopathy as a sequel of parvo myocarditis or distemper myocarditis in unvaccinated dogs. Other causes of myopathy include ischaemia, hypoxia, atherosclerotic intramural coronary artery infarction, toxins, and drugs like doxorubicin, immune mediated diseases, ehrlichiosis, or babesiosis. Hypothyroidism (deficiency of thyroid hormone) has also been associated with the development of cardiomyopathy in dogs.
What are the signs of heart failure?
Early signs may include fainting, exercise intolerance, weight loss or lethargy. Many dogs remain asymptomatic, and may suddenly have symptoms associated with congestive heart failure. Signs associated with heart failure include respiratory distress (left heart failure), or abdominal distention –ascites (fluid build-up associated with right heart failure). The onset of symptoms may be extremely rapid. It is not uncommon for dogs to have a history of a few days illness. Dogs in the later stages of congestive heart failure become much less active and tire easily. Their appetite reduces and they show signs of difficult respiration, panting and coughing even while at rest. Their tummy enlarges and assumes pear-shape owing to fluid accumulates in the liver and abdomen. The colour of the membrane of the mouth may turn grayish rather than healthy pink and blood vessels on the surface are abnormally congested with blood. These dogs often show pulsation in the jugular vein. Murmurs and/or arrhythmia are heard on chest auscultation.
By the time cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure is diagnosed, dogs rarely live beyond a year. The disease is known to run in families so families with this problem should not be bred. Doberman Pinchers develop abnormal electrocardiograms up to four years before they develop clinical signs of heart failure. Many of these dogs die suddenly without warning. Pet parents often think these dogs have been poisoned. Others develop the cough and fluid retention characteristic irregular heart beat. Dilated cardiomyopathy or congestive heart failure develops over many months or even years. As heart function declines, the body is able to compensate for several weeks or months. However, at some point, the body’s ability to compensate is no longer effective. At this point, dogs go into severe heart failure in what appears to be a matter of hours. Rapid, heavy breathing, blue tongue, excessive drooling, or collapse may be the first signs that anything is wrong.
How is cardiomyopathy diagnosed?
Heart failure is often suspected simply on physical examination. Heart sounds in this condition tend to be muffled and the raspy noise of air passing through fluid-filled lungs is often audible. To confirm suspicions, chest X-rays is advised to review the shape of the heart. Distinctive globular shape heart in X-rays is indicative of cardiomyopathy. The normal, chiseled cardiac silhouette is replaced by a much larger, rounded heart shadow. Early in the disease the left side of the heart may be more enlarged than the right but with time both the left and right sides of the heart enlarge. In Boxers, rhythm irregularities (arrhythmias) may be detected even before X-rays show abnormal findings. The lungs of dogs with heart failure show more radio-opacity due to fluid accumulation.
Electrocardiogram (EKG) is another diagnostic tool to detect early heart abnormalities before X-ray diagnosis. A fast, out-of-control fibrillation of the atrium is present in most of the dogs of giant breed with cardiomyopathy. In other cases left ventricle enlargement is denoted by broad QRS complex and increased R wave voltage. While, some cases have faster rate with premature contractions of the ventricles. Visualisation of the heart with an echocardiography also gives a good indication of the efficiency of the heart in pumping blood. It measures accurately the size of heart chambers as well as an indication of the degree of heart enlargement.
Blood serum chemistry and urine chemistry tests are of not much utility except assisting to visualise the status of kidney and liver. Recently cardiac troponins are being used to detect cardiomyopathy in dogs.
What is the future of dogs with cardiomyopathy?
Unfortunately, pets with cardiomyopathy do not live long. Medication can prolong the lives of the pets for a while and can improve the quality of the life. Big breeds with the severe form may only live a few weeks from the time the problem is noticed. A few dogs have survived for about 18-20 months with continuous therapy and monitoring under specialist care. Treatment of cardiac problems should only be undertaken under the advice of a veterinary medical specialist.
(At Nandini Veterinary Hospital, Surat, Prof Dr JP Varshney, MVSc, PhD (Medicine), Retired Professor, is currently engaged as Senior Consultant (Medicine); Dr PS Chaudhary, MVSc (Surgery) is working as a Senior Surgeon; Dr VV Deshmukh, MVSc (Pathology) is working as a Veterinary Pathologist; and Dr Rutuparna U. Ambegaonkargupte is a PG Scholar (Veterinary Medicine) pursuing her research on the impact of canine babesiosis on the heart.)
Eyes are one of the most sensitive organs and require utmost care. Here’s a list of common eye problems in pooches and how we can cure or prevent them. Eyes are the window to our souls and of course to our health. Here are some of the eye problems that can affect your pet.
Symptoms: As in humans, the cataract in canines is also genetic and causes the clear lens behind the pupil to become cloudy or white. It causes the vision to deteriorate with time, eventually leading to a point of blindness. Contrary to cataract, Nuclear Sclerosis is a common and normal condition of aging, where the lens changes to bluish gray (not cloudy or white). With nuclear sclerosis, the vision of your pet can become blurry but it does not lead to complete blindness or other significant vision problems that are caused by cataract.
Treatment: Dr Neelima Paranjpe of Pluto Pet Clinic, Mumbai added that surgery is the only option to remove the affected lens, but the success rate varies on dog to dog. “Some take it easily, while others are not very comfortable with the entire process and stitches keep itching post surgery, which poses a great risk,” she added.
Symptoms: It can be hereditary or the result of constant inflammation, wherein the eyelids turn in and press the eyelashes against the eye. In this condition, the eyelashes grow abnormally, placing them in direct contact with sensitive eyeball tissue which can lead to constant irritation of cornea. The common symptoms would be inflamed eye, heavy watering and the pet constantly pawing or scratching their eyes. If the condition is left untreated, the eyelashes continuously rub on the eyeball. In addition to pain and constant watering of the eye, in some cases even ulcers appear on the dog’s cornea, which can cause scarring and vision loss. Dogs frequently have eyelid spasms as well.
Breed-specific: Talking to Dr Neelima Paranjpe, we found that this is a breed-specific problem and according to her, the most common breed to get affected is Rottweiler. Another breed which is at a great risk to get affected by in-growing eyelids is Pug as their eye sockets are very shallow and the eye balls are nearly popping out. Hence, pet parents need to take extra care of a Pug’s eyes. “Even a small scratch could lead to great problems. It is a genetic developmental problem which arises due to indiscriminate breeding of pedigreed dogs,” she added.
Treatment: There are several ways to treat this problem. Firstly, the hair can be plucked for immediate solution. But this is not a long-term and permanent solution because the hair would re-grow and cause the same problem again. Secondly, Cryotherapy can be considered as one of the options in which the hair follicles are frozen at their base along the eyelid. It is a rather effective method, but again the lashes often re-grow. Thirdly, Electrolysis is another permanent method of removal which involves placing a tiny needle inside the hair follicle and then killing it with a pulse of electricity. Although the method is effective, the entire procedure can be expensive and time-consuming if many lashes are involved. Lastly, Electrocautery can also be considered as a treatment option which involves burning away the hair. The risk of scarring from this procedure is high.
Symptoms: Medically known as Nictitating Gland Prolapse, it is a condition wherein your pet’s third eyelid, which are technically called nictitating membranes get affected. Nictitating membranes are thin, opaque sheets of tissue that in their normal position are underneath the lower eyelids and under normal conditions these are not visible. These membranes are associated with glandular tissue that is responsible for tear production, which is essential to keep the eyes adequately lubricated. They also serve to protect the sensitive cornea from physical damage. When the fibrous attachments which hold the nictitating membrane to the lower eyelid becomes weak or loose, a visible red masses bulging outward from the lower inside corners of the dog’s eye can be seen. The main symptoms include irritation, dryness, redness (conjunctivitis), swelling, inflammation, etc.
Breed-specific: Dr Pavan Kumar from Cessna Lifeline Veterinary Hospital, Bengaluru said that any dog can develop the problem of Cherry Eye, but there are certain breeds who are at a higher risk of developing it in both eyes. These include Beagle, Bloodhound, Boston Terrier, Bulldog, Bull Terrier, Lhasa Apso, Saint Bernard and Shar-Pei. He also said that the problem affects both males and females equally and can occur at any age.
Treatment: Although it looks alarming, but the condition can be totally cured with the help of antibiotic and anti-inflammatory medications and if required, surgery. In most cases, surgical correction is the only suitable permanent treatment option. But removing the tear gland greatly reduces normal tear production, leading to severe dry eye and increasing the dog’s risk of developing a disorder known as Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS) as he ages. It should be kept in mind that if the tear gland is surgically removed, then the pet would require daily supplementary treatment with moisturising eye drops for the rest of his life.
Dry Eye is a disorder of the glands that normally produce the liquid part of tears, medically called the lachrymal glands. The dogs affected with KCS or dry eye do not produce enough tear film to keep the eye properly lubricated.
Conjunctivitis or pink eye
Symptoms: Conjunctivitis is the most common ailment affecting the eyes of the dog. It is similar to the conjunctivitis that affects the human eyes. Conjunctivitis is a bacterial or viral infection that can be very painful for the dog. Dr Pavan explained that Conjunctivitis is an inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva, the tissue lining the eyelids and attaching to the eyeball near the cornea. The conjunctiva can become irritated due to allergies which may be induced by pollens, grass, etc or from infections caused by virus, bacteria, or fungi. If the white portion of the eyeball (sclera) is also inflamed, this condition is occasionally referred to as ‘pink eye’.
The main symptoms include swollen eyelids, redness and inflammation, excessive tearing or thick discharge. The consistency and type of discharge help vets understand the cause of the problem. Usually infections caused by bacteria, fungi, etc create a thick yellow or greenish discharge. The eyelids may actually stick together when shut for a long time. This result from the accumulation of white blood cells or pus excreted into the area in an effort to fight off the infection. Allergies, on the other hand, generally cause a clear or watery discharge.
Treatment: If left untreated, it could permanently damage the cornea. Consult your vet immediately, if you notice any of these symptoms and proper treatment can be given in the form of ointment or eye-drops. Since eye-drops are watery solutions, make sure you put them regularly after a few hours or as suggested by the vet. Ointments tend to last longer as compared to eye-drops.
Symptoms: Entropion is a physical condition wherein the eyelids roll inward. It can occur to either the upper or lower eyelids. This causes the hair in the lids to come into contact with the cornea causing constant irritation and spasms.
Breed-specific: According to Dr Neelima, the most common breed who gets affected due to Entropion is Rottweiler.
Treatment: Entropion is extremely painful for the dog and usually requires surgical treatment to improve.
Symptoms: Ectropion is a physical condition wherein the eyelids roll outward, exposing the sensitive inner eyelid to the elements.
Breed-specific: Dr Neelima said that usually breeds with loose facial skin and drooping loose lower lids suffer this condition, such as St Bernard, Napoleon Mastiff, Golden Retriever, Labrador and Cocker Spaniel.
Treatment: The treatment involves drops or ointments to help with any infections that occur.
If your pet is suffering from any of these eye-related problems, there are high chances that the vet may suggest to put eye-drops. But putting eye-drops can be a real trouble sometimes. It is seen that pets refrain and run away from eye drops because of two reasons. The first reason is the pain associated with them. Since your pet is already in pain and when you touch the eye to put eye-drops it becomes a matter of stress for the pet. Also there are chances that your beloved is experiencing trouble with the ingredients of the eye-drops. To solve this problem, you can ask your vet to give a less irritant version or ointments so that the pet does not suffer.
Tips to follow…. As the old age adage goes, prevention is better than cure, here are a few tips to keep your pooch’s eyes healthy:
- Watch out for any of the symptoms of eye problems that were discussed above and consult a vet if you notice anything unusual.
- Make sure you clean your pet’s eyes gently with a damp cotton ball.
- When going for a fun ride, don’t let your dog ride with his head out the car window. Foreign substances and dust can easily get in your pet’s eyes and cause infection or injury.
- Your pet’s eyes are as sensitive as the eyes of your other family members, so avoid exposing them to chemicals, pollutants and dust.
- Keep their nails short so that they don’t hurt themselves while playing or scratching.
(With inputs from Dr Neelima Paranjpe, Pluto Pet Clinic, Mumbai; Dr Pavan Kumar, Cessna Lifeline Veterinary Hospital, Bengaluru; Dr Jaspreet Mauj, Vets for Pets, Ludhiana; Dr Prabhakaran Palanichamy, The Friendicoes, New Delhi; Dr Goutam Mukherjee, Get Well Pet Centre, Kolkata; and Dr Hemant Jain, Dogs, Cats & Birds Clinic, Nagpur).
Following are the common eye problems in pooches: corneal abrasion, corneal ulcer and glaucoma. Here’s more on corneal abrasion, ulcer.
Symptoms: The cornea is covered by a protective surface layer of epithelial cells, which is damaged by any irritation, such as a scratch or foreign body. This results in swelling at the site of the injury as well as edema. When viewed under magnification, it appears hazy and opaque. Sometimes, misdirected eyelashes also result in corneal abrasions in the upper part of the cornea.
Treatment: Consult your vet immediately to avoid complications, such as keratitis and corneal ulcer. Broad-spectrum topical antibiotic drops or ointments are prescribed every four to six hours to prevent infection.
Symptoms: Similar to a corneal abrasion, it is deeper and involves the middle and sometimes the inner layer of the cornea. Though it is commonly caused by trauma, it is also associated with keratoconjunctivitis sicca, corneal dystrophy, diabetes mellitus, Addison’s disease, or hypothyroidism. Corneal ulcers are extremely painful and cause severe tearing, squinting, and pawing at the eyes. Dogs frequently avoid light. Large ulcers are visible to the naked eyes as dull spots or depressions on the surface of the cornea.
Treatment: Consult your vet immediately to avoid serious complications and even loss of the eyes. Your veterinarian may recommend injecting antibiotics directly into the eye beneath the conjunctiva. Sometimes, surgery is also recommended.
Symptoms: Glaucoma is a serious eye disease that often leads to blindness. It occurs when fluid in the eye is produced faster than it can be removed, leading to a sustained increase in intraocular pressure, which causes degenerative changes to the optic nerve and the retina. An eye with acute glaucoma is exquisitely painful, with tearing and squinting. The affected eye feels harder than the normal eye and has a fixed, blank look due to the hazy and steamy appearance of the cornea and enlarged pupil.
Breed-specific: It is commonly found in Beagles, Cocker Spaniels, Basset Hounds, Samoyeds and other breeds.
Treatment: Acute glaucoma can produce blindness in a matter of hours. Hence, consult your vet immediately.
Dr Hemant Jain
The eyes of healthy dogs are clean and bright. Dogs have greater field of view than humans because their eyes are located on the side of their heads. Doberman and Hound groups of dog having wide set of eyes can see range of 270 dg. Dogs are colour blind. Dogs have better sight in bad lighting than humans.
Daily examination of eyes is necessary. If there is discharge or mucus from the eyes, it should be gently cleaned daily cotton wool soaked in boric lotion or simply cold water. Boric lotion is prepared by dissolving two teaspoonful of boric powder in half a pint of boiling water. Allow this to cool and then bottle it.
If the eyes are sore and inflamed or if there is profuse watery discharge weeping or heavy lidded eyes, it may show sign of infection. Consult your vet immediately.
Dr Prabhakaran Palanichamy
Eye diseases are traditionally divided into congenital-developmental and hereditary, trauma, inflammatory, immune-mediated and others, and eye tumors. These include prolapse of a dog’s third eyelid, cataracts, corneal ulcer, eye injury and eye irritation.
Red eye in dogs may signal many inflammatory conditions and infectious diseases like conjunctivitis, blood in the anterior chamber of the eye. Inflammation of the Eyelids and Cherry Eye are other common problems in dogs. Instances of Scleritis, Glaucoma, Cataracts, Watery Eyes and Corneal Diseases are also found.
Most of us tend to take our own eyesight for granted, until it starts failing. The same goes for the eyes of our dogs. Surgery is the only proven treatment for cataracts. The procedure currently used in dogs is the same as that performed in humans. It is a type of ultrasound (called phacoemulsification). An artificial lens implant can be placed in the eye to further improve vision. The success of cataract surgery in dogs is about 90 percent.
In all cases, early treatment is important in order to prevent blindness. Even if it is too late to prevent the loss of vision in one eye, you could save the other eye. If all treatments fail, the eye may have to be removed (enucleated). But eye implants are available. They are costly, of a cosmetic nature only, and do not save the eyesight.
To prevent eye problems, it is advised to add antioxidants rich diets, Lutin/Zeazanthin, Lycopene, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) and Omega 3 Fatty Acid which prevent cataract formation, reduces AGE formation in diabetic retinopathy, and may slow or diminish the risk of aging or cataract.
Dr Goutam Mukherjee
Some of the common symptoms of eye problems include excessive discharge from the eye, squinting, film over the eye, sensitive to the light, redness, cloudiness on the eye, bumping against objects (cannot see properly), and bulging or sunken eye. Here are a few common eye problems and how to prevent them:
Corneal opacity: In this, you will find a thin film over the eye. Sometimes, it occurs due to deficiency of vitamin A. It is advised to give high dose of vitamin A to cure and prevent it, especially to pregnant female-dogs. You can add cod-liver oil, carrots, milks, eggs, etc to your pet’s diet to prevent this condition.
Conjunctivitis: It is an inflammation of the conjunctival membrane that covers the surface of the eye ball. Eye becomes red, watery or whitish discharge comes from the eye. Human conjunctivitis is not contagious to dog and vice versa. Wash the eyes with saline solution (a pinch of salt add a cup of lukewarm water) 3 to 4 times a day. Consult your vet.
Corneal ulcers: It is an inflammation of the cornea, very common in Pug, Bulldog, Boxer, etc.
Dew claw surgically removed prevents self injuries to the eyes. Other precautions include – at the time of bath, don’t pour shampoo on the head and face of the dog. If you find any change in corneal colour, consult vet immediately to save eye sight.
Other common problems of dogs include Cherry Eye, Glaucoma and Cataract.
Here are few tips to take care of your dog’s eye:
- Everyday examine your dog’s eyes to find out any change occurs or not.
- Please check whether your dog’s hair are always touching cornea and irritating his eye or not. If it touches, it should be trimmed regularly with blunt-end scissor.
- At the time of bath, put some eye ointment before giving bath or at the time of applying anti-tick aerosol spray.
- Don’t pour shampoo on the head and face of your pooch as it can cause damage to the eye.
- Following foods can help to keep your dog’s eyes healthy: egg yolk, milk, carrot, green vegetable and meat feed supplements containing Vitamin A, Omega-3 & Omega-6 fatty acid, cod liver oil, etc.
Basset Hound’s large pendant ears do not allow air to circulate inside the ears, hence, if the ears are not cleaned regularly, they can become a major source of bad odour due to a buildup of ear wax. This can cause irritation and develop into ear infections and a breeding ground for ear mites.
Signs to look out for…
If you notice any of the following with your dog, than it’s probably long overdue for ear cleaning:
- Bad odour from the ears
- Discharge from the ears
- Excessive ear scratching
- Shakes their head and/or rubs it on the floor
The outside of the ear may have hair missing and feel warm to the touch if there has been a lot of rubbing and scratching. The inside of the ear may look red and irritated with fowl smelling brownish-black substance or greenish discharge.
If you think that your Basset’s ears are possibly infected, it is advisable to take them to your vet for a diagnosis and treatment.
Caring for the ears…
Take care while your Basset Hound eats. Do not allow his ears to droop in food on a daily basis as they may develop chronic ear flaps skin diseases. Take extra care of puppies as they can trip over their long ears. Sometimes, puppies can even bite their ears if dipped in food and can cause infection. Hence it is necessary to keep a Basset’s ears out of the food bowl. This can be achieved by selecting a narrow bowl for feeding so that the ear flaps stay outside the food or hold them up on top of the head with a light elastic band while feeding. (Be careful, keeping the ear flaps in unnatural anatomical position for long time or in tight elastic tourniquet will lead to compromised blood supply and cause irreparable damage to ear flaps).
Walking Basset Hounds with too long ears on irregular rough ground may damage the sweeping ear flap tips and attract external parasite infection like hookworm larvae, ticks and mites and may cause chronic and potentially fatal diseases. Taking Basset Hounds on smooth hygienic surface for regular walk and observing and cleaning the ear flaps after walking may prevent the conditions.
Basset Hounds with comparatively smaller ears require constant attention and cleaning twice a week, while, those with much larger ears and the insides, require cleaning every two weeks.
(Prof Dr R Jayaprakash, MVSc, PhD (Surgery) runs JP Pet Specialty Hospital in Chennai and dedicates this article to his Basset Hound ‘Lyka’ – she was one of his loving family members for 12 years.)
After every outdoor activity, clean your dog’s paws with a wash cloth, warm water or dip the paw in warm water bowl. This will wash away the dirt, thorns, stones lodged between digits and the hair.
Taking care of the precious paws…
- Check the paws regularly. Check, not just the paw, but each and every digit for foreign bodies as
moisture trapped in between, leads to bacteria and yeast infection.
- The hair should be trimmed in and around the paws.
- Get any injury checked by your vet. Unchecked injury can house bacteria and infection.
- While hiking or trekking on rough terrain, take extra care and keep checking.
- Routine check should be done every evening for foreign objects, ticks, etc.
Careful nail trimming…
Always remember that it takes a bit of skill to trim your doggy’s nails. You should be very careful about ‘the quick’– the blood vessels and nerves inside the nail – which will be very painful and will bleed profusely if you cut it by mistake.
The best decision is to leave this precarious task to vets or trained grooming professionals. Otherwise you should surely take a proper lesson or training from your vet or groomer before you take over to do the nail trimming yourself.
Feel his paws and pads; if he yelps when you squeeze, it means he is hurt. Also pay attention while he is running or walking – is there a limp or just a hint of a limp, check it out. Notice small things about your dog for clues. In extreme weather conditions like peak summer time or icy road condition in winter, take good care.
- Swollen paws could be because of a foreign object lodged between the toes or cuts and laceration. If the swollen pad feels hot, then there is an infection or a broken toe, take him to the vet immediately for treatment.
- Bleeding is the result of spot injury, due to broken nails – mostly the dew claw, or torn paw pads. Bleeding may not be severe but it is a painful condition. It indicates a torn pad, or something is lodged in; do not remove the object yourself, ask the vet to do it.
- Limping or holding one paw up indicates broken bones, muscle tears or soreness.
- Licking the paws is because of irritants in the paw but too much licking can further irritate the paw. A temporary bandage is one solution.
- For dry paws, apply Vaseline until the cracks heal. Discontinue moisturizer after it heals.
- Sometimes their paws crack due to zinc deficiency. This can be determined and treated by a vet.
- Burn and blister on paws can be a result of extreme hot temperatures. Beware of sand/pavements which can become very hot.
- Consult your vet for any issues.
- Chapping, cracking of paws can be seen from bitter cold.
- Clean the paw and apply Vaseline available over the counter at any chemist on the paw and foot pads. This will stop the cracking and chapping of the paw and also reduce the soreness. Apply it before going for walks too.
- If they hate walking in the cold get your dog booties for his paws. It will take him/her time to adjust to the shoes but will form a barrier against the cold. Taking precautions will save you and your dog a lot of pain.
(Source: Dr Avinash Shedge, Vet)
Did you know about paw-natomy?
Paws of a doggy consist of 22 ‘pads’ with at least 16 toenails (commonly known as ‘claws’ if not mentioned the two additional ‘dewclaws’ were removed during puppyhood). Then the anatomy of a paw can be structured as:
- Digital pads, which bear the body weight
- Metacarpal pad, which is the largest pad
- Dewclaws–the vestigial digit on the foot
- Carpal pads, which provide special traction while descending a slop
Dogs begin to show signs of aging between 6 and 13 years. Similar to aging humans, an older pet may experience hearing loss, vision loss, arthritis, liver or kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, hormonal imbalances, etc. Regular visit to the veterinarian can detect these and be treated. The good news is with veterinary medical progress in India, your pet can live better into their geriatric years.
An older dog needs special care and attention to live a long healthy life, which include:
- Exercise your older pet moderately every day. Try not to over do it.
- Feed high-quality dog food specific to his senior dietary needs.
- Be consistent with his schedule.
- Pet and cuddle your dog frequently.
- Groom him regularly, checking for lumps and bumps.
- Keep your dog at a good weight. Suffering from obesity makes your older dog more susceptible to health problems. And this is especially important when he reaches the golden years. Since your dog’s activity level will taper off, you may want to engage in some gentle play to keep him healthy.
- Maintain a health record for your senior pet.
- It is important to keep a pet with joint pain from becoming overweight. Carrying extra weight puts more stress on joints that are already inflamed. If the pet is overweight at the time of an arthritis diagnosis, you should discuss a weight loss plan with your pet’s doctor.
- One of the most effective steps you can take as guardian to a pet with arthritis or other joint pain is to provide some extra comforts.
- While your senior dog still has control over his muscles and joints, make sure he gets the exercise he needs. Take him to daily walks and make sure he gets his heart rate up to the necessary level for optimal health.
- Senior dogs’ bones become more fragile, and their cartilage becomes worn. They are also more likely to experience loss of muscle. Make sure your dog stays mobile as long as possible and eats plenty of protein and calcium for strong bones and muscles.
- When dogs get older, their nutritional needs change. Since they’re getting less activity, their calorie needs may decrease. And they have unique needs that are different from younger dogs.
- Watch your senior pet closely, check his eyes to make sure they are properly cared for.
- Maintain your senior dog’s mind, keeping his mind healthy is as important as anything else. Play with your dog, and talk with your dog to keep your dog’s mind functioning well.
- Take your older dog to the vet often, because older dogs can be more prone to health issues, this can help identify problems.
(Sanjay Jaiswal is GM at Petcare).
Your pooch’s bed is his personal space – get him a warm, cosy bed according to his size with washable covers. Keep his bed clean and put it in sunlight from time to time to deodorise it. Gift him a comfy lil’ space of his own!
Pups love to chew to explore new tastes. They sometimes chew to relieve pain and discomfort due to teething. At times, they just chew out of boredom, anxiety or stress. Poor nutrition can also make him chew. So, give him a well-balanced diet and invest in some good chew toys for him.
It is very important to deworm your pooch from time to time, not just for puppies but also for adult dogs as well. Puppies should be dewormed at the age of three weeks. Consult your vet and get a deworming schedule designed for your beloved pooch. A must for dog care!
Develop healthy eating habits in your pooch right from the start. Feed him a well-balanced nutritious diet as prescribed by your vet. Feed him dog food only; do not give him table scraps. Let him eat right – today and all tomorrows!
Choose a food bowl according to your pooch’s size, breed and health condition. Metallic bowls are preferred over plastic bowl as plastic bowls can harbour bacteria. An elevated bowl will be a good idea for large dogs and those suffering from back problems. And you thought your pooch’s food bowl is just a bowl!
We all know the benefits of grooming – it makes them look good and keeps them healthy. The ideal grooming routine should include brushing, bathing, conditioning the coat, drying, nail clipping, cleaning eyes and ears, etc. The frequency of bath would depend on your pooch’s breed and his living conditions. So, spruce up your pooch today!
Dog proof your home to avoid dangerous situations for your pooch. Stack away all medicines, keep poisonous plants at bay and all those electrical cords far away. Give your pooch a nice cosy place to rest and never leave him alone outside. Your home is his haven – make it one for him!
Inflammations and infections
Dog ear inflammations and infections are common ear problems to watch out for.
This is one of the common problems pet parents face. Discourage your dog when he jumps to welcome you. Fold your arms and look away. Do not look at him, touch him or talk to him. Simply ignore him. He will get the message that you do not like his behaviour. Next time, when he welcomes you without jumping on you, reward him with treat or praise.
Dry dog food or kibble is balanced and complete with all nutrients good for feeding your dog daily.
Whenever you take your dog out, put him on a leash as this curious boy can wander around, chasing things which may or may not be within his reach. So, walk him on a leash! Make sure his leash is long, so he can sniff to his heart’s content.
A pooch needs to be mentally stimulated to be happy. Give him toys to play, take him out for walks, let him exercise or romp in the garden. Love him, pamper him, and keep boredom at bay!
Your pooch is very sensitive to noise; keep him away from loud noise.
Like us, pooches too can become obese, which in turn can cause various health problems. Consult your pet and get a proper diet and exercise plan for him. Keep him in shape!!!
Pooches love to play games like fetch, hide and seek Frisbee, etc. A wonderful way for you to exercise and bond with him too!
You are the centre of the world for your pooch, spend good quality time with him – groom him, take him out for walks, play with him or just be with him….
Routine vet check-up
Prevention is always better than cure. Take your pet for routine vet check-ups to diagnose any problems beforehand.
Spay/neuter your pet unless you wish to breed from him/her. It not only prevents from unwanted pregnancies but also is good for their health and behaviour.
A well-trained pooch is a delight for all. Training should start right when the pup enters your home. Obedience training is a must for all pet pooches. U
When you have a pooch or more in life, you are blessed with their unconditional love, they are there with you, no matter when and what happens. Bask in this love as this is precious!
The wonders of vaccination cannot be undermined. It can protect our pooches from several life-threatening diseases like canine distemper, hepatitis, rabies, etc. Consult your vet for the proper vaccination schedule for your pet.
One of the ways for our pooches to express themselves is through their woofs. But you can tell the difference between a woof and incessant barking. In case your pooch barks non-stop, consult his vet to find the underlying problem.
Dogs are loyal beings; their loyalty has been tried and tested over the time. It’s time we need to reciprocate their loyalty too – never ever think of abandoning your pet, try to figure out a solution for your problem. Love him and be loyal to him!
Use delicious mouth-watering treats as a reward for your pooch; but never overdo them. They should not be a substitute for food and should be accounted for the total calorie intake of your pooch to avoid excess calories.
Zest of life
Pooches are your best friends; they add value to your life…making it more meaningful and putting a zest in your life. Woof! Welcome to another year with the love(s) of your life!!!
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