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
Dr. Onkar is a veterinarian with over 20 years of clinical experience & an ardent animal lover with varied interests and specializations. He runs his pet clinic & hotel in Thane.
1. Refrain from having your domestic help walk your dog as walking your pet is the ultimate bonding experience.
2. There are several diseases that your pet is exposed to, hence vaccinate as per your vet advice regularly.
3. Always take good care of your pet and in return you will get a lifetime of love
Moosa’s first steps in SKLC….
Moosa and Sherry were two black Labrador cross siblings who arrived at the Saraswathi Kendra Learning Centre for Children (SKLC) in 2002. They had belonged to an NRI who lived in the Middle East. Unable to take care of the one-year-old, his family members dropped them off at the Blue Cross of India. I was in search of a Dr Dog, so Saraswathi Haksan, Hon Secretary of the Blue Cross sent them for this noble deed. Moosa and Sherry were very cute. When two bowls of food were placed before them, they would both eat from one and then from another. I realised that Sherry, the female would never make a Dr Dog – she was full of nervous energy. Moosa was placid and laid back, an idle doctor. But we had to wait.
SKLC is a full-time school in India for children with autism, learning disabilities, dyslexia, ADD, behaviour & habit disorders, established in Chennai by The CP Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation in 1985. We started with the Dr Dog – Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) with the help of Jill Robinson of Animals Asia Foundation in 2001. AAT works with animals in a planned way to increase desirable behaviour, to improve abilities, to decrease undesirable behaviour, and to help individuals communicate.
A Dr Dog has to be at least two and spayed/neutered to be assessed. The siblings – Moosa and Sherry – were below one. We decided to use the year to train them. Rangarajan of Woodstock Kennels trained them professionally. They learned to walk, sit, lie down, come to heel, shake hands and generally became much more subdued. Siva of The CP Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation was also trained to be their trainer.
Moosa becomes Dr Moosa…
Moosa started work in 2008. It took a while to introduce him to the children of SKLC. Initially they feared touching him, but soon realised he was harmless. The children had varied problems: LD, dyslexia, autism, ADD/ADHD. They were given instructions which they learned to hear, obey and follow. Children were given simple tasks like – take Moosa for a walk; take him to sit under the tree; shake hands with Moosa; tell the dog to come, to sit, to shake hands, etc. After some time, the children became bold, welcoming Moosa, taking him for a walk around the campus and so on. There was visible improvement in the children: they began to show excitement when he came, petted him, spoke to him and so on.
Then a new plan took shape. Each child was asked to introduce Moosa to others on different days. This forced them to acknowledge the other children, a major step. It was important to give the child and dog their personal space, yet allow for contact. The children were empowered to care for the dog (giving water, feeding), and using the dog as a focal point to encourage communication. The bond between child and dog is beautiful – when asked to write an essay on ‘My best friend’, each child wrote about Moosa.
The therapist had to ensure that children were aware of the dog’s needs and feelings, thereby teaching them to be unselfish, sharing (one child must not monopolise the dog) and caring. Children were allowed to talk freely about what they feel about dogs and other animals. Discipline and acceptable behaviour was made clear. The children had to pay attention to instructions. This increased their concentration skills.
Dr Dog has specific benefits, such as:
- Increase in verbal communication
- Increase in initiative
- Involvement in activities
- Indications of pleasure
- Increased co-operation with teachers
- Decrease in stereotypical/repetitive behaviour, including temper tantrums
Animal therapy engages the attention of children with various learning problems in a way that conventional therapy cannot. They score higher on measures of empathy, self-esteem and self-concept. Cognitive and social development is helped. They develop a longer attention span, co-operation and greater focus in the classroom.
Dogs provide unquestioning love and attention, relaxation and a healthier lifestyle; an outlet for care-giving, making children feel needed; stable and less complicated relationships, security and stability; and provide a link to the natural world. Dr Dog creates a sense of capability – even superiority – in a child, who would hesitate to respond to an adult. They give unquestioning and undemanding love and are very calming and soothing.
We will miss you Dr Moosa…
But fate had something else in store, Moosa became sick. His last few days were painful, with liver and then kidney failure. The children were anxious and worried. The day before he died, they all came to see him. He was tired and ill, but he put out his hand and shook hands with his friends. The next day – February 1, 2012 – Moosa died suddenly. We did not want the children to know, but news travels fast. All his students swarmed around as he was laid to rest under a beautiful flowering Canonball (Nagalingam) tree. They were sullen and confused. They did not understand death, but they knew Moosa had gone. They would miss their ‘best friend’ – who helped them in more ways than we know.
(Dr Nanditha Krishna is Director of The CP Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation, Chennai)
Dr. Pradeep Rana is a well-renowned vet in Delhi. He has his veterinary degree from College of Vet Sciences, Hebbal, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore. He is an expert in solving queries and curing pets.
Dr. Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in Clinical Medicine. He has been a lecturer in clinical medicine at Vet College in Bangalore for 15 years and won the Best teacher award in the year 2000. He is a member of European Society for Vet Dermatology and is presently working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for South Asia.
Q : I have a four and half year old Spitz (male). Three months back, he was hit on his left hind limb. He is limping since then. What should we do? He gets aggressive, our doctor has suggested mating for him? What should I do? -Adite Shinde, Mumbai
Dr. Rana : If your pet is still limping, then contact your vet for further examination since there could be number of causes for his limping like soft tissue injury, dislocation of the hip joint, ligament damage, etc. Treatment would depend on the diagnosis. We know that generally small breeds are aggressive by nature but you can definitely find him a mate and perhaps take the help of an animal handler for mating him. Good luck !
Q : Why do dogs snore? My 5-year-old Alsatian snores really loudly? Is he stressed or is he ill? Or is this just normal? He shares the room with me and I keep yelling at him to keep quiet! – Mohit Kapoor, Gurgaon
Dr. Umesh : Snoring could be physiological or pathological findings in dogs, therefore, I suggest you to visit your vet to rule out any obstructions, growth or diseases in upper airway.
Obese, senior large breed of dogs and short-nosed dogs are more prone to develop snoring. Likewise incorrect posture during sleep can also be a cause of snoring in dogs. Consult your vet if your dog is overweight and has any signs of upper airway disease.
Q : I have a German Shepherd aged 5 months. I would like to have information on their food, vaccines, training, infections and their remedies. -Clarence Menon, Bangalore
Dr. Rana : It would be practically impossible for me to give answer to all your queries due to limited space but I’ll be very brief. Regarding the food of your pet, it is important to understand that dogs nutrition needs are different and they need food which is developed specially for them. There are a number of commercial diets available for different age groups and weight. Vaccines start as early as 6-7 weeks of age and the schedule will depend on the prevailing diseases in your area and your vet would be your best guide in this matter. Training of dogs is best started by the age of 4-5 months and if you do not have any experience in training dogs, then you could take the help of a professional trainer or pick guidelines from a good dog training book. A German Shepherd could suffer from a number of infections like Parvo, Corona virus, Distemper, Leptospirosis, blood protozoan parasites, sarcoptic or demodectic mange, fungal skin infections, etc.
Q : I noticed a tick stuck on my hand. My dog Julia is 6-months-old female lab puppy. How should I prevent Julia from ticks? – Rakhi Dev, Mumbai
Dr. Umesh : Successful control of ticks depends on eliminating these pests from the dog and the environment. To control ticks or fleas on a dog, all animals in the household must be part of the flea/ticks control programme. Flea and tick control products for adult dogs include a variety of drugs and chemicals available as collars, shampoos, sprays, dips, powders, long lasting topicals, and oral medications. There are two basic categories of flea/ticks control products:
Adulticides: These products kill adults fleas and insect growth regulators (IGRs)/insect development inhibitors (IDIs). These products prevent fleas from hatching or maturing. The veterinarian will choose a product that combines safety, efficacy, and ease of use for the client. Often a combination of adulticide and an IGR or IDI is used.
Environmental control: A complete flea and tick control programme also includes a thorough treatment of the pet’s environment. Places where dogs spend most of their time will have the greatest numbers of deposited eggs and newly emerged adult fleas and ticks. Thorough cleaning of the house and yard should precede any application of insecticides. It is always best to treat the dog and the environment on the same day. The use of these insecticides must be preceded by a thorough vacuuming; special attention should be paid to the areas under furniture, carpets, near pet bedding, and along moldings. A product containing an IGR and an adulticide should be used as well. Most products in India are available as liquid concentrate that needs to be diluted in water for use on dogs and environment. Make sure that other pets/dogs Julia frequently contacts/visits are free from fleas and ticks. Please visit your vet who can recommend a suitable and safe product for your puppy.
Q : Should I get Brownie, my one-year-old Doberman, neutered? Do dogs become fat and lazy after we get them neutered? – Mayank Verma, Ahemdabad
Dr. Rana : There are several health benefits to neutering. One of the most important concerns the prostate gland, which under the influence of testosterone will gradually enlarge over the course of the dog’s life. With age, it is likely to become uncomfortable, possibly being large enough to interfere with defecation. The prostate under the influence of testosterone is also predisposed to infection which is almost impossible to clear up without neutering. Neutering causes the prostate to shrink into insignificance thus preventing both prostatitis as well as the uncomfortable benign hyperplasia (enlargement) that occurs with aging. The only behaviour changes that are observed after neutering relate to behaviours influenced by male hormones. Playfulness, friendliness, and socialisation with humans are not changed. The behaviours that change are far less desirable. The interest in roaming is eliminated in 90% of neutered dogs. Aggressive behaviour against other male dogs is eliminated in 60% of neutered dogs. Urine marking is eliminated in 50% of neutered male dogs. Inappropriate mounting is eliminated in 70% of neutered dogs. Activity level and appetite do not change with neutering. However, if your pet tends to put on extra weight, then you can reduce the diet intake and increase the exercise level.
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