Ask the expert… Mar-Apr 2014

Q: I have a St Bernard pup who is five months old and refuses to go for a walk. Please advice the exercise, food and supplement needs for a St Bernard.
– Balraj, Jabalpur
Dr KG Umesh: A nutritionally balanced diet is crucial for the healthy growth and development of a dog in order to prepare him for an active, longKG umesh (3) copy and healthy life. Giant breeds like St Bernard take longer time to mature and generally become adult by age of 20-24 months. It is necessary to keep a puppy from gaining weight too quickly and becoming fat to avoid bone and joint problems. Puppies are fed 2-4 small meals per day to accommodate in their tiny stomachs. There is no need to add home food while he is feeding on a balanced pet food and clean fresh water. Overfeeding and excess calcium may result in skeletal or joint problems in the later part of the growing puppy’s life. I would suggest feeding ‘large breed puppy’ diets specifically designed for giant breeds, that are available in veterinary clinics and pet shops. In their first few months, puppies will get all the exercise they need from their naturally energetic play in the house, so you don’t need to give them any extra exercise. Limiting formal walks and training in the first 10 to 12 months of life will also help. They may need a 20 to 30 minutes jog every morning or a shorter walk combined with controlled training games. Repeat the workout later in the day.
Q: Rustam, my five-year-old Labrador, keeps wagging and knocking off objects. The tail area is swollen–the area also seems to hurt him, please help.
– Rohini Kapur, Meerut
Dr KG Umesh: Swelling in tail may result from injury, inflammation or infections of skin or bones. Get him examined by your vet before it worsens with movement of tail. You can try bandaging the swollen area to keep the tail immobile and until you take him to the vet.
Q: My 10 years old GSD is overweight, how do I reduce the weight?
– Rajat Singh, Patiala
Dr KG Umesh: Obesity is the most common canine nutritional disease in dogs. If you feed your dog a prepared pet food, the label on the package will provide a guideline as to how much to feed daily. These recommendations are a guideline only and you should make adjustments according to your dog’s individual needs. Senior dogs need approximately 20 percent less energy than adult dogs. Don’t forget to take into account the calories in treats and other tidbits he eats—they shouldn’t make up more than 10 percent of his daily calorie intake. Try to exercise your dog as much as he is able. The more muscle he maintains, the more calories he’ll burn and less fat he’ll carry. Not only that, when you fill his time with fun activities, he’ll spend less time hanging around the food bowl. This increased activity won’t just benefit your dog; it will benefit you as well. Instruct family members and visitors not to give your dog any treats or table scraps. Don’t give your dog one heaping bowl of food that he can eat whenever he wants. Instead, give him 2-4 small measured meals a day so you can regulate his portions. Start keeping a record of your dog’s weight. If possible, weigh him once a week. Keep lots of clean, fresh water available. Finally, be sure to take your dog to your veterinarian for a checkup and expert advice. Your vet may give you guidelines on exercise appropriate for your dog’s age and health as well as specific advice on how much he should be eating. He can also check for, and treat, any weight-related problems.
Q: Chulbul is a two years old Lhasa who has dark tear stains. We clean his eyes with cotton – but the stains don’t go. Do advice if we can apply eye drops and how do we clean the tear stains?
– K Malik, Nasik
Dr KG Umesh: Chronic tearing (causing streak and staining of hairs) in dogs is often the result of breed related conformational abnormalities. Shallow orbits and prominent globes with tight-fitting lids and small lacrimal lakes, inflammation of lacrimal apparatus, obstruction of nasolacrimal duct (drain tears to nostrils), any irritation or pain due to eye or eyelid diseases can cause an overflow of tears from the conjunctival sac. Conditions that lead to excessive lacrimation should be ruled out before congenital or acquired dysfunction of the lacrimal drainage system is diagnosed. Your vet runs tests to evaluate nasolacrimal drainage system patency. Determination of the cause is essential before treatment can be instituted and requires a mechanistic approach at first. Treatment is aimed at correcting the primary problem such as lubricant therapy for dry eye, or canthoplasty surgery for lagophthalmos and exposure, allowing more effective distribution of tears.
Q: I have two children (aged seven and ten years) and Pumkin is our seven months old Labrador who keeps jumping over them. How do I teach Pumkin not to jump on my children?
– Mrinalini, Chattarpur
Dr KG Umesh: Pumpkin has a very friendly behaviour of wanting to greet people when he sees them. The tricky part is teaching him that it is good to greet people, but not by jumping up. He may have been rewarded for jumping up as a puppy, whether this was intentional or not, he has learnt that this is an acceptable way to greet. Shouting at him after he has already jumped will just confuse him as he has already performed the action. The best method to try and stop the dog from jumping is to try and retrain him, and it is always easier to start at home. If he jumps up to greet kids when they enter the house, just ignore him and give him no attention. Wait until he has all four paws on the ground. Wait for him to sit. If he doesn’t sit, tempt him with a small treat to sit and then praise him. Crouching to greet the dog should automatically stop him from jumping as kids are at his level, but wait until he is sitting and before kids do this. Teach the children to fold their arms, stand still and shout ‘off’ whilst showing the dog no eye contact. The dog will soon get bored as the child is not interested enough. Once you have established a good routine at home, you can start introducing him to other people. Some advise squeezing the paws (until it is uncomfortable for the dog) every time he jumps. Lastly, obedience classes will also be beneficial to him, as there will be general advice for all types of training and modification.

Ask the expert… | Jan-Feb 2014

Dr K G Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in Clinical Medicine. He has been a lecturer in clinical medicine at Vet College in Bangalore for 15 years, and has won the ‘best teacher’ award in the year 2000. He is a member of European Society for Vet Dermatology and is currently working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for South Asia.

Chang, our Pekinese, has a rash on the paw – he has been licking and biting it – pus had collected with bleeding. We took him to his vet who removed the pus and cleaned it, the infection has gone deep in his paw. Please do explain.
– Anisha & Ayesha, New Delhi
Dr KG Umesh: Pododermatitis refers to skin disease involving the feet (paws). Bacterial infections are frequently involved, although a variety of conditions may be underlying causes. For example, allergies and parsites can predispose pets to a variety of skin diseases, including pododermatitis. Embedded hairs or other foreign bodies (plant awns, splinters, thorns) can cause pododermatitis with nodules or draining tracts in the feet. Since several different disorders can cause the same symptoms in pododermatitis, your veterinarian may recommend tests (skin scrape, culture, biopsy) to find out the underlying cause. Treatment is aimed at correcting or avoiding any underlying conditions and at treating any infection present. Antibiotics given for several weeks are necessary to control bacterial infection. Disinfecting the feet can help healing, and soaking the feet daily in an antiseptic solution is also recommended. Some allergy or immune mediated cases may require corticosteroids or immunosuppressive drugs.
Is it safe for pets to travel? At times I don’t understand what my pet wants and what he wants us to do and say. How do I cope with this?
– Varun Vickraman, Bengaluru
Dr KG Umesh: I assume your query is related to travelling by road. Travelling for any good reason are best when you have your family with you and when your pet is as much a part of your family. Proper planning can make the travel experience better and less stressful for you and your pet. If your pet is not accustomed to car travel, take him for a few short rides before your trip. Help your new dog learn to rest calmly in a crate. This is an essential skill for dogs during travel, boarding and other situations. Take advice from your vet if your pet suffers any travel sickness. Stick to your regular feeding routine and give the main meal at the end of the day or when you reach your destination. Feeding dry food will be more convenient. Give small portions of food and water and plan to stop every two hours for exercise. Pets should not be allowed to ride with his head outside car window. Best never to leave your pet unattended in the car. When travelling by car, pack a simple pet first-aid kit that includes assorted bandages, antiseptic cream and an anti-diarrhoeal medication that is safe for pets.
Lulu has got surgery in one eye for cataract but she’s still cannot see from that eye. Need information on cataract.     
– Esther Adiappa, Guwahati
Dr KG Umesh: Cataracts are common in dogs and some dog breeds are prone to hereditary cataracts. The most common cause of cataracts is heredity, where the likelihood of developing cataracts at some point in life is transmitted genetically. Other causes include diseases such as diabetes or can be a result of inflammation of the inside of the eye, called uveitis. With cataracts, black pupil normally looks cloudy or white in bright light. A similar but less serious condition that resembles cataracts is called ‘nuclear sclerosis’. This is a normal, older-age-related haziness of the lens. Nuclear sclerosis rarely compromises vision, is very common as dogs age, and progresses (worsens) much more slowly than true cataracts. The process that leads to cataract formation is irreversible. Therefore, no medication exists that can clear cataracts and the treatment of choice is removal of the cataract from within the eye with surgery. Treatment and outlook for other types of cataracts depend upon the cause. Surgery can involve removal of the cataract intact or the use of phacoemulsification, a process whereby ultrasonic waves are delivered within the eye to dissolve the cataract-containing lens, and the dissolved fragments are removed during surgery. Intraocular lenses, which are synthetic lenses that replace the lens removed with the cataract, can be implanted at the time of cataract removal for better near-field vision. Phaco surgery facilities are available in cities like Bengaluru, Chennai or Mumbai. Speak to your vet.
We are moving overseas. Our dog is an eight years old German Pointer and has been with us since she was a puppy. To get to where we are going she will have to be in her cage for at least 35 hours. Also, the climate will be very different and it will be very expensive to fly her. My questions are: Will our dog feel deserted if we leave her in a good home? How important is it for a dog to stay with their original pet parents? Appreciate your advice.
– Yair Kohn
Dr KG Umesh: Since your dog has become a true family member, it would be great moving with the family! Dogs are highly adaptable. It’s quite possible to meet a dog’s needs and live happily together in a home very different from the home you shared before. Use the crate to help the dog through any adjustment period, such as the separation anxiety that can occur temporarily in a new place. Moving with your dog can greatly enrich your life and make transitions less stressful for you. Give special treats in the crate, provide comfy bedding if the dog is old enough to refrain from chewing it, and keep the crate in a place the dog likes to be. Discuss with your vet on giving him a tranquiliser before boarding the flight, which has pros and cons. It’s safest for the dog to travel with you rather than being separately shipped. Contact your veterinarian and the authorities involved so that you can get the required health checks and certificates, make the necessary reservations, and arrange for every step of the dog’s safe journey. For your pet’s comfort, air travel on an almost empty stomach is usually recommended. The carrying container (transport crate) should be well-ventilated, roomy enough for the animal to move around, safe and have adequate food and water for the trip, with easily refillable containers for a long journey. After you move in to new house, your pet will need to sniff around the new house and yard in much the same way the humans will explore it with their eyes and hands.
My dog has been coughing. He also takes out white foamy like substance.  Please advice if these are symptoms of kennel cough.
– Kusum Biswas, Kolkata
Dr KG Umesh: Dogs can develop cough for several reasons and cough is merely a sign of an underlying problem anywhere in wind pipe, food pipe, lungs or left heart failure. The kennel cough is generally caused by various combinations of bacteria and viruses and in pets under stress living in unhygienic conditions.  Kennel cough is typically seasonal and respond very well to medications. The dry cough is also associated with another common condition is collapsing trachea which is frequent in toy and small breeds. This condition has non-productive (dry) cough. The cough is often described as a ‘goose honk’ because of it characteristic sound and the cough typically can be triggered by excitement, anxiety, exercise, eating and/or drinking, becoming overheated, and mild pulling on the collar. Most cases of cough respond favourably to rest and medications. These medications include sedatives; drugs that widen the air passages; expectorants, which break up the mucus in the lungs; and anti-tussives to relieve the coughing. Antibiotics may help if a bacterial infection is complicating problem. Kennel cough can be prevented by annual vaccination. Cough due to other causes like heart failure or tracheal collapse may require lab tests, imaging and bronchoscopy to confirm and initiate suitable medical management. Surgical intervention may be indicated with tracheal collapse and for tumours involving the respiratory system.

Ask the expert… | Sep Oct 13

Dr K G Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in Clinical Medicine. He has been a lecturer in clinical medicine at Vet College in Bangalore for 15 years, and has won the ‘best teacher’ award in the year 2000. He is a member of European Society for Vet Dermatology and is currently working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for South Asia.

Q: I have two dogs – Pomeranian and Labrador (mix), both male and eight years old. They are fully vaccinated and dewormed. My Pomeranian started scratching and there were red spots and also hair loss which spread. With the help of a veterinarian and medicines, he got relief for some days but the problem is back. Please help.
– Rajesh Udai, Ajmer

Dr KG Umesh: Skin problems are common in dogs as their skin is thin and the barrier function is poor, compared to man or other animals. Any dog with chronic or recurring skin disease must be subjected to investigations like skin scraping or blood tests to find the underlying cause. Proper nutrition particularly zinc, fats and vitamins can help to strengthen skin barrier function. Therefore continue only commercially prepared food that meets all your pet’s nutritional requirements and your pet won’t need any food supplements. My approach would be to find underlying cause(s) for scratching (like fleas, mange, allergy, bacterial or yeast infection, etc) and then your vet will be able to recommend suitable medications.

Q: My dog has developed a rash on her right front paw which she keeps biting – so it has become like a minor wound. I have been applying Betadine and my vet advised to put an Elizabethan collar, which she does not wear. The wound is not healing. Please advice.
– Apurva, Hyderabad

Dr KG Umesh: Allergies, parasites, bacterial, fungal or yeast infections are common causes of rashes developing on paws of dogs. If the rash has not responded to treatment, your vet may advise few lab tests to find underlying cause. Self-mutilation and Acral Lick Dermatitis (caused by boredom or behavioural problems) are also frequent causes. Elizabethan collars are helpful in such cases. Your vet may prescribe topical creams that help to relieve itching sensation and promote healing.

Q: I have two female Golden Retrievers – they have their heat cycles – approximately within a week of each other. Currently both are three years old. One of the dogs missed her 3rd cycle – but when the other was having the 4th one – she (the one who missed the 3rd) had her cycle. Is it normal for cycle to be delayed?
– Joy Fernandes, Bengaluru

Dr KG Umesh: Oestrus/heat cycle lasts about three weeks. The first signs of heat are usually a swollen vulva and a blood-stained discharge. On average, this will continue for about nine days, this is the period of pro-oestrus. This stage is followed by a period of oestrus when the vulva will be very enlarged and the discharge will appear straw-coloured rather than blood-stained. During oestrus, male dogs will be attracted to the female dogs. Many a time these signs may go unnoticed or absent. Most female dogs, if not mated, will come into season approximately every 6-9 months, although very large breeds of dogs may cycle anything up to once in 15 months. Consult your vet if she continues to miss her cycles or shows any abnormal vulvar discharge or signs.

Q: My four-month-old Lhasa Apso while playing jumped from my bed about one week back. Since then he has gradually stopped playing and now even he walks very less. He keeps lying down in his bed or floor and when he walks, at times, he limps with his front right foot. When I spoke to my vet regarding the problem, he has prescribed me Melonex Oral. Is the medicine ok for him? What should I do? Also, advise on the dietary needs of dogs?
– Samrat Dey, Mangaldai, Assam

Dr KG Umesh: Please take him to your vet for complete physical examination to rule out any serious injuries. Painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs like Melonex will control pain or inflammation but may not remove the underlying cause. These drugs must be given under your vet’s supervision as they cause serious adverse effects in puppies when you exceed dose or duration. Manufactured dry pet foods not only provide complete nutrition and are also cheaper compared to home prepared diet. Feeding your dog a well balanced diet is clearly necessary to keep them fit and healthy, and there is a whole variety of different types of products to choose from, including diets designed for specific stages of life (puppy and adult) and foods which deliver additional health benefits (small breed puppy and adult). Please remember that it is not possible to feed your dog a consistent and adequate home-prepared diet without considerable time, effort and expertise. There is no need to feed any tonics/calcium or home diet while he is feeding on a balanced food except clean fresh water.

Q: Éclair – my one and a half year old Lab – eats his food very fast and then throws up. I feed him three times a day. We feed home-cooked meals and dry dog food. What should I do?
– Ishani Rai, Chennai

Dr KG Umesh: Most Labradors have ravenous appetite and this greedy eating sometimes causes in-coordination in movement of ingested food from mouth to stomach through food pipe. This allows food to accumulate in food pipe, to be expelled through the mouth. Frequent small meals may help to prevent this normal regurgitation. Some dogs tend to eat food fast for the fear of competition. Please make sure that he is comfortable and has safe environment while eating his meals. Just like us, adult dogs need a balanced diet which contains just the right amount of protein, fat, carbohydrates, many different vitamins and minerals to ensure that they stay in peak condition and maintain optimal health. Unless properly formulated by a nutritionist or a vet, diets made at home are not likely to be nutritionally complete and balanced. Prepared pet foods from reputed pet food manufacturers come with a guarantee of nutritional adequacy, quality and safety. Therefore continue feeding only recommended quantity of the prepared pet food.


Ask the Expert.. July Aug 13

Dr KG Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in Clinical Medicine. He is working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for South Asia.Ask the expert cats

Q: Polka, my Persian, keeps grooming himself. He kind of retches and vomits some fur too. How can we reduce his excessive grooming habit?
-Kavita, Mumbai

Dr KG Umesh: During the routine activity of grooming, cats swallow varying quantities of hair. Length of grooming is highly variable among cat breeds with short or long hair coat. If small quantities of hair accumulate in the stomach or small intestine, the cat can cough and retch until the hairball is vomited. Occasionally a large mass of entangled hair called trichobezoar accumulates and can be as large as nine cm long. Clinical signs include vomiting, anorexia and may lead to a potentially serious obstruction. This condition is very rare. Hairballs can be diagnosed by radiograph or endoscopy. Hair ball diets containing high fibre diets to bulk the lumen, or lubricant laxatives such as paraffin wax are prescribed to treat the obstruction. Itching in some cats, sometimes, manifests as excessive grooming behaviour. Fleas, allergies, mange or fungal infections that stimulate itching must be ruled out.

For queries about your cat, call us at 1800407112121 (Toll free) (toll free from all BSNL nos.) or email us at

ask the expert

Ask the expert… | July Aug 13

Dr K G Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in Clinical Medicine. He has been a lecturer in clinical medicine at Vet College in Bangalore for 15 years, and has won the ‘best teacher’ award in the year 2000. He is a member of European Society for Vet Dermatology and is currently working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for South Asia.

Q: I’ve a female Boxer who is one and a half years old. She has been scratching her neck and thighs a lot.ask the expert What should I do?
– Ranvir Grewal, Sangrur

Dr KG Umesh: Many disease conditions of the skin cause itching in pets, and often allergies are a common cause of itching—pets can be allergic to substances in the environment, such as inhaled pollen and dust (called atopy), to food, or to parasites. Bites of parasites such as fleas, mites, lice, ticks, and flies can be responsible for itching. Skin infections due to bacteria, ringworm fungus, or yeast commonly cause itching, and secondary infections are a common additional cause for greater itching in pets with allergies, fleas, and other primary skin disorders. Less commonly, certain immune-mediated diseases, boredom and anxiety and some skin tumours may stimulate itching. Because so many different skin problems can cause itching, diagnostic tests from simple skin scrapings to biopsy are used for determining the cause of itching. Treatment is extremely variable, since itching is the only symptom of the problem. Therefore, the medications and other treatment strategies chosen depend entirely upon the underlying cause of the itching and should be discussed with your veterinarian. Balanced and complete nutrition is most important for healthy skin and hair coat.

Q: My eight-year-old Dalmatian seems to be losing balance and seems wobbly. Do advice.
– Ajeet Banerjee, Kolkata

Dr KG Umesh: Weakness or wobbly gait in pets may be caused by problems in musculoskeletal, neurological, cardiovascular and endocrine systems. While problems in any of these systems can produce gait abnormalities, neurological or orthopaedic pathologies are the main causes of lameness and abnormal movement in dogs. Your vet may localise the problem based on physical examination finding and he may suggest lab work, radiograph, etc to find the underlying cause.

Q: My dog is limping and his paw pads seem swollen. Please advice.
– Brijesh, Thane

Dr KG Umesh: Pododermatitis refers to skin disease involving the feet (paws). Bacterial infections are frequently involved, although a variety of conditions may be underlying causes. For example, allergies can predispose pets to a variety of skin diseases, including Pododermatitis. Embedded hairs or other foreign bodies (plant awns, splinters, thorns, etc.) can cause Pododermatitis with nodules or draining tracts in the feet. Several parasites, most notably Demodex mange mites and hookworm larvae, can cause skin irritation and secondary bacterial infection of the feet. Contact with irritants such as chemicals or trauma can also be a triggering factor. Treatment is aimed at correcting or avoiding any underlying conditions and at treating any infection present. Moisturising and disinfecting the feet can help healing, and soaking the feet daily in a dilute, purpose-made antiseptic solution is also recommended. Please get him examined by your vet ASAP.

Q: Rover, my GSD, is having hair loss and is excessively chewing his paws. His genital area also seems red and itchy. Our vet is saying it is a skin infection. Do help.
– R Chawla, Ahmedabad

Dr KG Umesh: Dogs shed hair due to their unique hair growth cycle and seasonal hair shedding. For example, Photoperiod (light intensity) is main factor besides nutrition, genetics, health that can cause dog to shed hair excessively during some seasons and is physiological/normal. Dogs also may shed excessive hair because of stress, harsh climate and general illness. If the degree of shedding appears abnormal, or if he has signs of serious skin problems or fleas, consult your veterinarian.

Medical conditions such as thyroid disease or skin allergies can also cause excessive shedding. Itching of paws and genital area are common signs of allergic diseases. Some tips to prevent or reduce hair shedding include keeping skin and hair coat healthy by regular brushing, bath and feeding balanced food which is rich in nutrients like zinc, fatty acids and high quality proteins.

Q: I have a five-year-old Labrador, who is on dog food. She has never been fussy about food but lately is eating very less. In fact she is not having her dog food and we have to feed her chapatis like a little child and boiled boneless chicken/liver. She has lost weight and is not so active and bright. Please help.
– Payal, Chittoor

Dr KG Umesh: There are number of reasons for your pet to behave like this. For example, she may have fear for new food, previous bad experience with the food, poor palatability or simply, she may be a fussy eater. Some dogs may refuse food/skip meals, when they have consumed more energy than they would require (which is common in our experience). Please make sure that you are not overfeeding her and monitor her body weight at least every two weeks.

If she continues to refuse food, contact your vet and discuss whether there may be medical cause(s) for this and in some instances, blood work may be required to find the underlying cause.

Ask the Expert.. May June 13

Dr KG Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in Clinical Medicine. He is working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for South Asia.

Q: My cats are two and three years old. What is the best age to neuter and are there any side effects in terms of health?
– Ayush, Delhi

Dr K G Umesh: Spaying/castration is an irreversible means by which a cat is rendered sterile. Spaying at a young age prevents mammary cancer and neutering at any age prevents unwanted kittens, noisy heat cycles, roaming, fighting and possibly even urine marking in the house. The procedure entails complete removal of the uterus and ovaries in females and testicles in males. Surgery is preceded by a fasting period and requires general anaesthesia and hospitalisation. However, most hospitals/clinics discharge cats the same day as surgery. Complications are unusual/rare but may include post surgical haemorrhage or infection. Postoperative care includes restriction of exercise for a week, protection of the incision from contaminants, and daily monitoring of the incision for inflammation or discharge. The incision must stay dry and suture removal is usually performed 7-10 days after surgery. There are also hospitals/clinics, which conduct spaying with Keyhole or Laparoscopy methods, with minimum invasive surgery and on out-patient basis. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you on what exactly is involved with the operation and also on the best time for it to be performed. The traditional age for spaying is six months. However, the last few years has brought us a great deal of research into ‘early’ spaying and we now know that there is no problem with spaying as early as eight weeks of age.

Ask the Expert.. March April 2013

Dr KG Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in Clinical Medicine. He is working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for South Asia.

Q: I am shifting from Bengaluru to Pune. I have two cats – three and five years old – who have never travelled. What is the best manner to travel with them – by road or flight? How do I accustom them to travel? Should I buy separate crates for them?
– R Murli, Bengaluru

Dr K G Umesh: One of the best investments you must make when you have cats is to buy a modern carrying

ask the expert cats

Shy and Molly

cage/crate that can be easily cleaned and disinfected. Cats being transported by whatever means should always travel in a safe carrier. If your cats live together and are familiar, you can put them in a single carrier. The pets should also have a tag to make it easy to track them if they get lost. Visit a vet prior to your journey to ascertain that the pets are in good health and are vaccinated. Give them a light meal about two hours before they travel. Let your pets ‘try out’ the carrying container before the trip and put a familiar-smelling stuff in the container to help your pets settle. Give your pets the opportunity to go to the toilet before they are put in the carrying containers. If you are planning to travel by road, make sure your cats are accustomed to car travel. This can be done by letting the cats just sit in the car without the car moving. When the cats are comfortable with this, take the cats round the block, and gradually move up to taking the cats on journeys for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, etc. You will also know if they are likely to be sick or excitable in the car. If your pets’ car sickness is truly motion related, your vet can also prescribe medications to fight travel illness.

Ask the expert… | March April 13

Dr K G Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in Clinical Medicine. He has been a

lecturer in clinical medicine at Vet College in Bangalore for 15 years, and has won the ‘bestKG umesh

teacher’ award in the year 2000. He is a member of European Society for Vet Dermatology and is currently working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for South Asia.

Q: My dog is often coughing. The vet is saying he has allergy and has given anti-allergic medicine, cough syrup and a tablet. But it’s not yet cured and recurred recently. What’s the cure?
– Rahul Chakraborty, Kolkata

Dr KG Umesh: Recurring or long-standing cough in a dog can be due to chronic bronchitis or airway collapse; however, diseases such as infections, heart disease and other chest diseases must be considered. Appropriate management of cough requires confirmation of disease and exclusion of other causes of cough. Tracheal collapse is a common cause of acute or chronic cough and respiratory distress in dog and is seen most often in toy and small breed dogs. Dogs with airway collapse generally have a chronic honking (goose honking) or seal bark cough that is paroxysmal in nature. Coughing is often triggered by eating, excitement, exertion, or pulling on the leash. Your vet may advise radiography, ECG, echo, fluoroscopy or bronchoscopy in addition to some blood tests. Medical therapy for animals with airway collapse includes management of obesity and concurrent medical conditions as well as control of infectious or inflammatory airway disease. Dogs who fail to respond to aggressive medical therapy may require treatment surgically or stents in case of tracheal collapse.

Q: We live in an apartment and have two kids aged 10 and 6, wanting to adopt a pup. Can you advice on a suitable breed?
– Jai Raina, Pune

Dr KG Umesh: One of the most important aspects to ensure a happy relationship between you, your family and your dog is to ensure that your dog’s requirements can be matched by your lifestyle and environment. The size of your house and more importantly, the availability of open spaces nearby for exercise will influence the type of dog you should choose. Small breeds like Boston Terriers, Pugs, Spaniels and Dachshunds, etc may be better suited if space is limited. The initial cost of your puppy must certainly be taken into account, but be aware that other costs continue for the rest of his life. The daily cost of feeding, veterinary visits, kenneling during holidays and regular grooming sessions for certain breeds. Preventive health (vaccinations, de-worming) and practicing good hygiene will keep away most of transmissible diseases.

Q: My Pug is two and a half years old and vaccinated. His nails on the paws are very sharp and he keeps prancing and in his zest, someone or the other always gets scratched by his sharp nails. Also when someone gets hurt, scratched – what do we do? Does the person require a tetanus injection?
– Malini, Jamnagar

Dr KG Umesh: Unlike cats, there are no serious diseases that are transmitted by a dog scratch. However, pet nails contaminated with harmful bugs can result in some infection in humans. Try to minimise your chances of getting scratched: Avoid rough play and other activities with pet who could lead to biting and scratching. Keep your dog’s claws trimmed. If you do get scratched or bitten, wash promptly with soap and water. Practice good hygiene at home. Generally, there is no need to get tetanus shots.

Q: I have a 45-day-old Rottweiler puppy, under process for KCI Registration. Please advice on his food and vaccination?
– Girish Chougala, Gokak

Dr KG Umesh: A nutritionally balanced diet is crucial for the healthy growth and development of a dog in order to prepare him for an active, long and healthy life. Therefore, accurate feeding and the provision of all nutrients at optimal level are essential to maximise puppies’ genetic potential to grow. There are many commercial pet foods for puppy as well as specifically for ‘large breed puppy’ available from the reputed manufacturers. Giant breeds have longer growth period than small breeds and therefore, continue feeding puppy food until 22-24 months of age. Your vet will advise vaccination schedule (DHLPPi + Corona and Rabies) every 2-3 weeks, ideally starting at 6 weeks of age until 20 weeks of puppy age and then followed by annual boosters

Q: My Golden Cocker is 10 years old. Under her right eye, there is a small lump/extra growth. It gives the appearance of a small human mole. What should we do?
– Manish, Bikaner

Dr KG Umesh: Warts or benign growths are common in senior pets. However, any growth/lump in a senior pet requires immediate medical attention. Your vet will decide suitable action depending on place and nature of growth.

Ask the expert… | May June 13

Dr K G Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in Clinical Medicine. He has been aask the expert lecturer in clinical medicine at Vet College in Bangalore for 15 years, and has won the ‘best teacher’ award in the year 2000. He is a member of European Society for Vet Dermatology and is currently working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for South Asia.

Q: Muffin is in the initial stages of her pregnancy but her rabies vaccine is due. Is it safe to give it now?
–Meena Singh, Jalandhar

Dr KG Umesh: Administration of modified live vaccines is not recommended during pregnancy. Routine vaccinations should be current or done prior to breeding. A puppy’s early immunity is dependent upon consumption of colostrum containing high levels of antibodies and, therefore, dependent on the female dog’s immune status. Killed vaccines like rabies may be given during high risk situations

Q: My six-month-old Dalmatian pup is suffering from ticks. Please advice.
–Varun Kapoor, Ajmer

Dr KG Umesh: A generalised tick life cycle consists of egg, larva, nymph and adult. The tick feeds once in each stage before maturing to the next stage. Ticks lay their eggs (as many as 18,000 in some species) in sheltered areas on or near the ground. 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. There are two basic categories of ticks control products: Adulticides and Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs)/Insect Development Inhibitors (IDIs). 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. Make sure that other pets/dogs he frequently contacts/visits are free from fleas and ticks. The veterinarian will choose a product or products that combine safety, efficacy, and ease of use. Often a combination of adulticide and an IGR or IDI is used.

Q: I have two dogs – Sasha (female GSD – five years) and Sandy (male Lab – four months). Sasha sleeps through the day and is lazy. Sandy does not like to go for his walks and we have to coax him with treats- it takes almost 10 minutes to motivate him, once out he is always looking back and wants to go home. Please advice.
–Ankush Jain, Shimla

Dr KG Umesh: Dogs, too, can become complacent and lazy when it comes to fitness. If your dog hasn’t done much exercise in the past, it’s best to start off slowly. In fact, before you get your dog started on any exercise programme, you should take him to the vet first for a thorough check-up to rule out any medical causes. Start off with 10-15 minutes a day of walking to allow your dog to build up his cardiovascular and muscle strength. Eventually, you can work up to an hour a day – again, if it’s appropriate to him. Exercise to their abilities, not yours. In the summer time, opt for an early morning or evening workout when the sun and heat are less intense. Give them some fresh, cool water again once you get back home. Puppies generally sleep 12-18 hours a day. Poor socialisation or interaction, fear or shyness or even a previous bad experience may de-motivate puppies to play or walk.

Q: Hero, my three-year-old Dachshund, is fully house trained. Last two weeks, he has been eliminating in the house. Please help.
–Kiran, Gurgaon

Dr KG Umesh: As there are so many causes of house soiling, it is best to seek veterinary advice to determine the true cause of the problem. It is not unusual for dogs to have an occasional accident in the house. If this behaviour is occurring on regular occasions, there can be a number of reasons as to why. If the dog has soiled in the house, it may be that his access to his usual toilet area has been blocked off. There are many medical problems that can cause signs of incontinence. Some causes of incontinence can be due to urinary infection or bladder stones. The other possibility for your dog house soiling is if there is an underlying behavioural cause, such as, submissive urination, stress, a breakdown in toilet training, territorial marking or separation anxiety. Once again, these behaviour problems can be modified effectively. If your dog has house soiled, it is important that the affected area is cleaned promptly using a biological washing powder in warm water. If it is not cleaned effectively, he may mark that spot on repeated occasions.

Q: Joey, my Basset, loves to jump on the sofa or bed. He is four years old. More recently, I have noticed him being uncomfortable while jumping, his hind legs seem to quiver. Do advice.
–R Kumar, Trichy

Dr KG Umesh: Shivering or tremours in hind legs in large breeds is common as a result of variety of skeletal, metabolic, neuromuscular or degenerative diseases. It can affect joints, muscles, tendons or bones. This can also be the result of infection or trauma. It could be simply minor problem like ‘muscle pull’. Therefore, get him examined as early as possible.

Ask the Expert.. Jan Feb 2013

Dr KG Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in Clinical Medicine. He is working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for South Asia.

Q: My three-year-old cat Tom is having a lot of hair fall, especially in certain area patches. Is this some allergy? What should we do?
– Ashish Shukla, Ghaziabad

Dr K G Umesh: Hair loss/shedding is a common complaint with skin disorders and results from number of

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causes. Cats may shed excessive hair because of stress, worms, harsh climate and general illness. Therefore, my approach would be to find underlying cause(s) like fleas, ticks, mange or allergy, hormonal imbalance, bacterial or yeast infection, etc and then your vet will be able to recommend suitable medications that will eliminate the cause and therefore hair fall. Balanced and complete nutrition is most important for healthy skin and hair coat.


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Dr K G UmeshDr K G Umesh (Veterinarian) Dr K G Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in Clinical Medicine. He has been a lecturer in clinical medicine at Vet College in Bangalore for 15 years, and has won the ‘best teacher’ award in the year 2000. He is a member of European Society for Vet Dermatology and is currently working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for South Asia.