Ask the Expert..July-Aug 11

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 cat Rani, who is seven years old, seems to have swollen gums with little bleeding. She also has bad breath. Please help.
— R Muthy, Bangalore

Dr KG Umesh: There are many oral and respiratory diseases that contribute to bad breath in cats. Feline odontoclastic resorptive lesion, periodontal diseases and feline chronic gingivostomatitis (FCGS) are some of the common dental diseases seen in senior cats. Bacteria associated with dental tartar and dental pain due to diseased teeth and gums contribute to the bad breath and bleeding. Control of gingivitis (gums inflammation) should involve regular dental home care, including tooth brushing, use of oral antiseptics, special diets and chews. Professional periodontal therapy including tooth scaling and polishing may be required. Untreated gingivitis can progress to periodontitis which involves the irreversible destruction of the tissues supporting the teeth. Treatment of periodontitis requires professional periodontal therapy, including supra- and subgingival scaling and polishing, root surface debridement and teeth extraction in cases of advanced disease. Older cats should continue to receive regular dental cleanings and extractions to make sure good dental health is maintained. Take your cat to your vet ASAP.

Ask the expert..July-Aug 10

Q: Please give inputs on different areas of kitten care.
– Vrushali Makarand Pandit, Pune


A: Dr KG Umesh: Cats are solitary animals and like to spend some time alone. Best time to bring home a kitten is when they are six weeks old or more. A small box with high sides placed in a warm, draft-free location is an ideal environment. The floor should be padded with washable towels or disposable papers. The first few days after your kitten comes home, continue to feed the food she’s used to have, to help prevent tummy upsets. Then you can gradually introduce a new food. Growing kittens have specific nutritional requirements, and the simplest way to fulfil them is to buy a good quality complete diet from a reputed manufacturer (for example, Whiskas dry or wet). Play is the key to kitten learning – and also provides exercise. It develops their physical and mental abilities, strengthen their muscles and increases their social skills. Make time to play so that she can continue to develop her ‘cat skills’ – like stalking and pouncing. Toys should be small and light enough to bat and carry around in her mouth – but not small enough to be swallowed. Short-haired kittens only need grooming once or twice a week, but long-haired breeds need at least 15 minutes every day. Until your kitten is used to being groomed, keep sessions short, and make her stand on a folded towel, to help her feel secure while you brush her. There are vaccinations (from age of nine weeks with two booster every three weeks) and deworming that will protect your kitten from a number of serious and highly infectious or parasitic diseases. Lastly, your kitten needs to learn the house rules–proper training, litter training and socialization (introduce to everyday sights, sounds people, etc). Consult your vet for further information and vaccinations schedule.

Ask the expert..July-Aug 06

Q?:?What is your opinion on BARF diet? Or is commercial available dog food best for dogs?
–Bikram Suri, Gurgaon

Dr. K.G. Umesh?:?BARF, a “Biologically Appropriate Raw Food” appear to follow the concept of feeding dogs naturally as they believe that dogs have been evolved to eat a carnivorous diet. The diet is based on feeding dogs as close to the prey model as possible. They believe that dogs are carnivorous (meat eaters) while vets and scientists are convinced that dogs are omnivorous (eat vegetarian and/or meat).

Traditionally, dogs have been fed table scraps and left to scavenge whatever food they can. However, the domestic dog has become elevated to near family-member status. Concurrent advances in the knowledge of canine nutrient requirements (NRC, 2003, AAFCO 2004) have resulted in sophisticated, balanced and nutritionally complete manufactured diets for dogs.

The manufacturers of pet foods are equally convinced that health and longevity are best achieved by feeding their nutritionally complete and balanced formulations. There is a general belief that the feeding of manufactured pet foods since their introduction in the 1950s has been associated with increased health and longevity throughout the pet population.

Q?:?Can dogs see in colour?

–?Ranganathan Menon, Secuderabad

Dr. K.G. Umesh?:?It is not true that dogs can only see in black and white. Dogs are thought to have similar colour vision to humans who are red-green colour blind. They are better adapted for low light conditions and sensitive to movement. However, they can’t see the fine details as humans.

Q?:?My dog keeps searching and looking for dirt, whether it is the dustbin or on a walk he sniffs out the dirtiest things. I cannot understand his habit and am worried that he will catch an infection. Please let me know what measure to take to prevent infections.
–?Divyani, Kolkata

Dr. K.G. Umesh?:?This type of behaviour may start after a change in the dog’s routine or lack of socialisation/exposure to environment or as result of boredom. If your pet has developed this habit, behavioural modification or training can help to correct this activity. One method is to distract your pet away from these things using toys or showing element of surprise (squirt him with water/make unpleasant distracting noise/throw a toy near him). Giving your dog much more physical and mental stimulation prior to leaving him will quickly reduce the possibility of him looking for such things.

This can easily be achieved by playing in and around the house, hiding toys and food treats. Learning in the ‘doggy world’ consists of trying out new behaviours and seeing what happens as a consequence of this behaviour. If the behaviour (action) is followed by a good consequence, this behaviour will be repeated. One example could be begging at the table which is rewarded by getting food. If the behaviour (e.g. the begging) is, however, followed by a negative consequence (in this case, no food given), the behaviour will eventually be stopped. Effective training should work on the same principle and should be a combination of information (what you want the dog to do), motivation (a reason for your dog to do it), and timing (when to reward a good action). If this behaviour persists, seek professional training for your pet. Lastly make sure that your pet is receiving complete and balanced pet food.

Q?:?What are the signs that show that my dog might not be well?
–Ritu Puri, Pune

Dr. K.G. Umesh?:?Signs of illness in dogs vary depending on the age of the dog, system affected, type and duration of illness etc, e.g., some dogs with simple fever continue to eat and play while some become lethargic and loose appetite. Therefore, regular visits to your vet for monitoring his health is essential in preventing and controlling serious ailments. To help you figure this out, here’s a partial list of signs worth reporting to your vet as soon as possible :

  • Collapse or convulsions.
  • Increased frequency of urination, increased amounts of urine produced, or difficulty in urination, urination in the house by a previously house-trained dog.
  • Greatly increased thirst and water intake.
  • Persistent cough or abnormal breathing.
  • Discharge from nostrils, eyes, ears etc.
  • Diarrhoea, constipation or vomiting that lasts more than 24 hours.
  • Loss of appetite for more than 24 hours.
  • Weakness or lethargy. Loosing body weight.
  • Swelling/lumps anywhere on body.
  • Lameness or a change in the way your pet walks or runs.
  • If your dog is in obvious discomfort. Persistent head shaking, excessive scratching, pawing at ears, or rubbing his hindquarters along the ground may be signs of distress.

Ask the Expert/July-Aug 2005 | Dr. Pradeep Rana

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.

by, Pedigree

Ask the Expert/July-Aug 2004

Q : My 2-year-old pet is itching very badly and is not even able to sleep well. Please help.

Dr. Rana : Itching is the most common reason for pets visiting a veterinary clinic. There can be many reasons for itching, since itching in itself is not a disease, but only a symptom of an underlying cause. One will have to systematically approach to solve this problem. Check for fleas, ticks and lice. The saliva of a flea is very irritating to your petÕs skin, causing skin infection, superficial and deep bacterial infections. Skin mites too play a major role in giving your pet sleepless nights. Allergy to perfectly natural environmental components such as grass, plants or even to foods causes itching skin. Let your vet diagnose the cause and then treat the pet accordingly. A piece of advice – be patient for it may take a while for your vet to find the cause.

Q : Why does my dog vomit whenever I take him in a car?

Dr. Rana : Vomiting and dribbling is a sign of motion sickness. This is quiet common in young pups. If you expose your pet to frequent and short car journeys, their balance mechanism evolves to cope with this type of motion. Sometimes, in stubborn car sick cases, you might have to give your pet an anti-vomiting pill.

Q : My dogÕs name is Jinny, who is a 9 month old Dalmatian male. Jinny gets aggressive with other dogs. How do I solve this problem?

Mr. Bhatt : The above problem shows that your dog is a dominant nature male and wants to show his superiority by showing aggression to other dogs. Also, at the age of 9 months, the male hormones starts producing, which naturally makes a dog more dominant. You need to establish proper control by training and simultaneously start socialising him with other dogs and animals

Q : My dog Sparkle, a 5 month old Springer Spaniel, obeys sit and stay commands but does not responds to ÔcomeÕ.

Mr. Bhatt : Come is the top command in training. Make your dog understand the command ÔcomeÕ and make your dog feel great by giving him a treat or a toy to play, every time he obeys it. This would help your dog to understand the meaning of ÔcomeÕ. Only once he will understand the come command, it is then that you can force him to come to you even when he is not willing.

Q : Does dry nose mean my dog has fever?

Dr. Rana : IÕve had patients coming with wet noses showing 106oF temperature while some, having dry nose showing perfectly normal temperature, so what does it means – NOTHING! The state of the nose depends upon what a dog is doing or has recently been doing as well as the climate. Sleeping dogs generally have dry noses and while exercising, their noses are usually wet. Wet nose is useful because scent molecules are trapped in moisture, enhancing the animals scenting ability. If the pet has fever, you should rather rely on symptoms like lower levels of energy and appetite rather than the nose.

Q : When I enter my house, my dog Commando, a German Shepard, greets me with a jump. How do I solve it?

Mr. Bhatt : This is a common problem with all dogs. Being a member of the pack, a dog gets excited with some expectations, seeing the members of the pack returning home. This habit starts when the dog best cheap laptops under 2000 dollars is a pup or 6-10 weeks of age. We encourage this habit by praising/showing affection to a pup. When the same pup grows, this becomes a problem. To solve this, surprise your dog by pushing him away effectively and at the same time giving him a treat with a sit command. In a few days time, your dog will understand to greet you with a ÔsitÕ command and expect a treat. Use this from day one when the pup comes home.

For query about your pet dog, please mark the letter as “Ask the experts” and post it to Dogs & Pups, 406, Sant Nagar, East of Kailash, New Delhi Ð110065 or e-mail at, marking the subject line as “Ask the experts”.