dog health

Pooch vaccination Key to good health

The age-old adage goes, ‘Prevention is better than cure.’ Periodic vaccinations in dogs help them create immunity against a range of infectious diseases. Let’s be aware of the various vaccines available for our pooches

What is vaccination?

Vaccination is the process of preventing diseases by creating immunity in the animal. It also reduces the dog healthamount of pharmaceutical treatments (such as antibiotics) used to control established diseases and, in many instances, has prevented long-term suffering and death.

What are vaccines?

Vaccines are the health products that trigger protective immune responses (defence cells in the body) in pets and prepare them to fight future infections from disease causing agents, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi.

What are the types of vaccines?

Modified Live Vaccines (MLV): Modified live vaccines contain a weakened strain of the disease causing agent. Weakening of the agent is typically accomplished by chemical means or by genetic engineering. These vaccines replicate within the host, thus increasing the amount of material available for provoking an immune response without inducing clinical illness. This provocation primes the immune system to mount a vigorous response, if the disease-causing agent is ever introduced to the animal. Further, the immunity provided by a modified-live vaccine develops rather swiftly and since they mimic infection with the actual disease agent, it provides the best immune response.

Inactivated Vaccines (Killed): Inactivated vaccines contain killed disease causing agents. Since the agent is killed, it is much more stable and has a longer shelf life, there is no possibility that they will revert to a virulent form, and they never spread from the vaccinated host to other animals. They are also safe for use in pregnant animals (a developing fetus may be susceptible to damage by some of the disease agents, even though attenuated, present in modified live vaccines (MLV)). Although more than a single dose of vaccine is always required and the duration of immunity is generally shorter.

Why is vaccination important?

Vaccination is the most effective method of preventing infectious diseases, in particular viral infections which can lead to serious illness and even death. Vaccines stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies against a number of diseases so that the dog or cat is protected from various organisms in the environment. Even though some diseases have become uncommon, vaccination is still highly recommended because serious disease-causing agents continue to be present in the environment. By vaccinating, we are not only protecting our pets’ health but also our family’s health as well. Today, no one should ever overlook the potential of zoonotic diseases (that is, those diseases transmissible from animals to humans) such as rabies. So, pets should be vaccinated to protect them from many highly contagious and deadly diseases.

What is the age of vaccination?

Puppies receive antibodies and important nutrients from their mothers’ milk when they are still nursing. They ingest the maternal antibodies contained in the mothers’ milk as early as during the first few hours of birth. The antibodies help protect them from infectious diseases until they are able to produce their own antibodies or their own immune system is more mature. This means that once they are weaned, this passive form of protection is lost. And it is at this point in their life that a vaccination programme should be started. Puppies and kittens require a series of vaccinations during their first four months of life. At approximately six (6) to eight (8) weeks of age, puppies need to receive their first vaccination. Approximately four weeks later, that is, at ten (10) weeks to three months old, a second vaccination should be given. These first two vaccinations will provide protection for a while (short term) from many life threatening diseases that your pet may come into contact with. They are therefore referred to as temporary vaccinations. A third and final vaccination, which lasts longer (a year), is given at fourteen (14) weeks to four months of age. In most cases, a vaccination protocol of three inoculations will suffice, but a vaccination schedule of four inoculations, starting at 6 weeks and ending at 16 weeks, does work better. Vaccination for rabies is administered from three months when maternal immunity has disappeared completely. Annual re-vaccinations (boosters) are then recommended to keep your pet healthy.

Vaccination Schedule
Disease agent
Puppy doses < 16 weeks
Adult doses > 16 weeks
1 dose at 6-8 weeks, 9-11 weeks & 12-14 weeks of age
1 dose
1 dose at 6-8 weeks, 9-11 weeks & 12-14 weeks of age
2 doses 3-4 weeks apart
1 dose at 6-8 weeks, 9-11 weeks & 12-14 weeks of age
1 dose if MLV 2 doses 2-4 weeks apart if KV (Killed Vaccine)
1 dose at 6-8 weeks, 9-11 weeks & 12-14 weeks of age
1 dose
1 dose as early as 3 months of age
1 dose
1-3 years or as required by your state law
Leptospira (Not recommended in small dogs)
1 dose at 12 weeks & second dose at 14-16 weeks of age
2 doses, 2-4 weeks apart
Annually as needed
Bordetella Bronchiseptica (Kennel Cough)
1 dose at 6-8 weeks & 10-12 weeks *Also can give 1 dose intranasal at 3 weeks of age
2 doses, 2-4 weeks apart
Annually as needed
1 dose at 6 weeks of age, then every 2-4 weeks until 12 weeks of age
1 dose if MLV 2 doses, 2 weeks apart if KV or use only if needed
Annually as needed

Which are the diseases for which vaccination is recommended?

  1. DHLPPi/C: This is a combo vaccination that covers numerous diseases with one injection.D-Distemper: An airborne viral disease of the lungs, intestines and brain. Distemper is a nasty virus that is highly contagious, occurs worldwide, and at one time was the leading cause of death in puppies. Young puppies are more susceptible to the virus than adult dogs. You may see signs of an upper respiratory infection with high fever, the dog may also have neurological signs. This disease is often fatal.H-Hepatitis or Adenovirus-A viral disease of the liver, which is spread by contact with the urine and faeces of infected animals. The virus causes liver and kidney damage, animals who survive may have chronic illness. Symptoms include but are not limited to: fever, lethargy, anorexia, abdominal pain, and bloody diarrhoea.L-Leptospirosis: A bacterial disease of the urinary tract. This disease affects the liver and kidneys and is deadly. Animals with this disease are contagious to other animals and humans. A positive dog should be isolated and the caregiver should wear protective clothing and gloves. The disease is spread through contact with urine of infected animals. Dogs with leptospirosis may show signs of lethargy, dehydration, jaundice, and fever.P-Parvovirus: A viral disease of the intestines. This virus attacks the intestinal tract and causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea. Parvo is highly contagious, dogs contract the virus through contact with infected animals stool. Without treatment, dogs become dehydrated and weak and often die. This virus is very common and puppies who are not properly vaccinated are often afflicted. Rottweilers and Doberman Pinschers seem to be at greater risk from parvo.

    Pi-Parainfluenza: It is a viral infectious bronchitis. This is a virus that causes an upper respiratory infection. Dogs usually contract the disease through contact with nasal secretions of infected dogs.

    C-Corona virus: a viral disease of the intestines. This virus attacks the intestinal system similar to parvovirus. Infected dogs suffer from vomiting and diarrhoea and dehydration. Keep your pet vaccinated and your yard clean to protect your pet from this viral disease.

  2. Rabies: A viral disease fatal to humans and other animals. Rabies is a virus that affects the nervous system. There is no known cure for rabies, to confirm a case the brain tissue must be examined. Symptoms generally include behaviour change, difficulty swallowing, hypersalivation, depression – stupor, and hind limb paralysis. The disease is spread through the saliva of infected animals and can be transmitted through a bite or an open wound. Vaccinated pets who are exposed to rabies should be re-vaccinated and observed for 90 days; un-vaccinated pets exposed to rabies should be given post bite vaccination course and kept isolated for six months.
  3. Bordetella: This is an upper respiratory infection also known as kennel cough. This infection is usually not fatal but is a pain to get rid of. The infection can spread quickly through boarding and grooming facilities and any place dogs congregate. The vaccination can be in the form of a nasal spray or injection. The injection form will need a booster in one month. Your veterinarian can help you decide if this vaccination is necessary for your dog.
  4. Lyme Disease: This is a tick borne illness. If you live in a wooded area and have a large number of positive Lyme disease cases in your area, you should consider this vaccine for your dogs. Symptoms include fever, swollen lymph nodes, and loss of appetite. The deer tick must stay attached to your dog for one to two days in order to transmit the illness, so checking your dog daily for ticks will help prevent Lyme disease. Also use a good tick preventative like Tick Collars, sprays, tick bath and anthelmintic shampoos.
  5. Giardia: Giardia is a parasite that lives in the intestines and can be passed into the environment through the stools of infected animals. Dogs become infected with giardia by drinking contaminated water. Humans can also be infected. At risk dogs would be those who live primarily outdoors, hunting dogs, or dogs who may come in contact with ponds or creeks. This vaccine needs to be boosted three weeks after the initial dose and then given annually.

If you are a responsible pet parent, do get your pet vaccinated at required intervals.

(Dr. S.S. Patil is Ph.D. Scholar at Centre of Advanced Studies in Animal Nutrition, K.B. Korel is a Ph.D. Scholar at Division of Animal Nutrition while P.P. Mirajkar is M.V.Sc Scholar at Division of LES at Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar)

Don’ts of vaccination

  • Don’t vaccinate when your pooch is under stress as corticosteriods that release during stress inhibit lymphocyte metabolism and cell growth.
  • Don’t vaccinate your pooch within 2 weeks of surgery as anesthetics are immunosuppressive.
  • Don’t vaccinate your pup before 6 weeks of age. MLV vaccine can cause encephalitis in pups less than 4 weeks.
  • Don’t administer multiple virus vaccines to dogs in multiple animal households. Virus shedding can create increased virus particles in the environment.
  • Don’t vaccinate sick animals or those who have been exposed to disease.
  • Don’t vaccinate if your pooch is undergoing glucocorticoid therapy.
  • Don’t administer drugs, flea preventive, heartworm preventive or wormers.
  • Don’t give any vaccines to a female dog who is “in season”, pregnant or lactating.
  • Don’t vaccinate if your dog is suffering from tumors, heart or kidney disease.

(Dr. S.S. Patil is Ph.D. Scholar at Centre of Advanced Studies in Animal Nutrition, K.B. Korel is a Ph.D. Scholar at Division of Animal Nutrition while P.P. Mirajkar is M.V.Sc Scholar at Division of LES at Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar)

Exercise: say yes to good health

Regular exercise is essential to your dog. Giving your dog a good walk or run regularly provides him with an opportunity for experiencing new stimuli and meeting other dogs – which will help him develop into a contented and well-adjusted dog. Exercise will also keep his weight down, which is important because obesity is a major health problem in dogs. And besides that, dogs usually love their exercise!

The basics of a good exercise

  • Your dog needs to exercise every day, all year round.
  • To exercise your dog outdoors, use a static collar, rather than a so-called “choke” collar, and always supervise his exercise. Don’t simply put him outside for the day while you’re out.
  • Like most dogs, your dog’s idea of heaven is to run free. But if you’re near a road or if he’s likely to run away, you should keep him on a leash and under control.
  • Both you and your dog will enjoy your exercise time together more if he’s well trained. At a minimum, he should understand and respond to the ‘heel’, ‘down’ and ‘come’ commands.
  • To let your dog run free, find an area that is safe, such as a park with a specially designated area, and make sure he comes when you call him.
  • Wherever you go, always be sure to clean up after your dog.
  • Part of your walk should be over hard ground because this helps keep his nails short.

Safety first If you are planning to start a more vigorous exercise programme with your dog, or if he is overweight and you want him to get more exercise, be careful not to overdo it at first. Take him to see the vet for a check-up and ask for advice. The key here is to start slowly. Look for signs of fatigue and stop when you see them.

While you are running or walking in well-padded shoes, remember that your dog is essentially barefoot, so you should regularly check his paws. Run him on grass or dirt as much as possible and, in cold weather, wash and dry his paws after you’ve been out if there’s salt on the sidewalks or road.

Exercise as per breed and age

Your dog’s breed, size and age all factor into his exercise requirements. It doesn’t necessarily follow that larger dogs need more exercise. Dogs who were bred to work generally need more exercise than lap dogs. Ask your breeder or vet about how much exercise your dog should be getting.

Puppies don’t need to be encouraged to exercise. However, you have to be careful not to over-exercise them because their bones aren’t very strong. The rule is to exercise them a little, and often. Middle-aged dogs may need more encouragement. It’s up to you to make sure he gets regular exercise through his middle years, which will help keep him to his proper weight.

Older dogs need exercise, too. If you have an older dog, take him for shorter and more frequent walks. It will help keep his joints and circulation moving and give him the opportunity to relieve himself – which he may need to do more often as he ages. Never force him to exercise beyond his capabilities and don’t take him out in extreme weather conditions. Be aware that an older dog may tire more easily than he used to, and that his eyesight and sense of smell may be deteriorating. Your older dog can easily become disoriented if separated from you, so make sure you watch him closely.

Running together for health and fun

Running with your dog is a fun and healthy thing for you to do together. If you’re just starting to run with your dog, however, don’t overdo it. Start slowly and build up your endurance together. For your sake, make sure your dog knows the “heel” command, which will keep him running steadily behind your left leg. This will prevent any confusion about who’s in charge of the route.

Routine in holidays

During holidays, people often let both their own routine and their dog’s routine slip. As you indulge in holiday foods, resist the temptation to feed your dog table scraps. Eating table scraps can contribute to digestive and weight problems. Stick to a normal feeding routine, and make sure you take your dog out regularly – if not as often as usual. Remember, regular exercise is one of the best ways to keep your dog healthy and happy.

Puppy health woes: prevention is better than cure

Pooch babies are prone to diseases, infections or defects, which can prove fatal. Responsible pet parenting calls for regular care and observation, which can go a long way in preventing diseases in our puppies. Here are a few common puppy health diseases, which can be easily averted by expanding our awareness aura…to make our cute little angels healthy and happy.

Neonatal anoxia and HypoxiaNewborn pup will either have fast breathing, fast heart rate or very shallow breathing. Compression of umbilical cord during passage through the birth canal causes physiological hypoxia (rise in carbon dioxide).Causes: False swallowing of amniotic fluid by the puppy especially when mother does not clean the puppy properly. It can also occur due to prolonged anaesthesia, posterior presentation of pup, injection of oxytocin at the premature stage of fetus, umbilical cord knotting and premature birth.Prevention: By cleaning the laryngeal junction using bulb syringe, vigorous rubbing of thorax, and stimulating the respiration.Treatment: Through respiratory stimulants by placing the pup in an incubator and inducing oxygen.

Haemolytic Syndrome

Puppy Health Symptoms: Its signs appear within 24-48 hrs of birth, which include weakness in some puppies from the same litter. Prevention: Further breeding of mothers of effected puppies should be avoided, irrespective of male dogs blood group.

Puppy Health Treatment: Keeping diseased puppies away from the mother. The affected puppies are kept in an incubator under medical supervision.

Water puppy syndrome (WPS)

Symptoms: Affected puppies weigh up to twice their expected weight, which results in stillbirths.

Causes: A foetus in a uterine horn fi lled with a large amount of hemorrhagic fl uid, or the after effects of a virus, the mother got during pregnancy.

Prevention: Vaccination in case of suspicion of the virus and avoiding repeated cross breeding which has already resulted in affected litters.

Treatment: No treatment, they usually die within 36 hours.

Toxic Milk Syndrome

This is an infection or bacterial poisoning of one or more puppies during feeding and the puppies affected by it whine continuously, have purplish ‘caulifl ower anus’ whereas the mother shows signs of vaginitis and painful teats. This leads to diarrhoea and enteritis in puppies and they pass straw yellow coloured faeces with a sour odour.

Causes: Haematogenous infection of milk by acute bacterial infection. Prevention: Not breeding the female dogs with recurrent mastitis.

Treatment: By reducing suckling (separate mother and litter every 3 hours), premature drying-off of the mother and artificial feeding of puppies and antibiotic treatment to the mother.

Neonatal Septicaemia

Affected pup shows the signs of isolation, apathy, and continuous whining.

Causes: Immuno-suppression (viral infection, absence of colostrums), umbilical infection, and toxic milk syndrome. Predisposing factors are maternal infections (mastitis, buccodental infections, pyoderma, metritis) and infections, which pass up the umbilicus originating from the bedding.

Prevention: By controlling nursing hygiene, disinfection of umbilical cord, bottle-feeding and separation of puppies from mother in case of maternal infection.

Treatment: Symptomatic treatment of puppies in septic shock apart from broadspectrum antibiotic therapy.

Fading Puppy Syndrome (FPS)

FPS leads to premature death before 2 weeks of age. The pup shows signs of asymptomatic disease at birth, with gradual fading away within 4-5 days.

Causes: Attributed to various causes like toxic milk syndrome, distemper, immune immaturity, etc.

Prevention: By managing the risk factors in the whelping areas, monitoring the colostrums ingestion and daily body weight gain.

Treatment: By gradual warming of hypothermic puppies (avoid infrared lamps which tend to worsen dehydration), placing affected puppies in an incubator at a temperature adjusted to 30 degrees C.

Swimming Puppy Syndrome (SPS)

SPS causes malfunctioning of motor development causing splayed fore limbs or hind limbs or tortoise like posture. Either signs are present at birth, or become obvious at about the second or third week of age, when puppies learn how to walk.

Causes: Nutritional defi ciency in mother’s food and environmental factors like slippery fl oor and over crowding. It occurs mostly in small breeds like Dachshund, Yorkshire, English Cocker Spaniel, or breeds with large thorax and short limbs like Pekingese, Cavalier King Charles, Basset Hound, French and English Bulldogs.

Treatment: By physiotherapy for 10 minutes for 4-5 times a day. Almost 90% puppies recover from this condition. Place the puppies on rough floor and stimulate the paws pads with toothbrush. Your vet might advise Vit- E and Selenium in the mother’s diet as well.

Parvo virus infection

This is one of the most common fatal infections seen in puppies in India. Symptoms: Infected pup fi rst goes off the food and become dull and starts vomiting lead to dehydration and blood stained diarrhoea and if not treated at the right time they die. This infection spreads like a infectious wave through infected stool, saliva, urine to the other puppies.

Prevention: Go through a ‘witness parvo test’ for quick diagnosis of parvo virus in the unvaccinated pup.

(Dr. R. T. Sharma is a renowned veterinary surgeon and president of PAWS (Pet Animal Welfare Society). He is also associated with RSPCA, London and Animal Welfare Board of India.

– by Dr. R. T. Sharma

Taking care of your puppy’s Health-Bedlington Terriers

Fleas, neutering and spaying, worming, and grooming – all are important concerns for the puppy owner. Get helpful hints on these topics in this article.

Having a new puppy in the home is rather like having a new baby around. It’s not always easy to distinguish serious problems from minor ailments.

Choosing a vet

All licensed vets are trained in professional animal care. You may be drawn to one in particular because of the convenient location of the vet’s clinic, the services he or she provides or simply because you find your vet especially easy to talk to. The only sure thing is that choosing a vet is part of your obligation to your dog. Ask your breeder or friends to recommend a vet.

When should you consult a vet?

It’s a good idea to get your vet to give your new puppy a check-up as soon as you get him. You can discuss vaccinations, de-worming and general puppy care. Seek advice from your vet if your puppy refuses food for more than a day, if he has diarrhoea or vomiting, or if he is lethargic for no reason.


If you don’t intend to breed your dog, then you should seriously consider neutering. Spaying and neutering an animal will cause minimal discomfort. Spaying and neutering can reduce the risk of several different conditions later in life. Your vet can advise you about when it’s best to have the operation done. If you decide not to get the operation for your dog, you should be prepared for some unexpected changes.

Unneutered males, for example, will often roam after female dogs in heat and will become aggressive. If you do not wish your female dog to become pregnant, you must carefully supervise her when she is in heat. They are also prone to phantom (or false) pregnancy, which could require veterinary treatment.


Many puppies are born with roundworms. To ensure that your puppy thrives, it is important to get rid of these worms. There are many safe, effective products available for this purpose, and your vet will be able to prescribe a suitable treatment. A professional breeder will usually give puppies worm treatments from the age of three weeks, repeating as and when necessary. Check with the breeder and talk to your vet about your puppy’s de-worming programme.

Many adult dogs also carry roundworms. To ensure that your dog stays worm-free, continue to de-worm him every six months for the rest of his life, or discuss frequency with your vet.


If you notice fleas in your dog’s coat, visit your vet, who can recommend an effective treatment for the elimination of fleas. If you choose to buy flea powders or sprays in a store, check that these are suitable for use on puppies. If your dog has fleas, you need to treat his environment as well. Wash all the dog’s bedding. Wash the basket and clean the boxes, corners, rugs and furniture. Use dusting flea powders or aerosols. If you are in any doubt about a particular flea product, ask your vet for advice. There are also many professional companies that can treat your home for flea infestations.

Eyes and ears

Your dog’s eyes and ears should always be clean. The eye area can be gently cleaned with moist cotton swabs. The ears can be wiped with dry cotton batting. This must be done carefully, without poking anything inside.


Your dog’s claws should be checked. If you walk your dog on hard surfaces (such as asphalt), remember that the claws wear down, and in this case, you don’t need to do anything. However, if your dog walks mostly on grass, his claws will need regular trimming. Your breeder or vet can show you how to do this properly.

Teeth and gums

Puppies enjoy chewing on everyday household objects. Discourage your dog from doing this, and provide him with specially designed toys for chewing. Although puppies will generally not have problems with their teeth or gums, plaque can quickly build up at the base of the teeth. This can cause gum disease in dogs as young as 12 months. To reduce the risk of this happening, regularly check your pet’s teeth. For adult dogs, special dog biscuits or chews are very beneficial, and help clean the plaque off your dog’s teeth. You can also introduce tooth brushing at this age.

Bathing and grooming

As a general rule, dogs should be bathed infrequently or only when necessary. They may need a bath when they have fleas or when they’re dirty and a simple brushing is not enough to get the dirt out. Much depends on the dog’s breed. Smooth-coated dogs require minimal grooming, while dogs with longer coats should be groomed every day. A responsible dog owner should have a good grooming brush and comb, preferably one that has been specially developed for dogs. Poodles require clipping every six to eight weeks. Dogs with silky coats, such as Cocker Spaniels, should be trimmed every three months. Dogs with wiry-haired coats, such as Terriers, need to be clipped every six to eight weeks. Each breed is different, so always consult your breeder for more detailed information.

Health : Doggy Diabetes

Doggy Diabetes Canines…Cure ‘n’ Care

Dog diabetes is a silent killer that is engulfing our pooches’ health and well-being mutely. Sooner we detect the disorder, better the chances of recovery. In our last issue, we shared in-depth information about the doggie diabetes. As a sequel to it, we are now presenting cure ‘n’ care for it.

If your pet suffers from diabetes, don’t lose hope as it can be controlled by proper treatment and cure. The treatment requires lot of patience…but it’s not at all a big-ask for our pooches pink health.

Owner compliance… aim of the therapyDog Health

Dealing with a diabetic pet is a challenging situation…it requires a lot of patience and commitment as the treatment is a long-term process and tedious regimen to follow. It includes:

  • Stabilizing the patient and correcting ketoacidosis and dehydration, if present.
  • Restoring the levels of blood glucose to as near normal as possible. This will reduce the risk of longterm complications such as cataract, kidney problems, etc.
  • Correct glycosuria (that is the presence of glucose in urine). Once this is done, it will automatically reverse the symptoms of excessive urination and hunger.
  • One needs to remove any predisposing factors; females need to be spayed once they are stabilized. Any sort of corticosteroid, hormonal therapy needs to be stopped, if it is safe to do so.
  • Immediate weight reduction and long term weight management of the patient is critical; this includes a strict diet and exercise plan.
  • Administration of antibiotics to eliminate any infection, e.g. urinary tract infection.

The challenges… canines care

Owners of diabetic dogs need to be constantly aware of the following parameters to avoid any further loss due to disease:

  • A fixed and a constant amount of food each day will monitor his appetite better. Is he still hungry or is he leaving food behind?
  • Assess the patient’s bodyweight on monthly basis.
  • Develop a method to measure water consumption although this is highly variable, but a regular recording of the daily water consumption will help you establish the normal range.
  • Observe the patient for recurrence of clinical signs.
  • After stabilization of the pet, a regular check up is advised. A consistently good glycemic control assures the extension of time between visits to the vet.

Managing treatment…

Therapy for Diabetes Mellitus involves around consistency. The pet needs regular administration of medication, feeding and stable stress-free lifestyle.

Insulin: Administration of insulin injections is the foundation for keeping the blood glucose levels in check. This could be once a day or twice a day regime. Insulin is painless when injected, the needles used are very small and the injection when given will feel like an ant bite. The injection is given under the skin; the pet parent should not panic about causing any vital organ damage. It is crucial to administer the injection at the same time every day for better and stable results.

Diet: An overweight dog needs to lose weight through a combination of a weight reduction diet and personally designed exercise programme. Commercial diets are available in the market, which are a healthy weight loss option. If giving homemade food, then do discuss the diet chart in detail with your vet.

Exercise: Regular exercise promotes weight loss, improves insulin absorption into the cell, and enhances glucose uptake by muscles. Consistency in the level and time of exercise has to be maintained.

The care of a diabetic pet is very challenging; but with your dedication and your veterinarian’s expertise, your pet could continue to have a long and healthy life.

(Dr Kamaldeep Chaggar is a 2nd generation vet; she did her graduation in veterinary science from PAU, Ludhiana and worked with clinics in London and USA. She has also authored several articles on pets and is a regular on radio and TV pet shows.)


One of the most common complications in diabetic pets is giving them too much insulin. If the dose of insulin is just too high, the dog can go in to hypoglycemic shock. This is a life-threatening emergency. He will become depressed, may have seizures and lose consciousness. If this occurs, take your pet immediately to the vet for urgent medical attention. On the way, a little honey/sugar solution or glucose powder paste can be administered orally.

Health checklist for your K9

The love and companionship you get from your dog is unmatched and the best gift you can give him is good health. Here’s a checklist to keep your dog fit and fine :

  • REGULARLY examine your pet for any problem and check it before it becomes life threatening.
  • IF YOUR pet gives a doggy odour, it is a sign of low level of health. Act fast!
  • KEEP YOUR pet’s teeth clean and watch out for bad breath and tooth or gum problems.
  • REMOVE WAX from his ears as it can trap ticks, mites or other parasites inside his ears. If there is any bad odour, consult your vet.
  • IF THERE is any change in the colour of his eyes or any irritation, it may be the beginning of a serious health problem. Consult your vet immediately.
  • KEEP HIS coat clean and free from fleas and parasites. If you find any change in the colour of his skin, consult your vet immediately.
  • GIVE HIM a balanced diet, which will help him acquire immunity and accelerate his growth.
  • TAKE YOUR pet to your vet for regular check-up, as you know prevention is always better than cure.
  • KEEP THE weight of your pet under control as obesity leads to many diseases.
  • FOR A healthy body and a hilarious mind, exercise is very important for your pet. So, give him/her adequate amount of exercise.

Common Health Concerns

Your dog may live a long and healthy life, and never experience any health problems. However, it’s still a good idea to familiarize yourself with the more common canine health concerns so that if he should develop a problem, you will know what to do. Here’s a rundown of some of the most common complaints your dog may face, and what you can do about them.

Allergies: Dogs can be allergic to a variety of things including grass, flea bites and, less commonly, food. Allergies in dogs usually cause skin problems – although food allergies can cause vomiting and diarrhoea. If you see your dog scratching, licking, and biting himself, take him to your vet to diagnose the problem. Your vet can recommend treatment products and procedures, and you may also need to keep your dog away from allergy-causing substances.

Diarrhoea: There are two types of diarrhoea that dogs experience: acute and chronic. Acute diarrhoea strikes suddenly and doesn’t last long. It is often caused by food allergies, infection, or if your dog eats food from the garbage can. Acute diarrhoea can be managed without too much trouble. However, with diarrhoea, there is always a risk of dehydration, so you will have to ensure that your dog takes in enough water, even if he’s not eating. A day of fasting, followed by a special, bland diet should restore his health. Call your vet if the diarrhoea continues, or if your dog has a fever, abdominal pain, starts vomiting or seems depressed.

Chronic diarrhoea is a longer-term problem that is often caused by an illness such as Colitis or pancreatic problems. Your vet will need to diagnose the problem and direct the treatment.

Ear problems: Ear mites are parasites that live in the ear canals of dogs and they can cause a bacterial infection or inflammation. If your dog has ear mites, he may excessively shake or tilt his head. Your vet can easily diagnose ear mites – they leave behind a distinctive brown discharge – and prescribe anti-mite eardrops. You will have to administer the drops at home for four-to-six weeks. It takes some persistence to get rid of these parasites.

Ear infections are also common in dogs, especially dogs with floppy ears. If your dog has an ear infection, he may scratch his ears or shake his head. Treatment consists of a visit to your vet, who will clean out his ears with a special solution, and may prescribe antibiotics.

Fleas: Fleas can cause a range of health problems in both dogs and humans. They are difficult to spot and are usually diagnosed by the presence of flea dirt – black flakes or specks. Your dog may scratch and bite himself if he has fleas. However, even if he doesn’t scratch, the presence of fleas should still be of concern. To rid your dog of fleas, treatment will consist of a flea control program that includes treating his environment -your vet can recommend the appropriate flea control program.

Obesity: Excess weight creates a high risk for medical problems and can shorten a dog’s life. Obesity is probably the most common nutritional disease among adult dogs. It is estimated that 40% are overweight. A quick way to tell if your dog is overweight is to feel his ribs with the flat of your hand. If you can only feel the ribs with difficulty, your dog probably needs to lose weight.

Occasionally, underlying health problems can make a dog overweight. But overfeeding and under exercising are much more common causes of excess weight. If your dog is overweight, take him to the vet to rule out any medical problems. Your vet will set a target weight for your dog and select a proper diet. You will also need to give your dog regular exercise.

Worms: They are a common problem for dogs and must be controlled for his safety and yours. The most common worms are roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. Although they may not seem to cause your dog problems, worms can stress his immune system, cause diarrhoea and vomiting, and, in rare cases, spread to people. A preventive program of regular worming should be a part of your dog’s health routine.

The good news is that there are more ways than ever to eliminate worms and other internal parasites, and your vet is your best resource for treatment. A thorough worming program includes flea control because fleas may carry tapeworm eggs. Some heartworm medications also prevent intestinal parasites.

The road to health

Don’t be overwhelmed by all of this information on common health concerns in dogs. Your dog may never experience any of these conditions – and he certainly won’t experience them all at once. However, if you are prepared, you will be better able to give your dog the care and attention he will need. After all, he deserves your help in achieving the best health possible because of all the warmth and companionship he brings to your life. And if your dog is healthier and happier, both of you will have more time together – and that makes it all worthwhile!

Treats: a way to good health

Treats become a way for owners to interact with their pets beyond their main meal. Dr. Pradeep Rana answeres Faqs on treats from a vet’s perspective

The benefits of treats towards a dog’s health are immense. Treats not only form a means for interaction but many dogs who suffer from debilitation are recommended treats that consist a lot of vitamins and proteins. The basic source of treats varies but they mostly contain nutrition and flavour or are raw hides. Problems like suffering from weakness and calcium deficiency in pups can be resolved by giving the correct amount of supplements in form of treats. Dogs normally do not like the taste of medicine and many owners have to resort to force-feeding their pets. Here, treats play a very vital role.
Q : What are the benefits of treats?
Dr. Rana : Treats benefit in more ways than one. Mostly treats help in building antioxidant, chondroprotective and oral/dental efficacy.
Antioxidants come in treats, which contain Vitamins C and E. They help to build immune system which is very important to fight diseases in dogs and help in better reaction to canine medicines. They also help build high level of energy.
Chondroprotective is beneficial for joints since they have high level of glucosamine and chondroitin. This is found naturally in chicken, beef and eggs. Joint and bones requirements are different. Joint treats are made to lubricate joints in old dogs who suffer from joint pain. Glucosamine and chondroitin helps to make the cartilage in the joint whereas bones treats are rich in calcium, which is an important requirement in growing pups for forming healthy strong bones and teeth. On an average, a dog loses glycogen, electrolytes and antioxidants like humans, which lead to fatigue and exhaustions especially during summers. Carbohydrates, electrolytes and Vitamin E and C found in treats can optimise stamina by replacing the added nutrition in his body.
A normal Indian household have dogs on home-cooked diet which are soft food giving rise to many dental/oral problems, which give rise to gingivitis, foul smell which then lead to digestive problems. Hence dental bones and chews is a ‘must’ recommended for dogs.
Q : What are the nutritional benefits of treats?
Dr. Rana : The nutritional benefits go like this. For bones, calcium and vitamins are important. For eyes, treats must contain Vitamin A while for a healthy coat, the treat should be rich in oil and fats containment. Dental tartar leads to many liver problems, hence dental treats and treats that are low in carbs should be given till the problem is solved.
Q : What kind of treats are good for dogs?
Dr. Rana : Treats should not be changed often, unless the requirement of the dog changes. If the pet is suited to a certain treat or likes it, much variation or experiment should never be done. Treats are present in a large variation but what the owner should look at in terms of treating for health benefits should be as per the requirements of the dog. If you have a pup, give him treats for protein, if he’s a debilities old dog, give him soft treats for joints. Similarly, dogs suffering from bad oral hygiene should be given dental treats.
Q : What ingredients are mostly found in treats?
Dr. Rana : Chicken, cr de protein, crude fat, crude fibre, grounded rice, soyabean
meal, grounded oats, barley, corn syrup, glycerine,
gelatin, edible fatty acids,
dry cheese, molasses,
artificial flavours, minerals, vitamins, supplements, biotin supplements, sodium, etc.
Q : What indigents should an owner look at before buying treats?
Dr. Rana : Calcium, minerals and other requirements in a healthy canine are made more palatable with chicken and other flavours are added to make dogs like and have them. A treat should always be given in certain fix amount or else
it will definitely lead to overweight or obese pets since treats are rich in proteins and fats. A treat containing high carbohydrates tends to make a dog put on weight. You should always look for a treat that is easy to digest. Pets react to total calorie consumption so that should always be kept in mind. Totally calorie consumption given to the pet works as : Daily diet = Food + treat + supplements.
If the nutritional requirements of the dogs are kept in mind, then this cycle shall never give rise to overweight pets.
Q : What ingredients in form of treats could be harmful to pets?
Dr. Rana : Chocolates are a big mistake. Treats in small quantity are good. A biscuit is better than “roti” since they might start replacing it with their normal diet. Natural vegetables treats like veggies or fruits can be given in very small amount like half a piece of apple. Some dogs can be allergic to certain food like milk or meat, hence all owners should read carefully before giving a new treat to the pet. Look out for the content chart to avoid any unnecessary casualties. Allergy information are also given on the packet of the treat most of the time.
Q : What are the feeding recommendations?
Dr. Rana : Depends on the treat, instructions are given on the packet itself. Small treats can be given 2-3 per 10-lbs. of body weight per day.
Treats were earlier based solely on hard baked biscuits. But as more and more variety are available, a responsible owner should understand the connection between nutrition and health. Benefit of treat on nutrition is to add the missing ‘factor’.
(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.)

Hydrotherapy:swimming into good health

Just as with people, hydrotherapy can be used for dogs after an injury or surgical procedure, or for chronic conditions, to help regain strength and mobility. It has been proven to speed recovery time from surgery, improve function and minimize complications. Early intervention may help them recover more quickly and completely. There is a growing consensus among veterinarians and pet owners in the United States and Europe, that a little exercise in water can be very beneficial in improving the health and quality of life for dogs. Whether young and bursting with health and energy, old and feeling sore or stiff from arthritis, or recovering from injury or surgery, hydrotherapy has something in store for almost all dogs.

What is Hydrotherapy?

Hydrotherapy, sometimes also called aquatic or swim therapy, is a complimentary treatment that is coming to popularity. It is a form of active assisted exercise that includes the use of a swimming pool, underwater treadmill, or therapy spa to engage an animal in swimming activities. The health benefits of active assisted hydrotherapy have been studied extensively and are now recognized by modern veterinary surgeons around the world. Aquatic exercise is purposely advised for increasing muscle strength, balance and stamina, and is essentially a part of many rehabilitation programmes.

What are its benefits?

According to Dr. Jeffrey Norton, Surgery Resident at VCA/All Care Animal Referral Center in Fountain Valley, California, USA, hydrotherapy has numerous goals and benefits, including the restoration of muscle function in the post-operative period. The decision to initiate hydrotherapy is based on the patient’s tolerance, the clinical judgment of the veterinarian, and the availability of physical rehabilitation facilities. Restoration of muscle function following surgery is critical. Water provides more resistance than air; and due to the additional support, the likelihood of further injury during exercise is reduced. However, this is a new field which is yet to be well-regulated. Apart from swimming, underwater treadmill also has its benefits to offer. As the water in a treadmill lifts 60% of the dog’s weight off its feet, while still allowing the feet to touch the ground, dogs move normally and are not frightened. This reduces the chance of injury due to thrashing and hyperextension, as it sometimes happens in a regular pool, especially to dogs who have just had surgery. Moving against the resistance of the water strengthens muscles and improves balance and coordination.

Other benefits include decreasing pain and facilitating healing of injured and inflamed tissues, preventing further disuse and atrophy of affected muscles, improving strength and function of weak or paralysed limbs, besides facilitating weight loss and improving general overall condition. Hydrotherapy also relieves pain and stiffness caused by arthritis and provides positive psychological effects for both the dog and the owner.

What kind of exercises does it offer?

Hydrotherapy facilities currently can offer hydrotherapy rehabilitation, which include swimming, massage for exercise, underwater treadmill, and conditioning purposes.

What are the factors to be considered in hydrotherapy?

The function of a treadmill varies with design. There are specific designs for dogs, rather than one adapted from a human or horse treadmill. Adapted treadmills can cause injury or death to weak dogs. The extreme turbulence in horse or human treadmill could prove hazardous for dogs.

Other factors like suitable water temperature, depth of the pool, noise level, chlorine level, etc should be equally considered. And most importantly, an expert should be attending the dog while the exercise goes on. Hydrotherapy providers should be clean, well-informed, insured and have a valid business license. Following certain guidelines will help dogs enjoy the benefits that swimming and hydrotherapy offer.

(Judy Teresa Pogreba is the Founder and President of See Spot Swim, Inc?–?a canine hydrotherapy, rehabilitation and conditioning center in USA. More information can be had from And further details on underwater treadmills can be obtained from or