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Ask the expert..| Jan Feb 08

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 presently working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for South Asia.

Q:What are the signs of urinary tract infection in dogs. Is there a way where in we can prevent the same?
– Sudha, Nagpur

A: Urinary tract infection (UTI) refers to bacterial colonisation of portions of the urinary tract that are normally sterile (kidneys, ureters, bladder, and proximal urethra) and is the most common infectious disease in dogs. UTI is most commonly discovered when animals are presented with clinical signs of lower urinary tract distress (symptomatic), but it is not necessary for animals to demonstrate clinical signs in order for UTI to exist (asymptomatic). In these instances, the infection is diagnosed fortuitously. Urine culture is necessary for making diagnosis. Common noticeable signs include frequent voiding of small volumes of urine (usually in inappropriate places), urgency and difficulty in urination and cloudy or bloody or malodorous urine in some patients. Generally, the prognosis for animals with uncomplicated lower urinary tract infection is good-to-excellent. Avoid indiscriminate use of urinary catheters. Animals with frequent reinfection managed with bedtime therapy to augment its defences and prevent reinfection. They should be re-evaluated for finding underlying cause, using invasive and non-invasive diagnostic tests (endoscopy, radiograph, etc).

Q:I have noticed a little amount of mucous in my dog’s stool (Blackie) who is two years old. What should I do and advise what could be the causes?
– V Murthy, Trichy

A: Presence of mucus in faeces may indicate parasitic, liver or large bowel diseases, to name a few. Likewise, some dietary ingredients may also induce mucus. If it persists, take him to your vet to find underlying cause (and faecal examination).

Q:My mixed breed dog – Dimple – has got a bald patch on her back. Is it an infection? What are the skin related tests that we can do to determine the cause of the problem?
– Dr Kamala Bhatia, Chandigarh

A:Bald patch is a merely a sign and a common symptom in dogs with most skin diseases. Some common causes include parasites, allergies, hormonal and bacterial infections. For e.g., for external parasites like fleas, which is most common cause of itching, the dog as well as environment should be treated to make home and dog premises free from parasites. Likewise, skin scraping for mites (which cause mange), culture for fungus, blood test for hormones and IDST for allergy are some of the tests required for confirmatory diagnosis and specific treatment. Therefore, my approach would be to find underlying cause and then your vet will be able to recommend suitable medications that will eliminate the cause and therefore bald patch.

Q:My two-month-old Samoyed frequently keeps licking the walls. People tell me that this is a sign of deficiency of Calcium. Is that true? How do I stop her from licking the walls. Is it harmful?
– Sandhya Singh , Patiala

A:Small puppies are just like small children and will investigate everything by licking or chewing. Licking painted wall may pose risk of lead poisoning. So, it is essential that you make sure your puppy is safe in and around your home. Although this behaviour is unlikely to be associated with calcium deficiency, make sure that your puppy is receiving balanced and complete nutrition. The best idea is to get your puppy used to eating prepared foods like Pedigree from the very start. They meet dog’s nutritional requirements: they’re balanced, with the proper amounts of protein, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins, and are easily digestible.
Then try these helpful tips:
1. Give your puppy attention when you choose to do so.
2. Provide your puppy with several toys for chewing on.
3. Encourage and reward acceptable behaviour with praise and treats.
4. Prevent access to unacceptable chew items.
If necessary, seek professional trainer or ask your vet for help.

Q: Ruhi, my 8-year-old yellow Lab has coarse/rough elbows. The colour is a dark shade of grey. Is it normal? Shall I apply some cream/vaseline?
– Mukesh Kanuja, Ahmedabad

A:Thickening and pigmentation of skin at these pressure points that comes in contact with floor is a common finding in dogs, particularly in large breeds or overweight dogs. Treatment of this condition (deep pyoderma or callus) depends on the extent and depth of the lesion, your and Ruhi’s compliance and the underlying disease. Topical and/or systemic drugs can be used. If there are no signs of infection, consider using moisturisers/Keratoplastics and elbow caps. Vaseline also helps to some extent.

Dogs and Pups, Jan Feb 08 Issue