Q: My pet Oscar, a Labrador, is two months old. Is it advisable to take him for grooming at this age? At what age should we start bathing him and how often?
– Indraneel Gupta, New Delhi
Dr K G Umesh: You can groom your puppy every other day to accustom him to this procedure and to being handled. Begin with gentle grooming equipment that does not hurt or irritate the puppy’s skin. Brushes and combs are custom-made for different breeds and lengths of hair; again, it’s important to select the ones that help his coat stay healthy and tangle-free. Dogs only need bathing when they are dirty or on the advice of your veterinarian. Because puppies have sensitive skin, talk to your vet about a shampoo that’s pH balanced just for him.
Q: My three-year-old Spitz has been having loose stools over a period of time, sometimes there is vomiting too. She has been given medicines by the vet. She is being fed rice and curd. Please help.
– Rohan Das, Nasik
Dr KG Umesh: Acute diarrhoea is common, usually self-limiting, and often needs only symptomatic treatment. However, in some dogs, initial symptomatic treatment is ineffective and diarrhoea becomes chronic. The causes of chronic diarrhoea in dogs are multiple, and numerous factors are involved (parasites, colitis, inflammatory bowel diseases). In these patients, sequential application of specific diagnostic or function tests to arrive at accurate diagnosis is essential, so that clinician can prescribe the specific therapy.
Q: Recently my seven-year-old GSD named Rambo has been diagnosed with arthritis. Please do help me with some information about the disease and its treatment/management.
– S Srikanth, Chennai
Dr KG Umesh: Osteoarthritis (OA) can be a progressive problem in which pain and disuse lead to further deterioration of joint movement and function. Physical rehabilitation can play an important role in the management of osteoarthritis. Therapeutic exercise and physical modalities (cryotherapy, thermotherapy, therapeutic ultrasound, and electrical stimulation) may be indicated to enhance motion or reduce pain, allowing improved function. Massage may be beneficial in reducing muscle spasms. In addition, a long-term diet and exercise schedule must be designed to maintain a lean body weight, which also reduces joint stress. Lifestyle changes, such as the use of ramps may also be considered. A number of drugs and other substances are promoted for the treatment including polysulfated glycosaminoglycans and NSAIDs.
Q: My dog’s eyes have been watering and every morning he has white residue. We have been wiping the same with cotton dipped in water. Do advice if this is normal.
– Prabha, Bhatinda
Dr KG Umesh: Abnormal discharge, either watery or cloudy, may indicate problem with tear production or flow or drain. It can also be a sign of infection. Therefore, take him to your vet ASAP.
Q: Winnie (eight years old Spaniel) has hypothyroid – she has been prescribed with medicine – twice daily for half an hour before breakfast and dinner. Do advice what food should I feed her.
– Ashwin Chaudhri, Visakhapatnam
Dr KG Umesh: There is no specific food or nutritional requirement for dogs with hypothyroidism but make sure that the food she eats is balanced and complete. Monitor her body weight and thyroid hormones on regular basis.
Q: When my dog urinates, he leaves a white mark on the floor. Is it a symptom of any sickness?
– Deepa Titus, Bhopal
Dr KG Umesh: Most dogs have urine which is slightly acidic and may leave such white marks on floor or carpets, etc. However, I suggest you visit your vet to make sure that he is free of urinary tract infection.