Just fur fun! l May-June 2009

All About My Buddies:
My Name is: Vinata Iyer
My Buddies’ Names are: Junior & Buddy
My Buddies’ Breeds are: Labrador Retriever and Golden Retriever
My Buddies’ Ages are: 3 years & 2 years
My Buddies are : Male
My Buddies’ Favourite Treats : Chicken
My Buddies’ First Love : For Junior, it is his red ball &  for Buddy, it is me
Celebrities my Buddies Resemble the Most : Junior with Shah Rukh Khan & Buddy with Abhishek Bachchan
Character Certificate to My Buddies will Say : For Junior—very energetic & affectionate and for Buddy—a brat but loving.
Songs to Dedicate to My Buddies : ‘Bachna eh hasseno’ & for Buddy — ‘Come to me’

BUDDies and ME: (Few of our favourite things)
List of Activities We Like Doing the Most : Playing in the garden and swimming
What We Indulge Doing on Sundays: Playing in the garden
What is the Best Trick I Have Taught Them : For Junior—Giving Hi-Five & for Buddy—Giving a hug

Ask the expert..| May-june 09

I took out almost 70 ticks from my two dogs – Zack, a Golden Retriever and Cody, a Spaniel, who are 4 months old. Please do advice me a safe method. Is a tick bath safe at their age? Do we have spot on for puppies? Is there a vaccine for ticks- is it safe and what age can it be administered? What can I do to prevent those ticks on my puppies?
– Shaynaya Doyle, Gurgaon

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 flea/ticks control products: Adulticides (these products kill adults fleas) and Insect growth regulators (IGRs)/insect development inhibitors (IDIs) (these products prevent fleas/ticks from hatching or maturing). Flea and tick control products for dogs include a variety of drugs and chemicals available as collars, shampoos, sprays, dips, powders, long lasting topicals, and oral medications. There are no vaccines available at present to control ticks. Thorough cleaning of the house and yard should precede any application of insecticides. Places where dogs spend most of their time will have the greatest numbers of deposited eggs and newly emerged adult fleas and ticks. It is always best to treat the dog and the environment on the same day. Make sure that other pets/dogs he frequently contact/visit are free from fleas and ticks. The veterinarian will choose a product or products that combine safety, efficacy, and ease of use for the client. Often a combination of adulticide and an IGR or IDI is used.

My dog’s fur has a lot of dandruff-like thing in it and there has been a lot of hairfall. Now I don’t find new fur growing. Please help.
– Ramdev R, Mangalore

Photoperiod (light intensity) is main factor besides nutrition, genetics and health that can cause dogs to shed hair excessively during some seasons and therefore, can be physiological. Dogs may also 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. Evening Primrose oil capsules (1 cap per day) or Sunflower oil/saffola oil/corn oil (2-4 tsp) and Zinc capsules everyday in the feed may also help him improve his hair coat in the short term when no underlying cause is identified.

I have a Lab puppy (male) around three months old. What all precautions should be taken in terms of his good health?
– Saurabh Shrivastava, Ghaziabad

The first few months of your puppy’s life show a very rapid development, and most Labradors become adult by 12-14 months of age. Feeding your dog a well-balanced puppy diet is clearly necessary to keep him fit and healthy, and there is a whole variety of different types of products to choose in Pedigree designed for puppy and Special food like Pedigree large breed which deliver additional health benefits. Other activities such as exercise, training, grooming and regular visits to the veterinarian (vaccination and worms treatment) are equally important to keep your dog happy and healthy.

My Lab pair are somewhat related. Do you think it is alright to breed them?
– Mala, Bhuwaneshwar

If a dog suffers from a disease that is suspected, but not proven, to be inherited, the dog should not be used for breeding. If close relatives of such a dog are used for breeding, they should be mated to dogs from bloodlines with low or no occurrence of the same disease. Breeding of siblings or continued line breeding results in increased mortality rates.

My two-year-old female Lab is very shy. She doesn’t bark back at street dogs when she goes for a walk. Some days back she was attacked by a street dog, luckily she did not get hurt but after the incident she is even more scared of the dogs and doesn’t like to go for a walk where there are dogs. What can I do to make her more confident?
– Amit Jhingran, Hisar

The best advice we can give is to pinpoint whom it is that might induce fear in your dog. This will help you avoid any unpleasant situations. Non-confident canines require very gentle training and lots of patience from their owners. One of the most common causes of shyness is the lack of exposure to new people and places at a young age. Dogs look to their owners to be the ‘alpha dog’ of their ‘pack’, and to guide them safely into new and stimulating situations. Without these experiences, the dog may become timid and skittish when introduced to things outside their immediate familiarity. She looks to you for guidance and protection, and therefore you must exhibit the level of confidence and firmness you would like your dog to follow. When your dog is frightened, it’s human to want to comfort your dog and say “it’s OK”. However, your dog assumes that you are praising her for being scared – which reinforces skittish behaviour.

Shy dogs need to have repeated positive experiences with many different people. Most shy dogs can become friendly with positive human interaction. Never force your dog to do anything that makes her nervous. Consider obedience training and introduce her to strangers, dogs or places gradually.

Ask the Expert.. May-June 09

Q: My cat Krishna, who is two years old, ate a cockroach recently and had some digestive problem thereafter. Please advice if the problem was due to the cockroach or any other factor. How should I prevent my cat from doing the same in the future? z – Ajesh. V, Malappuram


A: Dr. K. G. Umesh:
Cats are true carnivores (meat eaters) and their diet consisting of small preys such as rodents, birds, fish, reptiles and insects. They generally prey items which are rich in water, protein & fat and low in carbohydrate & ash (minerals) and they have no requirement for plant materials. Hunting is entirely natural for cats and takes place even when they are well fed at home.

There is really no point in trying to punish/correct your cat for hunting as it is part of his nature that is so deeply rooted that to try and eliminate it may cause him a lot of confusion. Playing ‘catching games’ with your cat using toys may help to relieve some of his urge to hunt. It is important to worm your cat regularly, particularly if he hunts. Consult your veterinary surgeon for more advice on worming. As cat’s nutritional needs are different to that of a dog or man, and feeding a high quality, well-balanced commercial cat food (Whiskas) help maintain optimum body weight and condition.

“Paw-Tales” l May-June 2006

A golden (ie) transformation… Indeed

I was not an animal lover but Goldie, my Golden Retriever pup has totally changed my life since she came into my life. Today Goldie and I are inseparable and I simply adore her.
Goldie – the beauty queen
Goldie looks gorgeous with a
golden mane, rustic brown shiny coat and a breezy tail. Taking her out for a walk is enchanting for she is the cynosure of all eyes. There are spontaneous queries on how good she looks and what we feed her to produce this effect!
Goldie – the glutton
Goldie loves munching and walloped the cake on her second birthday. She loves her eggs and snacks especially the beef bones and the chicken biscuits. She never ceases to ask for more and get away with it!! With her exquisite sense of smell, she can sniff anything edible from the corners.
Goldie – the miss luxurious
Goldie was born to an all American dad and banglorean mom, and inherited best of both. She loves a luxurious lifestyle – sleeps on an imported bed, uses an aromatic dentapaste and bathes with the most exotic shampoos. She also has a range of brushes and aromatic accessories.
Goldie – the Pollyannaish
Goldie loves toys in all shapes and sizes. Her favourite is the Indian Tenninkoit ring that I got her a few weeks back. She is extremely possessive about her toys and guards her territorial rights. Goldie loves to hangout in the balcony for hours gazing below and barking at her country cousins who dare to cross her visual tadars!!
Sometimes the way she communicates I feel if only she could speak! She has redefined love for me. Everyday I look forward to going home for her unconditional joyous welcome. Goldie is happy go lucky and thrives on love and affection. She offers a new prank everyday. We all love her for that.
– Dr T R Murali, Madurai

“Paw-Tales” l May-June 2006

Being a grandmother is truly a wonderful feeling, which I underwent recently, when my daughter (Golden Retriever MAGIC) had a litter. Those wonderful days of being a Grandmother were truly the most magical experience of my life. The plethora of emotions that I was engulfed with from the initial joy of looking forward to the bundles, then pangs of guilt as I saw the mother suffer during the last stages of pregnancy, the fear and anxiety during whelping and finally to the sad tears shed as I gave away each one. Those two months were truly amazing. Well, it all began with the first logical step, the match making. I would not settle for anything less for my beautiful, gentle, fair princess. I found ‘Muffin’, exactly the tall, dark and handsome kinds. He is dark golden, an import from Europe with excellent pedigree. “Magic & Muffin” form a perfect couple; we could picture this ideal recipe for charming little sweetie pies! The romance and tender moments soon resulted in the obvious. My child was pregnant and needed pampering. So I took extra care of her and added supplements to her diet, like dates, figs, fruits and greens and numerous supplements with regular exercise. As the D-day arrived I was concerned about Magic. We had made the arrangements, but soon we realized that she had her own plans and quickly shifted to her preferred spot, which was in the living room next to the couch. Quiet a few sleepless nights passed before she finally decided to bring her little ones into the world. The manner in which she handled everything on her own was truly incredible. She gave birth to eight cute puppies, out of which only six survived. We had six sweet darlings and after 10 days, the fun began. Our house became the most popular hangout for all kids in the campus and the pups gained popularity in no time. The pups grew fast, opened eyes on 15th day and walked on 18th day. After 4 weeks we shifted them to a big kennel in a large enclosure with a gate. It was amusing to see them play and fight amongst themselves and their toys, to see the ‘packing order’ being established, and to notice who’s the bully, sweet and shy one in the pack. We knew pups’s personality and had given them our own pet names. Soon, it was time to think about the inevitable, time to find good homes for my jewels. Puff! The magical muffins were all booked in an instant. They all found loving homes, I was happy for them but really missed their sweet antics. – Ramya Bharadwaj

Ask the Expert / May-June 2006

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 : My Dog MnM was given Coronavirus booster, within half an hour, he was vomiting and became extremely lethargic. After 2 hours, he suddenly began to suffer from itching and a violent allergic reaction set in all over his body. His vet advised me to bring him in immediately for another injection. The reaction subsided in a couple of hours but the facial oedema left him only after 24 hours. Please guide what to do when the next Coronavirus booster is due. – Nanda Anil

Dr. K.G. Umesh : Dogs are very susceptible to certain infectious diseases, especially canine distemper, infectious canine hepatitis, parvovirus, parainfluenza, leptospirosis, and rabies. Combined vaccination (all in one) against all these diseases as well as kennel cough, corona viral gastro-enteritis etc has proved to be a very effective means of reducing the incidence of these diseases. The initial vaccination series consists of one injection of a combined vaccine (multivalent) given at 6 to 8 weeks of age or about 2 weeks after weaning. Boosters are given twice at 3-4-week intervals until 16-20 weeks of age. Thereafter they require annual vaccinations. In most states, the first shot of rabies vaccine is given at 3 months of age. These booster injections not only help maintain his immunity, but they also provide a good opportunity for your veterinarian to carry out a full health check.

Adverse reactions to vaccines in dogs are very uncommon. However, some dogs may develop allergies/adverse reaction to proteins/ chemicals present in a vaccine and such dogs generally show signs immediately (or after few hours) after injections. An adverse reaction to a vaccine or drug is managed by avoiding the offending protein (allergen). Fortunately, most of these signs are reversible with immediate medical intervention. Therefore I suggest getting his booster vaccination done where such facilities are available to handle adverse reactions and make sure that such vaccination reactions are recorded in the vaccination certificate/medical record also.

Q : My dog Ruby has been diagnosed to have symptoms of false pregnancy. Please tell me about this condition, and what should I do? – Antara, Mumbai

Dr. K.G. Umesh : Phantom or false pregnancy are not uncommon in unneutered female dogs and occurs generally about 70-80 days after the start of her season. Symptoms vary from mild to severe and may include, some or all of the following: reluctance to eat, nest making, nursing or guarding inanimate objects (toy, etc), swollen mammary glands, milk production, general distress, nervous signs including panting and breathlessness and change in temperament (some may snap). The good news is that Ruby should be back to normal in 2-3 weeks time, however, there are few things which you can do to help her. To reduce milk production, reduce water intake slightly and feed less carbohydrates and increase exercise. Remove the toys/objects, which she’s nursing, and remove her bed during the day so that she can’t nest. If the symptoms are severe and these actions don’t seem to help, then it may be necessary for your vet to give her some hormone/medical therapy in form of tablets or injections. Your vet might even suggest a mild sedative if she is very distressed. As she has already had one false pregnancy, she may more likely to have others and may experience more severe symptoms. I would suggest that you discuss with your vet the pros and cons of neutering (spaying) if you are not planning to breed from her.

Q : I have noticed my dog coughing and sneezing occasionally, and having a running nose. What could be the reasons? – Suparna Saha, Kolkata

Dr. K.G. Umesh : Cough, like fever, is merely a symptom of a disease. Dogs can cough for a variety of reasons including irritation from allergies, change in climate, inhaled gases and foreign bodies. Coughing can also result from inflammation of the upper or lower airways, which can be acute (e.g., kennel cough) or more chronic (e.g. bronchitis). Likewise, if cough develops with difficulty in breathing during exercise or walk, you should also consider heart problem as one of the causes. The best way to rule out all these diseases and to have specific treatment is to get him examined. Your vet is the right person to decide what test needs to be done immediately. Your vet might prescribe bronchiodilators or anti-tussives to suppress cough symptomatically till all the investigations are complete.

Q :We have 3 stray dogs who hang around our house and each time I step out with Misty and Bruno – my two Labs, they try to play with them. Can my dogs catch any diseases from them. Should I get the strays vaccinated? Please advise. – Nawal Verma, Ajmer

Dr. K.G. Umesh : To make your dogs feel more comfortable around their canine counterparts, start with dogs that you already know to be trustworthy. There is no harm allowing your pets to interact with these stray dogs as long as they are healthy, vaccinated and free from fleas and skin diseases. If you are unsure about their health and behaviour, I would suggest you to take the responsibility of providing complete preventive health care for these stray dogs. Your pets should always be leashed when you take them for a walk.