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Let’s make Holi colourful for pooch!

Splashes of coloured water, dry gulal (colour) in the air, sweet ghujias and crunchy namkeens, fun ‘n’ frolic – this is what Holi is all about.

It is very important to keep your pets safe during Holi. Here are a few tips to make Holi ‘colourful’ for your pets:

  • 012Keep your pooch inside during the time people are playing Holi. Take him out only when the frenzy gets over.
  • Water balloons can hit your pet’s eyes and cause problems. So, keep your pooch away from children who play with them.
  • In case your pooch gets hit by a water balloon on his eye, wash his eye immediately. If irritation persists, contact your vet.
  • Since colours contain chemicals, they can harm your dog’s coat. Moreover, dogs can even lick the colour and fall sick. So, it is not a good idea to play Holi with your pet.
  • In case, your pooch ingests colour and consult your vet immediately.
  • Splashing water on pooches can make them catch cold. So, keep Mr Wet Nose away from getting wet.
  • After Holi, give your pooch a good bath with a dog shampoo only.
  • If by chance, his coat gets spotted with paint, trim the fur.
  • Do not feed him sweets and namkeens. Instead, give him his favourite treat.
  • Shower him with your ‘love’ because there’s no substitute for love. This definitely will add colour to his life!

Let’s make Holi colourful for pooch!

Splashes of coloured water, dry gulal (colour) in the air, sweet ghujias and crunchy namkeens, fun ‘n’ frolic – this is what Holi is all about.

It is very important to keep your pets safe during Holi. Here are a few tips to make Holi ‘colourful’ for your pets:Seasonal

  • Keep your pooch inside during the time people are playing Holi. Take him out only when the frenzy gets over.
  • Water balloons can hit your pet’s eyes and cause problems. So, keep your pooch away from children who play with them.
  • In case your pooch gets hit by a water balloon on his eye, wash his eye immediately. If irritation persists, contact your vet.
  • Since colours contain chemicals, they can harm your dog’s coat. Moreover, dogs can even lick the colour and fall sick. So, it is not a good idea to play Holi with your pet.
  • In case, your pooch ingests colour and consult your vet immediately.
  • Splashing water on pooches can make them catch cold. So, keep Mr Wet Nose away from getting wet.
    After Holi, give your pooch a good bath with a dog shampoo only.
  • If by chance, his coat gets spotted with paint, trim the fur.
  • Do not feed him sweets and namkeens. Instead, give him his favourite treat.
  • Shower him with your ‘love’ because there’s no substitute for love. This definitely will add colour to his life!

Jump with joy – with Pooch love!

New Year is not just the beginning of a new calendar, but it is much more – new hopes, Editorialnew aspirations, new resolutions, etc – in fact, it gives us an opportunity to jump with joy and start afresh.

A UK survey was recently conducted to find how important pets are for pooch lovers, especially women and there were some interesting findings. As many as 25 percent women would dump a man if their pet did not like him…. hmmm… whoever said women can be wooed with hearts and chocolates should think again! And 50 percent women say their first ‘hello’ to their pet when they are back home… no wonder why pets are so excited to welcome them at the door! Not only this, 33 percent of women would sleep on the floor besides their sick pets. Other findings indicate that almost half of the pet parents are ready to incur any expense on their sick pets and 60 percent celebrate events like birthdays, Valentine’s, Mother’s and Father’s Days with their pets.

We recently conducted an opinion poll on Facebook on a select group of women (pet parents) who are dedicated to their furry babies and here’s what we found: Almost 100 percent women say ‘hello’ to their pooches first when they get home… there are no two answers about it. Similarly, all we interacted agreed that they love to talk to their paw friends.

Pets are always a part of celebrations at home…that’s a fact that all our respondents shared. What about pets and partners – Nishi Chand says, “I already told him before our marriage that I love animals and can never live without them… thank God he is also an animal lover.” While Ranjeeta Nath Ghai puts it, “You have to be on the same track if you have to live together…”

We also posted a question wherein we asked if they would sleep on the floor if their pet was ill and we got some really interesting responses. As Stephen Game shares, “Ill or not, I only sleep on the floor… I sleep on the floor for them and them only!” While, Manesh Krishna, Vatsala Shukla, Alka Paul, Tanvi Nagpal and Sahana Saran say that their pets sleep with them every day on their beds. Now, that’s what we call pooch love… kudos to all our pet parents!

Let’s all woof into this New Year 2013 and Sparkle is refusing to step out for walks as temperatures are dipping in northern India. Take care!

Beating hypothyroidism in pooch pals!

Beating hypothyroidism in pooch pals!Hypothyroidism is due to impaired production and secretion of the thyroid hormones, which results in a decreased metabolic rate. It is the most common endocrinopathy of the dog. The clinical signs are quite variable and almost any organ system may be involved.

Causes of hypothyroidism

The thyroid gland is a small gland that is situated close to the larynx (voice box) in the neck. It is regulated by the small pituitary gland that is located at the base of the brain which produces a hormone called thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). This hormone stimulates the thyroid gland to produce thyroxine, the thyroid hormone. The pituitary gland responds to the blood level of thyroid hormone by producing more TSH if the thyroid hormone level is low and less TSH if the thyroid hormone level is high. The disorder results as primary, secondary, tertiary and congenital forms and of which, primary hypothyroidism accounts for almost 95 percent of the clinical cases.

Who gets affected?

This condition is commonly noticed in middle-aged dogs between 4 to 10 years of age and affects mid to large size breeds. Golden Retriever, Doberman Pinscher, Irish Setter, Miniature Schnauzer, Dachshund and Cocker Spaniel are the common breeds at risk. There does not appear to be a sex predilection but spayed females appear to develop it more often than intact females.

The symptoms

The clinical signs of hypothyroidism may be vague and insidious in onset, therefore hypothyroidism may be considered in the differential diagnosis of a wide range of medical problems. There is not a specific symptom that is diagnostic for hypothyroidism. The classical dermatological manifestations occur in 60-70 percent of hypothyroid dogs. These may include a dry hair coat, seborrhoea, alopecia, hyperpigmentation and pyoderma. While hair loss occurs in a bilaterally symmetrical pattern, it initially occurs in areas of friction such as the tail, around the neck, lateral trunk and ventral thorax. Lethargy, mental dullness, weight gain, unwillingness to exercise and cold intolerance are the signs that result from decreased metabolic rate. Accumulation of excessive amounts of glycosaminoglycans (mostly hyaluronic acid) in the dermis results in the myxoedematous appearance (tragic facial expression) found in some dogs. Neurological, cardiovascular (bradycardia) and reproductive manifestations have also been recognised. Myxedema coma, a rare syndrome, is the extreme expression of severe hypothyroidism.

Unusual signs include seizures, neuromuscular disorders and peripheral neuropathies. These manifestations are related to the profound hyperlipidemia. Two specific diseases associated with hypothyroidism are megaesophagus and laryngeal paralysis. A loss of smell and taste are also possible. The cornea might undergo fat (lipid) deposits or become ulcerated. Changes with adequate tear production along with internal structures of the eye could occur. Abnormalities in heart strength, rate and rhythm, along with atherosclerosis, could also occur. Inadequate thyroxine makes the immune system less effective at fighting infections, especially the bacterial skin infections (pyoderma) that occur secondarily. Suppression of the immune system might even increase susceptibility to Demodicosis and Malasseziosis. Breeding dogs might have abnormal heat cycles, infertility and high puppy mortality. In addition to low thyroxine, hypothyroidism is implicated in diabetes mellitus and Addison’s Disease and musculo-skeletal disorders.

A study on hypothyroid dogs revealed the following variety and frequency of signs seen with the disease:

Diagnosing hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism in dogs is probably one of the most over diagnosed diseases in small animal practice. The clinical signs of many diseases mimic those of hypothyroidism. There is no single hamatologic or biochemical test that is conclusive for hypothyroidism and even hormonal tests must be interpreted in light of historical and physical findings. The wide variety of clinical signs and findings associated with hypothyroidism necessitates specific testing of thyroid function to establish a definitive diagnosis. Tests currently available for diagnosing thyroid disease include total thyroxine (TT4), total tri-idothyronine (TT3), free thyroxine (fT4), thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), TSH response test, TRH response test, T4 and T3 autoantibodies, antithyroglobulin antibodies, nuclear scintigraphy and thyroid gland biopsy. The test chosen will depend on the symptoms and the availability of different tests.

Total T4 Test: This is the most common preliminary test for hypothyroid patients. The TT4 hormone is produced only in the thyroid gland and dogs with a failure of the thyroid gland will have a lowered level of this hormone. However, there are other conditions that can cause a lowering of TT4. So, if this screening test is positive for hypothyroidism, another more specific test is often done to confirm the diagnosis.

Free T4: T4 is present in two forms in the body. The “bound” form is attached to proteins in the blood and is unable to enter the cells. The “free” T4 is not attached to proteins and can readily enter the cells and perform its function. The free T4 is normally present in very small amounts.

TSH Level: In a hypothyroid dog, the TSH level will be elevated because the body is trying to stimulate the thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormone. If the total T4 and Free T4 are low and the TSH is elevated, a diagnosis of hypothyroidism can be made.

TSH Response Test: The TSH response test has long been recognized as an accurate measure of thyroid function and serves as the “gold standard” measurement in many studies evaluating thyroid function tests. This is because it provides important information about thyroid secretary reserve. Measurement of TT4 before and six hours after intravenous administration of 0.1 U/kg bovine TSH is the recommended protocol. Post-TSH TT4 concentrations above 30 mmol/L are normal, while TT4 less than 20 mmol/L is diagnostic for hypothyroidism.

Thyrotropin Releasing Hormone (TRH) Response Test: The TRH response test is used in humans to differentiate primary from secondary hypothyroidism. In dogs, the test has been used in place of the TSH response test and change in TT4 has usually been measured.

Therapeutic Trial: When diagnostic tests do not provide a clear diagnosis of hypothyroidism, thyroid replacement therapy is suggested as a valid diagnostic step. A positive response to therapy should be interpreted with caution because clinical signs may also improve in euthyroid animals treated with L-thyroxine. A diagnosis of hypothyroidism based on response to therapy should be confirmed by recurrence of clinical signs after withdrawal of supplementation.

Treatment of hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism in dogs is easily treated. Treatment consists of placing the dog on a daily dose of a synthetic thyroid hormone called levothyroxine. The dose and frequency of administration of this drug varies depending on the severity of the disease and the individual response of the animal to the drug. With few exceptions, replacement therapy is necessary for the remainder of dog’s life. Treatment should be initiated at a dose of 0.02 mg/kg orally every 12 hours and then the dose should be adjusted based on results of therapeutic monitoring. Using twice-daily treatment initially improves the likelihood of response to treatment in all dogs. After clinical signs resolve and TT4 concentrations stabilize within the therapeutic range, the majority of dogs can be maintained on 0.02 mg/kg once daily. The most important indicator of the success of therapy is clinical improvement. Clinical resolution of metabolic signs such as lethargy and mental dullness can be expected within two weeks of starting therapy, while other abnormalities, including dermatologic signs, may take up to three months to resolve.

(Dr K Satish Kumar works at Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, College of Veterinary Science, Hyderabad while Dr D Srikala is from College of Veterinary Science, Tirupati.)

dog health

Beware of common pooch diseases

What are the common pooch diseases? Does a particular breed have any specific problem? How can we keep our pooch healthy? These are just a few of the questions that plague a pet parent’s mind. Read on to know more about them.

Skin diseases are by far the most common diseases in dogs. Let’s see why. “It’s mainly due to ticks, fleas, dog healthfungal, bacterial and mange. Well, these come single as well as in mixed infections. Most common dog diseases indications for all these vary from hair loss, bald patches, scaling, dandruff and itching,” tells Dr Gaurav Pardeshi.

Other common diseases of dogs include ear infections, limping, anorexia and pyrexia, as observed by Dr Ramesh P Bopaiah.

Diseases on the rise…

Over the years, vets have seen remarkable increase in a number of diseases in dogs. For example, as per Dr Ramesh, diseases like Leptospirosis, Ehrlichiosis have shown a rise, due to improper garbage disposal in Bengaluru, which has resulted in a rise in the population of rats, bandicoots and also ticks and fleas.

While, Dr Gaurav has seen a rise in the number of lameness in forelimbs in puppies ranging from 4-12 months. “These dogs have a condition called DJD (developmental joint disease) where the joint show signs of some kind of arthritis which was limited to older dogs earlier. The reason behind DJD can be inbreeding and management problems (the way the pet parents keep their pets at puppy stage),” he adds. However, Dr Nagarajan has seen increasing cases of dermatological, urological and nephrological problems.

“This is mainly due to unawareness or complications related to severity of the problems or inability to identify the cause (especially, in kidney diseases). Sometimes, the reason can be simply due to delay in treatment,” he explains.

Season-specific ailments…

According to Dr Gaurav, “Though pooches can suffer from diseases in any part of the year but there are a few health problems which are specifically prevalent in a particular season. For example, the summer season attracts skin diseases and viral infections. Infestation of ticks, fleas and mange is very common in this season and some outbreak of gastroenteritis is also encountered.” He added, “Though winter is the healthiest season of the year, cases of Bronchitis and watering of eyes are common. While, rainy season is the season of Gastroenteritis and at times respiratory tract affections.” And Dr Ramesh treats more pooch patients suffering from Anorexia and Pyrexia in this time of the year.

Breed-specific ailments

Dr Guarav explained that each breed is unique and so are its problems. For example, breeds like Labrador, Golden Retrievers, German shepherd and Great Dane are more prone to hip dysplasia, while, giant breeds like Great Danes, Mastiff and Saint Bernard can suffer due to abnormal bone growth.

(With inputs from Dr (Capt) Ramesh P Bopaiah, private practitioner at Saras Veterinary Clinic, Cox Town, Bengaluru and served with the Indian Army (Remount Veterinary Corps) between 1992-97; Dr Gaurav Pardeshi runs Fur N’ Feather pet clinic and shop, Pune; and Dr B Nagarajan¸ PhD, Professor, Department of Clinical Medicine, Madras Veterinary College, Chennai.)


Breed specific ailments

Here’s a list of a few breed-specific ailments for the benefit of our readers

Basset Hounds – Slip disk
Boxer- Mitral valvular heart disease, colitis
Cocker Spaniel – Scaling disorders, otitis, warts, immune mediated haemolytic anaemia, kidney disease, slip disc.
Dachshund – Hormonal dermatoses, intervertebral disc compression, jaw abnormality, slip disc
Dalmatian – Urolithiasis, cutaneous adverse food reaction, deafness
Doberman – skin- bacterial folliculitis, dilated cardio myopathy, hepatitis, E canis, bleeding disorders.
German Shepherd- From mouth to anus all gastro enteric problems (dental problems, Mega oesophagus, oesophageal diverticulum, gastric dilatation & volvulus, inflammatory bowel disease, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, pancreatitis, hepatitis, colitis), GSD pyoderma, atopy, malassezia, otitis, perianal fistula, maggot infestations, flea allergy, E.canis, nasal bleeding(bleeding disorders), Hip dysplasia, Bone disorders, hematoma, Epilepsy, Paralysis, Congestive heart failure, spleenic tumours
Golden Retriever- Cutaneous adverse food reaction, malassezia dermatitis, congestive heart failure, Hip dysplasia, atopy
Great Dane – Hip dysplasia, gastric dilatation & volvulus (bloat), bone disorders, vasculitis, Callous, Bursitis
Labrador – Allergic skin diseases (atopy, chemical contact dermatitis, cutaneous adverse food reaction),
Malassezia dermatitis, duodenal ulcers, dilated cardiomyopathy, hepatitis, otitis, hip dysplasia.
Pug – Cornal ulcers, pigmentary keratitis, cutaneous adverse food reaction, intertrigo (mucosal fold dermatitis), demodicosis, hypertropic pyloric stenosis
Rajapalayam – Cutaneous adverse food reaction

Tips to keep your pooch healthy…Dr Gaurav advises all pet parents as well as ones who want to get pets that it’s a huge responsibility of having and keeping a pet. “So, take very good care of them. The pet parents who are planning to get pets should meet a vet before bringing home a pooch as they can advise on the breed and age of the pet. Besides, they can guide on how to take proper care of your pet,” he adds.The best way to avoid health problems in your dog is to be prepared for every season. Consult your vet for advise and ensure that you pooch gets regular vaccinations and deworming as it help to keep the dog healthy and avoids many problems. Once the dog gets in to geriatric stage (old age), get a thorough veterinary check up. Remember, prevention is always better than cure!

KPS way of keeping your pooch safe in the pool

Summers are a great time to dash into water – it’s a great way to beat the heat. Even dogs love to swim. Here are a few tips to keep your pooch safe in the pool, especially those who are entering the water for the first time:

  • Wait: Never throw your dog into the water. Let him explore it gradually.
  • The bait: Go in the shallow water and call your pooch. Coax him with a treat or a toy. Just remember to keep him within reach. Alternatively, if you have another dog who can swim and is friendly with your dog, let him guide him to water.
  • The right strokes: Once inside water, your dog will start doggy-paddle with his front legs only. Lift his hind legs and help him float. He will understand the stroke and learn to keep his back end up.
  • Show the stairs: Acquaint your dog with the steps in the pool
    so that he may use them, in case he needs to come out at anypoint of time.
  • Don’t overdo it: As we all know, swimming is a great form of exercise. Your dog may tire quickly.
  • Be close to him: Never leave your dog unattended in the pool. Be close to him so that you can help him in case of need.
  • Get a life jacket: Buy a good life jacket for your pooch.
    Have fun!

 

Breed Profile

Toy Fox Terrier Pawfect Pawsome Pooch

They are true terriers who love to do everything with you; strong, sturdy with enough energy to hike with you all day and with just the right amount of toy dog in them so that they are not hyper and like to cuddle.

Don’t go by the size of the Toy Fox Terrier (TFT), they may look small but they are a terrier in a true sense. You will simply love their smartness and playfulness. He is a big dog in a small package. A TFT is also known as the American Toy Terrier or Amertoy.

Strong n’ elegant…

Eager, intelligent and full of interest – that’s how a TFT looks. His dark-coloured V-shaped eyesBreed Profile are bright and clear while his ears are pointed and set high. He is square in shape with his length approximately equal to height while the females are slightly longer. Their average height is around 10 inches and they weigh around 1.5-3 kg. They are muscular and athletic, with short glossy coat. They are found in four colours – tricolour (white body with black markings, black head with sharply defined tan markings on the cheeks, lips and eye dots), white, chocolate and tan (predominantly chocolate head & body spots are chocolate), white and tan (predominantly tan head with tan body markings) and white and black (predominantly black head and body markings).

Sweet demeanour…

Alert, friendly, intelligent, completely loyal and protective to their pet parents, that’s how a Toy Fox Terrier is! They learn new tasks easily and are eager to please their pet parents. Their special capability is their ability to adapt to almost any situation. In fact, like other terriers, TFTs are self-possessed, spirited, determined and not easily intimidated. He is a highly animated toy dog who is comical, entertaining and playful all his life. They are a very small breed, not really suited for really small children but they will get along with them, if the children are not really rough if they are raised or well socialised with children.

Life a pleasure with them…

They are great dogs to live with and will do well in an apartment. They will do everything that you want to do and then they will not hesitate to curl up in front of the TV for the evening with you.

Exercise is fun…

They will usually get all the exercise they need in the house or yard but they love their walks. They love to play throw, retrieve and tug of war. They are easy to train for obedience, rally and agility.

Groom me little…

 

They need very little grooming. All they need is brushing 1-2 times a week, daily tooth brushing, nail clipping and a bath 1-3 times a year. Since they are a short-haired breed, they shed but not a lot. Hence, maintaining them is an easy task.

Sturdy breed…

The breed has a few problems like thyroid and patellar luxation that should be tested before the dogs are bred. Also check the lines out for allergies or other health problems, make sure you get a health guarantee from the breeder. Make sure you buy from a reputable breeder who has done the testing and the dogs have tested clear.

On a concluding note…

They are the Terriers with the most pleasant behaviour and a lovely disposition. If you are looking for some fun in your life, bring home a TFT!

(Karl & Sharon Hager of Kilshans Kennels have been breeding and showing West Highland White Terriers for about 30 years when and then we decided to start looking into some smaller terriers who didn’t take so much grooming and Toy Fox Terrier answered everything that we wanted. We are enjoying showing and training these fun dogs in conformation, rally obedience, regular obedience and agility. They are doing very well and we have several titles in both conformation & rally. We have taught three of our TFTs to paint; we do demos occasionally with them).

feactures fun and frolic

‘The groomed’ city pooch

Grooming is a delight for pooches and one can choose from a range of services – right from pawdicure to herbal elixirs, massages, aromatherapy, hibiscus petal shampoo, paws drenched in butter balm, lavender magic or the full grooming sensation like the spa – all this leads to a well-groomed city pooch. Here’s a peek into some of the innovative and luxurious grooming services.

Overall wellness…

“Apart from soothing, energising, revitalising… providing relief to various problems – grooming helps in feactures fun and frolicgeneral cleanliness and hygiene of the dog. A well-groomed dog will have decreased chance of various problems and it also helps in monitoring the dog’s health,” sums up Ashish Anthony of Just Dogs, Ahmedabad.

“Grooming is not just necessary for the pooch to look good, it is important for their overall wellness,” told Ashita Mathew of Wags & Wiggles, Bengaluru. “Pooches love massages. And the pets feel like a puppy after the massage,” added Raajjhesh of SmaartPetsZ, Pune.

As per Ashita Mathew of Wags & Wiggles, Bengaluru, “At Wags & Wiggles Pet Salon & Spa, we understand that pets are more than just animals… they are our cherished companions who truly deserve the very best!”

Here are a few pet therapies to groom your pooches:

Unwinding the stress areas….

Full body relaxation with basic grooming: According to Aditi Sharma of Nails n Tails, Hyderabad, “We first massage the pet for 30 minutes and leave the oil on the pet’s body for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, we start with basic grooming which includes aromatherapy, conditioning, etc.” Talking about the benefits of this service, she replied, “The massage helps with blood circulation, hair fall, dandruff problem and dry skin. The reason why we leave the oil on the pet’s body is so that the skin can absorb the oil and work as a moisturiser. And the basic grooming keeps the pet clean and fresh.” The rates for this service range between Rs 700 and Rs 1,700, depending on the size of the pet and should be given to pets every month.

Touch and go for the high speed hound: ‘It’s a Dog’s Life’ salon in Mumbai offers this service at Rs 300 which is perfect for the dogs who are suffering from arthritis, recovering from surgery or an injury or for ageing pets. Warm massage remedy focuses on specific areas where dogs hold tension, which aids in the circulation of blood, which speeds healing and helps to oxygenate the body and releases muscle tension. The warm smell of the cinnamon encircles, refreshes and relaxes while Arnica and rich botanicals soothe and heal.

Relaxing massages: “Our groomers are certified, experienced professionals and will consult with the pet parents prior to the massage to make certain it’s an incredible experience that leaves the pet smiling inside and out. Aromatherapy bath can make your pooch feel extra special and relaxed,” told Raajjhesh of SmaartPetsZ, Pune.

“Canines like human respond well to this kind of service. It leads to deep relaxation, aids wellness and recovery from dry skin and itchiness removing out the dead skin,” he added. Rates vary from complete body oiling to oiling of joints for old and aged pooches to full body massage. The rates also factor the breed type and size and require 10-30 minutes for this grooming service.

Bling that shines…

Luminosity treatment for dogs with light-coloured coats: ‘It’s a Dog’s Life’ salon in Mumbai offers this service at Rs 600-800 which is perfect for any dog whose coat is light-coloured or whose coat is fading or yellowing with age. “Your pooch can lose these tell-tale signs of ageing with a combination of yoghurt and honey that soothe and condition the skin while special pearlescent brighteners add luster to the coat. After the dog is dried, she’s spritzed with shimmering mist which moisturises, texturises and repels dust and dirt while adding that extra touch of bling,” said Aanchal Malhi of It’s a Dog’s Life.

Aromatic spa experience: Companion Pets, Ahmedabad offers special spa shampoo with aromatherapy properties in four variants – Lavender Magic, Lemongrass, Flowering Bamboo and Kava Kava. “Each of these Spa Shampoos have their own aromatherapy benefits and will do things like ‘soothe’, ‘energise’ and ‘calm’ the pet depending on which spa shampoo is being used,” told Nirav Khandhadia of Companion Pets. He added, “Then comes the turn of applying a conditioner or advanced conditioning treatment depending on the condition of the hair of the dog.” The rates for this session vary according to the type of grooming a customer chooses from, starting from Rs 500 to Rs 2,000 and it takes minimum of 45 minutes to about maximum of 3 hours.

Luxurious spa…

The ultimate soothing spa experience: It is a two-hour session of Rs 3,000 at ‘It’s a Dog’s Life,’ Mumbai that includes herbal elixirs, a massage, bath, pawdicure, aromatherapy and breath freshener. The experience is heavenly and the results healing. Starting with a luxurious massage and bathing, the dog is given a pawdicure. “Dry cracked paws are drenched in butter balm to soothe irritated skin and prevent further drying. Then, the dog is given a relaxing aromatherapy application to nourish, detangle and a mesmerizing shine,” added Aanchal Malhi.

Wagging coat care & hair styling…

Dress your hair: “Our fundamental goal at Wags & Wiggles is to ensure that every pet has a positive grooming experience,” told Ashita Mathew of Wags & Wiggles, Bengaluru. “Apart from basic grooming package, we offer deep conditioning to improve luster and smoothness of the coat, hair colouring, nail painting, hair colour enhancement (for fur that is faded, especially in older dogs), paw treatments (for cracked paws) and oil massages with essential oils. We also give a free goodie bag with treats after every grooming session. All pets who come to Wags & Wiggles also get a free name tag which can be put on their collar,” mentioned Ashita. The whole grooming package costs Rs 800 for short-coated dogs (like Labs, Pugs, Basset Hounds, Beagles) and takes around one hour while that for long coats costs Rs 1,500 as it includes trimming & clipping as well and takes around two hours for the whole process to complete.

Bye dullness, hi smoothness package: Shweta Munjal of Prince of Tails, Bengaluru offers a three step process: Step 1 includes giving the dog a thorough massage with a blend of essential and carrier oil (olive oil) that acts as an antioxidant, antibacterial and natural healer. Step 2 involves giving the dog a nourishing bath with a shampoo consisting of hibiscus petals and essential oils blended at therapeutic levels. Step 3 involves providing the dog with deep conditioning treatment based out of wheat proteins and rich fatty acids. This service helps in nourishing the coat thus making it silky and smooth. It also helps in reducing breakage, shedding and detangling. It costs between Rs 800 and Rs 1,200 depending upon the breed size and takes between 60 and 90 minutes.

Itch free, flake free treatment: ‘‘It is a two step process at Prince of Tails, Bengaluru. Step 1 includes giving the dog thorough massage with a blend of essential and carrier oil. Step 2 includes giving a bath to the dog with a premium shampoo based out of a natural ingredient. This service helps in reducing dandruff and any sort of dander in a dog’s coat. It costs between Rs 700 and Rs 1,000 depending upon the breed size and takes between 45 and 60 minutes,” said Shweta Munjal of Prince of Tails.

Revitalising, deshedding, carding, degreaser: “(Revitalising) A special formula shampoo is used to revitalise skin and coat and relieve dry, itchy and flaky skin. Enriched with essential oils, it gives special reconditioning massage. The process requires two sittings of 1.5 hours each at Just Dogs, Ahmedabad; (Deshedding) Special shampoo and conditioner is applied, and forced air is used before and after the bath to loosen dead hair and massage skin. The process requires 1.5 hours in one sitting; (Carding) It helps remove between 60-80 percent of unwanted hair and is very helpful when given with deshedding process. It requires just one sitting of two hours; (Degreaser) For oily coats, it removes oil residue and deep cleans the coat. It requires one sitting for one hour. The rates vary for different breeds and condition of the dog and range between Rs 350 to Rs 2,500,” told Ashish Anthony at Just Dogs, Ahmedabad.

Breed specific style/clip: Hair cut/clip to the exact style any particular breed is supposed to carry. “Different breeds have different styles laid down by professionals/experts abroad over years and they should be styled in that fashion to look their breed type,” told Sanjeev of Scoopy Scrub, New Delhi. The service costs between Rs 600 and Rs 1,800 and takes around 45 minutes to two hours, depending upon the breed size.

Just be natural…

While Dr Lochana Baney of Gordon- Just FUR Dogs shared, “We give veterinary and grooming services for the health and beauty of the dog’s skin and coat. Our techniques for grooming include only natural methods with appropriate tools and 100 percent safe and pH balanced grooming products for the enhancement of the coat. Our concept of grooming is unique and oriented towards the kind of grooming a dog would have received when living in his natural habitat many years back. We focus on natural grooming through procedures that maintain the texture and colour of the coat, taking care not to damage the sensitive skin.”


Making pet parents proud and happy…

Grooming not only makes the pet look good but also makes the pet parents happy and proud. Ashita Mathew of Wags & Wiggles shared, “Pet parents love how their pet smells after a grooming session. And if a pet gets a haircut, he looks very chic and the pet parent obviously feels happy.”

While, Dr Lochana shared, “Pet parents are glad that we never ‘shave off the coat of their dog’ even if it is severely matted, or in the heat of summer. Our techniques and products can take care of this problem. They are glad to be in an ambience that is clean and relaxed and that they and their dogs feel so comfortable and calm.”

“The feedbacks of pet parents post a couple of sessions have been that everyone notices the change in the look and feel of the pet’s coat and that they themselves have received a lot admiration for taking care of their pets so well,” told Shweta Munjal of Prince of Tails, Bengaluru.

“We even get calls days after the pet has been groomed thanking us on the compliments the pets and pet parents get while walking the pets or from visitors/guests at their place,” told Sanjeev of Scoopy Scrub. And all those who have indulged their pet in this grooming sensation would nod in approval.

“Pooches feel relaxed, rejuvenated and shiny. Some pet parents have made it a practice to combine aromatherapy bath with massage which has resulted in reducing the scratchy and itchiness on their pooches,” added Raajjhesh of SmaartPetsZ, Pune.

“The pet parents who have tried our service are so happy and satisfied. That now we make sure that their pet is pampered with this service at least once a month,” shared Aditi Sharma of Nails n Tails, Hyderabad.

Groom them healthy and beautiful…

For a happy, healthy and good-looking pooch, pamper him with the grooming services he deserves. Every dog should have his day!

Health

Beating hypothyroidism in pooch pals!

Hypothyroidism is due to impaired production and secretion of the thyroid hormones, which results in a decreased metabolic rate. It is the most common endocrinopathy of the dog. The clinical signs are quite variable and almost any organ system may be involved.

Causes of hypothyroidism

The thyroid gland is a small gland that is situated close to the larynx (voice box) in the neck. It is regulated by the small pituitary gland that is located at the base of the brain which produces a hormone called thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). This hormone stimulates the thyroid gland to produce thyroxine, the thyroid hormone. The pituitary gland responds to the blood level of thyroid hormone by producing more TSH if the thyroid hormone level is low and less TSH if the thyroid hormone level is high. The disorder results as primary, secondary, tertiary and congenital forms and of which, primary hypothyroidism accounts for almost 95 percent of the clinical cases.

Who gets affected?

This condition is commonly noticed in middle-aged dogs between 4 to 10 years of age and affects mid to large size breeds. Golden Retriever, Doberman Pinscher, Irish Setter, Miniature Schnauzer, Dachshund and Cocker Spaniel are the common breeds at risk. There does not appear to be a sex predilection but spayed females appear to develop it more often than intact females.

The symptoms

The clinical signs of hypothyroidism may be vague and insidious in onset, therefore hypothyroidism may be considered in the differential diagnosis of a wide range of medical problems. There is not a specific symptom that is diagnostic for hypothyroidism. The classical dermatological manifestations occur in 60-70 percent of hypothyroid dogs. These may include a dry hair coat, seborrhoea, alopecia, hyperpigmentation and pyoderma. While hair loss occurs in a bilaterally symmetrical pattern, it initially occurs in areas of friction such as the tail, around the neck, lateral trunk and ventral thorax. Lethargy, mental dullness, weight gain, unwillingness to exercise and cold intolerance are the signs that result from decreased metabolic rate. Accumulation of excessive amounts of glycosaminoglycans (mostly hyaluronic acid) in the dermis results in the myxoedematous appearance (tragic facial expression) found in some dogs. Neurological, cardiovascular (bradycardia) and reproductive manifestations have also been recognised. Myxedema coma, a rare syndrome, is the extreme expression of severe hypothyroidism.

Unusual signs include seizures, neuromuscular disorders and peripheral neuropathies. These manifestations are related to the profound hyperlipidemia. Two specific diseases associated with hypothyroidism are megaesophagus and laryngeal paralysis. A loss of smell and taste are also possible. The cornea might undergo fat (lipid) deposits or become ulcerated. Changes with adequate tear production along with internal structures of the eye could occur. Abnormalities in heart strength, rate and rhythm, along with atherosclerosis, could also occur. Inadequate thyroxine makes the immune system less effective at fighting infections, especially the bacterial skin infections (pyoderma) that occur secondarily. Suppression of the immune system might even increase susceptibility to Demodicosis and Malasseziosis. Breeding dogs might have abnormal heat cycles, infertility and high puppy mortality. In addition to low thyroxine, hypothyroidism is implicated in diabetes mellitus and Addison’s Disease and musculo-skeletal disorders.

A study on hypothyroid dogs revealed the following variety and frequency of signs seen with the disease:

Diagnosing hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism in dogs is probably one of the most over diagnosed diseases in small animal practice. The clinical signs of many diseases mimic those of hypothyroidism. There is no single hamatologic or biochemical test that is conclusive for hypothyroidism and even hormonal tests must be interpreted in light of historical and physical findings. The wide variety of clinical signs and findings associated with hypothyroidism necessitates specific testing of thyroid function to establish a definitive diagnosis. Tests currently available for diagnosing thyroid disease include total thyroxine (TT4), total tri-idothyronine (TT3), free thyroxine (fT4), thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), TSH response test, TRH response test, T4 and T3 autoantibodies, antithyroglobulin antibodies, nuclear scintigraphy and thyroid gland biopsy. The test chosen will depend on the symptoms and the availability of different tests.

Total T4 Test: This is the most common preliminary test for hypothyroid patients. The TT4 hormone is produced only in the thyroid gland and dogs with a failure of the thyroid gland will have a lowered level of this hormone. However, there are other conditions that can cause a lowering of TT4. So, if this screening test is positive for hypothyroidism, another more specific test is often done to confirm the diagnosis.

Free T4: T4 is present in two forms in the body. The “bound” form is attached to proteins in the blood and is unable to enter the cells. The “free” T4 is not attached to proteins and can readily enter the cells and perform its function. The free T4 is normally present in very small amounts.

TSH Level: In a hypothyroid dog, the TSH level will be elevated because the body is trying to stimulate the thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormone. If the total T4 and Free T4 are low and the TSH is elevated, a diagnosis of hypothyroidism can be made.

TSH Response Test: The TSH response test has long been recognized as an accurate measure of thyroid function and serves as the “gold standard” measurement in many studies evaluating thyroid function tests. This is because it provides important information about thyroid secretary reserve. Measurement of TT4 before and six hours after intravenous administration of 0.1 U/kg bovine TSH is the recommended protocol. Post-TSH TT4 concentrations above 30 mmol/L are normal, while TT4 less than 20 mmol/L is diagnostic for hypothyroidism.

Thyrotropin Releasing Hormone (TRH) Response Test: The TRH response test is used in humans to differentiate primary from secondary hypothyroidism. In dogs, the test has been used in place of the TSH response test and change in TT4 has usually been measured.

Therapeutic Trial: When diagnostic tests do not provide a clear diagnosis of hypothyroidism, thyroid replacement therapy is suggested as a valid diagnostic step. A positive response to therapy should be interpreted with caution because clinical signs may also improve in euthyroid animals treated with L-thyroxine. A diagnosis of hypothyroidism based on response to therapy should be confirmed by recurrence of clinical signs after withdrawal of supplementation.

Treatment of hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism in dogs is easily treated. Treatment consists of placing the dog on a daily dose of a synthetic thyroid hormone called levothyroxine. The dose and frequency of administration of this drug varies depending on the severity of the disease and the individual response of the animal to the drug. With few exceptions, replacement therapy is necessary for the remainder of dog’s life. Treatment should be initiated at a dose of 0.02 mg/kg orally every 12 hours and then the dose should be adjusted based on results of therapeutic monitoring. Using twice-daily treatment initially improves the likelihood of response to treatment in all dogs. After clinical signs resolve and TT4 concentrations stabilize within the therapeutic range, the majority of dogs can be maintained on 0.02 mg/kg once daily. The most important indicator of the success of therapy is clinical improvement. Clinical resolution of metabolic signs such as lethargy and mental dullness can be expected within two weeks of starting therapy, while other abnormalities, including dermatologic signs, may take up to three months to resolve.

(Dr K Satish Kumar works at Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, College of Veterinary Science, Hyderabad while Dr D Srikala is from College of Veterinary Science, Tirupati.)

7 ways to bond with your pooch

Your pooch is an epitome of love and he deserves to be loved and cared for. Here are seven ways to bond with your sweet canine…

Exercise – Dogs are derived from wolves and need constant mental and physical stimulation. What better Dog Trainingway to start the bonding process by taking him back to nature by letting him smell, run and jump around! This gives him the perfect outlet to shed all that built up energy. Don’t forget to exercise his mind too. Games like fetch, hide and seek, agility, etc bring in a good equilibrium between mind and body.

Feeding – Feeding your dog is a great way to bond with your dog. Since you take the role of provider, your dog looks at you as the leader. This is also a time to reinforce his behaviour. You will see that this brings out his best behaviour!

Brushing/grooming –Not just long coated breeds, but all dogs need to be brushed and groomed. Brushing a dog not only reduces shedding, it also prevents bacterial build-up bringing a nice clean shine to the coat and reduces odour to a large extent. Added to all this, dogs love the touch and the attention they get.

Effective communication – A critical piece in strengthening the bond but very underrated! We can get very excited when we have to communicate to a dog when he is wrong. How often do we use the same energy to communicate when he has done the right thing? Take time out from your busy lives, listen to his body language and talk to him!

Massage – Dogs loved to be caressed. A nice massage not only relaxes their muscles, but also calms any jumpy nerves. If you find a sound sleeping dog on your lap after this session, you know your magical fingers have done the trick!

Reward your dog – Dogs, like us humans, need rewards and motivation. It’s totally unfair to expect a dog to do all the things he has learnt as a growing pup and not been rewarded for it. Praise is the greatest reward a dog asks and a ‘Good Boy’ ‘Good Girl’ at appropriate situations will bring your dog much closer to you than you can possibly imagine! Treats work wonder as well.

Purpose in life – Every dog needs a purpose in life. Because we are responsible for bringing them into our lives, we give them the best of food, love and sometimes even indiscipline! It’s only fair that we give them something more that they can do with their lives. Simple tricks like fetching the newspaper, remote control or even your keys are a hugely satisfying effort for your dog. For he loves to please and you have set him on a mission!

(Anand Vishwanath is the founder and pack leader of Anvis Inc, India’s first integrated pet management company. He is certified as an International Dog Trainer and Behaviourist under The Northern Centre For Canine Behaviour, UK).