Just fur fun l Sep-Oct 2009

All About My Buddy:
My Name is:Bronessa Das
My Buddy’s Names is: Bruna
My Buddy’s Breed is:Labrador
My Buddy’s Age is: One year
My Buddy is : Female She is adorable
My Buddy’s Favourite Treats :Bread and Pedigree food
My Buddy’s Funniest Habit: Always tries to catch her tail and has a fancy for cats
My Buddy’s First Love : My mother and me
Celebrity my Buddy Resembles the Most : Underdog
Character Certificate to My Buddy will Say : Playful and greedy
A Song to Dedicate to My Buddy :How Much Is That Doggie In The Window?
BUDDy and ME: (Few of our favourite things)
List of Activities We Like Doing the Most : Playing with the ball
What We Indulge Doing on Sundays: Racing together
What is the Best Trick I Have Taught her : To catch the ball with two hind legs

Ask the Expert / Sep-Oct 2008

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 Lab takes homemade food, please, do let me know, is this diet right and how can I train him? – Ayush Bissa, Jodhpur

Dr. K.G. Umesh: Our research indicated that most home made diets/baby foods fed to dogs in our country are inadequate and do not meet recommended nutritional requirements. Prepared pet foods from reputable pet food manufacturers like Pedigree come with a guarantee of nutritional adequacy, quality and safety. Remember that it is not possible to feed your dog a consistent and adequate home-prepared diet without considerable time, effort, and expertise. It is difficult even for an experienced breeder to prepare balanced diet for dogs. There is no need to feed any supplements like calcium or home diet while he is feeding on balanced food like Pedigree except clean fresh water. Therefore, continue feeding only recommended quantity of the prepared pet food.

Effective training should be a combination of information: what you want the dog to do; motivation: a reason for your dog to do it; and timing: when to reward a good action. Therefore, the most important thing in dog training is to reward good behaviour and ignore unwanted behaviour.

Q: I have an eleven-year-old Labrador – Max, who does not respond to his name or commands. We think he is becoming hard of hearing. What tests can we get done to confirm, if he is going deaf or is there some other problem? – Suman Arora, Jhansi

Dr. K.G. Umesh: Dogs health problems related to advancing years are similar to our own. This might involve deficits in brain functioning, total or partial loss of hearing, eyesight, or sense of smell. Due to these changes, a senior dog may begin to appear to be ignoring commands, appear disorientated or have a reduced appetite. Early detection can help in disease prevention and can minimize suffering. If left undetected, many diseases can put your pet’s health at risk. The best approach to caring for your senior pet includes preventive diagnostics such as establishing baseline blood work, identifying existing health problems and monitoring progress during treatment. Visit your vet who will advise suitable tests for impaired hearing (BAER) and schedule regular health check-ups. Meanwhile, make sure that he is fed on suitable balanced diet that matches his age, dentition and energy requirement.

Q: My 3-year-old dog, Tipsy (Spitz) mated around the first week of June. She had three puppies on the 9th of August at home. All the three puppies did not survive. Could you tell us what possible reasons this could have happened? – Bijoy, Noida

Dr. K.G. Umesh: The failure to thrive in newborn puppies or neonates, known as fading puppy syndrome, can occur from birth to nine weeks of age. The causes of fading puppy syndrome can be broadly put into genetic, environmental or infectious agents groups. Hypothermia, herpes virus infection and maternal neglect resulting in poor nutrition are frequently reported causes. Affected neonates can decline quickly and die, so immediate detection and treatment are keys to survival. Therefore, always observe all the neonates’ behaviour and be on the lookout for key signs. Neonates or puppies that lie away from the group, cry constantly, are restless, or fail to nurse should be examined at once. Timely veterinary attention provides the best chances for saving these neonates’ lives. Because the exact causes of fading puppy syndrome are often not immediately apparent, your veterinarian will initially focus on supportive care and diagnostic evaluation. Your veterinarian will also ask about the dam’s ease of delivery, appetite, diet, vaccinations, mothering skills, and medications, etc that may help to prevent such problems next time.

Q: I have a Doberman who is one year old with an undescented testicle. Please, advise. – Kumaran, Mangalore

Dr. K. G. Umesh: Generally testes in dogs descent to final scrotal position by 2-4 months of age and may occur later in some dogs. The incomplete descent of one or both testes into the scrotum is called Cryptorchidism. This condition is believed to be inherited and is rarely associated with signs of illness. However, the risk of testicular cancer is thought to be approximately 10 times greater in affected dogs than in normal dogs. Castration is recommended practice before four years of age. Breeding of such dogs should be discouraged.

Ask the Expert / Sep-Oct 2007

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 : The hair of my five-month-old Dalmatian puppy is falling heavily. Please advise. – Ajay, Bangalore

Dr. K. G. Umesh : Hair loss/shedding is a common complaint in dogs with skin disorders due to number of causes. Unlike human beings, dog’s hair growth cycle is different and it does not grow continuously. Photoperiod (light intensity) is the main factor besides nutrition, genetics and health that can cause dog to shed hair excessively during some seasons and therefore, can be physiological. Stress, worms, harsh climate and general illness may also cause excess hair fall. Consult your vet for finding out the underlying cause(s) (like fleas, ticks, mange or allergy, hormonal imbalance, bacterial or yeast infection etc) and for suitable medications. If there is no underlying cause identified, try Primrose oil capsules (1 cap every evening) or sunflower oil/saffola oil/corn oil 2-4 tsp and Zinc capsules everyday in the food. This will improve his hair coat in the short term when underlying cause is identified.

Q : My three-year-old Labrador, named Bruno, had been bitten on the neck by a Golden Retriever while I had gone out of station. The wound was half inch deep. Bruno’s vaccinations are up to date. I want to know what injections can be given to him now? – Rupal, Pune

Dr. K. G. Umesh : Firstly, please call your vet for best chances of quick and uneventful healing. All bite wounds should be taken seriously and washed immediately with soap and water. If not treated promptly, infection may develop soon. For e.g. a puncture wound (without tearing off the flesh around it) is usually a small hole that closes quickly. This can be deceiving, as the bacteria and damage are “trapped” below the surface, which can lead to infection. Many animal bites, even if rabies vaccination or stitches are not required, should be treated with antibiotics. Consult your vet for postbite vaccination if your pet as well as the Golden Retriever’s anti-rabies vaccination is up to date. If your pet is bitten by an unknown pet or any animal whose rabies vaccination status is unknown, he should be captured/quarantined for observation. Your pet should also undergo postbite vaccination as per recommendations of your vet.

Q : How can I prevent my pet from maggots? – Deepika Prakash, Chennai

Dr. K. G. Umesh : Maggots are the larvae of flies. They lay eggs, which develop into larvae that need to eat. They generally get attracted to any animal that has skin infection, poor skin/matted hair, bad smell etc. The larvae, which look like white grub worms, only eat dead tissue, but they can be extremely painful and irritating to the pet. These conditions can appear and get worse within hours. It is important to find the cause of the initial maggot attraction (is your pet vomiting, have diarrhea, a wound, etc) and to prevent further maggot infestation. Very old, young, or compromised animals will be more at risk. Applying safe fly repellents like neem oil around the wound may also help. Consult your vet immediately, rather than wait.

Q : My 6.5-year-old female dog Honey is urinating very frequently. What problem would this indicate? – Debasis Roy, Kolkata

Dr. K. G. Umesh : Urinary problems are commonly seen in dogs and cats. Symptoms can range from “obviously sick” to very few signs seen, depending on the length and severity of infection. In addition to increased frequency of urination, if you see any additional signs like urination in inappropriate places, difficulty when urinating (straining), discoloured urine, strong and/or foul smelling urine, lethargy and fever, may indicate presence of urinary tract infection (UTI). Inappropriate and increased frequency of urinations may also be indicative of other diseases that commonly affect older dogs including kidney failure, diabetes and Cushing’s disease. Consult your vet for finding out the actual cause so that your dog can be treated appropriately. It is very important to properly treat these infections, not only for your dog’s comfort, but because untreated UTIs can lead to kidney failure or a chronic, recurrent infection.

Q : My dog Shadow is constipated. What can I do to relieve him from this discomfort? – R Dhaliwal, Ludhiana

Dr. K. G. Umesh : Factors associated with causing constipation include dietary, foreign bodies (e.g. feeding bones), neurological problems, growths, metabolic diseases and pelvic injuries, to name a few. In most cases, the cause can be identified on the basis of clinical signs that the dog is showing. However, in some cases, no obvious cause is identified. The initial treatment involves administration of enemas and correcting dehydration. Diets also help to manage constipation. Most manufactured diets like Pedigree have adequate level of fibers to form well-formed feces and thus prevent diet-associated constipation. If constipation recurs or becomes a long-term problem, then continuous treatment may be needed to prevent recurrence. There are a variety of preparations in the market and your vet will be best person to advise you on which is most suitable for your dog.

“Paw-Tales” l Sep-Oct 2006

Harry Pawtter and splits of laughter

No words can explain the fun and excitement of having a pet, it’s an experience that needs to be felt. And I am lucky to have the exuberance of the same. But I was quite reluctant in the beginning as I was of the opinion that it would be an added responsibility.  Good things always make way for themselves and my kids Viraj and Vashisht convinced me to bring home, their new companion and my third kid – Harry.
Harry, a Lhasa Apso has filled our lives with so much of fun, right from the first day. His cute looks and naughty antics won our hearts in no time. All of us treat him like a small kid in the house; he even accompanies my kids to school in the morning. We have to just murmur, “Harry, school jaana hai?”, and in a flick of a second, we will find Harry at the entrance door, waiting for us to come, with an oh!-what-takes-you-so-long look.
My husband and me have to travel for work so when he sees me packing, he gets upset and follows me everywhere. And once we are back, he is simply uncontrollable. He keeps scratching our luggage till the time we open our suitcase and give him his gift. But we all feel he is our biggest gift.
He is our real 24 x 7 companion, and we all regret the unavailability of good pet parks in our locality, where he can have all the fun and masti.
– Diksha Bhatia, Kolkata

“Paw-Tales” l Sep-Oct 2006

Simba and me… in this beautiful world…green grass, blue sky…

Simba and me are inseparable, and true to his Pug spirit, he always follows me, wherever I go. He is a sweet inimitable monster yet an adorable Pug. I named him after “The Lion King” because I always thought him to be our little lion. Simba is a bundle of energy and joy for the whole family. Ready to pounce on any moving or colorful object, he is the cynosure of everyone’s eyes.
Pugs are famous for their well-behaved and docile nature, but Simba is an exception. He keeps us on our toes and I feel that he is miles away from being docile.  His quest for food is never ending and for him everything from socks to toys is EDIBLE! He is a powerhouse and that person must be a genius, who can match his enthusiasm for life.
He loves cuddling up next to me and follows me like a lamb. Simba is the love of our lives and we feel, that his ‘no-matter-what-keep-going’ attitude acts as a biggest stress buster for all of us and we all love having him as a part of our family!
– Nidhi

“Paw-Tales” l Sep-Oct 2006

Are dogs jealous?
Where there is love, jealously will naturally make its way, quiet true! This is something that I experienced recently, with my most loved pal – Tuffy. We share a wonderful relationship and spend quality time together and he treats me like his best companion. All was going well, but after I got married, like a small kid, Tuffy started showing all the signs of jealously. My wife tried her best to be friends with him, but all went in vain. He felt as if, my wife was clinching his share of love and affection.
My wife’s sincere efforts turned fruitful after a while, as she herself developed and nurtured a loving bond with him. We gave extra attention, affection and care to him, along with quality playtime together.
Yes, dogs are jealous, especially with a new entrant in the family. Generally they become depressed and in some cases aggressive. In order to overcome this situation, what is required is love, care, affection, pamper…the list is endless. Treat them good, make them feel special, and you and your pooch will definitely never have such issues. Never let jealously spoil the loving pooch bond!
– Ashu Srivastava, Sharanpur

Ask the Expert / Sep-Oct 2005

Q : I have a 2-year-old German Shepherd (male) who weighs around 20 kg. Although, I keep him fully vaccinated, duly de-wormed and well groomed, still he has a problem of itching and hair falling. He is also quite active but consumes a low diet (maximum two chapattis/75-100g of Pedigree food). I want him to gain more weight. Kindly guide me. –Tarun Kumar Goel, Delhi

Dr. Umesh : Itching (and hair fall) is most common sign associated with many skin affections. Ectoparasites (fleas), allergies (Atopy), and bacterial skin infections (pyoderma) account for majority of cases. Please take your pet to your vet to rule in or rule out common causes based on history, examination, skin scraping, and allergy testing etc. Dogs with severe continuous itching should be evaluated for Scabies, flea allergy, Atopy (pollens allergy) and yeast infections etc. For e.g., if fleas are present, they should be suspected as cause and aggressive flea control should be instituted to eliminate fleas from environment. Please consult your vet at the earliest to identify underlying cause and therefore, the specific treatment. I would also like to point out that your dog is not receiving complete and balanced food. While he is on Pedigree, feeding home diet like meat/chapattis makes his food unbalanced. This could result in imbalance of some essential nutrients required for your dog. Hence, I suggest to feed a balanced and complete diet like Pedigree exclusively so that your dog not only enjoys eating but also show visible signs of health. I suggest to start him on Pedigree “Active” which is energy dense and should help him to put on weight as well as improve skin and coat condition. If your dog is still not putting on weight despite adequate intake of calories (even after 2 weeks of Pedigree Active feeding), I would advise you to get him examined by your vet to rule out medical conditions that cause weight loss/maldigestion.

Q : Scooby is a Great Dane who was proactive but has a changed behaviour since we shifted to our farmhouse. Earlier, he played and jumped all the time and was quite hyperactive, leaving no chance for me to rest. What should I do? –Jitaakash, Gurgaon

Dr. Rana : Moving can be stressful and disruptive for everyone involved – including your dog. There are, however, steps you can take to make the experience less traumatic. You could have made some arrangements before shifting, e.g., you could have taken your dog for a visit beforehand. Well, it is not too late to help your dog get settled in and accustomed to his new surroundings. Introduce him to all new things/ people/animals etc. over a period of time. Wait until your dog is comfortable with one room before introducing him to the next one. Make sure he knows where his things are – point out the location of your dog’s bed, toys, food, etc. so he knows where to find them. Don’t coddle your dog if he is stressed. It may just perpetuate the behaviour. Finally, make sure that throughout the day, you maintain a normal feeding and walking schedule for your dog. This will go a long way in reducing your dog’s and your stress level.

Q : I have a litter of 4 Pugs. One of the smallest, whom I have kept on liquefied puppy food along with goat milk, has developed a breathing trouble due to which food comes out of his nose. He also repeats this while nursed by his mother. I have even tried to feed him myself but still the trouble continues. Moreover, unlike his littermates, he curls and sleeps after meals. Kindly suggest the appropriate measures to control this. –Janis

Dr. Umesh : Some puppies often start regurgitating after solid food is instituted or during nursing. If one among four puppies is affected, congenital defects like cleft palate (improper closure in roof of the mouth) or megaoesophagus (enlarged food pipe) are suspected. Puppies who may regurgitate acutely may have ingested foreign body lodged in food pipe. Likewise inflamed airways due to aspiration of food/milk in windpipe could be a cause. Affected puppies fail to grow normally and become very weak. Please get him examined by your vet immediately before he develops complications. Q :We recently got a new pup home and my 3-year-old Golden Retriever is not happy about it. He growls at the new puppy and does not obey our commands. How can I help him to adjust with the new puppy? –Lila D’Souza, Mumbai

Dr. Rana : Whatever may be your reason to add another dog to the family, just be aware that it is a huge change for an older dog – and unless you go about it the right way, it could create a lot of stress. Here are a few ways you can help make the process less stressful : With the puppy in your lap and your older dog on a leash held by someone else, let the older dog sniff, lick and explore the puppy. A couple of minutes is more than enough time for this initial introduction. Remove the puppy from the room, then lavish your older dog with attention and praise. On the second or third meeting, if all seems safe, allow the puppy onto the floor, and monitor that situation carefully for a few minutes. Remove the puppy from the room, and again, give your older dog praise and attention. Repeat this exercise at least twice daily until you’re comfortable that the two will get along. It’s not a good idea to leave your puppy alone with your older dog. There should always be someone there to supervise. When you talk to each of the dogs, use a happy, friendly tone of voice. Never talk to them in a way that is threatening. Reward good behaviour with treats and/or compliments of “good dog!”. Monitor their body language! Give your older dog some quiet time away from your puppy every once in a while. And be sure to give him lots of individual attention so he’ll know that he still holds a special place in your heart and hasn’t been ‘replaced’.