Ask the Expert… | Sep-Oct- 2014


Dr KG 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 currently working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for South Asia.
Q: Bonker, my eight-year-old black Labrador, has patches at the rear body next to the tail. He was diagnosed of fungal infection and there is very less hair in that area. One of the medicines given to him was Ketoheal. This problem has been going on for the last six months. Please advice.
– Jyothi Rajan, Salem
Dr KG Umesh: There are number of conditions that can cause patches of baldness in senior dogs and this includes parasites, allergies and endocrine diseases. It could also have been caused by some local infection. Most often, fleas and flea allergy cause rashes or hair loss on lower back extending to base of tail. The rashes may persist or recur until you control fleas on his body as well as his environment. It is recommended to investigate underlying cause by running a few tests including skin scrape examination.
Q: My Beagle, who is one year old, has very high energy levels. In spite of his walks, three times a day, he is forever jumping around and chewing and destructing things. He has chewed up a lot of our personal things (shoes, kids toys) and furniture, not to forget licking the walls. Please advise.
– Abhilash, Jodhpur
Dr KG Umesh: Puppies love to chew. Generally, they chew to entertain themselves, because they’re teething/they love to explore your home or if they’re a little bored and want to expend some energy. This behaviour can be due to a number of reasons, including separation anxiety, insecurity, fear (sounds, etc inside the house), attention seeking destruction and boredom. It is important that the whole family does not encourage the puppy to chew or bite. If he does try to bite, command ‘NO’, and distract his attention with a toy. Provide chew toys that do not resemble in appearance or texture of unacceptable chew items. For example, a plush toy may be similar to a pillow, child’s stuffed animal or chair cushion. Toys and chews not only help prevent chewing behaviour but also help to train him to become more confident and obedient pet. Exercise and play with your dog regularly to alleviate excess energy and provide positive interaction. Reward your dog with praise for chewing on appropriate items. Ignore your puppy when he behaves inappropriately and you reward the pup with ‘GOOD (puppy’s name)!’ when he stops bad behaviour. Put an aversive substance (bitter apple, etc.) on unacceptable chew items. Consultation with a behavioural trainer is also suggested.
Q: There is a bad smell coming from my Dalmatian’s ears. There is no discharge. We had put soliwax ear drops, once in 15 days, but that did not help. She is five-year-old and also been scratching her ear with her paw, resulting in a light scratch on the right ear, where the soft pink part of the ear is. Please help.
– Bhawna Malhotra, Aurangabad
Dr KG Umesh: Persistent bad odour from ears comes for several reasons. Chronic ear infection caused by resistant organism or the deep infection that has never been cleaned or treated aggressively enough. Frequent cleaning with ear buds/irritant solutions may also predispose ear canal to react with excess secretion and therefore malodour. Most frequently, an underlying disease (parasites, atopy or allergy or seborrhoea/endocrine disease) predispose ears to development of bad smell. Failure to address the underlying cause in a pet with ear problem dooms one to treatment failure. Your vet may advise series of tests including cytology to find the underlying cause. Therefore each factor must be considered in your pet and, if present, must be corrected before the ear disease will stay in remission.
Q: There were traces of blood in our pet’s urine (11-year-old Lhasa Apso), and she is urinating frequently. Her vet says she has kidney stones. Do let us know about her treatment.
– Kirti K, Vadodara
Dr KG Umesh: Blood in urine is often associated with severe urinary tract infection, stones, growths or tumours anywhere in urinary tract passage. Your vet may advise urine analysis, radiograph or scanning to locate and possibly identify the cause. In pets with complete blockage, emergency surgery is usually required. If pet urinary passage is not blocked, some form of stones can be dissolved by feeding a special diet. This food is available only with vets. Some types of stones depending on the location in urinary passage can also be removed by voiding urohydropropulsion, basket retrieval and laser lithotripsy. Once the stone is removed and the composition analysed by laboratory, your pet may receive a special veterinary diet and medical treatment (may be life long) to prevent any recurrence.
Q: I have a four-month-old Pomeranian, who has very less fur and has hairfall. We are giving him vitabest tonic and senovit tablets for healthy fur, but it is not working. His weight is approx 2.5 kg and not eating properly. Please advice.
– Jaspreet Singh, Jalandhar
Dr KG Umesh: Hair shedding is common in dogs as their hair cycle and the barrier function is different from man or other animals. Dogs generally shed hair seasonally, which may be related to photo period and unique hair cycle. Hair shedding in healthy pets may be triggered by any stressful events, illness and poor grooming and nutrition. Dogs are susceptible to nutritional, allergic, endocrine and parasitic skin diseases that also cause hair loss. If your pet is free from any skin disease but has only hair shedding problem, regular grooming and feeding complete nutrition particularly zinc, biotin and omega fatty acids can help to reduce hair loss. Please consult your vet at the earliest to identify underlying cause and therefore, the specific treatment.