Ask the Expert… | Jan-Feb-2015


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: I have a one-year-old Labrador female, who is 20 kg. Do suggest a diet to keep her healthy.
–Vikram Nishad, Allahabad
Dr KG Umesh: Just like their pet parents, dogs need a balanced diet which contains just the right amount of protein, fat, carbohydrates, many different vitamins and minerals to ensure that they stay in peak condition. 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 come with a guarantee of nutritional adequacy, quality and safety. Please 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 pet parent 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.
Q: In the eye of our Pug pup (three months old), there is whiteness along with a minute spot just above pupil. Do suggest what to do.
–Alok Pant, Kashipur
Dr KG Umesh: Pugs are prone to eye injuries. Inherited eye problems, infections, exposure to foreign bodies, entropion, ectopic cilia, etc may cause superficial to deep injury resulting in variety of lesions from ulcers to scars on white or cornea of the eye. If he is not exhibiting any pain or there is no red eye, it is unlikely to have infection or inflammation. However, determining the cause and correcting the problem at the earliest is important. Please visit your vet ASAP.
Q: We are told that a dog’s tongue should be pink in colour as it signifies good health. Is it true? My dog’s tongue has taken a reddish colour for the last two months. Is this fine?
–Jishnu Bhattacharya, Kolkata
Dr KG Umesh: Rich blood supply in tongue can cause variation in normal pink colour of tongue due to excessive panting or licking in healthy dogs. Some breeds also have normal pigmentation on their tongues. Dogs with any tongue problem may be unable to eat or chew food and may drool with bad smell. It’s very important that you have your pet seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible if you notice any abnormal colour like bright red, pale white, blue or purple.
Q: My three-year-old Spaniel does not let me touch her ears. We have tried to clean her ears with an epiotic ear cleanser, but she growls and gets angry. She is scratching her ears with her paws. Do advice.
–Diksha, Chennai
Dr KG Umesh: Otitis externa is inflammation of the external ear canal. Certain factors that can predispose ear problems include pendulous ears in breeds like yours or Basset Hounds, anatomical changes in lining of ear canal, humid and hot climate, chronic exposure to water, etc. Otitis externa may occur as a simple inflammatory reaction due to parasites, overgrowth of microbes or growths. It may also arise from allergic disease like atopy or endocrine. Affected animals are often very irritated by the inflammation and exhibit signs such as scratching at the ear, shaking the head, holding the head tilted to one side. If inflammation or pain is severe, your vet may prescribe pills/administer injections to control pain/infection or clean ears under sedation. Your vet can show you how to properly clean and instil ear drops at home. Keeping your pet’s ears clean is important because it helps prevent an environment in the ears that promotes inflammation.
Q: Waffle, who is 11 years old, has developed a wart under his right eye and another one below his jaw. It is like a little lump which we have been monitoring it and the two warts do not seem to be increasing in size. Are these harmful? Why do they occur?
–R Sudha, Pondicherry
Dr KG Umesh: Warts are common in senior pets and these growths are unlikely to cause any harm as long as it is not growing in size and spreading. The cause of warts in dogs is not well determined, although virus has been implicated in some types. If you are not sure, your vet may advise biopsy to understand the nature of growth. These warts may be removed surgically under local anaesthesia for cosmetic reasons.