Ask the expert…
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 for15 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 Golden Retriever of 16 weeks. The vet has checked her and no health problem diagnosed. She is a very fussy eater. For the last one and a half month, the outside temperature is touching 45 degrees. The pup mostly spends time in AC room, but is still not eating dog food. The appetite stimulant doesn’t make her hungry. Can I give her Vitamin B12 supplement tablet? Please help.
– Arun Patnaik, Bhubaneswar
Dr KG Umesh: There are number of reasons for your pet to behave like this. For example, new place, stress and fear from new environment or people, etc or could be change in climate which he is yet to adapt. Dogs tend to eat less in hot and humid climates as well. Therefore give him some time to get used to new place and environment. A well balanced nutritionally complete diet like Puppy food confers some protection against the effects of heat stress. Do not feed any home food including rice while he is fed on recommended quantity of Puppy food. Feed during cooler part of the day, if possible or increase frequency of feeding—increase number of meals to accommodate requirements per day. Try different varieties in Puppy range (chicken and veg, meat and rice Puppy large breed). Some dogs may refuse food/skip meals, when they have consumed more energy than they would. Please make sure that you are not overfeeding her and monitor her body weight at least every two weeks. If she continues to refuse food, contact your vet and discuss whether there may be medical cause(s) for this and in some instances, blood work may be required to find the underlying cause. Vitamins or supplements will not help.
Q: I have two Labradors—eight months and two years —both are very thin. The problem/disease is not diagnosed. Please advice.
– Shashank Sinha, Jamui, Bihar
Dr KG Umesh: Historical information is very important, especially regarding diet, daily activity, environment, signs of digestive disease or any specific disease to identify underlying cause of poor weight gain. Typically growth and weight are influenced by nutrition, genetics and environment. The list of likely causes for a puppy/dog with poor weight gain despite a normal or increased appetite is much different and much shorter than that for patients with decreased appetite or anorexia. However, they share a common feature – insufficient caloric intake or availability to meet metabolic needs. Please make sure that you are feeding as per feeding guidelines and increase quantity of feed by 10 percent for every extra one hour activity. Avoid supplements when pets are exclusively fed on Puppy/Adult dog food. Please get your pet examined to rule out any underlying medical problem like pancreatic insufficiency or liver diseases or mal-digestion or mal-absorption disorders. Monitor weight of your pets on weekly basis. Lab puppy may weigh between 2-5 kg at 6-9 weeks to 27- 30 kg at 24 months of age. Please ask your vet for WALTHAM Puppies Growth Chart and Body Condition Score that help to assess growth and body condition of your pet.
Q: My dog has a tick problem. Please help.
– Charu, Delhi
Dr KG Umesh: A generalised tick life cycle consists of egg, larva, nymph, and adult. The tick feeds once in each stage before maturing to the next stage. Ticks lay their eggs (as many as 18,000 in some species) in sheltered areas on or near the ground. Successful control of ticks depends on eliminating these pests from the dog and the environment. To control ticks on a dog, all animals in the household must be part of the flea/ticks control programme. There are two basic categories of ticks control products: Adulticides and Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs)/Insect Development Inhibitors (IDIs). It is always best to treat the dog and the environment on the same day. The use of these insecticides must be preceded by a thorough vacuuming; special attention should be paid to the areas under furniture, carpets, near pet bedding, and along moldings. Make sure that other pets/dogs he frequently contacts/visits 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.
Q: My pet Brio is having too much hairfall. Please help.
– Dinup, Kota
Dr KG Umesh: Dogs shed hair due to their unique hair growth cycle and seasonal hair shedding. For example, photoperiod (light intensity) is main factor besides nutrition, genetics, health that can cause dog to shed hair excessively during some seasons and is physiological/normal. Dogs may also shed excessive hair because of stress, harsh climate and general illness. If the degree of shedding appears abnormal, or if he has signs of serious skin problems or fleas, consult your veterinarian. Medical conditions such as thyroid disease or skin allergies can cause excessive shedding. Itching of paws and genital area are common signs of allergic diseases. Some tips to prevent or reduce hair shedding includes keeping skin and hair coat healthy by regular brushing, bath and feeding balanced food which is rich in nutrients like zinc, fatty acids and high-quality proteins
Q: My dog is suffering from fever for the last one month. My vet has also diagnosed him with onset of glaucoma and he is unable to see. Please tell me what to do.
– H K Mangle, Bahadurgarh, Haryana
Dr KG Umesh: Generally fever of unknown origin is considered when an obvious cause for the fever has not been found after ‘routine’ examination and diagnostic tests. Such cases require special tests or investigations to find uncommon causes. Sometime incomplete treatment of tick borne diseases can cause persistent fever. The fever must be differentiated from pyrogenic hyperthermia resulting from high ambient temperature. In animals, as in humans, glaucoma is increased pressure within the eyeball. If this intraocular pressure remains high, it can damage structures within the eye and lead to blindness. Glaucoma is classified as primary or secondary, depending on the cause. Symptoms of glaucoma in animals include a cloudy appearance of the cornea (the clear part of the front of the eye), redness in the white part of the eye (bloodshot eye), signs of ocular pain such as squinting or resentment to being touched around the face, and a dilated pupil. With longstanding glaucoma, the eye itself can enlarge and become clearly bigger than the normal eye. Your vet will perform examination including Tonometry to measure the intraocular pressure. The treatment method depends on the cause of glaucoma—either medication-oriented or surgical.