Ask the expert… | March April 13


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 currently working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for South Asia.

Q: My dog is often coughing. The vet is saying he has allergy and has given anti-allergic medicine, cough syrup and a tablet. But it’s not yet cured and recurred recently. What’s the cure?
– Rahul Chakraborty, Kolkata

Dr KG Umesh: Recurring or long-standing cough in a dog can be due to chronic bronchitis or airway collapse; however, diseases such as infections, heart disease and other chest diseases must be considered. Appropriate management of cough requires confirmation of disease and exclusion of other causes of cough. Tracheal collapse is a common cause of acute or chronic cough and respiratory distress in dog and is seen most often in toy and small breed dogs. Dogs with airway collapse generally have a chronic honking (goose honking) or seal bark cough that is paroxysmal in nature. Coughing is often triggered by eating, excitement, exertion, or pulling on the leash. Your vet may advise radiography, ECG, echo, fluoroscopy or bronchoscopy in addition to some blood tests. Medical therapy for animals with airway collapse includes management of obesity and concurrent medical conditions as well as control of infectious or inflammatory airway disease. Dogs who fail to respond to aggressive medical therapy may require treatment surgically or stents in case of tracheal collapse.
Q: We live in an apartment and have two kids aged 10 and 6, wanting to adopt a pup. Can you advice on a suitable breed?
– Jai Raina, Pune

Dr KG Umesh: One of the most important aspects to ensure a happy relationship between you, your family and your dog is to ensure that your dog’s requirements can be matched by your lifestyle and environment. The size of your house and more importantly, the availability of open spaces nearby for exercise will influence the type of dog you should choose. Small breeds like Boston Terriers, Pugs, Spaniels and Dachshunds, etc may be better suited if space is limited. The initial cost of your puppy must certainly be taken into account, but be aware that other costs continue for the rest of his life. The daily cost of feeding, veterinary visits, kenneling during holidays and regular grooming sessions for certain breeds. Preventive health (vaccinations, de-worming) and practicing good hygiene will keep away most of transmissible diseases.
Q: My Pug is two and a half years old and vaccinated. His nails on the paws are very sharp and he keeps prancing and in his zest, someone or the other always gets scratched by his sharp nails. Also when someone gets hurt, scratched – what do we do? Does the person require a tetanus injection?
– Malini, Jamnagar

Dr KG Umesh: Unlike cats, there are no serious diseases that are transmitted by a dog scratch. However, pet nails contaminated with harmful bugs can result in some infection in humans. Try to minimise your chances of getting scratched: Avoid rough play and other activities with pet who could lead to biting and scratching. Keep your dog’s claws trimmed. If you do get scratched or bitten, wash promptly with soap and water. Practice good hygiene at home. Generally, there is no need to get tetanus shots.
Q: I have a 45-day-old Rottweiler puppy, under process for KCI Registration. Please advice on his food and vaccination?
– Girish Chougala, Gokak

Dr KG Umesh: A nutritionally balanced diet is crucial for the healthy growth and development of a dog in order to prepare him for an active, long and healthy life. Therefore, accurate feeding and the provision of all nutrients at optimal level are essential to maximise puppies’ genetic potential to grow. There are many commercial pet foods for puppy as well as specifically for ‘large breed puppy’ available from the reputed manufacturers. Giant breeds have longer growth period than small breeds and therefore, continue feeding puppy food until 22-24 months of age. Your vet will advise vaccination schedule (DHLPPi + Corona and Rabies) every 2-3 weeks, ideally starting at 6 weeks of age until 20 weeks of puppy age and then followed by annual boosters
Q: My Golden Cocker is 10 years old. Under her right eye, there is a small lump/extra growth. It gives the appearance of a small human mole. What should we do?
– Manish, Bikaner

Dr KG Umesh: Warts or benign growths are common in senior pets. However, any growth/lump in a senior pet requires immediate medical attention. Your vet will decide suitable action depending on place and nature of growth.