Ask the expert…


Dr. K G Umesh
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: Unni, my two and a half years old male German Shepherd, is suffering from ticks, though I apply an anti-tick medicine and a shampoo recommended by my vet. Please do advise.  – Chitra Dhinagaran, Chennai

Dr KG Umesh: Yes. Ticks can be difficult to eradicate, so tick prevention should be year-round. Ticks lay their eggs (as many as 18,000 in some species) in sheltered areas on or near the ground. Generally two classes of medicines are used for successful control of ticks – one to kill adults and another one to prevent ticks from hatching or maturing. Successful control of ticks and fleas depends on eliminating these pests from the dog and the environment. It is always best to treat the dog and the environment on the same day. Tick control products for adult dogs are available as collars, shampoos, sprays, dips, powders, long lasting topicals (spot on) and oral tablets. The use of these insecticides must be preceded by a thorough vacuuming; places where dogs spend most of their time will have the greatest numbers of deposited eggs and newly emerged ticks. Also look at areas under furniture, carpets, near pet bedding, etc. Make sure that other pets/dogs he     frequently contacts/visits are free from ticks.
Q: My eight-year-old Lab is pooping 4-5 times a day and losing weight. I had given Wormtrap for deworming three months ago. Kindly advice.
Shalini, Bangalore
Dr KG Umesh: Is your pet eating well? If yes, weight loss with good appetite can be caused by many diseases like diabetes, parasites, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, intestinal disease, etc. As your pet is having frequent defecations along with weight loss, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency must be ruled out first. Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination and may run specific blood tests, X-rays or ultrasound exam. In dogs, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency is caused by degeneration of the cells that produce digestive enzymes and could be genetic in some breeds. Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency is not a life-threatening disorder and most dogs respond well to treatment by simply supplementing food with enzymes and can lead good quality life. He may also require some modification in his diet like reduced fat and few unresponsive dogs require additional treatment. Other causes of weight loss like inflammatory bowel diseases or neoplasms or growths may require appropriate treatment.
Q: My seven and a half years old Spitz is having cough (like kennel cough or whooping cough). As advised by my vet, I gave him antibiotics but the cough came back. Please do provide a solution.
Rahul Chakraborty, Kolkata
Dr KG Umesh: Causes of coughing in senior pets are many, but most commonly it results from upper airway disease, tracheobronchial collapse, fibrosis, cancer, pneumonia, and heart or chest diseases. The diagnosis of chronic, unresponsive or recurrent cough, is
challenging and such cases require investigations like radiography, echo, bronchoscopy, biopsy or some blood tests. In some cases, respiratory and heart diseases may coexist.
The other common cause of cough in Spitz could be collapsing airway that typically causes a ‘goose honk’ sound. Cough can be triggered by excitement, anxiety, exercise, eating and/or drinking, becoming overheated, and mild pulling on the collar. Therefore, it is suggested
to use a harness when taking your dog for a walk and reduce stressful situations. Your vet may recommend some medications that may only help to control cough while some cases like airway collapse may require stent (wire mesh tube) placement. If the dog has other respiratory or heart problems, these may need to be treated as well. Kennel cough can be controlled with regular vaccination.
Q: I have a 10-month-old Pug, who has pain in his hip bone, due to which he cannot stand on his two legs and cannot sit frog-legged. As prescribed by vet, we are giving him Ultrafix T (tab), Calciquick D3 and Megaflex (supplements), but these are not effective. Please advise.
– Komal Srivastava, Faizabad
Dr KG Umesh: The pain may be caused by trauma, dislocation, fracture, joint problems or some congenital problems in young dog. Neurological problems including spinal diseases may also cause pain. Administration of medications in such cases only control pain
but may not cure the underlying problem. Suggest you take him to your vet ASAP for investigations like radiography to find the cause of pain in hip.
Q: Please suggest medicine to reduce heavy hairfall of my 18 months old Labrador. I have taken him to the vet, but the problem still continues.
Surojit Bhowmick , Karimganj
Dr KG Umesh: Hair loss/shedding is a common complaint in our country in dogs with skin disorders and results from number ofcauses. Unlike human beings, hair does not grow continuously in dogs. Photoperiod (light intensity) is main factor besides utrition, genetics, and health that can cause dog to shed hair excessively during some seasons and therefore, can be physiological. Dogs also may shed excessive hair because of stress, worms, harsh climate and general illness. Therefore, my approach wo uld be to find underlying cause/s (like fleas, ticks, mange or allergy, hormonal imbalance, bacterial or yeast infection, etc) and then your vet will be able to recommend suitable medications that will eliminate the cause and therefore hair fall. Hair coat alone takes away approximately 30 percent of protein from the diet for its health. Hence, balanced and complete nutrition is most important for healthy skin and hair coat. Regular brushing at least 2-3 times a week also helps to remove unwanted hair.