Ask the expert… | May June 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: Muffin is in the initial stages of her pregnancy but her rabies vaccine is due. Is it safe to give it now?
–Meena Singh, Jalandhar

Dr KG Umesh: Administration of modified live vaccines is not recommended during pregnancy. Routine vaccinations should be current or done prior to breeding. A puppy’s early immunity is dependent upon consumption of colostrum containing high levels of antibodies and, therefore, dependent on the female dog’s immune status. Killed vaccines like rabies may be given during high risk situations
Q: My six-month-old Dalmatian pup is suffering from ticks. Please advice.
–Varun Kapoor, Ajmer

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 or fleas 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. Often a combination of adulticide and an IGR or IDI is used.
Q: I have two dogs – Sasha (female GSD – five years) and Sandy (male Lab – four months). Sasha sleeps through the day and is lazy. Sandy does not like to go for his walks and we have to coax him with treats- it takes almost 10 minutes to motivate him, once out he is always looking back and wants to go home. Please advice.
–Ankush Jain, Shimla

Dr KG Umesh: Dogs, too, can become complacent and lazy when it comes to fitness. If your dog hasn’t done much exercise in the past, it’s best to start off slowly. In fact, before you get your dog started on any exercise programme, you should take him to the vet first for a thorough check-up to rule out any medical causes. Start off with 10-15 minutes a day of walking to allow your dog to build up his cardiovascular and muscle strength. Eventually, you can work up to an hour a day – again, if it’s appropriate to him. Exercise to their abilities, not yours. In the summer time, opt for an early morning or evening workout when the sun and heat are less intense. Give them some fresh, cool water again once you get back home. Puppies generally sleep 12-18 hours a day. Poor socialisation or interaction, fear or shyness or even a previous bad experience may de-motivate puppies to play or walk.
Q: Hero, my three-year-old Dachshund, is fully house trained. Last two weeks, he has been eliminating in the house. Please help.
–Kiran, Gurgaon

Dr KG Umesh: As there are so many causes of house soiling, it is best to seek veterinary advice to determine the true cause of the problem. It is not unusual for dogs to have an occasional accident in the house. If this behaviour is occurring on regular occasions, there can be a number of reasons as to why. If the dog has soiled in the house, it may be that his access to his usual toilet area has been blocked off. There are many medical problems that can cause signs of incontinence. Some causes of incontinence can be due to urinary infection or bladder stones. The other possibility for your dog house soiling is if there is an underlying behavioural cause, such as, submissive urination, stress, a breakdown in toilet training, territorial marking or separation anxiety. Once again, these behaviour problems can be modified effectively. If your dog has house soiled, it is important that the affected area is cleaned promptly using a biological washing powder in warm water. If it is not cleaned effectively, he may mark that spot on repeated occasions.
Q: Joey, my Basset, loves to jump on the sofa or bed. He is four years old. More recently, I have noticed him being uncomfortable while jumping, his hind legs seem to quiver. Do advice.
–R Kumar, Trichy

Dr KG Umesh: Shivering or tremours in hind legs in large breeds is common as a result of variety of skeletal, metabolic, neuromuscular or degenerative diseases. It can affect joints, muscles, tendons or bones. This can also be the result of infection or trauma. It could be simply minor problem like ‘muscle pull’. Therefore, get him examined as early as possible.