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 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 four-year-old Labrador is suffering from eye retina problem. Please advice.
– Yashwanth Shetty, Shimoga, Karnataka

Dr KG Umesh: Is your pet having reduced vision or blindness? There are many primary diseases that affect retina like SARD (Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration) syndrome and secondary diseases like chronic glaucoma, or uveitis that may cause inflammation or degeneration, bleeding or detachment. Likewise, many internal organs diseases like hypertension or endocrine problems may cause problem in retina. Degeneration could be acquired or inherited in some breeds. Treatment depends on underlying cause. As there are varieties of causes, please get him examined by your vet to find underlying cause and get appropriate treatment plan ASAP.

Q: My pet dog keeps biting objects like cloth, headphone or my mobile. He goes after plastic items too. Do advice how to stop this habit.
– Gaurav Sarma, Guwahati

Dr KG Umesh: Most chewing behaviour is seen in young puppies due to their strong desire to explore. As dogs mature, this desire decreases and they are less likely to be destructive. This type of behaviour may start after a change in the dog’s routine or as a result of boredom. Some puppies may also play-bite hands and fingers. To the puppies, this action may seem acceptable if they have been allowed to do it elsewhere. It is important that the whole family does not encourage the puppy to hand bite. If the puppy does try to bite, command ‘NO’ and distract their attention with a toy.

Many of these habits can be modified quite easily if done correctly and persistently. Act early before bad habits become established. Ignore your puppy when he behaves inappropriately, rather than giving him attention. Provide chew toys that do not resemble in appearance or texture of unacceptable chew items. Prevent access to unacceptable chew items. Exercise and play with your dog regularly to alleviate excess energy and provide positive interaction. Reward your dog with praise for chewing on appropriate items.

Q: My Pug’s left eye is watering and she cannot open it a normal way also. I took her to my vet, but no relief.
– Ravinder Kumar, New Delhi

Dr KG Umesh: Pug appears to be increasing in popularity and with its unique anatomy of head and large prominent eyes, but a high prevalence of eye disease has been reported. There are number of reasons for excess tears that include entropion, distichiasis, and corneal issues like erosion, ulceration or perforation. Please get his eyes checked ASAP before he develops irreversible damage to eye structures. The underlying cause of the problem can only be confirmed by your veterinarian while examining the pet’s eyes.

Q: I have a one-and-a-half-year-old Pug. When he was four months old he had mange problem. Now since 3-4 months, he’s having extremely heavy hair shedding. Kindly suggest an effective way to resolve this problem.
– Komal Srivastava, Hyderabad

Dr KG Umesh: Hair loss/shedding is a common complaint in our country in dogs with skin disorders and results from number of causes. Unlike human beings, hair growth cycle among dogs is different. For example, hair does not grow continuously in dogs. Photoperiod (light intensity) is main factor besides nutrition, genetics, 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 would be to find the 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. Hence balanced and complete nutrition is most important for healthy skin and coat. Regular brushing at least 2-3 times a week also helps to remove unwanted hair.

Q: My 14-year-old dog has been diagnosed with acute kidney disease. Kindly help.
– Snigdha Sarkar Majumder, Bilaspur

Dr KG Umesh: There are many causes of Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) that include blood loss, shock, surgical stress, trauma, severe dehydration, poisons, drugs, and conditions that obstruct urine flow. Your vet may run few blood tests and a urinalysis to determine how well the kidneys are filtering and removing wastes from the blood. Ultrasound, x-rays of the abdomen or kidney may help show causes of acute renal failure.

Treatment of AKI is tailored to the individual patient that includes intravenous fluids therapy to flush accumulated wastes from the blood stream and specific treatment if the underlying cause known (stones or leptospirosis). Medical therapy includes restoring fluid, electrolyte, and acid-base balance. Some pets may recover or progress to Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). Some cases not responding to above may require Haemodialysis or Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy (CRRT). Other medications may be necessary to help control vomiting, diarrhoea, and high blood pressure.