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Pandemic drives growth in pet industry

The Covid Era has affected many aspects of life, one of which has been the growth in the pet industry, which grew handsomely as compared to most of the other sectors, write Dr A.K.Wankar & Sakshi Kashikar

Yes, it appears, we will survive the COVID -19 pandemic, but the world shall never be the same again. We saw what a virus (SARC-COV ) can do to mankind on a global scale. All the world superpowers, developed and developing nations were impacted drastically in the year 2020, when nobody had a clue how to resolve the COVID -19 problem. The year was marked by stringent lockdowns, quarantines, curfews, restrictions, social distancing, work from home and total containment etc. In the following year, i.e., 2021, we gathered up in a wave of new viral strains and there were mass vaccination, less stringent restrictions and lockdowns.

ArticleThe COVID era led to the emergence of some exclusive snags like stress, social isolation, boredom, anxiety, emotional and psychological disturbances, when we were forced to live at home, work from home and survive at home . This gave a new opportunity and forced humans for the first time, to retrospect deeply, about their lives, relationships, lifestyles, health and emotional well-being. We rediscovered the joy, love and pleasure with our kin and animal companions, which was and will always be essential for human physical, psychological and emotional well-being.

The well-known fact “loving animals makes humans more human”, was again strengthened during the pandemic.

Association with companion animals improves and enhances love, trust, respect, compassion, empathy, social relationships, physical activity, health, emotional support, self-efficacy, psychological well-being, positive emotions and reduces mental loneliness, stress levels and also post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) in humans . The bonding with our pets is extended further, when they become our family members, leading to a dramatic increase in the pet adoptions, caretaking and companionship during the testing times and finally the concept of One-Health: One-Welfare was evident.

Mankind has seen some downturns in the past, like global recessions in the years 2001, 2008 and now the recent viral outbreak. It is very interesting to note that during these events there has been a corresponding increase not

only for dogs and cats, but also for herbivores, birds, fishes and exotic pets. All over the world, we observed an inverse relationship between recession and increase in pet numbers. In America, more than 75% pet owners ascertained positive improvement in their mental well-being and health during the COVID -19 pandemic, attributed to their bonding with their pets (source: American Pet Product Association). Similar benefits were also confirmed by the European and Asian contemporaries indicating that bonding with animals improves human response to handle stress, emotions and loneliness in a much better manner .

Collectively, all these factors contributed a significant boom to the global pet enterprise, and despite the pandemic it grew handsomely as compared to most of the other sectors. During the last two years, both animal adoption and fostering skyrocketed, especially in the developed nations, although this might be temporary, and

after the COVID -19 is over, we once again might see a slight drop in this trend . But currently, the global market is roughly at $190 billion, with an expected growth rate of 5% by the year 2023 i.e., $ 281 billion. Similar to America, European nations like Germany, United Kingdom, France and Asian countries like China and India, show a positive growth trend for the pet sector by the year 2025 (for China the estimated growth rate is 14%) .

The emergence of the pet sector, has also led to surfacing of specific sub-sectors and speciality services like online and offline delivery of pet food and meals, toys, accessories, apps, pet hospitality, veterinary services, pet behaviourists, nutritionists, consultants, trainers, pet communicators, breeders, dog walkers, groomers, handlers, animal shelters, foster homes, digital pet care platforms etc. Some of these current micro-businesses have outperformed the mainstream giants and delivered a 300% turnover during the pandemic period.

The Indian context

In India also the pet market is growing and blooming with a compounded projected growth rate at 13.5% during the years 2021-2026 respectively. The coming of pets as family members, rapid humanisation, modernisation and growing awareness among the masses concerning health, peace and mental wellbeing has led to a flourishing pet sector in India, which seems on an upward trend, in the coming times.

The COVID -19 educated us how vulnerable and unprepared we all are despite our technological advances. It also taught us the value of love, support and companionship, especially from our pets who gave us their unconditional love, when needed most. We as humans have the ability to change and see what’s good for our welfare. This pandemic revealed that kinship and our animal friends are the pillars of our physical and emotional health. In the future, the pet industry will emerge as a $billion industries performing outstandingly, as the growth of our companion animals will be parallel to the human population.

References: On request to the author: wankaralok@gmail.com

Dr A. K. Wankar is Assistant Professor, Department of Veterinary Physiology, and Sakshi Kashikar is a DVM / BVS c & AH Student, College of Veterinary & Animal Sciences , Parbhani.

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Parvo: Dangers, Risks & How to Protect Your Puppy

What every puppy owner needs to know is that Canine Parvovirus is one of the most serious viruses that dogs can get. Thankfully, it is very preventable with proper vaccination.
TEXT: Yung-Tsun Lo, D.V.M., Ph.D, Bioguard Corporation

The last thing any puppy owner or dog breeder wants to hear is a diagnosis of parvovirus infection. Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease of dogs that commonly causes acute gastrointestinal illness in puppies.

What causes parvovirus infection?

Parvo, or canine parvovirus type 2 (CPV) infection appeared for the first time among dogs in Europe around 1976. CPV had spread unchecked by 1978, causing a worldwide epidemic. The virus that causes this disease is very similar to feline panleukopenia (feline distemper) and the two diseases are almost identical. CPV probably arose as the result of 2 or 3 genetic mutations in feline panleukopenia virus (FPV) that allowed it to expand its host range to infect dogs.

How does a dog become infected with parvovirus?

The main source of the virus is from the feces of infected dogs. Susceptible dogs become infected by direct dog-to-dog contact or contact with contaminated feces, environments, or people. Even trace amounts of feces from an infected dog may harbour the virus and infect other dogs that come into the infected environment.

What are the clinical signs of CPV?

A dog infected with canine parvovirus will start to show symptoms within three to seven days of infection. The most common clinical signs associated with CPV include:

  •  Lethargy 
  •  Depression
  •  Loss or lack of appetite
  •  Fever
  •  Vomiting
  •  Diarrhea (often bloody)
  •  Dehydration

“The virus can contaminate kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes, and the hands and clothing of people who handle infected dogs”

The severity of CPV cases varies. The stress of weaning can lead to a more severe case of CPV in puppies as stress weakens the immune system. A combination of CPV and a secondary infection or a parasite can also lead to a more severe case in puppies. Most deaths from parvovirus occur within 48 to 72 hours following the onset of clinical signs. If your puppy or dog shows any of these signs, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.

How is CPV diagnosed?

Parvovirus infection is often suspected based on the dog’s history, physical examination, and laboratory tests. Fecal testing can confirm the diagnosis. Currently, the most common and most convenient method of testing for the presence of CPV is the fecal rapid tests or ELISA tests in a clinical setting. The test requires a fecal swab and takes about 10 minutes. While this test is accurate, a negative result does not necessarily rule out parvovirus in a

symptomatic dog, as they may not be shedding the viral antigen at the time of testing. Further testing, such as PCR, may be needed in these cases.

A simple measure of white blood cell count is often the clincher for a CPV diagnosis. Because one of the first things the parvovirus infects is the bone marrow, a low white blood cell count can be suggestive of CPV infection. If a dog has both a positive rapid test reading and a low white blood cell count, a fairly confident diagnosis of CPV may be made.

What are the treatment options for CPV infection?

There is no treatment to kill the virus once it infects the dog. Treatment options for dogs suffering from CPV involve supportive care and management of symptoms. Treatment options will vary, depending on how sick the dog is, but certain aspects are considered vital for all patients.

  •  Fluid therapy- counteract dehydration and electrolyte loss
  •  Antibiotic treatment- prevent potentially fatal body-wide bacterial infection if intestinal bacteria have entered the bloodstream
  •  Antiemetic treatmentcontrol vomiting
  •  Nutritional support
  •  Others- antiviral treatments, pain management, or blood transfusion

“The main source of the virus is from the feces of infected dogs. Susceptible dogs become infected by direct dog-todog contact or contact with contaminated feces, environments, or people.”

Can CPV be prevented?

Young puppies are very susceptible to infection, particularly because the natural immunity provided in their mothers’ milk may wear off before the puppies’ own immune systems are mature enough to fight off infection. The best method of protecting dogs against CPV infection is proper vaccination. Puppies receive a parvovirus vaccination as part of their multiple agent vaccine series. These shots are given every 3 to 4 weeks from the time a puppy is between 6 to 8 weeks old until he is at least 16 weeks of age. A booster vaccination is recommended one year later, and then at one to three year intervals thereafter.

How can I kill the virus in the environment?

The virus can contaminate kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes, and the hands and clothing of people who handle infected dogs. It is resistant to heat, cold, humidity, and drying, and can survive in the environment for long periods of time. The stability of the CPV in the environment makes it important to properly disinfect contaminated areas. CPV can be inactivated by bleach. Cleaning with a solution of one part bleach mixed with approximately 30 parts water is an acceptable method for disinfecting any indoor area (including bedding, food/water bowls, and all surfaces) that once housed an infected dog.

Yung-Tsun Lo D.V.M., Ph.D Bioguard Corporation

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Bring it on!

An intelligent and dependable companion that forms close human bonds, a Bulldog is a social and cheerful addition to any family with early socialisation and consistent leadership TEXT: TEAM BUDDY LIFE

The very name ‘Bulldog’ conjures up images of a large dog with a grumpy face and a tough persona. However, it is not so, for the Bulldog is a big ‘softy’ and behind all those wrinkles and gruff appearance is a gentle dog waiting to shower its love on its humans. In other words, the English\ Bulldog is one of the most amiable of all breeds. Despite his gloomy mug. But before you decide to adopt a Bulldog, you should know what living with a British Bulldog would be like. Not to be mistaken, this one is nothing like other breeds.

All kinds of Bulldogs need special care and are slight variations of one another in many ways. In short, having a Bulldog requires the utmost time, patience, and care. Our desire for cuteness and the popularity of shorter, flatter faces – known as brachycephaly – has resulted in dogs who struggle to breathe? In our pursuit for extreme body shapes and dogs with shorter, flatter faces, we’ve created generations of dogs who struggle to breathe, struggle with heat regulation, are chronically tired and can’t exercise without collapsing, and dogs who have to sleep with their head propped up on a pillow or with a toy in their mouth, just to help them breathe. Excessive soft tissue causes obstruction in their airways and their abnormally narrowed nostrils and windpipes leave them gasping for air. And it’s not just breathing difficulties that affect flat-faced dogs. Eye problems are common due to the shape of their heads as well as skin problems from excessive wrinkles and painful back conditions caused by very short corkscrew tails. Recently a landmark ruling in Norway found the breeding of British bulldogs and Cavalier King Charles spaniels breached their animal protection laws. If upheld, this will have a significant impact on the way in which these dogs can be bred in the future, and will worry those in the UK who breed these dogs. So instead of buying a puppy, we’d suggest adopting an adult dog from the shelter. The good news is Bulldogs are super cute at any age! Plus, if you adopt a young or adult Bully instead of a puppy, you’ll be more likely to know what kind of personality and health issues you’re getting, which you can’t see fully or at all in a puppy. Also, you won’t have to worry about puppy messes, puppy training, and puppy chewed up shoes!

Back to the breed profile, an intelligent and dependable companion that forms close human bonds, a Bulldog is a social and cheerful addition to any family with early socialisation and consistent leadership. But Bulldogs weren’t always “softies” and their rich history shows them as stocky, sturdy dogs with a solid, foursquare stance and a face that says: Bring it On! Bulldogs are one of those breeds humans were pretty nasty to before we came to our senses. Initially bred for bull baiting in the 1300s, these dogs were developed specifically to be brave and muscular. The breed transitioned from bull-baiting to the sweet, household companion that it is known for today. As its name indicates: bull-baiting means fighting a bull in the ring. The early English dogs were bred to have a certain height, weight, and even a specific temperament to help them fight aggressively and breeders carefully selected the dogs to fit this mould. Bulldog breeders wanted these fighter dogs to have a short height so it would be difficult for the bull to spot them in the ring. After all, the bull could easily lift and toss the Bulldog in the ring. As a result, the Old English Bulldogs were shorter than the ones we see today. Fighter bullies also had shorter noses compared to the modern Bulldogs. This could help them get a convenient grip on the bull’s face without their nose getting in the way. Often, the nose had to be set back from the muzzle and also turned up so the dog could breathe while it maintained a grip on the bull. The wrinkles were also a distinctly necessary feature for the bull-baiters; they directed the flow of the bull’s blood away from the dog’s nose and eyes.

With a heavy, thickset, low body and massive head, the modern Bulldog originated in England after the elimination of bull baiting in 1835. The Old English Bulldog was crossed with the Pug to create a more docile and affectionate family pet. The Bulldog retained its protective and fearless nature, but aggressive and ferocious tendencies were removed from the breed. Moving on, Bulldogs are famous for their gentle nature, fondness of children, and clownish antics. They are cool, brave, and polite, opposite to their ancestors. They are trustworthy dogs who are obedient to their families and are quite playful. In basic nature, they are amicable and caring. A pet Bulldog is going to be an enthusiastic, playful puppy to have around the home. But living with an English Bulldog will be quite a babysitting as they are not athletic by nature anymore. Since they weigh about 40 lbs for females and around 50 lbs for males, they need constant exercise not to get obese. All over the world, these are considered to be lazy and, basically, couch potatoes. Bulldog puppies are frisky, rambunctious and rowdy, but adults are quiet and rather phlegmatic, spending much of the day snoring on the sofa. But the reality as we told you is different. Due to their face and nasal area structure, the English Bulldogs face certain issues in breathing. While doing heavy physical tasks, they may get heated very quickly due to constriction in breathing. It may tire him or her earlier than other dogs. They are thus misconstrued as lazy. Since the build of an English Bulldog is bulky, you need to keep a check on its dietary intake and an exercise regime must be followed. All brachycephalic breeds gulp air when they eat, and that air has to go somewhere, after all. However, commercial diets make flatulence worse by including fibrous or hard-to-digest ingredients. Bulldogs who are fed a homemade diet of real meat and vegetables have much less trouble with gassiness.

Though not a barking watchdog, his blocky build and his rolling, shuffling gait give intruders pause. It takes a tremendous amount of serious teasing or threatening to provoke this sweet-natured breed, but once aroused, he can be a force to reckon with. His tenacity and resolve mean that it’s difficult to change his mind once he decides to do something. Usually peaceful with other pets, some male Bulldogs may engage in a battle of wills (or jaws) with other males. Despite their sweetness, most English Bulldogs are very stubborn. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say. On the plus side, once Bulldogs mature, they seldom get into real trouble.

Because of the shape of their face, they go through life snorting, snuffling, wheezing, grunting, and snoring loudly. Some people find these sounds nerve-wracking; others find them endearing. Also, most people are not prepared for how much English Bulldogs slobber and drool, especially after eating or drinking.

As for their health issues, it’s been said that if you feel like supporting your vet with great chunks of money, get an English Bulldog. They suffer from hip problems, heart problems, and skin problems. Their respiratory system is compromised, so it’s even risky to anaesthetise them for dental cleanings. In hot weather they should be kept in an air-conditioned environment and supervised during outside activity so they don’t over-exert themselves and become overheated. Much of what you can do to keep your dog happy and healthy is common sense, just like it is for people. Watch her diet, make sure she gets plenty of exercise, regularly brush her teeth and coat, and take her to the vet at the first sign of an emergency. Be sure to adhereto the schedule of examinations and vaccinations that the vet has recommended for her. Build her routine care into your schedule to help your English Bulldog live longer, stay healthier, and be happier during her lifetime.

  1. Supervise your pet as you would a toddler. Keep her out of trouble and away from objects she shouldn’t put in her mouth.
  2. She has low grooming needs. Brush her coat as needed, at least weekly.
  3. Bulldogs often have serious problems with their teeth, so you’ll need to brush them at least three times a week!
  4. Clean her ears weekly, even as a puppy.
  5. Her deep wrinkles need to be cleaned and dried often to prevent infections.
  6. As an adult she can have a tendency to be lazy, so you must ensure she receives adequate exercise by providing a daily walk.
  7. She is sensitive to temperature extremes; avoid any prolonged exposure and be very alert to the sign of heat stress.
  8. Keep your dog’s diet consistent and don’t give her people food.
  9. Feed a high-quality diet appropriate for her age.
  10. Exercise your dog regularly, but don’t overdo it at first. We cannot overemphasise the importance of a proper diet and exercise routine. Any abnormal symptom could be a sign of serious disease, or it could just be a minor or temporary problem. The important thing is to be able to tell when to seek veterinary help, and how urgently. Many diseases cause dogs to have a characteristic combination of symptoms, which together can be a clear signal that your Bulldog needs help.
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WSAVA Supports NORWEGIAN BREEDING BAN

WSAVA supports breeding that promotes traits providing robust animals with good function and health
TEXT: TEAM BUDDY LIFE

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA ) shares the concerns recently expressed by a Norwegian court regarding the breeding of English Bulldogs and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. It confirms its support for the efforts of Animal Protection Norway and the Norwegian Animal Welfare Act, which states that “breeding should promote traits that provide robust animals with good function and health.” In a new position paper, WSAVA has called for a much greater focus on health screening of breeding animals and educating the public. This should include encouraging them to ask breeders for veterinary documentation of pre-breeding health screening results on the parents of puppies and kittens before they buy them. It urges that the selection of breeding dogs and cats should avoid extreme conformation that predisposes to disease and poor welfare.

The WSAVA ’s response to the Court ruling has been led by its Hereditary Disease Committee (HDC), whose members include world-leading veterinary geneticists, with the support of the WSAVA ’s Animal Wellness and Welfare Committee (AWWC). The Chair of the HDC, Dr Jerold Bell DVM , a practising veterinarian and Adjunct Professor of Genetics at the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Massachusetts, USA, explains: “We recognise the serious welfare issues that exist in relation to brachycephaly, as well as other extreme anatomy and hereditary diseases in dogs and all purposefully-bred animals. We believe that health focused breeding and husbandry practices are the means to improve the health and welfare of these animals. This is effectively ‘health quality control.’

“The public’s affection for these popular breeds demands a greater focus on education around healthy breeding and welfare because altered public demand will encourage the breeding practices that produce healthier pets and, over time, create real change.”

Dr Bell added: “The WSAVA HDC and AWWC are already working on a number of educational initiatives for rollout later this year and we are keen to engage with other veterinary stakeholders on this issue to increase momentum and the pace of change.”

The new Position Paper supports an earlier WSAVA Position Paper, calling on veterinarians and breeders to ensure that criteria used for the selection of breeding animals include the ability to reproduce naturally and exclude anatomical characteristics that predispose to hereditary disease and poor welfare. This Paper also urges breeders to utilise pre-breeding health screening to select animals that are likely to produce healthy offspring.

The WSAVA:

  1. Prioritises the breeding of animals that focuses on their health and welfare
  2. Supports Animal Welfare Laws that reduce the suffering of animals and enhance their good welfare
  3. Encourages kennel clubs and cat registries to adjust breed standards to address and avoid extreme conformation and disease predisposing anatomy
  4. Encourages kennel clubs and cat registries to establish breeding guidelines that include breed-specific pre-breeding health screening to avoid genetic diseases, disease risk from exaggerated anatomical features, and monitoring buyers with official documentation of health screening
  5. Encourages future pet owners to consult with a veterinarian before buying a purposely bred dog or cat, to assess their health and the health of their parents.
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The One And Only Gopi

Sudha Murty’s love for her furry companion Gopi proves that she has gone over the line of puppy love and she clearly can’t get enough of the adorable pooch. Really though, who can blame her?
TEXT: TEAM BUDDY LIFE

Life without dogs, we don’t think so. You can have a terrible day but the minute you walk into your home and see that bundle of joy run up to you with his tail wagging, you can’t help but smile. Dogs give happiness without even trying and thank God for that. For Ms Sudha Murty, ex- chairperson of the Infosys Foundation, Gopi the Golden Retriever is that four-legged pupper who’s family. Her love for Gopi is well-known and has been documented time and time again to the extent that her fans know him just as well too. Dogs might be known as “man’s best friend,” but in the case of the adorable Gopi, you might want to add “bodyguard” to the list. “If somebody wants to touch my feet as a mark of respect, Gopi does not permit it,” she says in an exclusive interview to Buddy Life. Like all puppers, Gopi is unsure of anyone coming close to his human parents and Ms Murty loves every bit of it. The Golden Retriever is a staple in her social media presence and she enjoys showing off her furbaby. In fact, when it comes to posting pictures of Gopi online, Ms Murty is the best. Her short video of performing ‘aarti’ on Gopi’s birthday with a ghee lamp, haldi-kumkum and rice went viral in no time. She also sang the Happy Birthday song for the lucky doggo. Ms Murty, 72, who’s a qualified engineer, author and social worker, and her sister begin the two-minute clip by approaching Gopi with a ‘puja ki thali’ and wishing the dog a happy birthday while he looks at them with interest. She then applies the ‘teeka’ on the dog’s forehead, which he dislikes, and immediately wipes it off on the sofa while everyone in the background laughs. She finishes the puja and places her palm on the dog’s forehead to console him before wishing him a happy birthday once more. Ms Murty then sits alongside him and begins lavishing affection on her pet. Gopi is the companion every dog lover is acquainted with. Affectionate and playful, Gopi holds Ms Murty’s heartstrings. “His total loyalty, affection and unconditional love make Gopi so very special. When I am stressed, I play with him. He is a great stress-buster and a bundle of joy for me,” gushes the Chairperson, Murty Foundation. “But then every dog is special for the pet parent,” she says. Gopi follows his indulgent Ajji to her office as well. “Gopi comes to the office every day. Now also, he is sitting next to me. He has come to the office and is cooling it. Lazy that he is, he has his lunch here and then he goes off to sleep,” laughs the pet parent lovingly.

Hailing from a farming background, Ms Murty grew up with animals all around. “We had dogs, cats, parrots and rabbits. After I got married, my husband (NR Narayana Murthy, the founder of Infosys) did not want to have a dog. He was once bitten by a dog so he was afraid of dogs. For 41 years, we did not have a dog. But one day my son decided to get a dog and he adopted Gopi, a naughty golden retriever who is three-years old now,” laughs Ms Murty adding, “Right after Gopi landed in our household, my son had to travel for work. He thought he would return in a week’s time but work kept him away for three weeks. Thus, Gopi was brought by my son but he became my dog.”

Her love for animals is evident from the fact that she has adopted two strays as well. She recalls, “When my son was getting married, I asked the couple what they would like as a gift. They said they want a dog. So, I brought Nandi, who is two-legged and Hari, who is three-legged, from the shelter and gave them to my son and daughter-in-law.”

Having a canine in the house isn’t something new for Ms Murty. “The first dog we had as children was in 1968. We had Moti, who was a stray. One day we picked him up from the streets and brought him home. Then, there was Raja who was a spaniel with very silky hair followed by Julie who was a Pomeranian. We also had cats. Once our cat had given four kittens. We were four siblings, so each of us adopted one kitten,” she laughs. However, she makes no bones about the fact that dogs are loyal but the cats are not so. “The cats are very independent. They would go anywhere and have milk and food,” she observes. Despite a packed schedule, Ms Murty takes out time for bathing Gopi. “Bathing him is a sheer joy. I love to bathe him. We put coconut oil before his bath and if it is cold, we use warm water, otherwise we use cold water when it is hot here,” raves Ms Murty adding, “But, I do not trim his hair. For that he has to go to the salon.” One thing that she would have loved immensely was if Gopi slept on her bed but Bangalore is too hot for Gopi and Ms Murty’s bed is small for her fur baby. “In fact, he needs a large bed to sprawl all over. Quite often, he heads to the garden to roll and sleep in the cold mud there,” she exclaims Murty. An animal activist at heart, Ms Murty would send water and rice to various shelters during Covid lockdown. “I would love to advocate for the voiceless animals. In fact, when I go to various schools, I tell the children to adopt street dogs and take care of animals. Since, keeping a pet in flats is difficult, I tell the parents to take the children to visit animal shelters at least once a week so that they learn to take care of animals.” One of the most loved Indian writers. Ms Murty has even signed a contract to write a series of three books titled Gopi Diaries. Narrated in Gopi’s voice, it begins with his going to the new home in the first book, Coming Home. The way Gopi sees the world around him and what he makes of people in his life give the story a unique POV .

Now there are so many books about dogs that a dog-loving reader could spend years engrossed in them, but this one is extra sweet, because it’s written by Ms Murty, a compelling narrator, in her own inimitable style, showing us just why pets are so precious – for their love, devotion and boundless affection. Although often considered a book for kids, it has depth and scope all readers can appreciate. It’s got it all: humour, drama, and beautiful prose.

Told in Gopi’s words, a pup with deep thoughts and insight, this is a book about the truest of true love, between a human and his dog. It’s for Ms Murty’s fans of all ages as Gopi paws himself into the hearts of children and adults alike. It will blow your mind and melt your heart all at once. And let us warn you, if you don’t already have a dog, Gopi’s story will make you want to adopt one asap.

The second book in the bestselling Gopi Diaries series, Gopi is stronger, bigger, more confident than the little pup he was in the first book, but he is also cheekier and more mischievous! He faces new situations, new challenges, even new dog companions with endless energy and spirit. “I did not really want to be an author. However, in my school days, I was good at writing essays and always nurtured it as a hobby,” says Ms Murty, admitting that engineering was her first love but her love for writing was forever there. She has written novels, travelogues, technical books, collections of short stories and non-fictional pieces, and of course, books for children. She received the Padma Shri in 2006 and has also received the R.K. Narayan award for literature. “All the royalty of my books goes to Gopi. And then it is donated to the animal shelters,” gushes Ms Murty. And not to miss the limelight that star Gopi enjoys. “Most of the times when I have virtual sessions with the school kids, Gopi comes and sits next to me. The children are thrilled at the sight,” that’s a proud pet parent. We can almost see the twinkle in her eyes.

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Beating A Bulging Belly

Dog bloat is a common condition that can be dangerous, even deadly. Know the signs so you can recognize when your pup needs help, say the vets
TEXT: TEAM BUDDY LIFE

As pet parents we have all undergone the horrifying incident of our fur babies experiencing bloat. And it is unbearable both for the pet parent and the pooch. Bloat is a condition in which food or gas stretches your dog’s stomach, causing immense abdominal pain. Bloat can also put pressure on the diaphragm, a thin muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen, leading to troubled breathing. “Bloating is a common issue in pet dogs. The main cause of bloating is taking a large meal, especially carbohydrate rich, in one go and excess running and playing afterwards,” explains Dr Kumar Ravi of Indirapuram Pet Clinic in Ghaziabad.

When bloat occurs, the dog’s stomach becomes distended and cuts off blood flow to the abdomen as well as the stomach itself. This may cause injury to the stomach wall and without treatment, may damage other organs as well. “German Shepherd, Great Dane, Saint Bernard, Boxer, Doberman, Akita, Irish Setter and Basset Hound are some of the breeds that are prone to bloat,” says Dr RK Mawai, director of NLPC Veterinary Pharmaceuticals, Newlife Pet Clinic & Pet Shop in Gwalior.

All vets would agree that bloats require immediate medical attention to determine the severity. If bloat is treated immediately, it is usually curable. If it is a simple bloat, where the dog’s stomach has not twisted, then it can be managed without medication, but may need fluids and other treatments.

As Dr GD Bhatti, veterinary officer at the Govt Veterinary Hospital, New Delhi, says, “Dogs are voracious eaters and can eat anything ranging from polythene, wood, mud, sand and chalk. After they eat such things which are not digestible, it goes into the stomach and causes indigestion, vomiting and loose motions accompanied by stomach ache as well. But the dog can’t tell the problem. So, we have to judge. With my personal experience, I tap on the stomach on the left side of the animal. If there is a drum-like sound, I know that there is bloating.”

Bloat is an uncomfortable and painful health emergency for dogs. As Dr Kumar Ravi and Dr Girish Kalra both diagnose and explain, a dog with bloat may:

  1. Dry-heave (also called retching) without vomiting any food. Sometimes a dog might spit out white foam when trying to vomit, which is usually mucus from the oesophagus or stomach.
  2. Have abdominal distention (this might not be visible in the early stages of bloat).
  3. Experience sudden anxiety, pacing, an inability to get comfortable or constantly moving around the room/house.
  4. Looking back at their belly.
  5. Position themselves in downward facing dog pose, where the dog’s back half is up and upper half is down.
  6. Pant and drool.
  7. Collapse.

Have a racing heartbeat (tachycardia). Have pale gums. Bloat is not really a disease as such but can be easily prevented. At times it is indicative of some underlying health issue as well. Says Dr Mukesh Kumar, who is working with the Uttar Pradesh Government as a Veterinary Medical Officer, “Puppies of furry breeds are seen to be more prone to bloating although it’s not really a hard and fast rule. Sometimes, bloat happens due to stomach worms and consumption of gas making food like milk. So, please avoid this type of food and get deworming in time.”

Other degrees of bloat, including GDV, can also be curable if diagnosed in the early stages. These conditions are usually treated with immediate surgery. “Having too much carbohydrates, exercise just after having food along with too much fruit may result in bloat. But the pet parents can prevent the bloat by not using a raised bowl unless your vet says your dog needs one, train your dog to have rest after having food.

Feed them a few small meals throughout the day instead of one or two large ones. Make sure they drink a normal amount of water,” says Dr Kunal Chakraborty, a veterinary surgeon from Hooghly in West Bengal.

Adds Dr Kumar Ravi, “Effective way to prevent bloating is to give three-four small meals instead of a single large meal and avoid strenuous activities like running after meals.” Says Dr Girish Kalra: “Other than above points, we must abstain from giving the fur babies any kind of human or stale food.” Adds Dr RK Mawai, “There are times when even dry food can cause bloat if it is eaten in large quantities.”

Vets suggest that bloat can be dangerous, even deadly. It could result in Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus Syndrome. Dogs having bloat, need to consult with the nearest vet with multi-speciality facilities. After proper diagnosis, dogs with simple bloat tend to bounce back into their normal lives and routines 1 to 2 days after receiving fluids and taking frequent walks.

Following GDV surgery, a dog will remain in the hospital until pain is controlled, blood tests indicate normal enzyme levels, and the dog is eating and drinking well on his own. Length of time in the hospital depends on the dog’s health history and severity of bloat, and may be anywhere from one to, two days, to up to a week or more.

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Homeopathic Bronchitis Treatment

Homeopathy has very effective remedies for canine bronchitis, a disease characterised by inflammation in the bronchi and bronchioles, the parts of the lungs through which oxygen-rich air travels, says
Dr. Tushar Gupta, B.H.M.S.

The highest ideal of cure is the rapid, gentle, and permanent restoration of health…in the shortest, most reliable and most harmless way.” _ Samuel Hahnemann, M.D. (1755-1843), founder of Homeopathy Bronchitis in dogs is a common illness that affects the upper airways and causes coughing. To understand the disease, it’s first important to know about the basic anatomy that’s involved. Air enters the body through the mouth or nose and flows through the trachea, also known as the windpipe. The air then travels into smaller air passages called bronchi before reaching the smaller bronchioles and, finally, the tiny alveoli, where oxygen enters the bloodstream.

What Is Bronchitis?

Bronchitis is a disease characterised by inflammation in the bronchi and bronchioles — the parts of the lungs through which oxygen-rich air travels. The inflammation of the epithelium of bronchi and bronchioles is known as bronchitis. The inflammation extends to various depths of the mucosa of the bronchial tubes. Inflammation of the trachea and bronchi leads to a condition known as trachea-bronchitis. It may extend to lung parenchyma causing a condition known as broncho-pneumonia.

Types of Bronchitis

1. Acute bronchitis

2. Chronic bronchitis

A cough that is present most days for a minimum of two months without signs of other underlying conditions that may cause cough is described as Canine Chronic Bronchitis.

Predisposing factors

  1. Inhalation of irritants e.g., dirt, dust, gases, toxic
  2. fumes, chemicals, smoke etc.
  3. Sudden changes in environmental temperature
  4. Exposure to cold and damp weather
  5. Keeping the pet in a poor ventilated house
  6. Too much washing of pets with cold water

Exciting factors

  1. Bacteria like B. bronchiseptica, Streptococcus,
  2. Staphylococcus, Klebsiella
  3. Virus like influenza, canine distemper,
  4. canine adenovirus
  5. Parasites like migration of Ascaris larva

Clinical Findings

  1. Productive dry, harsh cough
  2. Cough is spasmodic in nature and noticed
  3. predominantly in the morning hours.
  4. Expectoration of a large volume of mucus
  5. and coughing.
  6. Elevation of body temperature.
  7. Increased Respiratory rate.
  8. Mucoid, mucopurulent, or purulent nasal discharge.
  9. In a severe attack, dyspnoea and mouth breathing.
  10. In chronic cases, plenty of rhonchi and crepitation all over the chest.

Environmental Modifications and Supportive

Treatment

  1. Prevent bronchitis coughing in dogs by avoiding
  2. environmental triggers and allergens.
  3. Avoid smoking around the dog
  4. Avoid spraying perfumes, scented products, or aerosols
  5. Ensure that the dog has a well-ventilated environment when possible
  6. Humidifiers, air purifiers, or diffusers might help

Obesity can worsen symptoms and exacerbate breathing difficulties in pets, so keep them at a healthy weight. Exercise is necessary to help mobilise secretions and clear airways. However, do not overexert the pet as it may trigger a coughing episode.

Homeopathic Treatment

Homeopathic medicines provide symptom-based holistic coverage for the treatment of bronchitis in pets.

Homeopathy has very effective remedies for bronchitis where the inflammation of the mucosa of the bronchi and bronchioles is reduced significantly, improving the signs and symptoms of the pet. These medicines are gentle on the system of the animal and are free of the usual side effects of strong allopathic medicines.

Homeopathic medicines also help in checking the overproduction or secretion of mucus by stabilising the activity of mucus-secreting cells.

Also, in the case of chronic bronchitis, homeopathic medicines help in reducing the oedema of the bronchial mucosa, reducing the secretion of mucus, and reducing the bronchial muscle spasm.

A case of Canine Chronic bronchitis managed with the holistic Homoeopathic line of treatment: Loki, 9 y/o Beagle, was examined for recurring symptoms of spasmodic, harsh and productive cough with increased mucus production. The dog had similar episodes of intermittent respiratory symptoms for the last one year and had gradually become lethargic and unwell. A detailed case history including history, signs, and symptoms was taken from the pet parent to formulate the holistic homeopathic line of treatment. The case was analysed utilising the latest homeopathic software and the line of treatment was formulated to cover a two-pronged approach. One was to provide symptombased relief for the acute symptoms and a long-term plan was prepared to include medicines known to reduce inflammation of bronchial mucosa and reduce mucus formation to delay the progression of chronic disease. Medicines used in this case: Bryonia alba, Arsenic album, Kali Mur, Drosera, Blatta orientalism (medicines were used based on symptom totality as and when needed, in regular/infrequent doses)

Symptomatic relief for the acute respiratory symptoms was observed in the first few days of treatment. The pet parent confirmed the reduction of cough and mucus with ease of breathing. Long-term homeopathic treatment was continued for Loki to control the clinical symptoms of chronic bronchitis and slow down the progressive lung damage. As a result, Loki is able to live a normal and better quality of life with reduced frequency and intensity of clinical symptoms.

As always, let us build a symbiotic relationship as a pet parent and caretaker to collaboratively spread the goodness and benefits of homeopathy amongst our pets.

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Let’s Ear it for the Dog

It’s pretty adorable when my lil’ buddy tilts his head to the side and looks up at me with those puppy dog eyes. But lately I’ve noticed that he persists with head-tilting and also keeps shaking his head. He also rubs his ear against hard objects. Could it be a sign that my pup is suffering from a dog ear infection?
Prerna Gauri, Gandhinagar

Among the most common signs of dog ear infections are whining, shaking the head, and pawing at the ears. After all, those ears hurt and your dog is trying to stop the pain. As you inspect the ears, however, you may find they smell or have a discharge. That’s common with ear infections. As a proud pet parent to a lovable pooch, you should be prepared to one day help your canine companion fight off an ear infection. Why? For one thing, your pal’s ear canal is mostly vertical unlike yours, which is mostly horizontal. This vertical orientation makes it easier for dirt, debris, and moisture to get trapped inside the ear and lead to infection. There are a lot of reasons why dogs get ear infections, which are one of the most common health problems dogs faces. The medical term for an ear infection is otitis, or an inflammation of the ear. Your doggie could get one of three types, depending on
what part of their ear is affected?

  1. Otitis Externa develops when the outer ear canal becomes inflamed
  2. Otitis Media refers to inflammation of the middle ear
  3. Otitis Interna is a serious condition affecting the inner ear that can lead to permanent damage

Otitis Externa is the most common, but it’s important that you always take your pup to the veterinarian if you suspect an ear infection, even if their symptoms are mild. Ear infections can spread deeper into the ear canal, causing nerve damage, equilibrium issues, and hearing loss.

There are a lot of factors that can contribute to your pooch developing an ear infection. Some common ones include excess hair in the ear canal, earwax build-up, or too much moisture. However, these factors are only contributors.

Ear conditions are very unlikely to clear up on their own and the longer it remains untreated the harder it is to clear up the problem. It’s true that some breeds of dogs – ones with long dangly ears such as Springer Spaniels – are more prone to ear problems than others. Dogs which spend a lot of time in water may also suffer from regular ear problems, as well as dogs with allergies. If your dog is the kind of breed that is susceptible to ear problems or has long ears, make it a part of your grooming routine to check their ears regularly. Keep the ears clean and if you spot a problem contact your vet to see if they think further investigation is needed.

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Fixing A Velcro Dog

Why is my dog so clingy? How can I get him to leave my side and be more independent? I can’t take a shower, or sit on the couch with a loved one without my pooch demanding attention and following my every move.
Ritika Chopra, Noida

You may have what’s called a “Velcro dog.” Let’s find out what this means and whether you should be worried about your dog’s clingy behaviour. Although clingy dog behaviour can be endearing, it can also be frustrating, especially when your dog just won’t leave you alone—even for a minute! There are some strategies that you can try to help your dog detach from you and build self-confidence. Showing your dog that other humans are just as nice as you will help them detach from you. Let your dog bond with other people in your home by having another person feed, play with, train, or walk your dog. If you live alone, you can still have friends come over and interact with your dog. Velcro dogs want to keep an eye on you everywhere you go, so it’s important to show your dog that the world won’t end if you’re out of their sight. You can do this by setting boundaries. For example, shutting the door when you use the bathroom or go to another room, and then come back within a few minutes. This training may take a while, but your dog will learn that just because they can’t see you doesn’t mean you’ve abandoned them. Anxious dogs will do anything from whining, to inappropriate elimination in the house to get your attention. A way to correct this is to not reward your dog for needy behaviors. For example, if you leave a room, and your dog starts to cry, don’t reward the behavior by consoling him. Rewarding negative behaviors will only enforce attention-seeking behaviors. It’s OK if you don’t talk to your dog all the time, or constantly give him attention and cuddling. You can teach your dog to occupy himself while you’re at home by encouraging independent activities like offering chew toys or doggy puzzles. This way, your dog can learn to entertain himself with these same activities while you’re gone. If you have a “Velcro dog,” they may know what getting your briefcase, or jingling your car keys means, and this can cause anxiety. Helping to desensitise your dog to these actions can make leaving your home less stressful for both you and your dog. You can help relieve your dog’s anxiety by not making leaving a big deal, and to practice those rituals often without leaving. For example, grab your car keys, put on your coat and grab your bag several times each day without leaving. Soon your dog will eventually learn to stop associating these tasks with you leaving. If you have done everything under the sun to try to get your dog from following you everywhere, and experiencing anxiety if you leave the home, call a behaviorist. Veterinarians specializing in animal behavior can give you tools and counseling to help you and your “Velcro dog.”

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DOGS FEEL THE PAIN, TOO

When people are in pain, it’s pretty hard to miss most of the time. We complain about our aching back. We yell out because we’ve stepped on something pointy. We limp because it hurts to put pressure on a leg. But how do I tell if my dog is in pain? _ Prarthana Kaushik, Pune

If you’ve ever stepped on your pet’s foot by accident, or taken them to the vet so their doctor can inject them with medication, you might have heard them cry out or try to get away quickly. This obviously means they have the same pain receptors that we have. Just like humans, some dogs have a higher pain tolerance, which means that they’re more stoic. It doesn’t mean that if somebody hits them it doesn’t hurt. They just push through it. Dogs feel pain the same way we do, but they don’t always show it in the same way. A dog’s pain can become evident through physical symptoms, behavioural changes and/or mobility issues. These might be subtle, so stay vigilant and never be afraid to ask your vet about anything that might signal that your dog is in pain. If your dog never seems to show indications of pain, it’s not that he doesn’t feel it, it’s that he’s opting not to make his discomfort obvious to others. This behaviour is an innate relic from their forefathers. If a wild canine makes it clear that he feels weak, he becomes an easy target for fights and predators. If he behaves tough and healthy, he is no more a focus than anyone else, and therefore might be able to stay out of physical confrontations. Although dogs often try to keep their pain confidential, it sometimes becomes too much to bear. If your poor pooch is suffering, you might pick up on a host of signs. Signs Your Dog Feels Pain: Since there are many different injuries that can happen to a pup, there are going to be plenty of different signs to look out for. With this, there may be some signs that are not always there. In general, the following signs are the ones to look out for the most. These include crying, moaning, hesitation with regard to movement, antsy behaviour, widened pupils, frequent panting, decreased grooming, crouching down, shivering, atypically fierce behaviour, dull coat, aversion to physical contact, unusually silent or antisocial behaviour, hiding, inordinate chewing or biting of body parts, hobbling, excessive sleeping, bodily rigidness, loss of appetite and pressed down ears. If your pet’s temperament just seems off in general, pain might be the culprit. Take your cutie to the veterinarian as soon as you notice a single sign of pain. If his pain is outwardly apparent, it might mean that he’s been dealing with it for a while. When your pupper is dealing with pain, it is your job to know how to handle it, which means you will need to train yourself on how to best help your pup and then train them on how to know you are helping. Firstly, after you have had your four-legged friend for a while, you will more than likely pick up on their different personality traits and even understand how they are feeling most of the time. If they are acting strange or your head is telling you that there is something wrong, you should probably listen to it. When you are checking out your pup, you will want to make sure they know you are helping them out. This is where the training comes in. You will want to train your dog to let you check on their different body parts. You can do this by using repetition and treats as positive reinforcement. What this will do is let them know it is a good and safe thing to allow you to check their body out for any harm. This will also make sure that they become used to you doing this type of thing. That way, in case of an emergency, they will not have any issue with you checking their body. With that being said, as long as your dog is given a stress-free and happy environment, your dog will feel safe coming to you when they are in pain. This does not mean, however, that you should not be as gentle as possible. Until you know where the injury is located and the extent of the damage, be extra-careful as you check over each body part.