Posted on

WSAVA One Health Award for Brazilian

Parasitologist Dr Filipe Dantas-Torres to receive the prestigious award for leishmaniasis work; dedicates it to pet owners who lost their dogs during the control programme in Brazil and other endemic countries.

A Brazilian parasitologist who campaigns against the killing of dogs infected with Canine Leishmaniasis is to receive this year’s World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) One Health Award. In his role as President of the Tropical Council for Companion Animal Parasites (TroCCAP), Dr Filipe Dantas-Torres works to educate his veterinary colleagues and stakeholders across Latin America that leishmaniasis should be controlled by community-wide use of repellents and vaccination rather than by the culling of affected dogs. Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by a protozoan (single-celled) parasite found in dogs, cats, and certain rodents in many parts of the world, most commonly in rural areas. The parasite is transmitted by small biting sand flies. It is an important disease to be aware of because humans can also contract leishmaniasis. Clinical signs of the visceral form include fever, anorexia (lack of appetite), weakness, decreased stamina, severe weight loss, diarrhea, vomiting, increased drinking and urination, and bleeding from the nose. About one-third of dogs will develop swollen lymph nodes and an enlarged spleen and will progress to kidney failure. Muscle pain, joint inflammation, and swelling of the testicles may also be present.

A prestigious global Award, the WSAVA One Health Award is presented by the WSAVA’s One Health Committee (OHC) to an individual or organisation, which has promoted an aspect of One Health relevant to companion animals. Dr Dantas-Torres is a researcher in the Department of Immunology, Instituto Aggeu Magalhães, Recife. An EBVS Veterinary Specialist in Parasitology, he also holds a Master’s degree in Public Health, a PhD in Public Health, and a PhD in Animal Health and Zoonosis. In addition to his role as President of TroCCAP, he is Editor-in-Chief of Parasites and Vectors and a director of the World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology. He will receive his award and give an Awards Lecture during this year’s WSAVA World Congress, which takes place from October 29-31 in Lima, Peru. The lecture is entitled: ‘Challenges and opportunities for tackling companion vector-borne diseases in Latin America.’ Dr Michael Lappin, Chair of the WSAVA One Health Committee, said: “The work that Dr Dantas-Torres is completing epitomises the mission of the WSAVA One Health Committee. He has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of dogs and their owners and his work is impactful around the world.” Dr Dantas-Torres said: “I am thrilled to receive this prestigious award from the WSAVA One Health Committee.

It recognises the efforts of many people I have had the pleasure to work with. I dedicate this award to pet owners who lost their dogs during the visceral leishmaniasis control programme in Brazil and other endemic countries.”

The WSAVA represents more than 200,000 veterinarians worldwide through its 114 member associations and works to enhance standards of clinical care for companion animals. Its core activities include the development of WSAVA Global Guidelines in key areas of veterinary practice, including pain management, nutrition and vaccination, together with lobbying on important issues affecting companion animal care worldwide. WSAVA World Congress brings together globally respected experts to offer cutting edge thinking on all aspects of companion animal veterinary care.

Posted on

Are we turning our furry friends aggressive?

Inadequate exposure, interactions and puppy socialisation with other dogs leads to permanent adverse behavioural changes, making dogs shy, aggressive or afraid throughout their lives, write Dr A. K.Wankar, Dr S. N. Rindhe & Dr T. A. Shafi

For ages, we have been rearing dogs for protection, hunting, and as companions. Earlier, the role of our dogs was to protect or assist in hunting. But in modern times, with rapid urbanisation and globalisation, the dog’s role has shifted from services to companionship or being a buddy. Housing pets is more prevalent in large, urbanised populations than in rural ones. This change has also led to some adaptive challenges for our pets. Instead of living in their natural environment with co-species and many humans, they are now isolated with single human or nuclear families in a restricted space.

The early period is crucial for dog behaviour development, primarily governed by interactions with the mother, siblings, humans, other dogs, and the rearing environment. Research has shown that maternal care is one of the most critical factors shaping a dog’s behaviour. Adequate maternal care during the first couple of months of life makes the pups more adaptable to stress, less aggressive, and fearful of animate or inanimate stimuli and challenges in adult life. This factor becomes more important today when the dog breeder weans the pups at an early age from the mother. The dog breeder might or might not understand the significance of this early bonding between the mother and the pups, which affects the dog’s lifelong behaviour.

Another common issue that shapes the behaviour is socialisation with co-species. Like humans, dogs are also social animals and love to play and learn from other dogs. Inadequate exposure, interactions and puppy socialisation with other dogs leads to permanent adverse behavioural changes, making them shy, aggressive or afraid throughout their lives. Also, they will respond strongly to strangers or other urbanized stimuli, like a car horn or a train, because their behavioural adaptation was not complete during the initial 1-2 months.

We humans easily blame the breed characteristic, that this breed is naturally aggressive and nothing can be done. But we must take maximum care of our pups during the initial period. Dogs like to play with other dogs, children and adults. This playful interaction and the natural exercise make the dog calmer, adaptive, non -responsive to unnecessary stimuli. Studies have shown that dogs who play with children, regularly exercise have a much better temperament than those who don’t. Also, dogs need undivided attention, love and time from the owner, which makes the animal more friendly for human society as well as other dogs.

Dogs’ living space also shapes their personality. Free-living outdoor dogs with less human interaction are more aggressive and fearful than those living inside our homes and get affection from all family members. The human interaction, behaviour, and communication make the dog more comfortable, resilient to challenges, more pleasant, and an ideal companion. Family affection, bonding, and behaviour influence a dog’s nature as they copy humans and will be naturally like the owner or family he’s living with.

Some important points to remember and follow are:

· Adopting a dog of known good pedigree from a reliable dog breeder

· Adequate care, attention, and composite behaviour during the first one-two months continued till six-seven months

· Proper nutrition and regular exercise

· Maintaining a proper affectionate rapport and relationship

· Proper socialisation with humans and other dogs

· Avoidance of abusive language, behaviour, and punishments

· Healthy family and home environment

· Adequate living space

By following these simple but essential strategies, we can make sure that our dog becomes an adaptive and calm creature, less afraid and fearful of other animals and humans, and grows as a lovable, shareable, and ideal companion.

The authors are part of the Faculty, College of Veterinary & Animal Sciences , Parbani (Maharashtra)

Posted on

Eyes Eyes Baby!

Eyes Eyes Baby

Eye conditions in dogs can range from mild irritation like allergies and small scratches, to more serious issues like cataract and major injuries. Keeping a track of what to watch out for can help you keep the fur baby’s eyes in good shape
TEXT: TEAM BUDDY LIFE

It may be mischief or love, but the shine of your canine’s eyes means the world and gives a glimpse into their emotions and personality. They see the world with that beautiful twinkle. However, their window to the world can at times become clouded due to some infections and diseases. Keeping a track of what to watch out for can help you keep the fur baby’s eyes in good shape. BUDDY LIFE spoke to some renowned veterinarians from all over the country to understand the symptoms of eye problems in the fur babies and the consequences.

According to Dr G.S. Bedi, “Eye is the most delicate part of the body, so always handle it with care. Whenever there is scratching on the eye or the surrounding area, then we must take note. Some of the common eye problems are Keratoconjunctivitis sicca, entropion, pink eye, cataract, pannus, cherry eye and growth on eyelid.” Agrees Dr Kumar Ravi. “Just like people, dogs can get eye infections and inflammations. Your dog’s eyes can be infected by bacteria or viruses or become inflamed due to external irritants. Sometimes allergies, trauma and dry eyes can also be the cause of eye problems,” he says.

If you have a furry baby at home, you should be equipped to deal with eye issues. They are a common problem in our canine pals and it’s not just the senior dogs who have issues, but a number of conditions can occur at any age and across all breeds. As Dr (Capt) HS Growar says, “The symptoms of eye problems can be a simple increase in tears, reddening of eyes and corneal opacity. The pet will paw the eyes in case of irritation or pain which could further damage the eyes.” As experts opine, there are various types of eye maladies and each one needs to be addressed according to its merit. Much like the humans, eye problems crop up many times when a small object enters or gets embedded in the eye. In addition, scratching or pawing of the cornea, abnormal growth of eyelashes and inverting of the eyelids also lead to eye injuries.

Says Dr Anirudh Mittal, “The frequency of eye problems has increased these days. Brachycephalic breeds like pugs and boxers have more severe eye problems as compared to other breeds due to bulging eyes.” Most common of all is corneal ulcer, where the fur baby damages its own eye due to continuous itching, he explains. According to Dr Aditya Pratap Soni, “The medications vary for various conditions and by the pet parent as delay or ignorance could lead to irreversible damage.” Since our furry companion is unable to express his discomfort, it becomes a huge responsibility for us to monitor his condition. Adds Dr Anirudh Mittal, “The most common initial sign you will notice is the continuous discharge from the eye which can be transparent to yellowish green, depending on the severity of the problem.”

According to Dr Bedi, the problem of keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) occurs when tear ducts do not produce enough fluid to lubricate the eyes, which leads to irritation and even ulcers in the eyes. So, whenever a pet parent notices any redness or scratching in eyes, then it is likely to be KCS. In the same way, whenever there is inward rolling of eyelid, it is called entropion which is usually a dietary disorder mostly seen in beagles, Lhasa Apso and bulldogs. Another common problem is when the eyes grow red and mucus discharge increases, then it can be a pink eye. It can be due to some allergens, bacterial infection or viral infection. In all conditions, we must first wash it with eye wash which can be saline, say experts. Dr Bedi explains, “When the lens of your dog’s eye starts becoming cloudy, then it is cataract. It can be caused by trauma to the eyes, diabetes mellitus or genetic reasons. Also if in the diet you are giving more carbohydrates, it can lead to diabetes which in turn can American cocker spaniel are some of the breeds prone to cataract. Sometimes, sudden blindness can also be caused due to cataract.”

But what better way to keep your pooch healthy and happy than preventing the disease from cropping into lively beings. “Prevention requires routine monitoring and health check-up from a veterinarian. Cleaning eyes gently with lukewarm water and soft cloth as a part of routine after a bathing schedule can avoid a few problems. But complete prevention of any problem in pets is a debatable question. Also, avoid any contact of your pets’ eye with long cutting-edge grass blades, carrot grass (commonly found allergic to dogs). Avoiding ticks and fleas, infestation and monitoring diet can reduce the risk of eye infections and can help improve the overall health condition of your pet,” suggests Dr Aditya Pratap Soni.

As Dr Kumar Ravi asserts, treatment for eye infections in dogs depends on the cause. It’s essential to visit your veterinarian to determine the cause and begin appropriate treatment. Your vet may prescribe eye drops and ointment to treat the infection, promote healing, ease any discomfort or itchiness, and possibly treat the underlying condition. Use of Elizabethen collars are also an important tool for treating eyes issues of pets as it prevents the fur babies from scratching their face. Dr Ravi says, “It’s always a good idea to wash your hands well after petting or treating your dog’s red eyes, before petting your other pets, and before touching your own eyes, nose, or mouth. As some viral infections are contagious to humans too.”

Last but not the least, Dr (Capt) H S Growar elaborates, “The best way to treat an eye condition is to immediately put on an Elizabethan collar and take him to the nearest veterinary clinic for further treatment. Do not attempt self-medication or treatment as you might cause further damage which might lead to the loss of the eye.” Your vet will be able to tell you how to manage a canine with an eye problem, do not try to deal with it yourself.

Posted on

Scent of a dog

The ultimate tracker, no technology can rival a Bloodhound, who is the most reliable when it comes to man-hunts and other tracking scenarios.

Ever since Trumpet took home the best in show, the top prize at this year’s prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, everyone has wanted a Bloodhound at home. For the first time in Westminster’s 145-year history, a magnificently be-wrinkled and be-jowled Bloodhound beat a French bulldog, a German shepherd, a Maltese, an English setter, a Samoyed and a Lakeland terrier for the grand honours. However, let’s make it clear at the start that acquiring a Bloodhound in India is rare, and a difficult process. You won’t always find a Bloodhound at every pet store, even the higher-end ones. Additionally, they are purebreds, which makes them much more expensive. They are not commonly found with Indian breeders. Even if you import one, the characteristic Indian household is apartment-based, and usually has several objects that can be easily ingested by a bloodhound.

They need space, and smooth marble flooring is very harmful for their feet. Most of all, Bloodhounds are known more for their utility than for their appearance. It is for these reasons that the breed is not popular in India, and is rarely seen in the country. If you’ve never seen one, Bloodhounds are large dogs who may look scary at first glance, but their temperament is actually gentle and affectionate. They carry most of their weight on them bones which makes them look large, full and thick in their body frame. Male Bloodhounds are usually 64-72 cm (25-28 inches) in height and can weigh around 46-54 kilo (101-119 pounds). Female bloodhounds, on the other hand, are shorter and span 58-66 cm (23-26 inches) in height and can weigh around 40–48 kilo (88–106 pounds). It is important to bring the puppies outside every day to exercise so they can use up their energy on long walks or other physical activities. This is to prevent them from chewing, digging and other problems that may arise due to boredom. Remember, this breed’s puppies have very high energy levels and always want to play around!

But did you know that the breed did not get its name for its tracking abilities? What makes this breed so special is that they are a pet with a long, full and noble back story. Modern day Bloodhounds trace lineage to those owned by William the Conqueror. He first brought Bloodhounds to England in 1066. They were so well bred that they were a breed owned by several monarchs and aristocrats. Thus, they came to be known as Bloodhounds i.e. of aristocratic blood. The name Bloodhound originated from the fact that the earliest breeders painstakingly traced its ancestry and went through great lengths to preserve the purity of the bloodline. The breed almost went on the brink of extinction in Britain during World War II. It was largely exported to North America and Europe. Fortunately, the exported bloodlines have revived the breed’s dying population. In England, Bloodhounds were still used for hunting and sniffing out thieves and poachers until around 1805. The breed is said to have originated from Great Britain around the year 1300. Its ancestors are said to have come from France and Belgium, specifically in the Abbey of St. Hubert, Belgium. They were called St. Hubert Hounds. One Francis Hubert made it an aim in his life to breed hounds who could be used to track a scent trail. When he passed away, he was made the patron St Hubert of hunters, which is why you can still hear people from France call their Bloodhound a St Hubert Hound today. The St Hubert Hound was used to track people during mediaeval times. In Scotland, they were called ‘sleuth hounds’ and were trained to follow the trail of Robert the Bruce and William Wallace. In the 17th century, the chemist Robert Boyle was known to be the first to show the breed’s trailing abilities. He described the way a Bloodhound followed a trail of a man for seven miles and in the search, ended up tracing him in the upstairs room of a house. The breed is quite popular in fiction. In literature, they have been mentioned in the works of Sir Walter Scott. A ‘Sleeping Bloodhound’ has also been the subject of one of Sir Edwin Landseer’s paintings. In fact, a Bloodhound’s nose work is considered ‘admissible’ evidence in courts of law in the US. As long as a Bloodhound is trained to follow the tracks of human beings and its trailing accuracy has been tested on a few instances, its trail can be used as a testimony in court. No wonder the breed is a popular choice for law enforcement companions!

You’ve probably noticed its droopy ears and skin folds – it’s a face you can’t forget! The Bloodhound has a short haired dense coat, loose skin, and their coat is usually black, tan or red. If you’ve seen a black and tan Bloodhound it’s because often the skin colour and coat is a combination of colours such as black and tan, or liver and tan or red. Some dogs actually grow white fur on certain specific body parts such as their chest, feet, and tail. If you’re looking for an endearing, devoted family dog, then a Bloodhound just might be the pooch for you! It can be a little stubborn (oops!), so it’ll need good training to make sure it doesn’t get too carried away by its snout.

They are known to be really great with humans, so there is no doubt that they would make a great family member and can take part in everyday activities such as hiking, travelling and a lot of walking. They are best homed in large houses with big backyards, rather than small spaces because they grow big and will shed fur over the years. These dogs will enjoy a place in your home where they can run, follow scent, dig around and play. As they are very friendly yet independent dogs, they have the tendency to escape because of their keenness for following scent. Make sure your place is tightly secured, and your backyard is highly fenced (at least six feet), especially when you let them roam around your home. They love children and are very affectionate, but the hound dog can be dangerous around young children because of their size. Though they don’t mean to be, they can knock toddlers and little children over with just one swipe of their tail. Early on, it is important to train both the dog and the child to be gentle around each other so no one gets hurt or put the dog on a leash when lots of children are around. As they are also a large breed, they are also the perfect height to reach tables and counters. They might wipe off things that are placed on the counter, while their excitedly wagging long tail is also at the perfect height to clear a coffee table! Always be mindful of your household items, and keep an eye on them when your bloodhound is around!

They can be more reluctant around strangers, and other dogs, according to the American Kennel Club. Training and obedience classes for Bloodhounds should start early, as “they tend to become set in their ways,” the AKC says. While Bloodhounds are affectionate, they can also be stubborn and independent, the organization said. While they do enjoy some barking and howling sessions outside every now and then when trailing, a Bloodhound will often use its nose and ears to search in silence. The Bloodhound bark is distinct and this family of dogs are known for making interesting sounds. The Bloodhound’s sound is a distinctive chest sound which is called a ‘bay’. They are generally not barkers, but will make a sound similar to “roo” when they track a scent, or when something in the air peaks their attention. They can make melodious tunes when baying, howling, and whining! This is one of the many unique Bloodhound characteristics.

Bloodhounds have a short, smooth coat and only shed once or twice a year. The dog’s coat is really made for being out in the wild, which is exactly why this hound’s coat usually has a more distinct smell compared to other dog breeds. If you see one closely, you might notice that their coat tends to get a lot of grease. This is because having a greasy exterior helped them to survive in the wild by trapping different smells. It is recommended they be brushed weekly, and owners must check inside their trademark ears and wrinkles for any odors, infection or irritation. Because of their long and droopy ears, our Bloodhound friends can also be troubled by some ear problems such as ear mites and too much cerumen. Regularly clean their ears and bring them to the veterinarian if you notice a scent or anything unusual. Bloodhounds are known to drool and slobber. You will need to keep some wipes available all the time in the house. If you choose this dog as your new family companion, you need to be prepared for lots of dribbling over the years! They can be messy eaters and are prone to bloating. Monitor your Bloodhound if you find that they are feeling some kind of discomfort. They are more likely to have problems with their teeth over the years compared to other dogs. There might be some dirt built up on their teeth which may cause gum and other tooth diseases. This will be very uncomfortable for your pet, and will create a foul scent so keep in mind to regularly brush their teeth to keep them healthy and strong.

Posted on

Neuter and Spay Your Pet: To do or not

Neuter and Spay Your Pet
Is it fair to say that spay and neuter surgery may prevent or minimise
unwanted behaviours while maintaining a pet’s same personality?
- Ronny Mathews, Kochi

One common question about neutering is, “Will it affect my dog’s personality?” So, first let’s talk about some of the physical effects of neutering: When a vet performs a neutering procedure, they remove the organs from the body which are responsible for producing most of the sex hormones – like testosterone and oestrogen. Over time in a neutered pet, the amount of these sex hormones will drop to a low and steady level. In an un-neutered pet, these hormone levels will change over time, and will generally be much higher.

It is possible that neutering may affect parts of a bitch’s personality because of these hormones. The normal cycle for a bitch means that each season is followed by a “false pregnancy” where the body behaves as if it is pregnant, even when it’s not. These false pregnancies can in some animals make a bitch nervous or anxious, she may try to build nests or even adopt “surrogate” puppies like stuffed toys and carry them around, or try to protect them. It can be quite stressful for her and for you. If you neuter a bitch, you prevent these false pregnancies from occurring. Now coming to your question, does getting a dog spayed or neutered change their personality? In the majority of cases, yes! Spaying and neutering influences behaviour by eliminating the female and male sex hormones released by ovaries and testicles. Spaying stops a female from entering a heat cycle by reducing the release of oestrogen. Neutering reduces the release of testosterone in males, who, unlike females, are always in heat. Common unwanted behaviours that can be minimised or eliminated with a spay surgery are:

Roaming

An intact female may run away in search of a male to mate with. This is not romantic courtship, but an instinctual behaviour resulting from a heat cycle. Heat cycles happen twice a year in dogs and every one to three weeks in cats. This is when they are most sexually active and able to reproduce. Roaming puts your pet at risk of being lost, injured or killed by cars. The desire to roam can be eliminated by removing the ovaries and uterus that produce oestrogen.

Irritability

Heat cycles cause a fluctuation in hormone levels that can lead to irritability, which can manifest in ways like excessive whining, restlessness, and anxiety. Spayed females do not experience these hormonal fluctuations. Your pet will likely display more consistent behaviour after being spayed.

Aggression

Females may exhibit aggressive behaviours when competing for male attention. If a female becomes pregnant, she may behave aggressively towards you or others who approach her litter. Spayed females have a reduced desire to seek out a mate, and the possibility of pregnancy is virtually eliminated.

Frequent urination

Females may urinate during a heat cycle to attract males. Pet urine is difficult to clean completely and its presence encourages other animals to “scent post,” or urinate over the area again and again.

Bleeding

When a female is in heat, her vulva will swell and she will bleed. The bleeding lasts approximately two weeks. To keep blood from getting everywhere, owners can purchase special diapers that most dogs don’t like to wear.

Unwanted Attention

A male dog can smell a female dog in heat from about three miles away, and a male cat from about one mile away. Any intact male dog or cat will show up at your door if at all possible. Common unwanted behaviours that can be minimised or eliminated with a neuter surgery are:

Your pet seeking unwanted attention

Roaming

Just like females, your male will go out in search of a female to mate with. A male dog can smell a female “in heat” from about three miles away, and he will make every effort to reach her. Your male pet could then be lost, injured, or even killed by a car. Neutering reduces or eliminates the risk of roaming.

Mounting

We’ve all seen it, and some of us have even been a victim of it: inappropriate mounting! The sexually motivated mounting of people, other pets, or furniture can be reduced by neutering.

Aggression

Males competing for female attention can cause fights or other aggressive behaviour. When the desire to mate is reduced, the chances of aggression related to mating will also be reduced.

Marking

Males want everyone to know he is present. They do this by “marking their territory” or put simply, peeing on things indoor and out. Neutering your pet will reduce and sometimes eliminate the marking behaviour. In a majority of cases, the benefits of spay and neuter include the reduction or elimination of unwanted behaviours, but it is not a quick fix to all behaviour problems. In older pets, it may take a little longer to develop replacement behaviours for the undesirable behaviours they have practised for so long. Ultimately, your pet’s behaviour is based on their individual personality, history, and physiology. Proper socialisation combined with a spay or neuter surgery are key steps to helping your pet live a happy and healthy life!

Posted on

Ehrlichiosis in Dogs

Ehrlichiosis in Dogs

Ridding the dog’s environment of ticks and applying flea and tick preventives

are the most effective means of preventing the tick-borne disease, writes

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

Canine ehrlichiosis is a bacterial disease caused by infectious bacteria from the Ehrlichia genus. Though this disease happens everywhere, it is more common in tropical regions. With global warming, the expansion of tick habitats and the prevalence of cross-border tourism, the chances of the disease spreading to non-endemic areas have increased.

How is a dog infected with Ehrlichia?

Ehrlichiosis is a disease that develops in dogs after being bitten by an infected tick. Disease transmission can occur in as little as three to six hours after the tick attaches, therefore prompt tick removal is crucial. Ehrlichiacanis (E. canis) is the most common rickettsial species involved in ehrlichia in dog, but other strains of the organism will occasionally be found. These bacteria live inside your pet’s white blood cells.

“in acute ehrlichiosis

treated early. Fever usually

subsides in a day or two,

but treatment should be given for 28 days.”

Symptoms of ehrlichiosis in dogs

There are three phases to ehrlichiosis caused by E. canis: acute, sub-clinical and chronic. Each phase of this disease has differing or no symptoms at all. Symptoms only begin to appear between one and three weeks after infection. Common symptoms for all three phases of the disease are:

  • Fever
  • Lymph node swelling
  • Limping and stiffness
  • Reluctance to walk
  • Reduced appetite
  • Tiredness
  • Cough and breathing difficulty
  • Abnormal bruising and bleeding

Dogs will generally move from the acute to the sub-clinical phase after about 1-4 weeks. In the sub-clinical phase, symptoms all but disappear as the disease hides itself in your pup’s spleen. Not all dogs ever progress from the sub-clinical phase to the chronic phase, but when they do, the symptoms become much more serious.

How is ehrlichiosis in dogs diagnosed?

If you notice your dog is not eating well, is lethargic, or has other symptoms of ehrlichiosis in dogs, you should visit your veterinarian.

Some of the tests that help in ehrlichiosis diagnosis are:

  1. A complete blood count (CBC). The usual findings are a low haemoglobin level (anaemia) and low platelet counts (Thrombocytopenia, which can cause bleeding).
  2. Ehrlichia antibodies by serology tests, such as ELISA or rapid test. These remain positive for years, even after the infection has been cured.
  3. DNA /PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests to determine the species of Ehrlichia that is infecting your dog.
  4. Rarely, the organism itself may be seen in blood smears.

How is ehrlichiosis treated?

Antibiotics, such as doxycycline, are the primary treatment for ehrlichiosis in dogs. Recovery is excellent in acute ehrlichiosis treated early. Fever usually subsides in a day or two, but treatment should be given for 28 days. If the infection is longstanding (chronic ehrlichiosis), the recovery is not sure. Prolonged courses of antibiotics are needed. Your veterinarian will discuss treatment options with you as some supportive medications such as steroids may be needed depending on the clinical state of the patient and blood parameters. Dogs experiencing severe anemia or bleeding problems may require a blood transfusion.

Preventing ehrlichiosis in dogs

Ridding the dog’s environment of ticks and applying flea and tick preventives are the most effective means of prevention. There are plenty of options available, including topical, tablet, and chewable medications. Your veterinarian will be able to help you find the best option for your pet.

Can I get ehrlichiosis from my dog?

No. However, humans can get canine ehrlichiosis from tick bites. Since dogs and people are often exposed to the same tick population, it is possible for people and dogs in the same household to test positive for ehrlichiosis.

“Represents the stage of infection in

which the organism is present but

is not causing any outward signs of

disease. Sometimes a dog will pass

through the acute phase without

its owner being aware

of the infection.”

Posted on

Homeopathy to treat behaviour disorders in Dogs

Homeopathy to treat behaviour disorders

Just like in humans, homeopathy can treat a wide variety of conditions,

including “health” problems faced by our dogs that are associated with

behavioural pathologies, says Dr Tushar Gupta, B.H.M.S.

If you’re reading this article, it’s because you’re considering homeopathy to help your dog. And that’s good news. But homeopathy isn’t like any painkiller or other medication you’ve used. It’s not a one-size-fitsall solution … remedies are specific to the symptoms of each patient. Just like in humans, homeopathy can be used to treat a wide variety of conditions, including “health” problems faced by our dogs that are associated with behavioural pathologies, or unmet behavioural expectations. These problems result in undesirable behaviour as per the normal range of the breed and its age. Pet parents often find it difficult to identify and effectively manage the challenging behavioural pattern in their beloved pets. Hundreds of pets are abandoned because they have behavioural problems that the owners can’t deal with. Many of the activities that animals engage in are entirely appropriate for their species … but not so appropriate in our civilized human society. Examples include: barking, digging, chewing, turf marking with feces and urine, and aggressively protecting their own turf. So, while many of these behaviours can be “trained away”, owners also need to be aware that these are normal animal activities… before they purchase their pets. In addition, pets may have problems with socialization with some or all of the human family members, for a variety of reasons. As examples, the family pet may fear children, or distrust either females or males, or hate the newest member – child or spouse – of the household. Socialization problems can be compounded when they extend into the neighbourhood and its people. And many pets, because they have become a part of the family “pack” become extremely anxious when they are left home alone. Few of the common behavioural problems seen in dogs are:

Separation Anxiety

The dogs can experience anxiety when the pet parent leaves them alone. As per an estimate, approximately 14% of dogs have separation anxiety. It could be defined as an inability of the dog to find comfort when separated from family members. Separation anxiety could be primary or secondary to some event. In extreme circumstances, this can mean just leaving the room or disappearing from the dog’s view. It leads to a typical behavioural pattern in which the dog chews, whines, barks, destroys the house, or mutilates their body when the pet parent is out of sight. Dogs who exhibit this behaviour are usually very sensitive; many have had several homes or experiences that have resulted in a setting that causes them to become extremely stressed. The majority of separation anxiety instances involve extreme periods of excitement followed by voids of attention and company.

Separation Anxiety of dogs

Aggression

Aggression is the most common and significant behavioural issue in dogs. It refers to a set of behaviour that usually starts with warnings and ends with an attack. When a dog demonstrates hostility toward people, he or she usually exhibits signs of becoming increasingly agitated.

Barking

Dogs can communicate in a variety of ways, including barking. The barking of a dog might be excessive at times. Because barking serves a multitude of purposes, the pet parent must first determine the cause and motive for the dog’s barking before addressing the issue. Barking can be identified as territorial barking, alarm barking, attention-seeking barking, compulsive barking, anxiety or frustration induced barking.

Phobia

Phobias are defined as quickly developed fearful reactions that do not diminish either with gradual exposure to the object or without exposure over time. Phobias involve sudden, profound, abnormal responses that result in extremely fearful behaviour in the dogs. An immediate, excessive anxiety response is characteristic of phobias, which develop quickly with little change in their presentation between bout of signs and symptoms. Phobias are the result of a negative event in the past. They can develop over time as a result of repeated events, but for dogs, it only takes one to turn a fearful response into a phobia.

Diagnosis

A detailed behavioural history is needed prior to making any diagnosis. The history should be exhaustive and include the following:

  1. Sex, breed, and age of the dog
  2. Age at the onset of condition or complaint
  3. Duration of condition or complaint
  4. Description of actual behaviour
  5. Frequency of symptoms or behaviour
  6. Duration of average bout
  7. Any changes in pattern, frequency, intensity, and duration of bouts
  8. Any corrective measures tried and the response
  9. Any activities that stop the behaviour
  10. 24-hr schedule of the dog and pet parent, and any day-to-day variability.

Supportive Therapy

In these cases, behaviour assessment and counselling are required to ensure that the pet parents have a realistic understanding of what can be accomplished and that treatment strategies (e.g., environmental and behaviour modification) are implemented to achieve an acceptable level of improvement for both the pet-parent and the pet. Dogs that exhibit any of the signs and symptoms of a behavioural problem should be comforted. In scenarios involving these issues, harsh punishments are not suitable. Dogs are frequently sensitive or insecure, and such acts might exacerbate the condition. In cases involving behavioural problems, professional help should be sought straight away. Assessment of the home environment and interactions within it is another important component in treating the problem. Concentrated activity and quality attention often go hand in hand with the other strategies for addressing the situation.

Treatment

Homeopathic medicines provide symptom-based holistic coverage for the treatment of various behavioural problems in dogs. When paired with behaviour modification, homeopathic treatment for any behavioural disorder is most effective. Homeopathy has very effective remedies for the behavioural problems and helps in restoring positive behaviour in dogs. The medicines help in stabilising the distressed mind and are natural, safe, non-habit forming, and without any side effects.

Case Study

A nine-year-old Labrador was brought to us for repeated episodes of whining and excessive barking for the past three months. There were recurrent episodes noted by the housekeeper. The pet parent was unable to identify any such symptoms while he was around the dog. A detailed case history including signs and symptoms was taken from the pet parent and the caretaker to formulate the holistic homeopathic line of treatment. As evident by the case details, the dog exhibited clear signs and symptoms of separation anxiety. The onset of symptoms was correlated with the increased travel of the pet parent due to his work. Also, there was a history of the dog being abandoned by his previous owner during the pandemic.

The case was analysed utilising the latest homeopathic software and the line of treatment was formulated. The treatment was decided to provide symptom-based relief and a long-term plan was prepared to include medicines known to reduce anxiety, improve stress tolerance and stabilize the distressed mind of the pet. Medicines used in this case: Ignatia, Argentum Nitricum, and Kali phosphoricum (medicines were used based on symptom totality as and when needed, in regular/infrequent doses).

Symptomatic relief for the acute symptoms was observed in the first few days of treatment. The pet parent and the caretaker confirmed the reduction of whining and barking even in the absence of the pet parent. Long-term homeopathic treatment was continued and reduction in severity and frequency of symptoms was observed within a few months of the treatment.

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.

Stay healthy and stay safe.

Dr Tushar Gupta - Buddy Life Magazine

Dr Tushar Gupta

B.H.M.S.

WhatsApp: 9891586494

Phone: +353 87 283 6527

Posted on

Summer Safety Tips for Keeping Your Dog Cool

Summer safety tips for keeping your dog cool
The intense heat and humidity is hard
not only for people but for dogs as
well. Our vets provide practical tips for
how to keep your furbaby cool and safe
during the blistering months
Text: Team Buddy Life

It has been a long-drawn summer this time. With soaring temperatures, the heat is unbearable for all, especially for our pooches. Summer can mean lots of fun outdoors with your beloved pets. But there are some precautions that we need to take to protect our pet. Whether it’s a walk outdoors, or a car ride or just to play in the park, it is important to keep our furry friend safe and healthy. “Although pets have their own way of physiological adaptation to overcome this problem, at the same time we can also help them to rise over this heat stress problem by providing a suitable diet,” says Dr Aditya Pratap Soni, Department of Veterinary Medicine, College of Veterinary Science, Jabalpur.

Just as our diets change during the hot weather, our canine companions should also be offered food that has a cooling effect on their bodies. According to Dr Pradyut Kr Sarmah, Director, Pet & Vet, Guwahati, “The ideal diet for your furry friends during this summer season will be normal food what you provide in daily basis but you can add lots of watermelons, cucumber, coconut water and mangoes since these foods contains more water.”

Agrees Dr Seema Talokar, product manager (Companion Animal), Vetina Healthcare LLP. According to Dr Talokar, “The ideal summer diet for canines is lighter and fresh meals. One must select foods that have a cooling effect on the body. For convenience, you can opt for processed wet or dry food.” She mentions three points to take care of in summer meals for our fur babies:

1. While choosing dry food, select the one which provides a balanced diet of nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. Avoid feeding them anything too fatty.

2. Neutral food options such as salmon, quail, and turkey can be added to a dog’s bowl in moderation.

3. Go for dog food that contains prebiotics, salmon oil, and a mix of fruits and vegetables. A high fibre and low protein diet with lots of vitamins, minerals and plenty of water which increases the process of digestion and absorption also helps maintain the hydration of the pets.

In general, a healthy dog should drink approximately 30-50 ml of water per kg body weight per day. However, breed, age, body condition, and medications also influence how much water your dog needs, explains Dr Aditya Pratap Soni. However, Dr Pratik R Chavelikar, a private practitioner at Vihaan Pet Clinic, Gandhinagar, says, “There is no formula to know how much water your pet should drink each day. This depends on many factors, including pet size, diet, age, activity level and exercise, temperature, health conditions or medications that cause dehydration and weight. Most dogs should consume at least 30 ml of water per kg body weight daily. This can be monitored depending on whether the pet eats wet food (which is mostly water). If the pet is very active, we should encourage him or her to drink more water to stay hydrated.”

Water is one of the essential nutrients our dogs need to live happy and healthy. Our dog’s health and wellness depends on their ability to get the proper amount of water each day. Water has a wide range of positive effects like hydrating brain and blood, lubricating and cushioning joints, body temperature regulation aiding in waste removal, and helping the digestion process. Dr Pradyut Kumar Sarmah adds, “Usually, a dog needs approximately 60-80 ml of water per day per kg of body weight over a period of 24 hrs, but during summer if the dog is going for a walk or playing outside, they would need more water. Some symptoms of dehydration include:

1. Dry sticky gums

2. Excessive panting

3. Sunken or dry looking eyes

4. Foaming, loss of appetite, depression

A common problem faced by several pet parents is their fur babies refrain from drinking water frequently. Keeping your dog hydrated is needed to keep them sound and healthy. Calculating the required water intake depends on several aspects, such as their breed size, activity level, and type of food they eat. “On an average, dogs require around 1 ounce of water per 1 pound of body weight. Your dog’s exercise level and time spent in the sun may call for increased daily water intake. The essential thing is to keep their water bowl filled with fresh, clean water and have plenty of cold water available. If you feel your dog is not drinking enough water, try adding a flavour enhancement (like low-sodium chicken broth), says Dr Talokar.

Other important points to be taken care of, as Dr Rahul Sankhe, Livestock Development Officer Palghar, Maharashtra, says, “Make sure that your pet is protected from ticks, fleas and lice. Ticks are most active from the months of March to mid-May and from mid-August to November. Ticks are active any time the temperature is above freezing point. It is advisable to keep an anti-tick spray handy as it helps to kill ticks and rid your pet from the scratching nightmare. Try to keep your house cool. At home if the pet is alone, make sure they remain in a cool room. Leave the air conditioner on, and close the drapes. If there is no AC , open the windows and turn on a fan. You may want to see if a cooling vest or mat can help.”

Some pro tips for easy summers!

  • Do not leave your dog’s dinner out for too long.
  • Change up mealtimes to the cooler times of the day.
  • Never leave them in a parked car on a hot day.

Make sure you have enough shady areas available for them to relax. Refrain from keeping your pet in a closed car as it can lead to heatstroke and suffocation. On a normal day the temperature inside a car can reach up to 40 degrees Celsius within 10 minutes and up to 120 degrees Celsius if left in direct sunlight. So even if you think it will only take a few minutes, it is a strict no-no. If you’re driving around with your furball in the car, carry water and a bowl with you. Take your pet along when you leave the car. Also, older dogs and obese dogs can’t tolerate heat as well as other dogs can, meaning that they may need more frequent breaks to cool off and rehydrate. Additionally, certain breeds are more susceptible to overheating because of their build. Certain dogs are particularly vulnerable due to their short muzzles. If you have questions about sun exposure, flea prevention or heat exposure, call your vet. The best part of taking care of your pet is one day your baby will tell you with her energy, her vitality, her health and the sparkle in her eyes that you gave her the incredible gift of life and longevity.

Posted on

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

Posted on

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.