One of the most experienced veterinary specialists in India, Dr SB Mathur is running a successful practice in Lucknow
Q: My newly adopted puppy is 2-month-old, can it have rabies? Ravi Das
Most likely not, Provided your dog is healthy and his mother being a pet dog herself. If a pup is born from a vaccinated mother, he inherits maternal antibody from mother. This maternal antibody protects pups from having rabies up to three months of age. This is also a reason pups are vaccinated against rabies after three months of age. If vaccinated earlier the maternal antibody would neutralize the antigen in rabies vaccine and immunity will not be generated. Hence a puppy who has completed three months of age and yet not immunized with ARV has the probability of acquiring rabies if he/she comes in contact with a rabid animal. The most reliable indicators are sudden and severe behavioural changes and unexplained paralysis that worsens over time. Behavioural changes can include sudden loss of appetite, signs of apprehension or nervousness, irritability, and hyperexcitability. Only a veterinarian can diagnose whether your dog has rabies or not. If the dog's mother had rabies while she was breastfeeding the puppies then chances are that your dog might have it. Best to get it checked from a vet who will guide you regarding further medical care if required.
Q: My cat keeps meowing & rubbing against everything. Is it normal? I am a first time owner. Sheeza Malik
Cats are known to rub against things when meowing. This is a common way for cats to mark their territory. Cats are territorial, and they will use their smell to identify the spaces and stuff that they consider theirs. This may appear unusual to you, yet it is standard cat behaviour. Also, cats convey their needs by meowing and rubbing against you. The most popular method of communication between cats and people is meowing and rubbing against humans. This is something cats do with their trusted people all the time. Most cat owners like this behaviour since they see it as a show of affection. Cats will need time to interact, play, and groom themselves. Make sure you don’t dismiss them.
Q: I want to keep goldfish. But, how would I know if a fish is unwell? Sanjeeda
You’ll notice unusual behaviour or appearance and signs of distress. Watch for indicators to pinpoint the problem. Sometimes diagnosing sick goldfish can be similar to people, and a sudden loss of appetite is usually one of the first signs that something is wrong. Often the cause can be treated quite easily once you’ve figured out what the issue is. Acting quickly is the key to give your fish the best chance of recovery. Sick goldfish may often struggle to take in enough oxygen. It is pretty easy to tell if your goldfish are gasping for air as they’ll usually stay around the surface, gulping down bubbles, or will swim in jerky patterns with their mouth open. Look for common stress triggers in your tank that may be making your goldfish sick. This includes unsuitable water temperature (keep it between 23 and 24 degrees Celsius), inadequate cleanliness of the tank, overcrowding, even undercrowding, and install an air pump and oxygenate the water. Healthy goldfish will normally swim in an upright position, and will naturally position themselves nearer to the bottom of the tank. This is because it’s instinct to protect themselves from predators. Sick goldfish, however, may swim sideways, tilted at a 45 degree angle, or can stay at the top of the tank. This is a sign that they’re unable to sink to the bottom. Digestive problems are the most common. Try soaking dried food to soften it before feeding to reduce bloating, or give your sick goldfish daphnia which acts as a natural laxative. Sick goldfish may show a number of physical symptoms of disease, such as open wounds which can be white, pink, or red in colour, a tightening of the skin which can suggest swelling, small spots that can be white or gold-like in colour, frayed or ragged fins, or visible lumps or growths on the gills. There are multiple causes of skin complaints in fish, so diagnosing sick goldfish through visible signs can be tricky. Skin issues can usually be treated in one of the three ways depending on the cause- Anti-fungal medications, anti-bacterial medications, or heat treatments for parasites. Better to consult the vet in this case. Then, your goldfish may appear to have protruding, bulging eyes when sick which are very obvious to owners, but symptoms could also be much more subtle. Goldfish should be quarantined and treated with antibiotic medications prescribed by a fish veterinarian.