One of the most experienced veterinary specialists in India, Dr SB Mathur is running a successful practice in Lucknow
Q: We have three small breed dogs. We had adopted them semi-adult. The breeder had told us to deworm them every month and had even given us a supply of deworming tablets. But then a friend told us that we must not give them deworming tablets before a gap of three months. What is the ideal period for deworming our pets? -Sanjay Singh
You are following a very incorrect deworming schedule for your dogs. It is generally accepted to deworm your pet once in six months. However, in my opinion dogs should be dewormed when there is a need and not unnecessarily as these medicines are strong enough to cause an effect on the gut or the liver. It is for this very reason that it is advisable to give some liver tonic for a small period after you have dewormed your pet. How often you should deworm your pet also depends on a number of factors like the food that it is given-- veg/non-veg, home-cooked or commercial, whether your pet mingles with other animals, including strays. Similarly there are a number of indications to suggest your pet requires deworming, like loss of appetite, eating mud or paper, smelling ears and mouth, excessive shedding of coat and skin rashes. So, it is better if you consult a vet before giving your pets deworming medicine.
Q: I was bitten by a stray dog in my colony. The skin did not break but just got bruised. Also the dog's teeth and saliva did not come in direct contact with my skin as the dog had gripped me by my pants. The dog is alive and active, though this incident is about a week old. I did not get the anti-rabies shots as I did not think much of the injury at that time. But, now I am a little nervous. Are there any chances of my getting rabies? -Rishabh Sharma
Late reaction is as good as no reaction! You should have consulted a doctor immediately as the first of the anti-rabies shots must be taken within 24hours of the bite. However, possibility of your contacting rabies is not high because your wound did not bleed and the dog bit the cloth of the pant rather than your leg directly. This should be your saving grace as the rabies germs are passed through the saliva. Also the dog is from your colony and you say it is normal and healthy.
Q: I have a five-year-old child who is very keen to keep a pet. She wants a puppy for her birthday. We have never kept pets. I hope it will not harm my child in any way? -Anita Rastogi
A pet is the best companion for a child. When it grows with the child, there is a firm bond developed between them. Kids with pets are more sensitive, responsible and disciplined. Raise your pet nicely and it will never harm your child. Likewise, teach your kid to be kind and caring towards the pet and not tease or beat it. Also, make it a point to get the pet fully vaccinated as you do with a child. This way both will fare well. But some kids, like certain adults, can be allergic to pets. You should get a test done to ascertain that and if your child does not suffer from pets allergy, gift her puppy by all means.
Q: My dog gets allergy on her paws, mainly between her fingers and the inner side of her toe. Is there some medicine? -Raja Singh
Dogs tend to get allergies on their paws during rainy season as they have to walk barefoot on damp, muddy ground. This allergy subsides as weather changes. Applying Betadine helps and so does keeping the paws dry and clean. Prevent the pets from roaming outside unnecessarily. In extreme cases, take your pet to the vet for proper treatment.