Common questions pet owners ask vet doctors (3)

Common questions pet owners ask vet doctors (3)

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Wow! It’s Friday. The beginning of a new weekend, and the end of the series “Common questions pet owners ask vet doctor.”

In the last three weeks, the feedback from e-mails and SMS has been phenomenal and I appreciate every encouragement. Even after this series, still feel free to send in your comments and contributions. Happy reading!

Hi Dr. Femi, my dog jumped and in the process of playing, she used her teeth to scratch my son. Hope he’s safe from rabies?

Well, you will need to call your veterinarian to ensure that your pet’s anti-rabies vaccination schedule has been up-to-date before the time of the scratch or bite. Rabies is a deadly zoonotic disease (a disease that can be transmitted from animals to man, and vice versa.) that is transmitted when the virus in the saliva or brain tissue of an infected animal or person enters into the body through a bite, scratch or open wound.

Signs of rabies in an infected animal include change in normal tone of barking, difficulty in swallowing, excessive or frothy salivation, unusual aggression towards people and stationary objects, and lack of muscle coordination.

Also, as a first aid after a dog bite, you should immediately wash the affected area with soap and rinse with plenty water.

I seem to be repeating the same kind of food for my dog. Please elaborate on more food options.

Dogs can eat quite a number of meals due to their ancestral background as scavengers. So, a few meal options for your pet can include rice and mashed deboned fish/minced meat or chicken, mashed yam mixed with mashed deboned fish/minced meat or chicken, bread pieced in small chunks and softened with a little water can be mixed with mashed deboned fish/minced meat or chicken, noodles mixed with mashed deboned fish/minced meat or chicken, etc. Other options include various brands of commercial dog foods that are breed or age specific.

Can diseases be transferred from my pet to me?

Yes! Sick pets can give us germs and parasites that can make us ill. Diseases we can contact from our pets are called zoonotic diseases. A few examples include hookworms (Ancylostoma) and roundworms (Ascaris), toxoplasmosis, rabies, tuberculosis, psittacosis (also known as parrot fever), anthrax, leptospirosis, brucellosis, etc.

What benefit does a child derive from playing with dogs?

Children love animals because they make great friends and playmates. The incredible richness and diversity of the animal kingdom makes it fascinating for these young minds to explore. From teddy bears to favourite television and cartoon characters, animals are a key part of a young child’s development. Hence, a child’s physical, social, emotional and cognitive development can all be encouraged by interaction with a pet.

What is the cause of hair loss in my dog?

Hair loss can be due to quite a number of reasons which include inadequate kennel ventilation or persistent increase in environmental temperature (this causes the pet to shed fur as an adaptation for more air to reach the skin). This is the reason why you may notice some excess shedding during hot weather.

Furthermore, excess shedding can also occur when a dog arrives from cold climates into more tropical climates. It will also be necessary to stress the fact that malnutrition and some clinical conditions such as worm infestation can also result in increased fur shedding. However, if the fur is shed locally, forming patches or ring shape, it may be due to a parasitic infection caused by mites that live beneath the skin. These mites feed on the oil that nourishes the fur, resulting in the death of the fur due to little or no nutrition for it. In some cases, hair loss may be due to the presence of a fungal or parasitic condition. Hence, I advise that you visit your veterinarian whenever you notice any sign of excessive fur shedding. The vet will carry out a detailed clinical examination and obtain the necessary clinical samples for confirmatory diagnosis.

How do I stop hair loss in my dog?

The cure will depend on the cause. Personally, I have noticed that dogs kept in well ventilated kennels shed their fur minimally. I see a lot of dog kennels that are designed with little or no ventilation and this is very wrong. In the wild, nature only designed that shades of trees will protect the animals from direct sunshine or rain and I guess that we should also follow this pattern when constructing kennels.

In addition, ensure that your pet’s diet is balanced and also provide daily canine multivitamin supplements. Furthermore, adding just a little palm oil to the food can also be beneficial because it contains vitamin A, which helps to maintain the skin and coat. Another substance that can help reduce excessive shedding is also called ‘coat and molt’ coil. This oil-based multivitamin complex can also help to supply the desired nutrition that will keep the fur in place.

Have a splendid weekend.


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