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Q. Every year before the monsoon,my dogs (labrador and spaniel) suffer from itchy skin which results in hairless patches which sometimes even bleed from scratching. Their skin smells terrible and even their ears swell up. Shveta Kapoor,Saharanpur
A. Bathe your dogs with Tetmosol soap once a week rubbing the foam into the skin thoroughly and letting it stay for a few minutes at least. Once dry apply Himax or Betadine on the affected area as long as the problem persists. Give one Avil 25mg once a day for 7 days, a capsule of codliver oil or multivitamin. I suggest you consult a homeopath.Here are two names: Dr. Shukla (Animal Homeopath), E-20, Sector 39, NOIDA, PH: 91-573633/5786027 Poonam Nagpal (Animal Homeopath): 108/39A, Silver Oak Apartments, DLF Qutab enclave Phase I, Gurgaon (Haryana) 122 002. Ph. 91-351030, 91-351430. ++

Q. Why do hippos have massive front teeth when they are vegetarian?
A.Hippos' lower canines are not an adaptation to cope with meat as much as tools for social interaction. Though the females have enlarged canines, it is the males who have the really impressive teeth--upto 50cm long. Males hold large territories along rivers and lakeshores in which females and calves are welcome and subordinate males are tolerated. It's when the males are sorting out who is boss that they use their teeth. Usually a male to male encounter is ritualised: yawning, water throwing, head shaking,grunting and chasing is enough to decide who is the dominant one. But if the display escalates, then the two hippos make contact and their tusks are used. Bouts of tusk clashing,rearing and pushing with lower jaws engaged, and biting will determine the winner. As they disengage, the loser will usually be chased and bitten badly as he runs. The deep wounds often look worse than they are because hippos have skin upto 6 cms thick covering their flanks.

Q 12. I love pets and want to keep one but my mother hates even the idea of loving them. Please tell me how can I convince my mother to allow me to keep a pet ?
A. Pets can work wonders for people and anyone who has ever loved an animal knows the joy that human-animal bonding can bring. Dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, fish and even reptiles can provide remarkable physical and psychological health benefits to humans. Pets can increase medical patients' survival chances and decrease stress. People with pets get fewer colds than people without pets and can help adults lower their blood pressure. Pets can relax children during medical exams and aid in their recovery from serious illness, motivate children to improve motor skills and overcome behaviour problems. Pets also can listen without judging and love unequivocally. Studies have shown that young people who love and care of animals develop more confidence and a sense of responsibility. Society as a whole is benefitted by reducing violence and encouraging compassion. Students learn to use their initiative, develop courage and function as responsible team members.

Q1.My dog has fits regularly. Is there anything that can be done. Kamran Zaidi,Moradabad
A. A reader has written in from Rishikesh with a suggestion for dogs that suffer from fits. One tab of Epsolin (100mg) given morning and night helped his dog recover completely.

Q2. I bought a Labrador pup from a person selling dogs on a roadside. After a few weeks he became weak and changed into a Hindustani pup. How was that possible? Prachi Chawla, Bhiwadi.
A.It serves you right for buying a dog. If you do not even know what a labrador looks like what is the great urge to buy one ? Is it because you can show him off to your friends? Dogs are not toys or commodities to be bought and sold. People who buy dogs encourage the terrible cruelty of breeding. Greedy breeders mate their female dogs once or even twice every year till she dies of exhaustion. In-breeding leads to genetic defects and unsaleable pups are simply tossed into the trash. It is only very foolish people who regard dogs as status symbols rather than companions that go in for pedigreed dogs. Indian dogs are both freely available and much better suited to our climate and conditions. They are as strong and intelligent as any pedigree and make loving and loyal pets. You should be happy to have an Indian puppy. Treat him well and be sure not to abandon him or else you are not fit to have any animal at all.

Q3. I had a 7 yr old Golden Retriever who died while being operated by a vet for pyometra in Jangpura. I heard the dog shriek in pain during the operation even though the vet claimed he had given her anaesthesia. He claims she died of heart attack. I feel sure it was his negligence in correctly assessing her clinical reports. What should I do? Mrs VG Kumar,Delhi

A: There are many cases of animals dying due to veterinary incompetence and neglect. After killing the animal, some vets even offer to procure pedigreed pups for the bereaved owner at a 'reduced' price! Just as doctors are held responsible for medical malpractice, vets too can be similarly sued. The first thing to do is insist on a post mortem. Take this report and file an FIR under Section 429 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC 429) which makes it a crime to injure or kill any animal above the value of Rs 50/- and is punishable with imprisonment upto 5 years or a fine or both. The second thing you can do is to make a formal complaint to the Veterinary Council of India. In order to practice medicine, every vet needs to be registered with this Council. Upon receiving complaints against a vet, this Council examines the case and if found guilty, it can revoke the vet's licence making it illegal for him to continue his practice. Every state has a State Veterinary Council office where complaints may be reported. In Delhi, contact Dr RS Sharma, President Delhi Veterinary Council,Dairy Colony,Veterinary Hospital Masoodpur, New Delhi--70. It is odd that you should mention a doctor in Jangpura, for there has just been a case where a doctor of Petaids Veterinary Centre in Jangpura has been accused of killing two dogs by giving them all their vaccinations all at once. The owners have filed a case which has been reported in the press.

Q4.My two year old German Shepherd dog's ear has been oozing a yellow fluid for one week and he is scratching at it constantly.What should I do. Cheena Saraswat, Firozabad

A. Your dog is suffering from a painful ear infection. Well before the discharge started you will have noticed that he would have begun to keep his head at a tilt. Start him on a course of antibiotics-- 250 mg Mox capsules 3 times a day for two weeks along with Vetamin B. Take some cotton wrap it around your little finger and clean the ear visible to the eye. Do not probe deep (not that your dog will let you) as this may cause ear damage. Apply Betnesol Ear drops 5-7 drops 3 times a day inside the ear so that they go into the canal. Do this for 1 week. If there is no sign of improvement, you will need to bring him to a vet.

Q5. My two dogs fight frequently. Last week one damaged the others'ear badly and it has swollen up. The doctor has advised an operation but the dog is uncontrollable. What should I do? MF Ali, Badaun
A. You must get the dog's ear operated for Haematoma (swelling caused by accumulation of fluid which will need to be drained). In order to get the dog to the vet, tranquillise him with calmpose first. Depending on the dog's weight, ask the doctor how much you should mix in the food. Crush the tablet and put it in his favourite food. Wait till the dog is drowsy and then take him for the operation. In order to quiten down both dogs and stop them fighting in the future, get them sterilised. This will calm them down,prevent them from picking up fights over females or from roaming after them.

Q. My 6 yr old bitch Daisy has gone off her food. She won't drink her milk but eats biscuits, bhujia and even fruit. Please tell me what should we feed her ? Himanshu Jaitley, Rohini
A. Do not worry about your dog going off milk-- it need not form part of her diet.In fact most adult dogs detest milk. Instead try yoghurt or paneer. A balanced diet consists of green vegetables, dal, mashed soyabean cooked with garlic, haldi and a little salt mixed with roti. You can sprinkle some crushed biscuits on top to induce her to eat till she gets used to the taste. Any fruit intake is excellent and should be encouraged. You can give dog biscuits as an occasional snack. Try Friskets which are vegetarian biscuits. You can also get a copy of my book-- Natural Health for Your Dog (Rs 75) Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd., Sterling House, L-10 Green Park Extension, New Delhi-110016. which deals with nutrition for dogs.

Q. What is a group of cats called ? Ashwin Shukla,Surendranagar
A. Strangely enough, a clowder. Group names have been evolved to suggest a general idea of what these animals may look like when they are all together , or what their behaviour may be. The names are extremely interesting if you imagine them visually. For instance: a group of rooks is called a parliament (So now you know what is the level of our debate!). Some of the other more colourful ones are: crows:murder ,foxes:skulk , bears:sloth, eggs:clutch, donkeys:pace, turkeys:dule, whales:pod, quails:bevy, Coots:covert, dogs:pack, geese in flight is a skein,geese on the ground is a gaggle

Q.Can any animal be a pet? Irima, Gauhati
A.Any animal CAN be a pet (depending on your perversion) but that doesn't mean that it should be. Wild animals belong in their own habitats. Pets are those animals that have been raised and bred to be with humans. Captive wild animals have not. Many wild animals may be trained by people like circus trainers but there is a difference between trained ( which is the subduing of the spirit by any means but usually beating and starvation) and domesticated. A wild animal will always remain wild even if you frighten him into temporary submission. Animals like tortoises have no interest and no interaction with humans and should be left alone to keep our water clean which they do brilliantly. Birds pine and die in cages and their talk is not talk but senseless repetition of what we insist on and which takes the place of their own beautiful trilling. In any case it is illegal to keep,buy,sell wild animals and birds or their parts in India and the punishment is upto 5 years in prison and a hefty fine. So stay with dogs,cats,chickens ( who are really very bright), pigs, goats,cows. If you are really hardup for company get yourself a cockroach. ++

Q.In the Wildlife Protection Act, bats are listed as vermin. Why? Dr R.N.Kaul
A. No idea. Some ignorant bureaucrat's contribution. He probably confused them with rats.There is absolutely no reason for them to be "vermin". They are one of the most essential animals for this earth. About 25% of all fruit trees and plants are only there because they spread the seeds. Certain plants can only be pollinated by bats. They are , with snakes, very good friends of farmers. They, more than any mammal, live in close promixity and harmony with humans. They do not attack humans. they are not even in competition with them for food because the fruit bats eat mainly wild fruits like peepal figs which humans do not eat. The insectivorous bats are major league pest controllers. In any case the WPA is very badly done and isextremely weak even in the penalty section. It needs to be compeletly revised. I am told that the National Law Institute in Bangalore is doing just that. Perhaps in the next revision, bats will be given their rightful place as protected mammals.

Q.I have two dogs but they do not seem to get on with each other even though they have grown up together. Pinti Lashkar,New Delhi
A. It is presumed, wrongly, that every animal has to like another. Just being two of the same species doesn't mean they are going to get along - as attested to by divorce, wars and politics. Just pay equal attention to both. ++

Q. We are planning to get a dog. Shall we remove the carpets in the house? Alka Nagpal,New Delhi
A. What do you want carpets in such a hot climate ? Floors that are cleaned everyday are so much better for your health. Not only do dust mites collect but when you have artificial wall to wall carpets you can be allergic to the glue and acrylic. They can never be cleaned. The best trained pet will occasionally vomit on them, ticks, mites and fleas will hide in them and reinfect the animal, pawmarks will be left on them. Get rid of the carpets. ++

Q. Is there any need to feed the birds during the monsoons ? Can't they take the seeds and fruit from the trees then ? Deipak Prashar,Gwalior
A. Feeding wild birds is a year long necessity. They need food in the "spring" months because their supplies are low and their calcium needs are high for egglaying, in summer they have babies to care for, in the monsoon, they cannot fly because of the rains and by September they need fuel to migrate to warmer climates. Also if the birds are habituated to picking up food from you, they have lost their ability to forage and will die of hunger as, by the time, they locate food and water sources, they will be worn out. Also make sure that the food you give them during the monsoon is dry and not damp and mouldy as they will die of sickness otherwise.

Q.1 We have a 8 years old Lhasa Apso, that has lost his appetite and suffering from alopecia with a severe mange infection. We have tried various remedies but to no avail. All the family members have also developed severe itching. The vet has warned us that our dog's problem is incurable and has suggested to put the dog to sleep. Since we do not want this, can you suggest us animal shelters where he could be looked after. Aumrita, New Delhi
A. It is not the dog you need to abandon, it is the vet. Mange is an entirely curable infection. Get Bayer Asuntol available with any vet. Make 18 small sachets of it. Put 2 sachets in one litre of water. Take a cotton ball and dab it on the affected area, leaving the dog in the sun so that the poison evaporates. You must do it very carefully avoiding its nose and ears and ensure that the dog doesn't lick it. Do it on a sunny day only and do it once in 10 days, for three times. In between get used mobil oil, from any mechanic shop. Apply it on the affected area, leaving it for the whole day. Wash it off the next day with soap and water. Give a course of Mox capsules for 10 days, one tablet twice a day. This will help the wounds to dry up. When you have finished with this course of Mox tablets, give Sulphur 60 - 2 tablets twice a day, for 5 days. Repeat it after a couple of weeks if there is definite improvement. You can consult Dr Indra Raisinghani, Stall no.1, W-Block, GK-II. Ph. 6484392. It is wicked to throw out a sick or injured pet as this is when it needs your love the most. It has much less chance of recovery if it is forced to undergo the stress of a new place and unfamiliar people. The dog is not eating because it has no energy left from scratching itself and because its body is on fire. Give it energy foods to begin with , electral in water, glucose biscuits. Give it a liver tonic which might stimulate its hunger.Try milk without any mixtures like rotis in it or dahi which most dogs like.Vegetable soup is important.Change all the foods that you normally feed it and try handfeeding small amounts of what you think it might like. As it gets better its appetite will return. In any case an 8 year old dog should be given smaller lighter meals.

Q. How much does a sterilization of a dog cost? I adopted a dog from Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Center. The problem with her is that whenever someone comes to our house she starts urinating at that very place spoiling the furniture. What could be the problem with her? Harvinder, Delhi
A. Sterilization is a safe and simple procedure if performed by an experienced veterinary surgeon. It costs an average of Rs 400/- per animal which includes feeding and post-op care for 7 days. You can get your dog sterilised at SGACC. Sterilisation will keep her healthy and protect her against ovarian cancer. Regarding her urinating problem, this stems from a lack of confidence. You and your family will have to help her regain confidence. Do not raise your voice or scold her when she does it as this aggravates the problem. The more nervous and afraid she is, the worse this problem becomes. Pay more attention by playing with her. Start with a 10 second game which involvers a tug toy or rag. Don't expect her to pull it, she won't because she is convinced she can't win. If she puts her teeth on it, let go and walk away. After a few repetitions, her efforts will become more committed as her confidence grows. For a while, you must lose all cometitive games with her. The more she wins the less submissive she will become and the urination will stop.

Q.As soon as my phone rings, my dog will start barking and carry on all the time I am on the phone. He wants to go out, scratches the door,jumps at imaginary intruders outside the window or runs off with pens,shoes or anything that he knows is forbidden? I throw whatever I can at him to get him to keep quiet while I talk but he doesn't. Tinky Kapour,New Delhi
A.This is extremely common. In fact some dogs even get aggressive towards their owners when the phone rings.A few people complain that their dogs get very disruptive during a television programme. The problem is attention seeking. Look at it from the dog's point of view. When a human is in the room they are in some way involved with the dog even if they are a table or eating or talking.They will absentmindedly stroke it or refer or speak to it .The only time when there is no attention paid is when they are speaking into some stupid bit of plastic.The dog has learnt as a puppy that when it brings a toy or lifts its paw or asks to go out it is rewarded.So now , the dog first sits, then paws the owner then when that gets no response he does what is calculated to get him attention-whining at the door or barking. And he is rewarded by your attention and even by you playing a game like throwing things at it. Since it is used to your weird throwing game, it will ofcourse run off with more things so that it can continue to get your attention. You have to make attention getting associated with something unpleasant. There is something called sound aversion therapy but this will require a professional trainer. Or you can make the phone ring irrelevant by patting the dog while you are on the phone so that he stops seeing it as a threat.

Q.4 Our cocker spaniel cannot eat without getting his ears full of gravy. I can't clean him and the floor after every meal. How do I keep his ears up at mealtime. Anomita Mukherjea,Mukhtsar
A. Get him a high cone shaped dish. Look at the internet for its specific design it is designed for long eared dogs. And while on this subject , if you have tall dogs get them the same dish because for large breeds to bend down to eat from a flat dish strains their neck and spine.

Q 1.Where does the word animal come from ? Aaryaman Shukla,New Delhi
It comes from the Latin anima which means soul or breath. And it is true that animals are the breath of the earth and man's survival is completely dependant on each one - from the amoeba to the elephant.

Q 2.How dangerous is a bee bite ? Sarbjit Kaur,Ludhiana

The stings of bees and wasps generally cause no more than a localised swelling and a dull ache , both of which disappear in a few days. The bite of some ants hurts more. We use a cut potato on the sting to draw the stinger. Other people press down with a knife end or keys. There are people who are very sensitive to the bite and have an unusual reaction. The stinger of the bee is a modified egglaying tube. The bee/wasp can only do it once. The stinger at the rear of the body lodges in its victime and is torn from the bee along with the venom sac. It cannot be withdrawn and the bee dies. Bees only sting when provoked. So don't attack hives and stay clear when you see a bee on a flower.

Q3. I have white ants in my garden and so nothing grows. I do not want to use insecticide on them. Is there any other method ? Nita Kumar,Moradabad
One of the surest methods is to plant banana trees. White ants disappear within a few days. In Indian housebuilding lore , before a house is built , banana trees are planted round the site and I am sure this was to keep away termites from the structure. I have done it in my garden and it works. You can then plant other plants once the bananas settle in which should be in 3 months.

Q 4. How often does a bird eat ? Nikky Sharma,Bhopal
Birds are "hot-blooded" - with abody temperature of 105 to 111 degrees. Maintaining this temperature requires constant fuel. Small and medium sized birds lose bodyheat much faster than big birds. So small birds , during their waking hours, eat almost all the time. Females eat more when they are going to lay eggs. Some birds start the day with a big meal and then eat heavily in the evening to keep themselves supplied with energy during the night.Towards the end of the monsoon those birds that are going to migrate in the cold eat heavily to increase their body fat as a means of storing fuel. Which is why I repeatedly ask you to put out food/water for the whole day.

Q5.I have a pomeranian who wakes us at 3 a.m. every night to go out to urinate. Is this normal. Can he be made to sleep till 6 a.m. so that we are not disturbed ? Dr Shashi Mehta,Delhi
Most indoor dogs do this. And when you open the doors a few times, the habit sets in. See that you feed him his last meal latest by 7.30 as they want to go out immediately after.At 10.30 p.m. take him into the open and let him urinate. Then no matter what happens, do not open the door till 6.a.m. The first few nights will be tricky and he will keep scratching and barking. But after that he will settle down. When my dog tried the same thing , we gave her a gentle slap when we opened the doors and a slap when she came back in. She is now out of the habit. I hope you have enough ventilation for him so that he is not going out simply because it is too hot inside.

Q6.Is there any hospital for animals on the lines of AIIMS. Are ICUs available for existing animals ? Varun, Chandigarh
All animal hospitals are emergency centres because that is the state in which most animals are brought there. Government hospitals do not work very well. Motibagh Hospital in Delhi may be somewhat of an exception.Some animal shelters run by animal welfare groups have rescue and keeping facilities. In Chandigarh you can go to People for Animals:PFA Chandigarh : Ms Payal Sodhi, Hs.No.82, Sector-10, Chandigarh-160010. 742095 (O), Fax.(0172) 740664 PP, Pager no. 0172-9612-(ask for 197) (Also: Hs.No.45/A, Sector 44-A, Chandigarh. Ph: 607719) Ms Deepshikha Mehta, 208, Sector-7-A, Chandigarh. Ph: 772659 or SPCA Hospital cum Rehabiliation centre (Opp. CTU workshop), Sector-38 (W), Chandigarh. Ph. 696450 In Delhi there is a professional private hospital for pets. Champagne Memorial Pet Hospital and Holiday Home of India. (OPD, IPD, X-ray, ultrasound, Ambulance) Tel:5084799,9810044023

7.I am thinking of getting a dog but we would like to keep it vegetarian. Can you tell me what I should feed it ? Rohan Joshi,Delhi
Get the book Natural Health for Your Dog published by Sterlingand available in most bookshops. It has easy recipes for pups and grown dogs.It also tells you what and how to feed sick,pregnant and old dogs.

Q 8. I have a 8 months old healthy dog. He has the bad habit of chewing things like slippers, door edges etc. How should I correct this habit? Anjali Chauhan, Hardwar
A. Since the dog is just 8 months old, he is going through his teething period which makes him want to chew. You can divert him away from slippers and furniture by giving him chewable toys and artificial rubber/calcium bones or carrots. I would also suggest that you take away the things that he chews and say a very firm no so that it does not become a habit. You could put a little dettol or some other strong smelling harmless scent on the door edges so that he avoids them.

9.I have a 14 day old puppy. Is it recommended to separate a puppy from its mother when it is so young? If not, then at what age should we adopt a puppy ? Rani Sarna, New Delhi
Pups should be weaned from their mothers only when they are at least 6 --8 weeks old.Never adopt a puppy or give one away until it is at least that old. Extra protein, carbohydrates and calories are needed for new tissue growth and youthful activity. In the early stages of weaning, its mother's milk is the most vital source of these nutrients. Mother's milk also provides valuable immunity against infectious diseases. Once weaned, puppies grow at a rapid rate and need to ingest very large amounts of energy and nutrients in relation to their size. It is essential to use more concentrated foods and offer five to six small meals a day until the puppy reaches half its expected adult weight, and taper down to two meals a day for the adult dog. A pup has a small stomach capacity and will thrive much better on frequent small meals than on one large one and try to keep to regular mealtimes. Feed the puppy with luke warm milk and crumbled sugar-free biscuits or rusk in the morning and evenings. Vary the meals: one small chapati with mashed boiled potato or paneer with little curd; dalia, mashed vegetables; rice and dahi; rice and dal etc. Keep him vegetarian. You can also give lassi in the evenings when it is cooler.

10.My puppy has started drinking its own urine. Is it because of being fed with unboiled milk diluted with some water? Please suggest something for the proper growth of the pup. Rajneesh Ambavat, Meerut
In natural circumstances,the mother would be licking the puppy thoroughly and cleaning him up. He might be licking his own urine to simulate this sensation. Another possibility is thirst.Puppies must be given water. Giving just milk is certainly not good enough. Be sure to have a bowl of clean water where he knows to find it. He might be too young to do this on his own so that is why he is quenching his thirst this way. Another possibility is worms . You should introduce garlic into his diet as early as possible. Garlic helps to eliminate worms, strengthen digestion and beneficially stimulate the intestinal tract. Garlic is not only tasty to many pets but also helps to tone up the digestive tract and discourage worms and other parasites, including fleas. Include fresh grated garlic with each meal. When he starts licking his urine, say a stern No and prevent him from doing so by giving him a little tidbit or snack so that he understands that if will be rewarded if he obeys. Do not hit or shout at him.

11. My 6 year old female Indian dog is suffering from epilepsy for the last 2 years. The doctors at Moti bagh vet hospital treated her for 2 months with no improvement so the doctor advised to give Gardinal (30mg), twice a day. Earlier the attack would come once or twice in 15 days, but now it comes in a period of 45 to 60 days and that too for a week or 10 days with at least 8-10 attacks a day. During this period, she never takes any food or medicine. N.V Nathan, Delhi
I do not think there is any cure for epilepsy. There are no allopathic medicines that can cure this problem completely and allopathic sedatives destroy the kidneys. It might be worthwhile,therefore, to try homeopathy. Belladona for attacks with dilated pupils and throbbing pulse, when the pet feels hot. Cocculus used regularly over several months may prevent seizures. Ignatia is used when hysteria or loss of consciousness accompany attacks. Bufo rano is for impatient, nervous animals when there may be agitation, howling or biting with attacks, or the pet may hide. Cicuta virosa is indicated for grand mal seizures, with the dog acting delirious afterwards. When there are violent convulsions with rigid body,locked jaws and foaming at the mouth, the remedy is Oenanthe crocota. You can also give cucata vir- 30 potency 1 dose every morning and 1 dose in the evening of 10 small pills or 4-5 big pills of hyoscimus 30 potency. There should be a half an hour difference between the two doses of the different medicines. Avoid constipation in an epileptic dog. Give kelp or alfalfa powders in water that helps to detoxify heavy metals from the body.Kelp adds iodine to boost thyroid. Use only chemical free-products and give filtered or bottled water. The epilieptic dog needs a non-smoking environment. Foods like plain yogurt, vegetable juices, eggs, grapes, and carrots should be given. Give a yeast free 20-50 mg B-complex. Sterilising the dog might help as excitement levels should be kept down. You can contact a dog homeopath :Dr Shukla, Ph: 91 573633, E-20, Near Golf Course,Sector 39, NOIDA

Q 12. I have a 2 yr old German Shepherd. Whenever I take him for a walk, he attacks passersby and other dogs and I find it difficult to handle him. He used to have a trainer but that man used to hit him so much that his legs would get injured so we got rid of him. I punish him when he misbehaves, but it doesn't seem to help. Shaila Mohanti,New Delhi
A.You are entirely responsible for your dog's aggressive behaviour. First of all, there is no need to get a trainer to 'train' a dog. Protective behaviour comes naturally to them. All they needs is love and a sense of belonging. By beating him,the trainer has turned him into a biter. By hitting him when he attacks you are not helping either. This violence has affected the dog psychologically. He attacks passersby and other dogs because he feels threatened and insecure because of what he has gone through. Therefore, now to overcome his fear you will need to make him feel loved and secure. Take him for walks along less crowded paths, and at less busy times. When he jumps at people, do not punish him physically but give a stern command like a NO or give a slight thumping sound with a rolled newspaper on your hand or the floor. Do this immediately so there is a connection between his action and yours. Never beat, smack or shout at him because this will make him defensive, submissive or aggressive. Give him plenty of exercise and attention. You don't have to train him, nor should you attempt to teach him foolish tricks. What you need to ensure is that the dog gets proper food, shelter, medical attention and the family's personal care. Be consistent in your behahaviour towards him. Give him a little tidbit or a snack so that he understands that obedience will be rewarded. If you are keeping the dog tied, that is another reason for frustration and bad temper. Leave him free within your home and compound so that he develops confidence. If you cannot do this,it is better to find a more suitable and dogfriendly family for your mistreated dog. ++

Q1.The dairy near my house gives injections to the cows just before milking them. What is this injection ? Devin Seth,Ghaziabad
A1.Oxytocin is a hormonal drug that is given to women experiencing extreme difficulty in childbirth. It causes uterine contractions. Dairy men use it on cows in the mistaken belief that it leads to increased milk. In actual fact all it does is hasten the flow. In the bargain, the cow suffers labour pains twice every day, her reproductive system is destroyed and she goes dry in three years. The cow is then sent to an illegal slaughterhouse or thrown onto the road. Under the law, Oxytocin which is a Schedule H drug cannot be sold without a prescription. Yet it is available for just a few paise at every pan shop. Under the Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals Act Section 11,it is specifically forbidden to give animals any injurious drug. However the Animal Husbandry department refuses to take any action on this grave misuse of a drug because they want milk at any cost. What has to be realised that oxytocin goes into the milk. It causes children to develop weak eyesight,it leads to uterine cancers and abortions in women, it causes several cancers and hormonal imbalances in men. Not only that ,the oxytocin factories are in Bihar.Not one of them pays sales tax or even declares this sale.They only declare a few injections that are given legally for human use which is about one percent of what they actually sell. These are criminal companies that are causing widescale damage to both human and animal. Recently the government of Gujarat has raided dairies and have confiscated over 3 lakh illegal injections. In Delhi alone there will be over 10 lakh injections used every week. Milk becomes a dangerous thing to drink. ++

Q2.Can you recommend any tonic to help a dog's liver S.K.Jain, Raipur
A2.Liv 52 Vet made by the Himalayan Drug company specially for animals is supposed to protect and restore the functions of the liver. It can be used as a tonic if a dog has jaundice or has a poor appetite. ++

Q3. Is there any magazine or book in India that can tell me how to maintain the fish in my aquarium properly so that they do not die so soon.
A3. The only magazine on the subject is Infoaquaria, brought out by the Aquarists Society of Karnataka, Government Aquarium, Kasturba Road, Bangalore - 560001. There are a number of books but the only one I can think of just now is Simple Guide to Aquarium Fish Keeping by Kasthuri Publications,18 D Venkal Kadai Street, Madurai 625001. But remember , only really rotten people keep fish like toys. Only use this book if you already have an aquarium and don't get any more fish when they die. This is the worst animal practice that I have come across because millions of fish die while being caught, transported and kept badly. Get a stuffed toy instead or get a dog/cat. ++

Q.4 My fish often refuse food , are becoming thinner and swim with almost closed fins. What could be the reason for this ?

A. It is probably constipation from being fed the wrong food - you are probably only giving it dried food. Other symptoms of indigestion are a swollen belly, sluggishness, airbubbles in the feces.Every aquarium keeper should have an empty tank kept for emergencies like this. Fill the other tank with water and add half a teaspooon of salt for each gallon - 3.8 litres. See if this results in the fish passing a large amount of excreta. After this transfer back to fresh water tank and feed live food.Live food means tubifex worms,blood worms,daphnia,earthworms. But all these should be thoroughy washed before putting in and the uneaten food should be removed immediately as it infects the water in time.You can try freezedried worms and daphnia from the local aquarium dealer. Sounds horrible ? I told you not to keep fish.

Q.5 I am just setting out in veterinary practice. I am determined to learn more. What books can I read ?
A.5.I am happy to find a vet who wants to read. Few vets in India want to increase their limited knowledge through theory. They would prefer to hit and miss on animals and since no one goes to court their training period at the expense of animals goes on for years with thousands of animals dying through misdiagnosis and bad treatment. I would suggest two things : a computer with internet and e mail facilities is extremely important. When have time look at the veterinary book listing and see if you can afford to buy the specialist books : for instance Blackwell Science Ltd have a veterinary catalogue (email:itpsesha@giasmd01.vsnl.net.in). amazon.com has a listing of all the world's books and it might help you to go through the veterinary section. You need to know specialises things like skin diseases of small animals , cardiorespiratory diseases and treatment, X ray readings, poisoning and its treatment,avian medicine and surgery,veterinary dentistry, donkey ailments for instance. The email is important because ,when you don't know the answer to something , you can email the symptoms to the RSPCA and they will send you the answer.Peter Davies is the Director General and he has been extremely supportive towards India.executive@rspca.org.uk

Q. Can stray dogs be trained to detect bombs. If yes, from where can they get this training? Abhishek, New Delhi
A. All dogs are sensitive and have extremely acute sense of smell. There are special bomb-detective sqauds that impart training to such dogs.

Q. I had a 10 years old dog who passed away a few days ago. We took him to the vet and if he had been more observant, my dog would have been saved to live atleast a couple of years more. I am feeling terrible about it and how does one cope with it? Ms P.Tewari, Rohini, Delhi
A. You have not mentioned about what was your dog suffering from, therefore I would suggest that you consult with other 2-3 good vets, showing them all the diagnosis/prescriptions of your dog's ailments. Take their opinion and see whether your vet was giving your dog a proper medication or not. If not, then you have a strong case in your hands. Lodge an FIR with the police and put up a case in court claiming that your dog died due the carelessness of the vet. The vet must be punished for being negligent on his services. It is extremely important to do so because then only all the other vets would start taking their work seriously.

Q. What is the incubation period of rabies in dogs?
A. The incubation period generally varies from 10 days to 3 months. However, it may go up to a year as well.

Q. My dog sometimes drools from the mouth. How can I identify an animal with rabies?

A. There are two types of rabies. One is the dumb-rabies where the animal does not show any symptoms. Another type is the furious form, where the animal is aggressive, attacks the owner, bites inanimate objects, where there is involuntary movement of the eyeball, paralysis of hind quarters, drooling from the mouth, etc. Drooling of saliva from the mouth is not always a sign of rabies. It has to be backed by other symptoms as mentioned above.

Q. I have a 5 year old male Lhasa apso and want to keep a new born Dobermann. What should I do to prevent him from being jealous of the new dog and be friendly with him? Neha Jain, Saharanpur
A. As long as you acknowledge the older dog Lhasa apso first it should never lead to problems. Since the older dog feels more dominant through size and seniority, he should be given much importance in front of the pup. But then, the pup too needs your care and affection at the same time. People quite naturally continue to pat the little pup as it is younger but this annoys the older dog leading to fights. To overcome this, you should acknowledge the dominant dog first and it will instantly eliminate further acts of jealousy. Gradually you can introduce the pup to the older dog by letting them socialise for sometime but under your supervision so as to avoid fights. If Lhaso apso growls, you can give a stern `No' command and when he behaves himself, give him a snack or something so that he too understands that he will be rewarded if he behaves nicely with the pup.

Q. How should we judge when to help a baby bird? How can we just leave it where it is?
A. When you see a baby bird that is bright-eyed and looks like a miniature adult with short tail feathers and hops around trying to get away from you - it doesnot need your help. If it's in harm's way, move it to a safer area, and the parents will find and feed their baby. Contrary to popular belief, birds don't have a sense of smell, so you can handle them without fear that the parents will reject them.

Q. I have brought home a 2 month old kitten. How can I toilet train it?
A. When your kitten starts searching around for a place to releive itself, especially after a meal, pick it up and take it outside. Wait till it does what it has to do. Do this regularly. However, if you live in a flat or a place where the cat cannot go outdoors, a box filled with sand will suffice as a garden. Place the kitten on the sand and you will notice that it will immediately relieve itself. The sand should be changed regularly to avoid infection.

Q. How do I groom my cat?
A. Cats have the most specialised grooming equipment in the form of their tongue and spend a major part of the day grooming themselves by licking. You can also do your bit by giving it a daily brushing with a soft bristled brush. Check the insides of the ear for excess wax and gently swab with a moist ball of cotton. Check between the toes for any fungal infection. Contrary to popular opinion, you can give your cat a bath using a very mild soap. Ensure that the animal is dried thoroughly. And never bathe cats till they are 6 months old.

Q. I have a 4.1/2 months old Golden Retriever pup. Although he is very friendly and loving but he bites a lot. Initially we didn't take it much seriously thinking that it was because of the teething period but this habit of his has been increasing day by day. Whenever he wants to play or ask for food, he starts biting a lot. Moreover while playing he becomes very aggressive that all our hands and feet are full of wounds and bruises and clothes torn. There's another problem that whenever we take him out he looks for all possible garbage to bring home. When a biscuit is given, then only the garbage is tahen away. Kindly advice.
A. Since he is quite young his vices can be corrected easily but all it needs is a little desolation attitude from your side for a few weeks. He bites probably for not dispensing to his needs like some dogs want their food to be given on appropriate time and place and also want total attention to be paid to them while playing. Fix up a particular time for his feed and play time. Give him chewable toys to play with to keep him occupied. Even then if he bites or becomes aggressive, stop attributing him and make a thumping sound with a rolled newspaper on your hand or some other object scolding him verbally with little stern voice. It should be done immediately after the act so that he too starts getting the impression that what he is doing is wrong and unacceptable. Don't let the puppy train you to oblige him whenever he barks. To avoid the puppy from bringing in garbage from the roads, put a rolled newspaper or a small thorns and splinter-free medium sized stick which should be neither thin nor thick into his mouth when you take him out for walks. If he tries to grab something dropping the stick, give a firm command like a `No' or something and give a slight pull on his leash not suppressing him. Continue doing this till he learns to obey but do not apply this attitude too harshly since he is too young and will learn as time passes by.

Q. I have a 5 year old active and healthy German Shepherd. The only problem with him is that in the summers he leaves too much hair from his body everywhere in the house and in the rainy season he gets dandruff all over his body and his coat becomes dry. He would eat something or the other and causing dandruff causing wounds when he would scratch. I bath him in intervals of 15-20 days in summer and 1-1.1/2 months in winter with dog shampoo and comb him thrice a week. Even the doctors have given him 3-4 injections but to no avail. My mother wants me to give him to somebody because of his dandruff problem. Please suggest something. Vineet, New Delhi
A. A deficiency of fats is causing your dog's skin to become itchy causing wounds, developing a harsh, dry coat with dandruff. Check whether your dog has developed any ear infection. Usually fatty acid deficiency can make a dog dull and nervous, too. Apart from being necessary for very important matabolic processes, fat is an important energy source for dogs. Fat increases the palatability of food for a dog and is an essential carrier of fat-soluble vitamins. Fats are virtually 100 percent digestible in a healthy adult dog - even puppies can digest them efficiently. You are probably boiling all the food you give him which removes all nutrients from the food. Cook his food with a tablespoon of oil, some garlic, onion and dhaniya. Give your dog Yeasacc bolus tablets for providing nutrition. Stop bathing him as frequent baths reduces the natural oil secretion that is good for their shiny coat. Bathe only if he is too dirty or smells bad.

Q. There is a large litter of pups in a gutter near my house. Some of the pups have already been trampled by vehicles on the road. The mother very frequently has puppies, most of whom never survive. What can I do about the mother and puppies?
A. If the pups are about 6 to 8 weeks old, try and find homes for them. if they remain on the street, they are doomed. Even if they survive they will only add to the problem. Alternatively, your colony could collectively adopt them and look after them on the road itself. Feed and vaccinate them and once they are about a year old, get them neutered, so that there are no more pups. Once the pups are no longer suckling the mother, you can arrange to have her neutered. For this contact Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Centre, Near Shivaji College, Raja Garden, New Delhi-110027. ph.5448062, 5447751 and Friendicoes, 271 & 273, Defence Colony Flyover Market, New Delhi-110024. ph.4314787. Also arrange for other adult dogs on the road to be neutered. Thsi will mean an end to puppies in your colony at least. If every neighbourhood were to take this collectively, we would probably see an end to the whole problem.

Q. I have got my cat neutered. Does it affect it's normal life?
A. Neutering in no way dimnishes the cat's enjoyment of life. When the source of sexual hormones is eliminated, the need to satisfy sexual impulses disappear.

Q. How can I tell if my cat is unwell?

A. The first sign that your cat will show if it is unwell is refusal to eat. The normally bright eyes will become reddish and watery and the coat will be dull. If the temperature cross 101'F, it should be taken to a vet immediately. Symptoms like loss of appetite along with vomiting and diarrhoea could be an indication of worms. Do not try to treat the animal yourself. Cats can be very allergic to certain medicines and your vet is the most competent authority in the matter. Cats, however, generally enjoy very good health most of the time.

Q. Can you tell me how to administer medicines to cats?

A. This is one of the common problems faced by cat owners. The whole procedure is quite simple. Grasp the cat's head firmly with one hand with the palm of your hand on top of it's head. Gently force the mouth open using your thumb and the other fingers at each side of the mouth. Lift the head and tilt it back. Put the tablet on the tongue as far back as possible, close the mouth and hold it shut for a few seconds, gently stroking the throat to make it swallow the tablet. Follow this procedure very carefully to avoid choking the animal.

Q. How does one brush a dog's teeth? We have heard that this is important to avoid the development of tartar.
A. It would be tough for you to brush your dog's teeth after every meal. The solution is to give your dog full teeth and gum treatment. Seat the animal comfortably on a seat. Gently lift the pet's upper lip. Brush only the outer surface of the teeth using a smooth, circular motion from the gumline to the tips of the teeth. Do not use paste, since it will not like the taste.

Q. Are there any rules for feeding a cat?
A. There are no specific rules but some points to be remembered are: The meals should be given at the right time and always in the same place. The bowls should be spotlessly clean and a bowl of fresh water should always be available. There should be a variety of food and the food should be nutritious. Do not overfeed the animal. Do not give food straight from the fridge. Before choosing a kitten be sure that you intend to care for it during it's full life span of 13-14 years. can you spare time to look after it welfare, feed it and nurse it in it's old age? if not, do not take the responsibility. Cats are very sensitive creatures and will be deeply affected by neglect.

Q. There are large trees in my garden and I see birds which have fallen out of their nests. Should I pick them?
A. If you find a featherless bird, try to find the nest and put it back. The parent birds are far better equipped to take care of their baby than you are. If you can't locate the nest, you can make a new one from a shoe box or a small basket. Line it with tissues (not cloth or towel, as the claws can get caught) and tie the box to a tree. The parents will find the baby and feed it.

Q. I have found an owl and would like to keep it. Please give some tips. Manish, Delhi
A. I would advise you against keeping anything which is wild. You would not be able to fulfill any of the needs of a wild creature. It would lead a miserable life only to die in captivity. All rescue centres are geared towards rehabilitation and if possible release. Unless the bird is wounded or sick, it should be left alone. So please hand over you owl to Karthik Satyanarayan, c/o Friendicoes, Defence Colony. Ph.4621939, Fax 4644231.

Q. If I see an overloaded horse/bullock on the road, what observations should I check for?
A. Check the following points: Is the gait of the animal normal or is it limping; does it have sores or open wounds on its body; is it frothing from its mouth; what is the load it is pulling and whether it is within the specified norms as per the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals rules? This can be done by checking the bills for the goods available with the driver/owner of the cart. Does the driver of the cart have a whip with a nail at the end? Or is he twisting the tail of the animal? If so, stop the cart using the help of a friend or some passerby and report the matter to the nearest police officer. Get in touch with the local animal welfare organisation to assist you in this matter.

Q. I have 2 dogs which have been with me for the past 6 years. They are kept in the garage which has a stone floor. There are small holes on the floor. The dogs have a habit of digging deep holes there. I have had their nails trimmed. I have also de-wormed them and have given calcium tablets. I have also cemented the entire floor. However, they keep digging the entire floor. Can I have their entire nails pulled out. Will they survive after this minor surgery?

A. Regarding pulling out nails, I must inform you that it is not possible to do this. Trimming nails is a routine procedure, but the complete removal of nails is neither desirable nor possible. Dogs need nails for various functions. You have not mentioned whether your dogs are tied in the garage or kept locked up there. If this is so, then they are probably doing this out of boredom. All dogs need human contact and if left on their own for too long, tend to resort to such neurotic behaviour. If they are being tied, it is preferable to move them out of the garage for a while. They can also be tied to a running chain, that is a thick, smooth wire tied between two poles 8-10 ft apart. The dog's chain is tied to this wire, so that it can run along the whole length.

Q. I would like to know what constitutes a healthy diet for a rabbit. What is their schedule of vaccination and what kind of place they will be most comfortable in?
A. Rabbits need fresh vegetables like carrots, beans, radish etc. They also enjoy lucerne, a small plant with light-purple flowers. There are no vaccinations available for rabbits. They can be made to stay in large airy areas which are covered so that they can be protected from rain. This area needs to be cleaned regularly. Rabbits eat some of their own stools. This is a normal habit and should not be curbed. They also love to burrow into the ground, so be careful about this. They also breed very rapidly. So you may need to separate the males and the females. Otherwise you could keep a rabbit with a guinea pig for company.

Q. I have a 1 1/2 month old pup which is due for vaccination. However, after consulting 2 vets, I am thoroughly confused, since doctors give different opinions. The pup has started biting us. Please advise.
A. Regarding vaccinations, pups need to be vaccinated against distemper, gastroenteritis and rabies. There are different vaccines available in the market and each has its own schedule. So, when your vet recommends a vaccine, you can go through the literature which comes with the drug and get an idea of the vaccine yourself. Generally, dogs are vaccinated when they are 3 months old. If a separate vaccine is used against rabies, it can be given 2 weeks after the vaccine. Sometimes, the rabies vaccine is combined with other medicines if other ailments have to be treated. Pups bite because they are teething. You can give it a large bone (not chicken bones) to chew on and train it not to bite people or furniture. Vaccinations have to be repeated every year. Did you know that a cat has 230 bones (mostly in his tail) while man has 206 and the life span is upto 17 years.

Q 10. Are pigs dirty animals ? If no, then why are they killed so mercilessly by humans ?

A. Pigs, by nature are fastidiously clean animals.Not only that they have the highest IQ of all animalss , even higher than dolphins and much higher than dogs. It pleases us to call them dirty even though left to themselves they would live only in clean surroundings. Here they are kept in the slums by people who put out their hair to sell for cricket balls and brushes and then kill them for meat. It is amazing that we can keep the dog as a pet and kill and eat the pig when it is far more loyal, lovable and intelligent. Also pork is one of the most dangerous meats to eat in India. Pigs are an indispensable part of our ecosystem. They are our natural garbage cleaners. It is illegal to kill pigs outside a registered and licenced abbattoir. It is illegal to catch, tie, beat or kill them in any cruel fashion. Killing pigs cruelly is an offence under Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960. But this practice will only stop if you and a group regularly complain to the police against it. The next time you see anyone brutalising a pig you must notify the police and get the offenders arrested. Neither do these people own the pigs nor do they have any right to kill them, sell them or take them off the street. You can put an FIR against them for theft and cruelty. If you are able to achieve action in even one case , it will serve as a warning to others not to torture and kill these helpless creatures.

Q My 12 year old dog is not being able to close his mouth properly for the last 3 days. He cannot eat and his jaw shakes uncontrollably and he dribbles bloodfilled saliva. What could be the matter? Anju Kapoor, Ludhiana
A In all probability your old dog has tooth trouble. A number of old dogs have gum disease and this seems a classic symptom when a tooth is either hurting a lot or is about tofall out. Take your dog to the vet to apply gum ointment and give a light oral painkiller. He must also decide whether the tooth needs pulling out.

Q. I hear a lot about `cross-breed' pups. What are they?

A. `Cross-breeds' are dogs that do not fall into any breed type. For example, if an Alsatian was crossed with a mongrel or even another breed , the resulting pups would be cross-breeds. Here one of the parents has a pedigree, but this is not always the case. Both parents could be pedigreed or neither. Any dog that does not fit the description of existing varieties is a cross-breed. Indian dogs are also cross-breeds, hailing from a long line of cross-bred parents. Compared to their pedigreed counterparts,cross-breeds are sturdy and resistant animals and make just as loving and loyal companions. In fact most Indian dogs came from breeds that were recognised as pure Indian breeds by both the royal families and the British. It is only after Independance that they have been "derecognised" by dog show entertainers.

Q. I have seen trains filled with cattle going from Punjab & Haryana to West Bengal? Why?
A. Thousands of cattle are being illegally loaded onto trains in Bathinda,Jind and Rohtak. All of them are going to West Bengal where killing cows is not only legal but is done with great gusto. Or they are going across the border illegally to Bangladesh which inspite of having no cow population of its own is exporting beef in thousands of tonnes ! There is NO TRANSPORT OF CATTLE TO ANY OTHER STATE BY THE RAILWAYS. It is illegal to transport cows/bulls/bullocks for the purpose of slaughter. So what happens is that there is an organisation, the Bengal Cattle Dealers Association in Howrah which sells fake certificates saying that these cows are for milch and agricultural purposes. In actual fact West Bengal has no milk production . In fact there are no cows in West Bengal either for milk or for agriculture as the state grows rice and does not need cows/bullocks for paddy fields. Yet they are getting about 20,000 cows a day on this pretext. If they were actually getting milch cows they should have had the world's largest cow population by now. Each member of this association is a criminal. They pay no taxes and are unable to tell you to whom they sold the cows after they brought them to West Bengal. This is because they either sell them to butchers or smuggle them across the border. The cows sent to West Bengal are only for slaughter These dealers from West Bengal take their bogus certificates all around the country to government vets and the railway authorities who know them to be fake. However who cares as long as everyone is getting rich. The government vets and railway stationmasters are bribed to certify that these are healthy cattle when in fact they are old,lame,blind and certainly not capable of milk or ploughing. The cows are stuffed into railway carriages often breaking their limbs. Many die on the way and others are blinded and lamed. Many times animal organisations have stopped trains and taken out these half-dead suffering cows. The most recent case was in Jalandhar where the vets were even arrested. However they are all back at work now and loading goes on as before. Until the railways takes a stand and the stationmasters are not taken to court , this criminal activity will not stop. I have spoken to the Railway Minister several times on the subject. He says that it is for the states to stop it. However it is now mandatory for all DMs of the concerned areas to give an NOC to the railways. I would like all of you who are concerned about the issue to write to your DM, Chief Minister as well as to Shri Nitish Kumar, Rail Bhawan,New Delhi. When you learn of such a train, be sure to stop it by approaching the local officials or the court. Send me the details as well.

Q. There is a pup on the road opposite my house. I want to take him in. Will I have problems and what special precautions do I need to take?
A. You will not face any special problem in adopting a puupy off the road. Instead you will be giving a needy animal a new lease of life and in return earning its lifelong love and loyalty. Here is what you should do. After bringing home the pup, bathe it with a solution of Asuntol mixed with water (as per packet directions) to rid it of fleas. You will also need to get it dewormed and vaccinated-- but these are standard procedures for all pups. Take it to a vet who will prescribe and administer the required shots. Ask if it needs to be given any nutritional supplements. However none of the above apply if the pup is so starved that its ribs are showing. Then feed it first and do all the rest later when it puts a little weight on. Pups need to be fed more frequently than adult dogs--at least 4 times a day. Work out a schedule. Do not keep it chained but initially at least make sure the gate is never left open so that it can wander off and lose its way. Finally remember that adopting a dog is a long-term responsibility and irrespective of whether he came from the road or from a reputed kennel, he needs your best effort and all your love.

Q. We see "snake-hills" very similar to ant hills. How do snakes make their homes?
A. Snakes do not make the "snake-hills". After an ant hill is destroyed and the ants move out, it is occupied by other animals, including snakes. Once snakes move in, they make alterations to the existing structure to suit their needs. An easy way to identify a "snake-hill" from an ant hill is to observe the openings of the hill. If they are smooth, then one or more snakes probably occupy it. Leave it alone. The snakes are eating the rats in the area
Q. My parrot is 14 1/2 years old. In winter it becomes irritable, makes strange noises and ruffles its feathers. Also it doesn't know how to fly. Is there any way I can teach it? Dr Devik Seth, Agra}

A.The first thing you should know is that under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, it is illegal to have a parrot. It is because people buy and keep parrots that traders continue to capture them from the wild. For every bird sold, hundreds more have died during capture and transit. The punishment for buying and selling wild birds is Rs 25,000 per bird and upto 5 years in jail. If your bird exhibits uncharacteristic behaviour in winter, it is probably due to the drop in temperature. Parrots are very sensitive to the cold. You need to protect the bird by covering the cage at night and keeping it in a warm room--but not in the kitchen as the fumes can be toxic. There should be no draughts of hot or cold air. The bird must never be placed near vents, ducts or draughty doors and windows.The cage should never be placed in direct sunlight or in front of a heater. It should not have to endure temperatures below 60 degress F or above 85 F for long periods. If the bird is cold, it will sit with its feathers all fluffed up and try to keep its feet covered. In the cold, birds fluff out their feathers and cover thinly feathered parts as much as possible. A cold bird will fluff up,will stand on one leg and probably will tuck its head close to the body--an extremely cold bird will appear subdued and unresponsive. Place the bird in a warm environment or bundle up the bird and place it inside your jacket so as to use your own body heat to gently warm up the bird. Check frequently to avoid overheating. A drop in body temperature can result in clinical signs of lethargy and depression, especially in young birds that are not capable of full thermo-regulation. If an adult bird gets both wet and cold a similar situation may result. Chilled birds must be gently warmed to a temperature of 30 degrees C and must be carefully nursed. If frostbite has occurred exposed areas (toes) may appear red and swollen or later brown and wrinkled. If the bird cannot fly, it is probably because its flight feathers have been cut. This is another cruelty performed by traders who catch birds for sale. By imprisoning it in an unnatural environment away from its social group and family, you have deprived it of its natural developmental process. You cannot teach it to fly but you can create favourable conditions by giving it plenty of time outside its cage in the company of other birds, but keep an eye to see that it is not attacked by them. Provide a nutritious diet consisting of a mix of seeds, fruit, nuts and vegetables like rice,lentils,gram, sweet potato, pumpkin, carrots, spinach and dark lettuce. SAnd ofcourse fruit and chillies.

Q. I have often heard and seen in movies that if one snake is killed, its mate will take revenge. Is this true?
A. A complete myth. To begin with there are no snake pairs. Snakes are shy, timid creatures who do not have the intelligence to track killers or take revenge. This myth may have been born from the fact that when a snake is killed, it discharges an odour from its anal opening. This may attract another snake who comes to investigate.

Q. I often find sick looking pups on the roads. I have no idea what to do.

A. There are a number of things that you can do, depending how involved you want to get. If you are only looking at having the pup removed from the street, you could take it to an animal shelter in the city. However most shelters are already overloaded and there is such a high level of sickness and infection that puppies who have very little natural immunity will sicken and die.
A majority of the pups succumb and those that survive have nowhere to go. The best thing for you to do would be to take the puppy to a vet yourself, nurse it back to helth and advertise in clubs, bookshops, vets' clinics and so on for a good home. Even if you were to return it to the street after treatment, be sure to feed it and once it is about 3 months old, get it vaccinated. When it is about a yr old, get it sterilised at an animal welfare shelter. Get other people in your area involved. Collective action is the most effective.

Q. My 2 1/2 years old dog starts crying piteously whenever we are leaving him alone at home. How can we prevent him from doing so? Deepak Joshi, Pithoragarh

A. Dogs are sociable animals. When they are left alone, they become bored, anxious, agitated and frustrated. It is this anxiety that makes them cry out. They may even become destructive to demonstrate their discomfort. Television can provide real entertainment and can help alleviate boredom for some dogs so leave the radio or television on to reduce his natural anxiety. Dogs enjoy chewing so you can make a special treat by stuffing a hollow dog toy with your dog's favourite food. Leave at least 2 or 3 chewable toys to play with. If you are away frequently why not consider adopting another dog so that the two will be company for each other. Whatever you do, be sure not to chain the dog when you go as he will become a biter. Dogs have also be known to strangle themselves on chains.

Q. How is it that dogs do not have early morning mouth odour like humans?

A. This is because the eating habits of dogs are different from ours. We chew our food excessively thereby allowing food to work its way between our teeth to eventually decompose and rot there and cause bad breath. Animals do not chew their food, they swallow it and let their juices do the rest of the work. Apart from this, they do not let their mouths run dry which is one of the main causes of mouth odour. Therefore, the only reason for mouth odour in animals is either faulty digestion or an abscess (rarely) in the teeth caused by injury while eating or gum disease. In the former case, you can use dried pipal leaves in the shade, then powder them into some water in which you have boiled 50 gms of saunf (aniseed) mixed with a quantity of jaggery or brown sugar for about 20 minutes. The mixture will be a semi-solid that can be made into pills and given as the last thing at night. The pill should be the size of a cherry and will be readily consumed by your dog as it is very palatable. This treatment should continue for a week, following which the foul odour from your pet's mouth should disappear. You can also give a single pod of garlic everyday for 10 days. In case of an abscess caused by injury , the most effective is the application of the milk of Banyan tree on the spot several times. You can also use the juice of bitter gourd or karela. This remedy has a foul bitter taste but it will be accepted by your pet. ++ I put water and food out for the birds but as soon as it becomes very hot the crows move in and all the other birds stop coming. I do not want to get rid of the crows but I would like other birds to come as well. Why not put water in bowls in different parts of the garden or roof and choose those foods in those areas that crows do not like . For instance uncooked rice and bajra is not crow food. Crows like cooked foods and fruit.

Q. I have read somewhere that the cats are desert animals and can survive for a long time without water. Is it true?
A. Under normal domestic circumstances, cats absorb most of the fluid they need from their food and may seem to drink very little. However, the cat should always have access to fresh water, even if they are not seen drinking. Cats like to drink from wide containers that are as wide as their whiskers. Cats usually prefer to drink from a birdbath, fishpond, puddle, pots of plants or sometimes from flush pots. Some cats dislike the smell of freshly drawn tap water and will only drink after it has been standing for a while; others only like to drink from a running tap. Ocassionally a cat will decide that the toilet offers the most palatable suppply of water but this should be discouraged by keeping the toilet lid closed.

Q. Is there any home remedy for hookworms as my dog is suffering from it?
A. The best home remedy for hookworms is the administration of the juice of `bathua-sag' (Chenopodium album). Cook the leaves of this herb along with the food of your dog and give it daily for about a week. The intestines of the animal will become hostile to these worms, causing them to become sterile. Then they are expelled through the faeces.

Q. I want my dog to be checked for heartworm. Could you please give me the address of nearest vety hospital/doctor? Deepak Verma, Patiala
A. Most vets know nothing about heartworm. But the symoptoms are wheezing, a strangled cough and less energy.I would recommend you to bring your dog to Delhi and get him treated by Dr Shamsher Bahadur at Motibagh Veterinary Hospital. He is the only person in Delhi who has the drugs to deal with heartworm problems and the diagnostic ability. His phone number is 672161. Perhaps you could talk to him and fix up an appointment for your dog to be checked up. ++ What is the most important thing I can do for birds this month ? 70% of all birds die in the summer in the city from lack of water and shade. The best thing you can do is to make sure that you put lots of bowls of fresh water for them everyday and change the water twice a day. It is also a good idea to put out fruit like watermelon,mango or whatever you can and grains like rice,bajra. Take the seeds of all the fruit you eat and put them into pots. As the monsoon comes nearer , if they have grown into saplings , make sure that they are planted either in your house or park/school or dig up the pavement outside your house or take any protected area and plant them and keep an eye on them. These trees like jamun, shehtoot,mango, phalsa etc go a long way towards saving bird lives. Look under shehtoot trees just now. There are little baby plants growing from the dropped berries. Gather these up carefully and put them into pots.I have a dog and a cat. While I love them I do not have the time to take them regularly to vets. I also do not know any good vets. I need help to take care of them. Can you recommend something. Gautam Grover and Deepak Verma have started a unique service in India. They have a Pethelp Club. If you join , you pay Rs 1000 a year. This entitles you to 12 visits a year by their ambulance which will take the animal to the best vets and have them treated at their expense. If you do not utilise the 12 visits you can either bank them for the next year or you can gift them to your friends who have pets. I suggest that you contact them as quickly as possible as the membership of the club is limited to 500 people and there are over 6 lakh animal owners in Delhi.Ph:Ph. 7141648, 7131648

Q. I have a 9 months old Dobermann. He is very active and affectionate but has recently lessened his meals. He presently weighs 27 kgs. Is he ill in some way ? Can we give him fried/spicy and salty food or should we give him meat. The injections have had no effect on him? Chandan Sengupta, Ghaziabad
A. What injections do you need to give in a case like this ? I hope you are not giving Vitamin B Complex because this can paralyse the dog and has no purpose whatsoever. Most vets who do not know what to do give these injections and they are extremely painful. If he has lessened his meals, one of the reasons could be that since the temperature is rising high and the weather is hot, some dogs do not feel like having their meals. You can feed him early in the morning when the weather is cooler or in the evening when the temperature goes down.Let him eat food of his own free will Do not force feed him. Try Liv 52 capsules to increase his appetite. Do not give fried/salty/spicy foods to your dog as it is not good for their health. Nor meat as meat is the main cause of most diseases in dogs . They can easily live on a vegetarian diet. Give him cooked dals and soyabean nuggets cooked with a little oil,chopped onions and garlic with roti or rice. Include lots of green vegetables like mashed potatoes, peas,turai, kaddu, beans, dry paneer. Most dogs like fruits like watermelon,mangoes, papaya. Try them out. Chilled lassi or dahi with icecubes can also be given to the dog to lick as it cools him down.

Q . Our 2 year old dog gulps down his food and regularly gets gas or hiccups or both. Is there anything we can do to slow him down ?
A. You can put a few large about 4 inches wide, clean rocks in his feeding dish along with his food. It will stop him from gobbling because he will have to maneuver more to get the good stuff.

Q 18. I have a aquarium and I want to know what are the signs to look for if a fish is sick ? I saw some fish floating at the top of the tank. What is wrong with them , if anything ? Gaela Kumari,Ropar
A. If the fish has spent a long time floating at the top of the tank, it is not sick but dead. Some of the symptoms that show the fish might be sick are if it swims sideways, sinks or swirls and clamps its fins close to the body. Its belly is distended, the gills look purple and lesions or white patches appear on its skin. There is noticeable scratching against plants or tank decorations and gasps at the water surface. The food is also refused for more than two days. However it baffles me that you have an aquarium with fish in it and yet you have not bothered to read or learn anything about how to take care of them. Fish are not toys. They have the same life as you have and need the same respect. Please do not get any more fish when these die - which they will soon since you have no knowledge of how to keep them alive.

Q. I have adopted a 5-weeks old kitten from the animal shelter. When should I deworm it and what are the vaccinations done on a cat?

A. The first deworming should be done 4-5 weeks of age followed by a second deworming at 7-8 weeks of age. Repeat after every 4-5 months. Vaccinations given to cats are as follows: 1. Feline distemper - 1st shot at 8-12 weeks old. 2nd shot given 2-4 weeks later. Follow it up by annual vaccination. 2. Rabies - 1st shot at 10 weeks of age. Repeat after 2-4 weeks, follow up by annual vaccination. 3. Upper respiratory infection - 2 similarly spaced shots regardless of kittens age, followed by annual vaccination. If your vet uses a combination of vaccines, then the cat will have only 1 shot a year.

Q. I have a male cat. It's urine has an unpleasant odour. Is this normal?

A. Sexually mature male cats tend to have an unpleasant odour in their urine. Neutering, if done at about 6 months, greatly reduces the spraying habit of tom cats. It also promotes a less aggressive and more affectionate manner.

Q. How many times a day should I feed my kittens and cats?

A. You have not mentioned the age of your cats. General rule for kittens that are 7-12 weeks old is 4 feeds a day. For adult cats, 2 feeds daily is sufficient. For old cats, small feeds 3-4 times a day should do. Pregnant cats should be fed 2 times with large quantities. Nursing cats approx. 3-4 feeds a day. Active male cats or neutered ones should be given an average of 2 feeds a day.

Q. How often do female cats come into heat?

A. An unspayed female cat will have 2-3 heat periods in a year, each lasting for 3-6 days. If no mating takes place, the heat continues for 10 days and sometimes for as long as 2 or 3 weeks.

Q. How do I make out that my cat is in heat?

A. A cat in heat eats less, keeps running around restlessly, meows and rubs her head up against objects and people she knows. The peak of her heat period (usually the 3rd day) is marked by loud yowling and the cat writhes on the floor. She also keeps licking her paws. If you pet her along the back, she raises her rear high, crouches down in front and keeps stepping from paw to paw with her hind legs.

Q. What are the most common ailments that pups on the road are susceptible to?
A. Only one out of 100 puppies on the road survive into adulthood. Fifty percent are runover or killed by children throwing stones at them. Another fifty percent die of stravation or are drowned in sewers , get pneumonis from the rain or cold or die of thirst from the heat.Irrespective of where the pups come from, the most frequent problem is that of worms. One of the indicators is an unnaturally enlarged stomach while the rest of the body is very thin. The pup needs to be de-wormed regularly, especially for tape worms. Tablets are available with any vet but they need to be given according to the weight so be very careful. They are very prone to fatal illness like parvo viral infections and also distemper and rabies. Watch for drooling, bloody or smelly stools, trembling, weakness or other signs of ill health. Pups on the streets also tend to pick up skin infections like mange and external parasites like fleas. All these problems can be sorted out in a few days if you adopt the pup,deworm it, feed it well, give it the 7-in-1 vaccine at the age of 6-8 weeks. Check it for skin infections and start a medication accordingly.

Q. Earlier I used to feed sparrows with wheat flour dough but it seems as if they are bored of eating it as they hardly come. Please tell me a variety of food for them.
A. Very few birds like uncooked atta.Sparrows like cooked rice, chappatis broken into small pieces, bread crumbs, In the March season they have other things like shehtoot (mulberries) if there is a tree nearby so their appetites may be a little less for food they do not like in any case.Use large shallow mud vessels for water for the birds and see that the water is changed twice a day.

Q. My 8 year old female German Shepherd is suffering from acute ear infection for the last 4 months. Continuous visits, check ups, medications by reputed vets have yielded no results. Ektodex does not work for long as she again carries ticks and fleas during her walks. She had been given eardrops - Metrogyl, Cifran, Soliwax & Genticyn which seemed to be working initially but failed. After her earfluid culture the medicine was changed to Norflox 200 mg and Norfloxacin drops that too failed after sometime. Are fleas and ear infection related? Please suggest a remedy to cure my dog and how to get rid of the sick dogs so that they do not spread the diseases. I want to help them too with any inexpensive and quicker remedy. Mrs Roy, New Delhi
A. German Shepherds are prone to ear infections which can reoccur despite treatments. Ascertain the cause of Otitis through a culture test. It could be anything: a wax buildup, a foreign body, mites, micro-organisms,trauma. The initial irritation leading to headscratching and bloodclots which leads to more inflammation and then more infection .Wax is produced continuously by the integument and must be lost continuously. Drainage in a normal ear is in any case difficult and the narrow canals that contain a lot of hair make it all the more difficult. Aeration of the canal is essential but when this does not take place medical treatment will have no permanent effect.Each time there is a flare up there can be irreversible damage to the canal, making it less likely that medical treatment will succeed the next time. The integuments of the ear thicken and the canal gets smaller. Water,soap,grass and other foreign bodies may settle in and this is indicated by sudden violent headshaking and rubbing . With the passage of time this becomes a chronic inflammation. You must have an X ray and consult a veterinary surgeon for surgical intervention to draw out the discharge from the ear by the JAPS operation. The outer wall of the vertical portion of the canal is removed reducing it to just the short horizontal portion and increases aeration and drainage quite considerably. ++ If you die alone at home and no one finds your body, will your dog eat you up ? There has never been such a case in the world. On the other hand there are thousands of cases where the dog guards the body and simply straves to death rather than leave it alone. There are also hundreds of cases where the dog whines constantly to alert people to the death. ++ Q. I have been given a parrot. What food do parrots like to eat. Kaushik Basu A. People who give living things as presents should have their heads examined. Specially people who buy and gift birds that are illegal for them to buy - as are "parrots". Release the bird in a woody area immediately if it can fly. Otherwise , feed it and let it roam around the house freely till it gets back its ability. Parrots eat fruits like guava, apples, pears, melons, shehtoot etc, cereals like uncooked rice , kala channa which has been soaked in water for a few hours. make sure the food is fresh and is always available as they eat most of the day. ++ How do you put a restless dog to sleep at night ? All animals including human ones have their own sleep patterns. The dog may simply not have yours. However you could check incase the dog is restless because it is suffering from an ailment or from arthritis. Have it checked at the vet. Another thing you can do is to feed the dog well with a third meal just before you sleep - roti, vegetables, dal or roti and milk so that he doesn't stay awake because of an empty stomach which is often the case.

Q.When we feed our cat at what temperature should we give the milk ?

A.If it is a kitten the milk should be slightly warm. As she grows up you can give the milk at room temperature. Never take milk or any food straight out of a fridge and give it to any animal. Let the milk lie for a bit or warm it slightly.

Q.How do we judge when to help a baby bird ?

A.If you find a featherless bird try to find the nest and put it back. The parents can look after their offspring much better than you. If you can't but you are reasonably sure that it is in that tree , make a new one with a shoebox or small basket. Line it with grass and tissues and tie the box to a tree. the parents will find the baby and feed it. If you see a bird that is brighteyed and looks like a mini adult with short tail feathers which is hopping around trying to get away from you, leave it alone. If it is in harm's way move it to one side. Birds do not have any sense of smell so don't worry that the babies will be rejected by their parents just because you touch them. ++ I have a four year old dog whose hair is falling off. What should I do ? Ghazal Virk,R.K.Puram, New Delhi No one can answer this question on the basis of no symptoms. Instead of using the column to get an instant answer take the dog to Friendicoes under the Defence Colony Flyover and have him examined properly. The deficiency of minerals causes hair loss so increase the amount of minerals by including lots of different foods in your dog's diet - cereals like corn and oats, vegetables (carrots, sitaphal, green beans, saag, lauki, turai, garlic, potatoes). The dog, even one that has lost all its hair can be cured quite easily. All it needs is a combination of medication and dedication for a few weeks. ++ What should a person do when they see a man with a bear or a snake going from door to door or with different kinds of birds ? Savina Rodrigues,Bardez, Goa Under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, it is illegal to capture and exhibit wild animals and sell birds. Street entertainers with snakes, monkeys and bears are strictly forbidden. When you come upon one, you must stop him, take him to the nearest police station and register an FIR under this Act. Do not be discouraged by the police's ignorance and apathy and do not at first take you seriously. It is precisely because so few people take the time and trouble to report such offences that officials do not take them seriously. Most of them too are ignorant of the laws pertaining to animals. When you and others like you continue to bring in such cases, you will find that the attitude of those in authority will begin to change. Be firm and insist on a formal FIR one copy of which you must keep. You must also insist the animals be released. In the case of a bear you will have to contact the zoo or wildlife department. But first have the owner cut the wire that is inserted into the bear's nose and take off any clothes and other things that the bear has been forced to wear. In the case of monkeys, in the absence of a shelter they should be let go in the nearest wooded area. If the birds can fly they must be released in a place that has a waterbody nearby. Put out grain for them so they do not immediately have to forage for food. For snakes release them into the nearest jungle area. Often you can have the animals released without even going to the police merely by threatening the madari with the police. Since they know what they are doing is illegal most of them will agree to let off the animals and go free themselves. Street entertainers are hardened criminals and are to be punished with as much severity as common theives and people who steal children for beggary. Similarly, thieves are not provided alternative employment to wean them away from stealing, they are simply punished. If you would not forgive the thief who steals your television, would you expect the mother bear to accept the theft of her child? It would be wonderful if everyone could be found jobs-- but in a democracy, people have to find livelihood within the law themselves. So it is not for government or animal welfare organisations to rehabilitate criminals who exploit animals. Every age throws up its own alternatives. Just as people have shifted to cars, putting tangas out of work or computers have replaced typewriters, madaris too must look for alternative and lawful employment. A civilised society cannot and must not tolerate animal abuse anymore than it will permit child abuse. ++ I have a Boxer dog who refuses to mate.Everytime we bring a female , he bites her. What should be done ? Deepankar Sharma, Bareilly Why do you want to coerce your dog into mating when he is not interested. Unless you can guarantee good homes for its litters, I would discourage you to get the boxer mated. For every pedigreed dog born, an Indian dog goes without food and a shelter and left to starve and die on the streets. Is this is what you want. Do you know that Boxers are genetically defective through years of in-breeding. Let the dog lead a happy life and do not try to produce any more. Do you have the dog just because you want to make money by selling the pups ? In any case a dog cannot mate within ten minutes of meeting a female. They have to be introduced when the female is on heat which is twice a year. They have to be left alone to familiarise and like each other for several days and then perhaps it may happen.

Q. Is salt and sugar to be completely banned from a dog's diet. Can I give him dal that has chilly powder, jeera powder and turmeric powder ? What about fried foods ? Ameeta Seth, Faridabad
A. You should give a bit of salt in a dal. No chilly powder but the other two are alright. Sugar should be avoided. Perhaps a milkbased mithai now and then. But certainly no chocolate as dogs are severely allergic to it. Not just dogs, perhaps humans should also avoid fried foods. Unfortunately like humans dogs easily get into the habit of junk food, fried food and sweets.

Q.Being a girl, can I be a successful veterinarian? Anu Sharma, Patiala

A. A lot of the best vets are women because they have that extra sensitivity. Two of my five vets are women. the administrator of my hospital is a woman.Yes, you can become a successful vet if you are dedicated . Write to the Veterinary Council Of India, 16/15 W.E.A., Karol Bagh, N.Delhi-110005. Ph:5743804, 5750311, 5750323, to get the information on entrance exams.

Q. I am asthmatic and live in an MIG Flat. What kind of dog can I keep which will not be a problem. Sumanyu Singhal, New Delhi
A. Asthma has nothing to do with dogs. However it is best not to get a longhaired dog. Since you are in a flat , do not get a big dog like an alsatian/doberman or a dog that barks a lot like a pomeranian/spitz. In fact the best dog is an Indian one. Pick up a puppy from Friendicoes under the Defence Colony Flyover or from Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Centre. Tell the vet to select a puppy that is about 4 months old. A vet can tell by the paws how big it will grow. In any case most indian dogs are mediumsized.

Q. My 3 year old brown and white mixed basset hound, male, who responds to the name Mottu. He has been missing since September 1998. If he is found please contact Dr Rana, Pet Clinic, Niti Bagh Market or call 6866676

A. I do not think that you will ever get him back. Firstly if he is lost then he will not have survived on the street as the survival of housebred pedigreed dogs is nil. Or , if he has been stolen , then he will have been sold by now , perhaps in a different city. There is a thriving sale of stolen dogs in this city. In fact a number of dogs for sale ads that come out in the newspapers are actually stolen. ++ My German Shepherd of 1 year has rickets. We have been feeding him 2 cups of milk mixed with 5 cups of water, boiled vegetables and rice.He is taken out for a walk once a day in the morning and then he sleeps in a dark room the whole day. A.No wonder your dog has rickets. Food that is boiled has no nutrients in it so he is eating nothing. Your milk is all water - what can he get from it ? You are feeding him all rubbish.Making him sleep in a dark room is also one reason. Let him be free to roam around the house and garden all the time. Rickets occur as a result of depressed mineral concentrations in the blood - low phosphorous ration inspite of a very large quantity of supply of vitamin D. The commonly used foodstuffs like milk, eggs, fats, oils contain very little or no vitamin D but the sun irradiation produces the factor from the agents present in the body and also the ultraviolet rays. In rickets, the cartilage cells of the growth plates fail to mineralise properly so that the growth plates become thickened and weaker than normal. To prevent rickets give your dog a well balanced diet that includes plenty of dairy foods. Stop this compulsary walking till he is well and let him walk freely around the house. Otherwise you will destroy his legs. In the morning give him a minimum of one bottle of milk and 4 chappatis. At 3 P.M. give him rice/rotis ( at least 6) mixed with dal, vegetables like turai, cabbage, cauliflower, potato,kaddu,carrots which have been cooked in a little oil with onions, garlic and dhaniya and a little salt.Mix soyabean nuggets while cooking.When the mixture is ready add powdered egg shells on top and twice a week give one egg. At 8 P.M. he must get another meal which is milk and roti - or , if you have given rotis in the afternoon, give rice and whatever dal you have been eating at dinner as long as it does not have chillies in it. He must get paneer and dahi twice a week. ++ My dog is always constipated and the colour of the stool is white. Can you suggest a medicine. Ahmed Khan, Srinagar General constipation will be cured by giving homeopathic medicines - Nux Vomica 3x, two doses a day. But the nature of white stools indicates certain specific remedies which cure the trouble permanently - white stools, hard and crumbly occur due to eating nothing but white bread or bones for which you should give Alumina 3x or Nux Vomica 3x, two doses per day. You are not giving enough green food and fibre in its diet. Include lots of vegetables and dals in the food and soyabean nuggets.

Q. I like crows very much and want to make them my friends. I give them food and water everyday in the morning . My family members say that it is not good to feed them and that even religion say so. Is it true? Sandip N Satale, Ambad
A. If there were no crows, there would be rotting carcasses in the towns as crows act as natural scavengers. No religion has even a slight mention of them being considerd unlucky. In fact it has great significance in Indian mythology.The Kashmiris have a festival day on which the crow is fed, for instance. Continue to feed them , give them cooked rice, leftovers, bread crumbs. Make sure they have enough water in a flat earthern bowl.

Q. My dog has developed a phobia about the lead. When I pick it up to take him for a walk, he runs and hides instead of rushing to the door. Although he enjoys going out without a leash but we live near a busy road so a lead is essential. Is there anything that I can do to overcome his fear?
A. Maybe at one point of time, he may have hurt himself and blames the lead for the pain. Or that he hates the place you take him through and is scared of the traffic and noise. Maybe you pull at him too much and his walk becomes an agony rather than a trip which he can enjoy.The best thing would be to throw the old lead away and replace it with an extended lead. It would also help for a short period to change from a collar to a body harness and start to take him out through a different door and ofcourse to another area. The visual change of the lead, environment and place will help in removing his previous fears.

Q. I am a 78 years old man living with my wife and a 2 year old dog. The problem is that our grandchildren often come round to visit us. Our dog is never aggressive towards them but he will just hide, inspite of persuading him to come and meet them. What do you suggest that we should do?

A. Usually dogs that are not socialised early with small children have difficulty in accepting their high-pitched voices and rapid movements. If he lives with just the two of you, he has probably learnt that he can keep your attention when your grandchildren are there by behaving in this way. If he doesnot feel comfortable around them, do not force her to interact with them. But if the grandchildren visit regularly he should have got used to their presence by now. If he whines when you pay attention to them, maybe he tries to divert your attention back to him. If it is so, ignore him. When the children come, all of you can take him for walks together which he will start to view as a pleasant experience. Get the children to stay with you for a few days so that the dog gets more familiar with them being around.

Q. I have a friendly Golden Retriever dog of 18 months except when I recently gave him a bone.He took it straight into his bed and allowed nobody to come near him. The only way we could get it off him was by someone knocking on the door and when he ran to the door we took the bone away. He would become extremely aggressive the whole day when anyone went near his bed. What should I do about it?
A. Stop giving him bones as he doesn't need them. To the dog, bones are food that cannot be eaten straight away and he wants everyone to know that he intends to keep it as a long term food source to be safeguarded. He still continues to protect the area because he thinks that he had hidden it there, even though it has been removed. Do not allow this situation to be repeated for he might become dangerous. Also see if he is getting the right nutritional requirements because a dog that is nutritionally satisfied does not need to relish additional food so vigorously.

Q. My 10 month old dog has started acting very strangely. Recently we altered the furniture around slightly in the room. For some reason, he has taken a dislike to the study table which has been there since he arrived. He suddenly attacked it, biting one of its legs but now he backs away from it, growling and snarling and no matter how much we try to coax him towards it he continues to be aggressive. Is there a reason why he is behaving like this and what can we do about it?
A. For a start, stop coaxing him near the study table as this is only convincing him that there is something strange about it. It is common in big dogs causing stress and it is also called `fear of familiar situations'. Objects that the dog has seen all its life, if moved to a different location can become unrecognisable to the dog for what they are. The more fuss we make about it, it will only worsen the problem. Ignore his barking and growling, moving the table back to its original position. You will notice that the dog will take on a look at it and immediately settle down. You can let him see you move it back to wherever you want to keep it and this he will accept. Do not make any fuss about what you are doing but be slightly offhand about what he is doing.

Q. I often see pet shops selling dogs/pups and people buying from them. Can't these shops be shut down permanently when there are already so many dogs suffering on the roads and even the dogs in pet shops suffer too?
A. Unfortunately, there is no law to shut down the pet shops that sell pet animals - cats, dogs , fish and exotic birds. People don't realise that these shops are hazardous in the long run. They compete directly with shelters by creating more animals at a time when the overpopulation of dogs and cats is at a crisis level, with too few good homes available. Many of them also trade in illegal animals : dogs that have been stolen. A number of them in Delhi in fact are middlemen for stolen animals. They make fake certificates for the dogs. Many of the dogs sold have no real pedigree and are bred in the slums with father/daughters/sisters/brothers being bred together and then sold through these shops with pedigree certificates that are fake. These inbred dogs will be in medical trouble their entire lives. These shops also sell illegal animals that are protected by the Wildlife Protection Act - turtles, rare birds brought in from the Northeast, sometimes skins etc. If you come across a case like that , report the owner to the police. In any case people who buy living , feeling beings as you would buy toys are mentally not very sound.

Q. I have heard that photographic film uses animal parts. Is this true?
A. Yes, photographic film uses gelatine which is derived from animal bones. Kodak's Eastman Gelatine Corporation pays $400/- for a tonne of cow bones. Therefore, photographic film is a non-vegetarian product. Animal-derived gelatine does have vegetarian alternatives. Write to Photographic companies to make the switch.

Q.My 4 year old dog's ears smell awful. What should I do? Deepika Mathur, Kanpur

A. A smell from the ear suggests an ear infection. This may be caused by injury or by foreign bodies in the ear, by bacterial or fungal infections or by mites. However the ear is such a sensitive and complex organ that you should not attempt to tamper with it yourself. What your dog needs is immediate veterinary help. The vet needs to conduct an otoscopic exam to identify the problem. If there is a foul creamy brown to yellow discharge, it is probably a bacterial infection. The vet will need to take a culture to determine what is the bacteria and what antibiotics will be most effective along with anti inflammatory medication. If it is a yeast infection, solutions containing miconazole, thiabendazole or nystatin will be effective used twice a day for 10 to 14 days. If a ruptured ear drum is suspected, antibiotics like gentamycin and neomycin must not be used as this can cause deafness. Once this illness is cured you can maintain healthy ears by giving multi vitamin and mineral pills regularly. Here are some natural remedies for healthy ears. Clean the ears with cotton balls soaked in white vinegar. you can use betadyne diluted with water to the colour of weak tea followed by diluted vinegar. Use cotton balls soaked in the solution or fill the ear from an eye dropper. Do not use spud sticks--they go too deep for safety. Vit E makes a soothing ear medication. Puncture the capsule and use after cleaning with vinegar. Garlic oil is especially useful when the infection is due to fungus, usually from chronic wetness inside the ears. You can also give Graphites (homeopathy) every 4 hours to treat smelly ear discharge.

Q.I would like to adopt a dog as a pet. Please could you help me.
A.Many of you look for dogs as pets. Unfortunately, most people go in for pedigreed pups. But what after all is a pedigreed dog? It is an invented species- take a perfectly natural dog, what you would refer to as jungli, and then work on it for 20 years of selective breeding to make the end product into a bizarre shape,size and colour and there you have a pedigreed dog.Breeding pure dogs is the ultimate cruelty.Their size,their structure,their self-defence systems are all tampered with to suit somebody's strange notion of beauty. As a result they suffer from all sorts of genetic diseases. Dalmatians are prone to deafness, poodles to epilepsy, Lhasa Apsos to fatal kidney failure and cataracts, Alsatians to hip dyslexia, and bull dogs to heart disease.It is specially wrong to support breeding in India because millions of natural Indian dogs better suited emotionally and physically to the climate and country are being killed by the government. Only because they are homeless. If even one in 50 people were to adopt a dog from the road, there would be no more homeless dogs at the mercy of dogcatchers and death squads. Do not keep pedigreed dogs. Indian dogs are both healthier and more intelligent. They make loving and loyal companions. You can adopt one from the street in your own locality or else from my shelter in Raja Garden or from Friendicoes in Defence Colony.

Q. My brother has received 3 doses of anti-rabies vaccines on the first, third and seventh day after a dog bite. Since the dog remained normal after 10 days, no further vaccinations were given. In such a case, are 3 doses sufficient to protect the patient?
A. Yes. In such cases, 3 injections are enough. It is always better to watch and wait after a bite provided the dog is known to you. Just rushing in to get the injections is often risky. If the dog has rabies it will be dead in a week. If it is normal then there was no need for them at all.

Q. I feed one of the stray dogs in my area regularly. Recently, the animal started salivating continuously and the neighbourhood people have started beating the animal thinking it to be rabid. What should I do?

A. A dog salivates not only due to rabies but also due to oral ulcers, higher room temperatures or even just something stuck in its throat. In case you are feeding the dog with more of wheat products, then it is possible that the dog has developed niacine deficiency which in turn has led to diet-related stomalitis causing ulcers in the mouth and resultant salivation. Take the dog to the vet for ulcer treatment.

Q. I received a full course of anti-rabies vaccine some 5 months back. Unfortunately, I have been bitten again. Do I need to take any more injections?
A. If you have taken tissue culture vaccine, then 2 booster doses should be taken within a week of each other. If, on the other hand, you have taken nervous-tissue vaccine, then you have to go for a full vaccination schedule again. However it would probably be easier to keep an eye on the dog. If it seems perfectly alright for 10 days, there is probably nothing to worry about. If the wound is deep, you might consider a tetanus shot in consultation with your doctor.

Q. Two months ago, my daughter was bitten by her friend's pet dog. There were 2 teeth marks on her wrist. The dog had been vaccinated 2 years back and is healthy. Will she need an anti-rabies vaccine? I am worried since 2 months have already passed.
A. The most important thing to do in case of a dog bite is to immediately wash the wound thoroughly with soap (preferably carbolic soap or lifebuoy) and running water. If there are teeth marks and the skin has not been epenetrated then there is no need to worry. Also , if the dog is being regularly vaccinated, ther should be no cause for worry, but very often doctors recommend 3 injections, that is on Day 0, Day 3 & day 7, after the bite. During this time the dog may be kept under observation and if it shows no unusual symptoms, there is no need to continue vaccination. If 2 months have passed and the dog is healthy, there is no need to worry.

Q. You have stated that puppies should be immunised against hepatitis, distemper, leptospirosis, etc. What are these diseases? How can you tell if the pup has picked up these infections? What is the treatment for the above?
A. Most of these are viral diseases and pups are susceptible to them. Being young, they do not have the strength to fight these diseases if they do get infected. Proper vaccinations give the pup the necessary immunity to prevent infections. The parvo vaccine is very important as a huge number of puppies die of parvo. Regarding treatment, it is best to take the pup to a vet as soon as possible. Trying home remedies or other medications could cause delays which might prove fatal.

Q. What is the ideal storage temperature for rabies vaccine?

A. About 2-8 degree celsius is the ideal range for storing the vaccine.

Q.I have a 6 year old German Shepherd. When he was 4 months old I started him off on eggs and he gets 2 eggs a day. My mother has a health problem brought on by excess protein, I do not want my dog to develop the same. Should I take him off eggs even though he enjoys the taste and will not eat food without them ? Vandana
A.You can begin by reducing his intake to one egg a day. Divide it into half and half for both meals. Increase other foods in the diet like green vegetables, dal and mashed soyabean. The important thing is to give the dog balanced meals that include cereals like roti/rice/pasta, protein in the form of dal and soyabean and vitamins and minerals in the form of vegetables and fruit. Milk, eggs and meat are neither healthy nor necessary for dogs.

Q. My dog stops eating in summer. Normally she is given chapatis and milk. This, she resists so I have to forcefeed her and she even growls because she does not want the food. Is there any reason to worry? Abha Shivpuri,Allahabad
A. Loss of apetite in summer is as natural for dogs as it is for people. Besides considering what you are giving her, I'm not surprised she goes off her food. In summer milk is heavy and it curdles easily. Vary her diet to make it more interesting and nutritive.You can give dry paneer crumbled with roti, boiled potatoes with curd and chappati, dal mixed with vegetables and mashed soyabean cooked with a little tarka and mixed with roti. Try fruits like oranges, peaches, mango and so on as many dogs enjoy them. Chilled lassi in the form of icecubes can also be given to the dog to lick. Do not forcefeed your dog, let her eat food of her own free will. Never give the food when she is hot, in the afternoon or early evening. Delay the feed till the day is cooler.

Q. My boxer growls when any of us come near his food bowl when he is eating. Jaskiran Warrick
A. Your dog growls when he is eating or chewing because he feels that you might snatch his toy or food away. Dogs have a natural food-guarding instinct. If you have encouraged 'guard' behaviour as a puppy, this behaviour is aggravated. You also need to see whether he is getting enough nutrition as deficiency may be the reason for his insecurity. Change his diet as sometimes food that doesn't suit a dog can make him irritable. You can change this habit by winning your dog's trust. Start by keeping his food bowl topped up all the time with dry foods like dog biscuits. Since this is more bland than other food, it will reduce the guarding instinct. It also means that every approach you make to the bowl is to give and not what the dog thinks, to take. Since he is displaying dominant behaviour, you need to reverse the rank structure. Enter doors before him, do not ask him to sit or wait, but go before him as a matter of course. Eat before he does, either change his mealtimes to follow yours or make his food and then sit down and eat a biscuit demonstrating that the highest ranking eats first. Make sure he greets you first thing in the morning, not the other way around.

Q. My 13-month old Pomeranian has an annoying habit of nibbling. He does not bite out of aggression. He just likes to chew on our hands in play. What can I do to stop this? Ishan Gupta, Meerut

A. Your dog may be going through a second teething period which occurs in some dogs between 6 and 12 months when the adult teeth are settling into the jaw bone. This can cause a lot of discomfort and there is a physiological need to chew. You can give him carrots, old slippers, or a tennis ball to chew on. Carrots are the best as they also provide nutrition.Lack of exercise and boredom is another reason for chewing. If however the dog thinks this is the way to play, it is clear that he has not been taught otherwise as a puppy. Usually when a puppy bits, the reaction is to smack it on the nose or shout. What this teaches a pup is not that it shouldn't bite but that it should bite and run away quickly. The best way to teach a puppy not to bite is by letting out a sharp cry of pain everytime the pup's teeth come into contact with skin-don't wait till it really hurts, do it immediately and it will quickly teach the puppy to stop using its teeth on you. At this stage you can still teach your dog. You must say a loud 'no' combined with stern eye contact every time he dog grasps your hand--regardless of how gently he does it. Ignore him for a few minutes afterwards. Whatever you do, do not say 'good dog' when he lets go. There must be no rewarding circumstances during any interaction which involves the dog's teeth.

Q. I want to keep a panther cub as a pet. Where can I get one from? Pankaj Kumar - Meerut.
A. Panthers are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, it is illegal to capture, buy or sell wild animals or even attempt to do so. The police or Wildlife Department can take stern action against the offender. The punishment is a fine of Rs 25,000 and upto 5 years in jail. Apart from being illegal, it is also cruel to want to capture a wild animal and confine it for your own amusement especially since it is unlikely that you know anything about its care. This foolish desire to keep wild animals is born from the arrogant attitude that animals are toys for our entertainment and not living, feeling creatures with their own lives to live. It is because of people like you that so many of our wild creatures are on the brink of extinction. If you are fond of panthers, contribute towards conservation efforts. If it is a pet you want, adopt an Indian dog from off the street or a shelter.

Q. When a poisonous snake bites a person does he or she die immediately? Is there any immediate cure? Which part of the body is affected the most?

A. A snake bite is not immediately fatal. It takes time for the poison to spread and reach the vital organs. People who die upon being bitten--even sometimes by non-poisonous snakes--are the victims of heart attacks brought on by the shock of being bitten. The part that is bitten is the first affected. It may swell, get discoloured or lose sensation. The first thing to be done, is to keep the victim warm and immobilised. The affected limb should be kept below the level of the heart. A tourniquet must be tied above the wound to prevent the venom from spreading. It should not be too tight and can be loosened every 10 minutes. The wound should be cleaned with warm water and antiseptic. Potassium Permanganate should never be used on the wound. All snake bites are curable through anti-venom injections available in all major Govt hospitals.

Q. My 1 1/2 yr old labrador is suffering from a strange condition for the last 3 months. His problem is that a liquid gets collected in the neck forming a bag-like structure. After culture tests, the vet has told us that it does not contain any pus cells or bacteria but is just saliva. It is extracted with a syringe and antibiotics inserted in but after one or two days it gets collected again. What should I do? Pankaj Sachdeva, Delhi

A. When the salivary ducts get blocked and saliva does not find a way to get out, it gets accumulated in a sac-like structure. Your dog may need immediate surgical intervention. Contact Dr Pradeep Rana, Niti Bagh Pet Clinic,5DDA Market, Niti Bagh,New Delhi-49, Ph:6866676, 6893701.

Q. We have a 2 year old female labrador. As I am 6 months pregnant, please tell me if I need to take any precautions during pregnancy and after the delivery. Mona, Bareilly
A. There are no health dangers posed either to you or the foetus by your dog-- in fact she'll probably keep you healthy by taking you on brisk walks right upto the time of your delivery. You need to help your dog adjust to the new arrival. Be sure not to neglect your dog after the baby because a dog's response to the new addition is conditioned by its effect on her own status in the family. Nobody likes changes in routine. If the dog has been cuddled or kept on the bed, well before the baby arrives, start moving to a new bed or room if you want and in that new space discourage jumping on the bed or sofa. When the baby comes home, let the dog take in all the the new smells and pet her lavishly when the baby is around. Make no changes in routine at this stage. After a few days when the dog realises the baby is not a threat, she will be normal. And in a few months when she discovers that babies throw their food on the floor, she will be positively friendly.

Q Please help me do something legal against some sweepers who kill pigs with their weapons. I objected to it but still the pigs are killed. O.P Gupta, Pauri Garhwal
A. Pigs are an indispensable part of our ecosystem. They are our natural garbage cleaners. It is illegal to kill pigs outside a registered and licenced abbatoir. It is illegal to catch, tie, beat or kill them in any cruel fashion. Killing pigs cruelly is an offence under Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960. But this practice will only stop if you and a group regularly complain to the police against it.The next time you see anyone brutalising a pig you must notify the police and get the offenders arrested. Neither do these people own the pigs nor do they have any right to kill them, sell them or take them off the street. You can put an FIR against them for theft and cruelty. If you are able to achieve action in even one case, it will serve as a warning to others not to torture and kill these helpless creatures.

Q. Please tell me what soap or shampoo I should use for my Lhasa Apso dog. He does'nt eat his food properly and often has boils on his body. How can I prevent him from diseases? Deepender Ararsa, Mount Abu
A. Many furry animals suffer from skin infections precisely because their owners bathe them too frequently. Do not bathe your dog more than once a month. You can use Petmosol or Neem soap. Boils or abscesses are bacterial infections under the skin often caused by systemic toxity and a lowered immune system. The signs of this infection are a painful, red, swollen area of skin that feels hot to touch. The animal remains listless and refuses to eat. To heal, the boils need to be opened, drained and cleaned of any foreign matter and pus. Often foodstuffs low in nutrients and high in chemicals and sugar, cause boils or abscesses. What are you feeding your dog? Change his diet to include green vegetables like palak cooked with dal and mashed soyabean mixed with rotis. Use hot compresses on the boils 3-4 times a day for fifteen minutes at a time. But be careful that they are not so hot that they burn the pet. They can be made from one teaspoonful of salt or boric acid to a cup of boiled water, plus a little castor oil, roasted and mashed garlic, onions, or an oven-heated lemon slice. You can even use a teaspoon of Betadyne solution and a half teaspoon of sea salt (not table salt) to a cup of pure water. Once the boil has opened, drained and any foreign matter has been removed, the wound can be helped to heal from the inside. You can again use a compress replacing betadyne with a teaspoonful of calendula tincture. The wound should not be allowed to close up as long as there is still pus. You can also use honey externally in compresses. Give zinc (crushed tablet)--about 20 mg per day for a medium sized dog. You can give homeopathy as well -- Give Belladonna (5-6 globules) in early stages when the skin is hot, red and painful. If the animal shows pain, give Hepar Sulph. Once pus has formed give Mercurius. If there is redness and swelling around the abscess, give Apis. Lachesis is used when the skin looks purplish, the pus is dark and thin and the lesion is tender, stop this remedy as soon as there is improvement. Use Silica, if there is any foreign matter. After the pus is expelled, Calendula tincture as a compress heals the wound. To learn about dog care, get a copy of my book First Aid for Animals (Rs 60) from Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd., Sterling House, L-10 Green Park Extension, New Delhi-110016.

Q. A stray dog of our colony has been constantly scratching its body leaving naked patches of skin. Another dog here died due to similar symptoms. Is this caused by seasonal changes. What is the remedy? R.K Patiyal, Hari Nagar

A. The dog is most likely suffering from mange. Seasonal hair shedding is not accompanied by scratching and it is simply avoided by trimming the hair down to 1cm on the dog's body. In this case, the dog is undernourished and needs immediate attention. Start by feeding up the dog. Give it vegetarian food like dal cooked with vegetables mixed with rotis or rice. Sprinkle biscuits on top to make the food more appetising till he gets used to the taste. Once you have made friends with the dog, bathe him with Petmosol soap and then apply Ectodex, wearing plastic hand gloves. If Ectodex is too expensive, you can apply Gamma Benzene Hexachloride solution that is sold as Escabiol. Bathe the dog everyday with Petmosol and apply Escabiol diluted with an equal amount of water for 5-7 days. Give anti-biotics - Amoxycillin or Cephalexin, three times a day for 5-10 days to prevent bacterial infections. To prevent the dog from scratching itself while the healing process is on, steriods - Betamethazone or Prednisolon tablets , will have to be given three times a day for 5-7 days. Do not stop this medication abruptly but taper off the dosage gradually. Capsules of vitamin A, D, E & B-complex and iron tonics should be given as supportive therapy. Another formula: 25 gms of boric powder, 25 gms of sulphur, one teaspoon of kerosene oil and 25 ml of coconut oil, mixed together and rubbed over the dog after bathing has proven effective. You can also try used mobil oil , taking care that you do not touch the face, eyes and mouth. Leave the mobil oil on for a few days and then wash it off. 7

Q My father buys birds and releases them.Is this good or bad ?

Answer : In buying the freedom of a few birds your father is endangering the lives of thousands more. His motivation is correct but his action actually serves to harm rather than help the birds he wishes to save.By buying from bird sellers.he is encouraging them to trap more birds. For every bird sold hundreds more perish during capture and transit.Under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 ,it is illegal to capture and sell birds.Yet a whole business thrives on this illegal practice because people are foolish enough to buy birds as pets. Report the birdseller to the police and have the birds confiscated and then freed.Discourage people from keeping birds as pets. Birds do not survive in cages for very long.But just by releasing them we do not ensure their survival, eg a bird whose natural habitat is the mountains,will never survive the heat of the plains in a cage or even outside it. If you want to release a bird,ensure that its wings are not clipped,and that it is not too old.Select a woody,forested area.A delicate bird will never be able to survive the city pollution .Make sure it is early in the morning,and there is a water body nearby,before you release the bird. If you enjoy birds put out water and grain everyday and you will be rewarded with their company.

Q. My son has a tendency to touch all dogs whether stray or owned. In spite of repeated warnings, he continues to do so. What are the precautions to be taken if he is suddenly bitten?
A. You are lucky to have a child who is animal-friendly and sensitive. Most homeless dogs are friendly since they know their residents and shown kindness and affection towards them, they will respond lovingly. Do not discourage your child but teach him the basic rules. Do not stroke a strange dog on the head which may be mistaken by it for a threatening gesture but first hold out your hand palm upwards for him to smell. Never approach a dog when he is eating or a bich when she has new babies. Do not pull a dog's tail or ears. These guidelines should keep your child safe. You should consider adopting one or more of the dogs in your area so that your child can grow up with them. Not all dog bites are dangerous. The first thing to do is to wash it with plenty of soap and water. If no soap is available, then it should be flushed with a lot of water to wash away any traces of saliva. Any antiseptic solution may be applied on the wound. A tetanus shot may be taken after consulting a doctor.

Q. I have a small kitten, about 2-3 weeks old. Can you tell me briefly about the food we should give him. We usually feed him with milk, bread, egg, boiled dal and fruits (like bananas, etc). One thing I am worried about is that he doesn't jump and run like other kittens and is very lazy, sleeping upto 18-20 hrs a day. Please answer.
A.B., New Delhi
A. Firstly, the kitten should have been weaned only after he was 2 months old. Since yours is less than a month old, he is hardly likely to be at all active. He is not lazy, he needs to sleep long hours to conserve his strength and grow. As he grows, he will become more active. You can continue with what you are already feeding but the number of feeds should 4-5 times a day and at fixed times. you can add dalia or baby cereals. When the cat is 6 months old, the number of feeds can be reduced to 2, with more solids and less milk. In addition cats require an enzyme called Taurine otherwise they will go blind. If you cannot get taurine separately at the chemist store, you do need to let them have some meat/fish. 10

Q. Is there any dog care clinic in South Delhi where I can spend my 3 month vacation time helping to care for injured animals? Abhishek, New Delhi

A. Instead of a dog clinic, you should volunteer at an animal shelter. All shelters need volunteers. Contact FRIENDICOES, Under Defence Colony Flyover, New Delhi (Administrator: Geeta Seshamani, Ph: 4621939, 4314787, Fax. 4644231). Work out and stick to a schedule as irregular volunteers only disrupt normal functioning and distress the animals.

Q. I have recently bought a pup aged one month. Could you please tell me the vaccinations age-wise. I would like my dog protected against all diseases. Dr Pawan Kumar, Patiala

A. Here is the schedule for vaccinations: 30 days - Deworming 45 days - 6-in-1 (distemper, parvo virus, hepatitis, leptosporasis, para-influenza) 2 1/2 months - Booster 3 months - Anti-rabies All these injections must be followed up by an annual booster dose. Corona is a new and dangerous virus that causes haemorraghic gastroenteritis,and usually attacks at the same time as parvo virus.The Corona vaccine should also be given at the same time as the rest,and followed up every year. Deworming is crucial, all internal parasites like worms,and all external parasites like ticks and fleas have to be removed.If these exist when the vaccine is given,then the vaccine becomes ineffective.

Q. Can you recommend anything to help a dog's liver ? S.K. Jain, Raipur Liv 52
Vet made by the Himalayan drug Co . specialy for animals is supposed to protect and restore the functions of the liver. It can be used if a dog has jaundice or if it has a poor appetite. PET PROJECT: 22.6.99

.I see trucks crossing the border every night from Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Each one of them has buffaloes and calves squashed into them. Many of them are in a terrible state. Where are they going and what can I do ? Rajiv Rattan, New Delhi.
A. Under the Prevetion of Cruelty To Animals Act 1960, it is illegal to carry more than 4 cows or buffaloes per truck, or 6 calves, or 40 sheep. In actual fact, trucks are overloaded with often as many as 60 cows or even 150 sheep. The animals'limbs are broken and they are piled one on top of another. Many arrive dead and dying. Animals overloaded in this fashion are only being transported for slaughter. If they were being taken for milch or agricultural purposes, care would be taken not to injure or maim them en route. Since truckers know what they are doing is illegal, a major portion of this traffic plies at night and the truck is usually covered with tarpaulins to cover the hideous suffering of its live cargo. When you see an overloaded truck, here is what you can do. Either bring it to a halt yourself or take its number, go ahead to the nearest traffic policeman or station and get it flagged down. You will then probably need to inform the police of the rules that are being flouted so that the truck driver can be properly challaned. The first offence, of course, is overloading. The second and by far more serious offence is the inter-state transport of cattle for the purpose of slaughter. Trucks from UP and Haryana bring in cattle which they claim is for sale in Paharganj and deny any knowledge of the purpose for which the animals are being purchased. However given the condition of the animals as well as Paharganj's proximity to Idgah, it is fairly obvious that the animals are bound for the butcher. This is strictly forbidden under the Delhi Agricultural Cattle Preservation Act 1994. This law forbids cattle from being taken to or from Delhi with the knowledge or even the likelihood of them being slaughtered. Apart from transporting them, it is further prohibited to sell, purchase or in any manner dispose of cattle knowing or having reason to believe that such agricultural cattle shall be slaughtered. This law authorises the police to stop, and search any vehicle used or intended to be used for the transport of cattle. It authorises the police to seize the cattle as well as the vehicle in which the cattle are found. The animals must be handed over to the nearest Gosadan or animal welfare organisation for their safe custody pending production in court. The offender is required to pay for their maintenance during custody. The illegal transport of animals for the purpose of slaughter is a cognisable and non-bailable offence. It can be punished with a fine of Rs 10,000/- and imprisonment upto 5 years. For overloading, the court can award a fine of Rs 50/- per animal. Laws that forbid inter-state traffic of cattle for the purpose of slaughter are applicable in the following states: J&K Karnataka Madhya Pradesh Maharashtra Punjab Uttar Pradesh Goa, Daman & Diu Gujarat Himachal Pradesh Rajasthan

Q2. Recently, my cat has begun to strain for a long time to pass stool. What comes out eventually is either nothing or a dry hard,dark coloured lump. She has stopped eating and has started to lose weight. Pinky Singh,Jalandhar

A. Your cat is constipated. There could be several reasons. Eithere she has swallowed hair while grooming herself and this has turned into an obstructive hairball in the stomach. Or you are feeding too much meat which because it is low in fibre causes this problem specially if the cat drinks very little water. It could also be the stress of new surroundings which induces the cat to delay defecation and when the stool is not passed for the first few days, it becomes painful to pass it at all. You will have to take the cat to a vet and first have the hard faeces removed manually with a suppository or an enema. Make sure that the vet knows what he is doing because a suppository with phosphates in it can be lethal. Treat the cat as you would people. High fibre diets with lots of vegetables and cereal, isabgol in milk for instance. You can even try non-medicated petroleum jelly. Put a bit on the paw and she can lick it up. It is non digestible and helps lubricate the stomach and intestine. You can add bulk forming laxatives to the diet but it would be better to put wheat bran which has no side effects. Continue to ensure that her diet has sufficient moisture in it.

Q3. My cat has been with us for 10 years . What age will he live to ? S.P.Anand , New Delhi
A. At ten years of age the cat is around 54 in human years. The cat should be considered old by the time he reaches 10 but he can easily live upto the late teens if you are careful to take into account his special needs. An old cat may lose muscle tone and get a bit wobbly. Joint pains from arthritis make may the cat reluctant to move and irritable so don't horse around with him or expect him to jump all over you. Some cats start suffering from dental problems. Look out for food intake and when it goes off its food or there is weight loss, something is wrong. Elderly cats have trouble grooming themselves so you should help out by brushing him with a soft brush once a day. The diet should be altered to include softer and easily digestible foods. Instead of giving big meals twice a day, perhaps 4 smaller , lighter meals that include fibre. Each cat ages differently depending upon its care and its own genetics. Here is a chart of its human equivalent age: Cat Age Human Age 1 15 2 18 3 24 4 29 5 34 After 5 , each cat year is roughly equivalent to 4 human years.

Q4. My vet says that my cat is suffering from heatstroke.What are the signs ? Bakul Dhindsa,Sirsa
A. Panting, drooling, a very high temperature, rapid pulse, bright red gums, staring eyes, severe weakness,vomitting, diarrhea, bloody nose. Finally panting turns to gasping and coma. Any of these two symptoms together and it is an emergency. Run to the vet. Treatment requires the rapid cooling of the cat. Wrap him in a towel soaked with cold water or put him in a cold bath. Check temperature every ten minutes and continue cooling till it drops to about 102 degrees. If the cat is unconscious, it may need a cold water enema to reduce the internal temperature but only if the vet is experienced. The cat needs treatment for shock and fluid therapy to combat dehydration. Cats do not tolerate high temperatures very well. Whenever the environment reaches cat body temperature or above you must protect your cat from hyperthermia. Do not ever make the mistake of leaving a cat in a parked car with the windows up. Make sure there is enough fresh drinking water at all times and a shady place for it. A matted coat prevents heat from escaping so either clip the coat or brush out every day. Cats can develop problems from excessive exercise so restrict all outdoor exercise in summer specially if they are obese or have asthma.

Q5. Now that I have brought a kitten home from the shelter, my vet tells me to watch out for hairballs. What are these ? Namita Panda, Hansi

A. Hairballs are cigar shaped masses of compressed hair that are vomitted by the cat. Cats spend ages licking their fur clean and swallow hair as part of this process. Most of it is expelled in the faeces. But hair that does not come out this way accumulates in the stomach and is expelled by throwing up. This is normal. However large amounts of retained hair may block the digestive tract and cause constipation. Sometimes the hairball becomes so big that surgery is needed. The signs of a problem hairball are a loss of appetite, wheezing cough, dry retching or a swollen abdomen. You can avoid this problem from building up by brushing the cat every day and removing the dried, matted hair. Perhaps an occasional towelling with a damp towel when the cat hair looks grimy. High fibre foods help carry the hair through the system. Bran, oatmeal (dahlia) pumpkin ( kaddu) help keep the food moving.

Q6. What is a litter box ? We live in a high rise flat where it is difficult for our cat to go down easily unless she is accompanied by a member of our family ? Sabina Francis,Bombay
A. A litterbox is usually a shallow plastic box designed to serve as the cat's toilet. The cat should be taken to the box when she wants to go out till she gets the idea. The basic box should be big enough to let the cat manouevre inside. Most are 12 by 18 inches and 5 inches deep and have 2-3 inches of soil inside so that the dirt doesn't spill out when the cat starts digging. Locate the box away from the cat's eating and sleeping area as they are very fastidious. Once the location is decided don't move the box. If your cat likes the type of soil in the box don't change the type. If it avoids the box , try changing the type of soil in it. Keep the box clean. Faeces and wet spots should be removed daily and the entire box cleaned out and disinfected weekly. Cats often refuse to use a dirty box. If you have more than one cat , get more boxes.

Q7. My vet says that prolonged laboured panting is a sign of heatstroke and I should check how fast my cat's pulse rate is. How do I check ? What is a cat's normal temperature ? Ninette Da Silvia
A. Pulse rate indicates the heart beat. The normal range for an adult cat is 160 - 240 pulses each minute. Kittens have a pulse rate of 200 - 300 beats per minute. You can determine the cat's pulse by pressing your fingers firmly against the inside of the cat's thigh where the leg attaches to the body. Count the number of beats in a minute. A fast pulse can indicate anything from excitement to bloodloss,infection,heart disease or hyperthermia. A slow pulse also indicates illness. Temperature is a measure of body warmth. An adult cat's temperature ranges from 100 - 102.5 degrees. A rectal thermometer is used to measure the cat's temperature. Before you insert it , lubricate the tip with baby oil or petroleum jelly. the cat should either stand or lie on its side. It will have to be gently restrained for the procedure. Gently grasp the tail, lift it and then insect the lubricated tip about an inch into the anus. Hold it in place for at least 3 minutes . Then remove, wipe clean and read. Clean the thermometer with a disinfectant after use.

Q8. I want a sparrow as a pet. How do I get one ? J.P.Davar

A. Forget it. Why do you want just one when you can have hundreds of them as your companions ? Just put boiled rice out every day on your verandah, garden or roof at the same time and place and you will see the same ones come in at exactly that time. In fact they will get so familiar with you that if your food is slightly late they will set up a shrill protest. Also put out a big shallow bowl filled with water and preferably in the shade. They will cluster to bathe, swim and exchange gossip. If you want to watch them , lie perfectly still and , believe it or not, wear sunglasses.

Q9. Every time someone who eats animals wants to advocate meateating they never fail to say/write " Hitler was a vegetarian". Of course the connection is compeletely illogical but was he a vegetarian ? R.Sehgal,New Delhi
A. Certainly not. This is one of those illiterate mythologies that continue to be spread hoping that no one will research the truth. In fact it was Goebbels , Hitler's information minister who said that the more a lie is repeated , the more it is believed. In actual fact Hitler was crazy about sausages which formed most of his daily diet. The famous biographer Robert Payne and his own minister Albert Speer have written about Hitler's keeness for Bavarian sausage,ham,liver and game. A Berlin hotel cook had written a recipe book in that period mentioning Hitler's keenness for stuffed and roasted pigeons. If Hitler had been vegetarian he would not have banned vegetarian organisations in both Germany and the countries he occupied. Using the logic of meateaters, since they have not become vegetarian because Hitler was a vegetarian, now will they stop eating meat because he was a carnivore ?

Q10. My mother says that I should drink milk because it has the largest amount of calcium in it. Is this true? How much calcium do I need daily ?

A. First you do not even know whether what you are drinking is milk because only 30% of what passes as milk in the cities is actually milk. The balance is a mixture of urea, detergent, chalk powder, vegetable oils and even earthworms! How much calcium does the human body need per day. If you are a meat eater you need more than a vegetarian because animal carcasses are high in sulphur-containing amino acids which cause a body loss of calcium . A vegetarian adult needs 400-500 mg a day according to World Health Organisation (WHO)but a meateater needs 800 mg. Children need 1200 mg from 11-24 years. While milk and other dairy products are high in calcium - the point is how much does the body absorb. Look at this chart and then see whether you get value for money: Fractional absorption means how much calcium we can actually absorb from a food. For instance the figure for broccoli is 53% which means we can absorb 53% of the calcium that the broccoli has. Food Serving Calcium Fractional Absorbed Size Content Absorption Calcium (mg) (%) (mg) Milk 1 cup 300 32 96 Roasted Almonds 1 oz 80 21 17 Beans red 1 cup 89 17 15 Beans navy 1 cup 128 17 22 Beans white 1 cup 161 17 27 Broccoli 1 cup 178 53 94 Brussel sprouts 1 cup 56 64 36 cabbage 1 cup 50 65 33 cauliflower 1 cup 34 69 23 kale 1 cup 94 59 55 sesame seeds hulled 1 oz 37 21 8 sesame seeds unhulled 1 oz 281 21 58 spinach 1 cup 244 5 12 tofu 1/2 cup 258 31 80 turnips 1 cup 198 52 103 (Purdue University) Calculate how much you spend per item and how much calcium you get to reach the 400 mg figure. It is clear that dark greens, legumes, nuts and seeds are far more effective in giving our bodies calcium than milk.

Q. A frog has lived in our basement for more than a year now. There is no water, and I presume it lives on insects and slugs. Will it be all right? Rama Swaroop,Ranchi
A. Frogs and toads have a reputation for turning up in dank cellars which act like giant pitfall traps. Once inside, the amphibians can't escape but, providing there is enough humidity to stop them drying out, they seem to live quite well on the local invertebrates. Since such trapped animals are deprived of any opportunity to breed successfuly, it is preferable that they are released somewhere suitable like a local pond.

Q. I saw some crows at the edge of a fairly large frozen pond. A couple of them pecked off a piece of ice about the size of a human hand and carried it in their beaks. One of them flew into a tree with the ice and pecked at it. What were they doing? Queenie Singh, Simla
A. Crows habitually take any 'awkward' food to nearby water to dissect it, make it less sticky or soften it (as in the case of stale bread). Perhaps this piece of ice contained floating bits of bread or other food that had frozen into the pond. That there werte a number of crows at the edge of the pond suggests there may have been food there.

Q.I have a large enclosed garden. Can I let my rabbit roam free? Anu Gupta,Ludhiana
Ans. In a large garden,it is often better to section off an area around the hutch as a rabbit enclosure using wire mesh fencing. This will prevent your pet from eating poisonous plants as well as fend off a curious cat or dog. The fence should be at least 3 feet tall and sunk into the ground. Ideally it should be positioned on grass or on part of a vegetable garden allowing the rabbit to nibble. It should have a wire mesh door to allow you access. Leave the hutch (the rabbit's covered shelter) door open when the enclosure is in use to allow the rabbit to shelter from rain or strong sunlight.

Q.I am terrified of lizards. I have heard they are so deadly that they poison any food that they fall into. Is this true? S.L.Joradia,New Delhi

Ans: House lizards are almost entirely harmless. Far from being a threat, they are a housewife's best friend because they combat insects like flies, mosquitoes much more efficiently than poisonous repellents and sprays.They have pads on their feet which hold them securely to walls so the chances of their falling into food is almost nil.

Q: I have lost my 2 year old Spitz male dog. While searching for him , I was informed that a group of boys forced him into a Maruti van and took him away. I've reported the loss to the Police Station but there's no action from anywhere. What should I do? Col. P.Chandra,New Delhi
A. See if witnesses can give you any names or the number of the vehicle. A lot of pet thieving gangs steal pedigreed dogs either for sale or breeding. Check under the Shadipur Depot Flyover which is where this racket operates from. Here is the standard procedure when a pet is lost: search the neighbourhood, drive around, have a picture of your pet, plus a card with your phone number and ask chowkidars, garbage collectors, store owners, mailpersons, pedestrians to let you know if they see your animal. Call out your pet's name in places where there are chances it may be hiding. Contact local shelters and describe your dog amd if possible give a coloured photograph of the dog to them. Call local vets as injured animals are usually brought to a vet before being sent to a shelter. Run an ad in local papers, put flyers with your pet's photo up in any public place or store that you can. Frightened or injured animals may travel a long way from home but don't give up.

Q. We have a six month old boxer. How long does it live and what should be his diet so that he grows well. Siddhartha Verdhan, Gwalior

A. The boxer should live uptil 12 if you take care of it well. It needs a lot of looking after. It is subject to rheumatism and should therefore be dried carefully when brought in from walks in the rain. Its teeth need frequent veterinary care. You can get a book on a dog's diet - Natural Health for your dog (Rs 75) from Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd., Sterling House, L-10 Green Park Extension, New Delhi-110016.

Q. It is said that when chased by a snake, it is better to run in a straight line as snakes move in curved path. Is this true? A.B.Chandra,Gajraula
A. Snakes do not chase humans. They only stalk and kill prey for food. The only snake that will chase and attack is the African Mamba and just as its name suggests, it is found only in Africa. When confronted with a snake, it is best to back away slowly and calmly without panic. Remember the snake is just as frightened as you and given the chance will escape rather than attack. ++ Q. If snakes are deaf, how do they move to the music of the snake charmer and know when someone is approaching? P. Lal,Gajraula A. Snakes are indeed deaf and cannot hear like we do. Their moving to a snake charmer's music is not to the music, but to the movement of his flute. Snakes pick up vibrations from the ground and hence know when something is coming near.

Q. Is it true that snake bites can kill you? R.Singh,Gajraula
A. All snakes are not poisonous. All poisonous snakes do not bite to kill. A snake will only attack for food or to defend itself. Where food is concerned it will only attack an animal that it can swallow and digest. A small cobra will not attack a very large rat. Snakes in captivity have been known to be eaten by rats. While defending themselves they would rather flee than bite, but if worse comes to worse they will bite. Usually, nine out of 10 cobra bites are dry, meaning that there is no venom in the bite. If a snake ever bites you, do not panic. Calmly go to the nearest hospital. Making cuts at the area of the bite is not a good idea, though washing it thoroughly with soap and water is.

Q. Are snakes useful to us? Mrs P.Lal , Gajraula
A. They play a very important role in the food cycle. They help control the rodent population. Since they are very sensitive animals reacting to minute changes in their environment, they are indicators of pollution and environmental degradtion. They are also a source of anti-venom. Besides, can we decide to protect only those animals that are useful to us? Don't all animals have the right to live?

Q. I have a 3 year old Pomeranian bitch who never has her food willingly and can remain hungry for 3 to 5 days. The vet suggested to give her Syrup Ciplactin 1 tsp everyday before meal, once in a day. The result was effective and I stopped giving her to abate her addictiveness. But the day I stopped giving her the syrup, she too stopped eating food. So I continued giving her but reduced the quantity to 1 drop a day before the meal. I am worried she is having some major stomach problem. Please suggest whether to continue or not and not going to cause any major problem. Otherwise she is very active. She is very fond of vegetables, fruits but does not like cereals and milk. Few days back I gave her sweets sprinkled over her food to tempt her to have her meal but in the morning she vomited yellowish water with froth. Is this because of the syrup or sweets. She has again stopped eating food as I have stopped giving the syrup to her. Please suggest what to feed her so that she starts taking her food without being fussy. Sangeeta Gupta, Mayur vihar
A. Your dog has addicted herself to the syrup, therefore what you should do is resume giving her one drop of syrup for 2-3 days. Fill the syrup bottle with something else, maybe with fruit juice and put it in her food in front of her. Some dogs develop this psychological behaviour that unless they don't get a particular thing they won't eat their food. Do not give sweets to your dog as it is undigestible for them. Feed your dog at regular meal times. Give her fruits like mangoes, water melon, papayas, oranges etc. Give her rotis mixed in vegetable soup/curd or curd with rice. You can also give dry paneer with roti and include soya nuggets with dals. What you are giving is also good i.e. rotis with one teaspoon of ghee with mashed peas and carrots. Try giving her raw carrots too. Don't overdo things, don't give her excess of anything. Always remember to take your dog for morning and evening walks as this will increase her appetite. Give her the following treatment: Give her Liv-52 either in syrup or tablet form.If syrup then give one teaspoon twice a day or one tablet twice a day. Give this for about 20 days. To stop her vomiting give her Nux-Vomica which is available at any homeopathy shop. Give 3-4 pills twice a day for three days. Vomiting is a very serious symptom. Immediately take the dog to a vet in case the food stopping/vomiting is linked. It could even be pyometra which needs an immediate operation. Contact Dr. Indra Raisinghani at 6484392 for her suggestion or Dr. Sunita Shastri on 5448062 or 5447751. Take the dog to Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Centre, Opposite Shivaji College, Raja Garden immediately.

Q. Our house is near a airport and there have been times when we get to see the planes passing quite low. I have a 2 year old bitch who loves to play in the garden.
A few weeks ago, an aeroplane passed over the house which frightened her. Since then she just stands in the open doorway and look upwards. Even if she is coaxed she does not go out. To relieve her we put her on leash and put it into the car and take to the park. In the park, she appears fine but as soon as we get home she rushes back into the house. Is she suffering from some kind of phobia? Priyam Vardhan,New Delhi A. This kind of phobia is known as `Agoraphobia' and her fear is environmental rather than in general. This behaviour shouldn't have been encouraged because of the construed coaxing and secondly your out of the way exercise routine to relieve her - she is finding the park more exciting than the house garden. What started off as a real fear became a learned behaviour because it started to bring her reward. But now you need to ignore her completely when she goes through her `evasion routine', don't look or speak to her. Keep the door open for her as much as possible and let her make the decisions. If she has been properly toilet trained, she will rather go outside than dirtying the house. Give her a tit-bit outside only and not when she comes back in. When preparing her food, mix it in her presence and put it outside the door. If she doesn't go out to eat, throw it away. Repeat the procedure at each meal and don't worry about her being starved. A healthy dog will not starve to death. If she likes her visit to the park, pick her leash, don't put it on her but walk her to the car. If she doesn't follow you, go back and shut her in the house. Drive around a lane and return - she will gradually understand that she will get her park exercise when she follows you out of the house of her own free will. All daily tit-bits should be given outside the house and if she refuse to come out, don't give her. Stop giving rewards inside the house including your coaxing and off-hand attitude towards her behaviour. Lastly, when you see a plane passing low at a distance, get her inside before she sees it.

Q. My four year old pomeranian jumps on people out of love whenever they come to my house. They get scared and then they go into a panic. I never chain her or lock her in the room. Please tell how can I change her habit and also she does not eat much. She goes off food for many days. She doesn't like fruits (with the exception of mangoes) , vegetables or dal. She weighs only 5kg. At times she eats mud. She is also not active and is very lazy. Monu, Abohar
A. Your dog gets excited when she meets new people. You can check this habit by saying a stern No to her as soon as she tries to jump on someone.If this doesn't change then you can roll a newspaper and make a thumping sound either on the ground or on your hand when she jumps. Do this a couple of times and she will definitely change. But be stern-- a no means a no. As far as her diet is concerned try and give some tonics like LIV 52 either one teaspoon twice daily or one tablet twice daily. Try giving her a mix of dal, vegetables, soyabean and roti cooked and mixed together. Occasionally give her curd with rice. She eats mud because she has a deficiency of Iron. Give her iron supplements and lots of dark green leafy vegetables to eat. This should also be treated as an indication of worms. The faeces should be given for examination. For learning about dog care, you can get my book First Aid For Animals: (Rs 60) from Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd., Sterling House, L-10 Green Park Extension, New Delhi-110016.

Q. Our pet Indian dog is oozing out blood drops mixed with urine continuesly from his penis. Few days back I gave him 10 capsules of Ampicillin but to no avail. Can you suggest some medicine to cure him? In his food habits, he is very fond of tomatoes and seasonal fruits and takes these regularly. Non-veg diet is never given to him. J R Lal, Delhi
A. Stop feeding your dog with tomatoes now. If you are feeding it with palak stop that too. Your dog seems to be suffering from uretheral calculi i.e. stones. For the time being give him Mox capsules 250gms for 10 days twice everyday alongwith it give him cystone tablet thrice a day till the problem stops. Mox capsules will stop the bleeding as it is due to the friction of the stone inside the os-penis and it will also cure any secondary infection or inflammation. Cystone will help dissolve the stone. Don't waste anytime and get an X-Ray done to confirm where the blockage is.You can get the X-Ray done from the market before Amba Cinema Hall near the Shakti Nagar Chowk.There is this X-Ray clinic that does X-Rays for humans and animals both also this is nearest to your house. After confirming the blockage you have to show it to a vet who will then decide whether to go in for a surgery or to try to dissolve the stone first. The main thing that you have to check is that your dog should not be straining. If he is then this means that he is in pain and uncomfortable. You'll have to decide fast as this is a dangerous situation as your dog's bloodurea could rise. The nearest vet to your house is Dr. Surinder Singh 1/7, Double Storey, Vijay Nagar Phone: 7220191 or contact my hospital Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Centre, opp. Shivaji College, Raja Garden phone: 5448062 & 5447751 and speak to Dr. Sunita Shastri. Do not waste any time.

Q. My 13 months old dog has a habit which I can't break . There is a mango tree in our garden which is a home for squirrels since a long time. Whenever the dog is out in the garden, he rushes straight to this tree and barks furiously at the squirrels. This does not bother them even a little bit but it causes inconvenience to the neighbours. He doesnot listen when I shout from the house, otherwise he is quite obedient. What can I do to stop him from doing so? Shantanu Hora,New Delhi
A. The dog enjoys the fun but he gets frustrated of the squirrels just sitting there on the tree, out of reach and refusing to move any more. Because of the distance between the tree and the house, any scoldings coming from the house will be ineffective, therefore, any correction has to come from the tree's side. For instance, get a hosepipe, long enough to stretch from the tap to the tree and with a ladder position the end of it in the branches, pointing towards where the dog usually stands and barks. When he rushes there and as he opens his mouth to bark, let him have a short, sharp squirt of water as it is harmless. Don't leave it running because he will just run round the other side. If he is clever enough to learn that the squirrels retaliate from one place only, you will have to re-position the pipe from different angles each time. If your timing is good, he will stop bothering and barking at the squirrels and won't go near the tree again.