Pets – Know your pet in sickness and health


Our society has shifted towards pet parenting these days. The growing emotional bond between the animal parent and their pet demands a better understanding of their health and their health system. The key is to understand the specific breed and its diseases. Our township, along with the rest of Kolkata, is experiencing a surge in the pet population every year. The inclination is to adopt foreign breed dogs. Each breed is different in its susceptibility to disease. This article will help pet owners understand their furry wards and their special needs.

1. Labrador retriever

The Labrador is a faithful companion and a very good family dog. Due to their active nature, they need plenty of space. They never show unprovoked aggressive behavior. Besides as a companion dog, they can also be used for therapy or rescue work.

A) Obesity is very common in this breed. In a study by Davison et al (2017) in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, it was found that a deletion of the pro-opiomelanocortin gene in Labrador retrievers is associated with increased appetite and risk of obesity. .

B) Hip dysplasia is also very common in Labradors. It is basically a polygenic trait that is affected by environmental factors. It is an abnormal formation of the hip socket that can gradually cause lameness and arthritis. Elbow dysplasia is also reported in this breed.

C) Cataracts and retinal dysplasia are also commonly seen in this breed.

2. German Shepherd

This breed shows a wide range of acceptability among pet lovers. They are excellent pets. They can also be used for disability assistance, search and rescue, and police work.

A) Hip and elbow dysplasia is very common in this breed. Early diagnosis by the veterinarian can help the animal avoid future complications.

Choosing a good, ethical breeder is also very important. A healthy diet recommended by the veterinarian should always be followed. To prevent orthopedic diseases, proper levels of calcium in the diet are essential.

The ratio of calcium to phosphorus must also be balanced in the diet. As imbalances in calcium and phosphorus levels can lead to musculoskeletal complications. German Shepherds should receive an adequate amount of vitamin D and vitamin A in their diet.


B) Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency is also very common in this breed. It is the inability to digest food properly due to a reduction in digestive enzymes produced by the pancreas. It is a functional diagnosis based on the measurement of the decrease in pancreatic secretory capacity by a pancreatic function test. The exocrine pancreas has a large reserve secretory capacity and signs of maldigestion are not usually seen until 90% of the secretory capacity is lost. Exocrine pancreatic diseases in dogs that can lead to clinical signs of EPI include pancreatic acinar atrophy, chronic pancreatitis, and neoplastic diseases. Replacement therapy with enzyme supplements is needed to compensate for the lack of enzyme production in dogs with EPI. Vitamin B12 deficiency is common in dogs with EPI. Serum cobalamin levels should be assessed periodically in dogs with EPI.

C) Alsatians have a higher than normal incidence of Von Willebrand disease. It is an inherited blood clotting disorder. Degenerative myelopathy is also very common in this breed.

3. Pug

Pugs are even-tempered, sociable, gentle, and charming pets.

a) Respiratory distress induced by brachycephalic airway obstruction syndrome is very common in this breed. The pharyngeal gag reflex is also very common in them. Stenotic nostrils can make breathing even more difficult.

b) Due to the prominent skeletal brow ridges, Pugs are susceptible to eye damage including proptosis, scratched corneas and entropion.

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca, macro blepharon, distichiasis, corneal pigmentation and vasculature are also common conditions in Pugs.

c) Constrictive myelopathy involving a fibrous band around the spinal cord is a newly recognized disease in pugs.

d) Necrotizing meningoencephalitis has also been identified in pugs in recent years. Although very little information is available regarding the geographical distribution.

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