Chennai: With the hue and cry about patients with diarrhoea flooding city hospitals, the number of pets falling prey to the same trouble has gone under the radar. While this may be an indicator of cholera in humans, vets say that animals can suffer from the condition due to various other reasons. Veterinarian Dr Priyadarshini Govind, who has seen an influx of diarrhoea cases in dogs over the past week, says that summer in general has a similar effect on pets as it does on pet owners.
“Dogs tend to get dehydrated, lap at dirty puddles and as a result have digestive problems. If adult dogs are affected with diarrhoea, this can be allowed to pass over a day but do not take the risk with your puppy - as puppies dehydrate much faster,” she says. Dr Priyadarshini advises that the dog be taken to the vet in the case of more than two loose stools a day, and that over-the-counter medicines might not be the best choice.
Diarrhoea in puppies is often also a symptom of the parvo virus. Dr Priyadarshini says, “Last year at this time, there was an outbreak of parvo - a virus that is common during the summer and affects puppies. So, as a preventive measure this year, I’m making it a point to give my patients two booster injections, instead of just one.” Dr Prathaban, Director of Clinics at the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS) reiterated the importance of protecting puppies against the parvo virus. “In the past week, we have had quite a few cases of puppies with parvo. The virus is susceptible to bleaching powder, so the dog’s living area can be cleaned with a solution of bleaching powder as precaution,” he said.
Another reason a pup or dog could get diarrhoea is through worms, but Dr Prathaban feels that these cases have gone down due to greater awareness. “In fact, I would say some pet owners are over-deworming their animals,” he says with a laugh. Bacterial infections and contaminated food can also cause the problem, so it is best to take the dog to the vet in case of prolonged diarrhoea, he said.
Apart from these issues, pet owners have to ensure good hygiene for their dogs during the monsoon season. Dr Priyadarshini says, “Regularly washing their food bowls and stopping their pets from lapping at puddles of dirty water will help. This month is also the breeding season for flies, so be watchful of maggots. Pet owners can be advised to ensure that any exposed wounds on their dogs or cats are cleaned properly at all times.”