L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Diseases common to man and dog

“Whoever said you can’t buy happiness forgot about little puppies” — Gene Hill. With the happiness a dog brings to a family he brings along a responsibility of a life. A life that grows, eats, sleeps, falls sick and needs a lot of tender love and care. A responsibility not only towards the pup but also towards the family who just got a new member. Pet owners should be aware of the potential risk of the zoonosis found in their area. A zoonosis is a disease common to animals and humans. In many of these zoonotic diseases, humans may not incur the disease directly from the pet. Instead, the pet serves as a barometer, signalling the presence of infectious agents in the environment.

Rabies: Rabies is a deadly viral disease cause transmitted through animal saliva. It can be contracted by bite or licking of a wound. Signs of rabies include personality and behavioral changes, incoordination, difficulty swallowing, seizures and death. Rabies is fatal and there is no cure in man or animals. Vaccinated dogs serve as a buffer between owner and the wild animal reservoir. Avoidance of contact with stray animals and regular vaccination of pet helps protect from this disease.

Another thing to know is that if a pet bites you; first wash out the bite wound well as many a soap can kill the rabies virus, and if you’re not sure if the animal that bit you has current rabies vaccination, call a physician.

Intestinal worms: Pups get worms from their mothers in most cases and then shed the eggs of these parasites in feces. These worms may go dormant in their muscles and re-emerge during periods of stress or sickness. So a negative fecal exam is no surety that your pet is worm free. As these eggs are transmitted in the puppy’s stool. Sanitation is mandatory and everyone who handles the puppy should wash their hands frequently. This is especially important in young children, who often put their fingers in their mouths. These worms can be transmitted to people especially children for this very reason. The signs of roundworm infection vary from diarrhoea to pot bellied abdomen with a poor skin and condition in dogs. Most infections in people are so mild as to cause no signs at all, but the possibility for severe illness exists. Migrating worms may damage the liver, eyes or brain causing anything from mild rashes to blindness and other horrible disease. This is a problem with barefoot children, especially if the ground is damp which favours larval hatching.

Fungal diseases: The diseases like ringworm are transmitted to humans who come in direct contact with the infected dog or even the pet’s belongings like blankets etc. Fungal diseases are not very common but an ailing dog with a history of skin disease not responding to antibiotics may be suspected for one. Some animals can carry the fungus in their hair coat without showing signs of itching, scaly skin, and hair loss. In people, the classic lesion is a raised, reddened, and itchy ring. Treatment is usually uncomplicated.

Tick-transmitted diseases: Ticks can transmit diseases to animals and people. Dogs are necessary for the life cycle of the ticks. So you have more chance of encountering a tick if you have a dog. Rickettsial diseases like typhus, boutonneuse fever, and protozoan diseases like babesiosis can be transmitted by tick bite. The main thing is to prevent your pet from being tick infested; avoid keeping your pet in tick swarmed areas, groom your pets, remove ticks as needed, and take advantage of the better tick control products.

Sarcoptic mange or scabies, lice, mites: It is a zoonotic skin condition in dogs. This mite burrows under the skin and causes severe itching, scabs, hair loss and in extreme cases, a generalised illness. In humans a pinpoint red rash is often found on the chest and abdomen. Treatment in dogs includes multiple insecticidal dips to kill the mites, and medications for itching and secondary infections. Protect yourself by having suspected skin lesions examined and treated by your veterinarian. The lice and mites that pets get can sometimes cause a rash or allergic reaction on humans but rarely cause an infestation.

No matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you rich. Early diagnosis and veterinary care, as well as simple precautions, can protect you and your family from most of these diseases, and keep your pets healthier, too.

Dr Amandeep Kaur



‘Neonatal mortality rate still high in country’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 26
“The art and science of neonatology is as old as mankind itself. But the sad part is that the neonatal mortality rate in India is still very high, which calls for concerted and focused efforts.”

This was the consensus of an annual conference organised by the Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) jointly with the National Neonatology Forum (NNF) here yesterday.

In her opening remarks, Dr Jogesh Chhatwal, paediatrician in the CMCH said the urban hospital statistics showed a decreasing neonatal mortality rate in all birth weight groups from 1995 to 2000. However, the babies were dying in home deliveries in less developed regions of the country where educational level was low and health services were rarely available.

“A neonatal death is soon followed by next pregnancy and adverse pregnancy outcome might repeat itself,” She said stressing that there was a crying need for neonatal services in remote areas in the country.

Dr A. K. Dutta, Head of Kalawati Saran Children Hospital, New Delhi, while inaugurating the conference shared his experience with the participants. He highlighted that two-third of the mortality in India was of neonates, out of which 66 per cent was during the first seven days of the birth. He said, “the neonatal mortality rate in India is 45-65 per cent. The main reasons for the same are maternal under-nutrition during pregnancy, poor antenatal care and lack of availability and utilisation of existing health services, which hamper efforts at reduction of neonatal mortality rate in the country.”

Dr Dutta appreciated Dr Manorama Verma of the CMCH for her initiative to be the first member of the Punjab chapter of the NNF, which started in the CMCH in August, 1994. He acknowledged the work done by Dr Chhatwal and her team in terms of providing best possible neonatal care and for educating pregnant mothers, which helped reduce the neonatal mortality rate.

Dr A.S. Chawla, president of the NNF, in his speech underlined the efforts of the Union Government to introduce plans for the betterment of infants.

Dr Arvind Saili, Professor of Paediatrics, Kalawati Saran Children Hospital, New Delhi, spoke on “Osteopenia of Prematurity”, Dr Satish Saluja, consultant, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, spoke on the breakthroughs in the field of nasal CPAP in neonates and Dr Manju Vats, Principal, College of Nursing, AIIMS, New Delhi, gave tips on nursing care of sick neonates.


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