Processed and packaged food, a sedentary lifestyle and pollution have led to declining health trends, not only for humans but their pets too. Veterinarians in Ahmedabad now report a growing trend of pets coming to be treated for heart ailments, diabetes, kidney failure, arthritis and even hypothyroidism.
Sharing his recent experience, city-based vet Dhaval Patel who has a clinic near Sidhi-Vinayak plaza, narrated: “About two months ago, I received a distress call around midnight from a pet owner who reported a 12-year-old Labrador with breathing problems. By the time I rushed and went to the nearby address, the dog was no more. The dog suffered a cardiac arrest.”
According to city-based veterinarians, at least 40% of dogs over the age of five are now host to one or more of the ailments. When a dog is over the age of eight years, the ratio rises to becoming six out of 10.
“The trend of feeding processed dog food to pets without even bothering to check on the dietary requirements of the breed and lack of exercise is turning dogs obese at a very young age,” pointed out Dr Patel.
He reported that at least five dogs regularly come to his clinic. “The ailments range from heart enlargement, kidney issues and even thyroid. One of the dogs I am treating is suffering from a chronic skin infection which was triggered due to secondary hypothyroidism. Earlier, our serious cases were largely restricted to animals hurt because of an accident or a fight or a case being infected because of ticks.”
Animal health professionals and animal rescues now express grave concern about the general lack of awareness among pet owners. No doubt social media did influence a trend of pet adoption since the Covid-19 outbreak, however, few go to the lengths to labour in the pet’s upbringing.
Echoing the same concern, Dr Hiren Thakkar, a post-graduate in veterinary science and a pet surgeon added that nearly all pedigree dogs are often recklessly bred by breeders and in-breeding is a common phenomenon. “Just like humans, in-breeding often causes serious ailments among dogs too! A poor immunity among puppies is also one of the key causes of serious ailments. Just like a human baby needs mother’s milk for immunity for the initial few months, we don’t advise adopting puppies younger than 90 days because it makes them susceptible to chronic infections and ailments.”
According to doctors, diseases that were once widespread in dogs over 15 years old are now being observed in canines as young as six years old.