Holistic veterinary care

Visit your veterinarian often as they can commonly find signs of disease early on, allowing for assured diagnosis, treatment and cure

Three years ago I took my 18-month-old female Pomeranian to the vet after a small scab came off her shoulder area. The hair has not only never grown back but the spot has become larger. I can see tiny red spots around the perimeter of the hairless area.

The condition you are describing is focal alopecia which is a localised area of hair loss on a dog. Pyotraumatic dermatitis, also known as "hot spots," can leave such a characteristic lesion after healing. Due to damage to the hair follicles during active inflammation, the hair may or may not grow back.

My concern is that you notice red spots around the edges of the lesion and that it is gradually increasing is size which strongly suggests an active inflammatory response. Ringworm produces circular hairless lesions with a red ring and should be ruled out by your regular veterinarian. Proper tests should be done to diagnose the disease correctly.

Treatment involves clipping the wound just past the red area so that the skin can be cleaned with a chlorhexidine solution and cool water followed with topical application of an antimicrobial ointment or spray such as Vetericyn. Oral supplementation with omega fatty acids can also reduce the severity of chronic dermatoses.

I rescued some dogs from my alley and took them to a shelter. The shelter's staff wasn't as pleased as I was. Did I do anything wrong?

There is no point in rescuing healthy dogs. You should feed them and look after them in your alley itself. It is cruelty to expose them to the illness of a shelter or to have them locked up for no reason. If they were ill enough to be taken to a shelter then you should be paying for their treatment and not hiding behind the excuse that they're not your personal dogs. All shelters are overcrowded and underfunded. You should've given them money for the treatment and food, and once they are well, you should take them back. Shelters are communal resources and shouldn't be taken advantage of to salvage your conscience or to make you feel good. They are all run by small NGOs who get no funding from institutions or the government and if they are used simply as dumping grounds, they will shut down.

I feel very sorry when I see chickens waiting to be killed in open chicken coops on the road. I really would like to rescue them. What can I do?

You've given the answer yourself. Rescue them! Every chicken coop on the road is illegal. Under FSSAI law, they cannot be kept on an open road. Under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, they can't be locked up and killed in front of each other. According to the municipal laws, chickens can't be kept in khokhas or killed in open areas as this is bad for everyone's health. So, if you use all the laws and keep them with you in writing, you can rescue them.

The next step is where to keep them. If you have a garden at home, make a small shed for them in a corner and put hay in it. Otherwise, let them roam around freely. Each chicken has his/her own personality and they make charming pets. In fact, once you get the courage, you can make a team called Chicken Rescue, inform the police and clear your town of these khokhas.

(Views expressed and information provided are personal. Send your questions to

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