KOCHI: Can you believe that your pet dog can also fall prey to hypothyroidism and many other lifestyle diseases, like you? The answer is ‘yes’.
When 70 percent of the pets have lifestyle diseases, 10 per cent of them suffer from hypothyroidism, which is yet another cause of infertility in male dogs, testifies veterinarians.
“Incidentally, it is the unhealthy lifestyle of the owner that puts most of the pets in trouble. Though dearth of exercise and improper food habits can be cited as the main reason behind lifestyle diseases, lack of awareness on how to rear pets could not be brushed aside.
“Many people own pets out of the fancy for rare exotic breeds, but they hardly pay attention to the characteristics and quality of such breeds,” said Dr Sooraj K, director, the Cochin Pet Hospital. “Their primary focus is on owning pets, and they hardly try to collect information on how to maintain them. “These breeds have their own needs other than being mere showpieces. For instance, the needs of a large dog will be absolutely different from that of a small dog.
But, many a time, due to sheer lack of knowledge, the owners tend to overdo or play down these needs, which would naturally result in lifestyle diseases like diabetes, kidney stone, gastric trouble, high cholesterol and the like,” he said.
“Instances wherein the pets suffer from anxiety and stress are also not rare. The pets are usually afflicted with skin diseases.
“But, when such diseases become chronic, they develop into lifestyle diseases,” the doctor said. “When it comes to hypothyroidism, it is the male dogs that are the worst affected. Because it directly affects their sperm count, and hence the infertility problem,” the veterinarian pointed out.
Their treatment will cost just as much as that of humans. Dr Jacob Alexander, senior veterinarian, Zoological Garden, Thiruvananthapuram, points out that if the owner of a pet leads a sedentary lifestyle, that person would be in no mood to take it outside.
“We forget that dogs are primarily wild animals that have been domesticated. As wild animals, they hunted in packs, which provided room for intense physical exertion. Only the strong among them mated with females.
Hence, the offspring got the strongest of the characteristics,” he said. “Besides, dogs ceased to be a guardian animal and no longer undergo physical activity,” he said. Though dogs have less taste buds their olfactory is 40 times stronger than that of Human beings, he said.