Episodes

  • Feeding Performance Dogs is All About BalanceHost Laura Reeves is joined by Rob Downey, CEO of https://annamaet.com/ (Annamaet), a companion animal nutritionist who conducted seminal research at the University of Pennsylvania on feeding performance dogs.“Back in those days,” Downey said, “the idea was that you carbohydrate load (dogs) just like you do humans. We realized that that wasn't the way to go with dogs. So, we did a study where we could actually increase stamina by 30% in running dogs by altering (the balance of) proteins, fats and carbohydrates. That has become the seminal study. It's still cited in the NRC nutrient requirements of dogs and cats.“We found the positive correlation between how much fat was in the diet and how far the dog could run. We found a negative correlation, a slight, very slight, negative correlation between the amount of carbohydrates and how far they could run."The bottom line is that any kind of long-term exercise, you’re initially burning stored carbohydrates called glycogen. That really helps you burst out of the gate or run up the hill. But once you start to use that, then these dogs, over time, become fat metabolizers. Eighty percent of the energy these dogs are using when they're running field trials or sled dog races or more long term, they are burning fat.“It's an oxidative process. So, it needs oxygen. So, you need red blood cells to carry the oxygen (to the tissues) to burn the fat. That's where the protein comes in. So, you need increased fat, you need increased protein, but you do need a minimal amount of carbohydrates to help with stool quality and “feedability.”“You (also) need that glycogen replenishment. So that if you're starting on day two in a trial, if you don't have muscle glycogen stored in the body, what happens is that the dogs really don't have any zip. They're pretty sour or they just they don't bounce back.Dogs Don't Require Ingredients, They Require Nutrients“There's a whole other group of studies we did on a supplement we make that actually replenishes muscle glycogen. Mother Nature is gonna replenish muscle glycogen over time but if you're doing back to back events, you need something to replenish some muscle glycogen. So if I'm gonna work my dog today, if I use this glycogen replacement immediately post exercise, tomorrow he's gonna have 99% of the muscle glycogen restored in the body. If I don't use anything he's probably only going to have 50%.“You need the balance and you can balance out whether you're doing kibble, raw, freeze dried or whatever. We're talking about calories and protein, fats, carbohydrates … we haven't even started talking about vitamins and minerals.“There was an interesting study where they followed 2,000 beagles for about 15 years. The only thing they varied in the formulas was the vitamin levels. They had low, medium, high and extra high. The dogs on extra high vitamins live 23% longer than the dogs on average vitamin levels.“They had 29% less veterinary visits on extra high vitamins than they did average vitamins and they were 32% less likely to have tumors. The sad part is when they went back and they examined the diets on the market, they found less than 5% of the diets had extra high vitamins.”Tune in to hear the rest of this fascinating interview and learn from an expert on what and how to feed your dog. 2T2OZhmb6O7VEjU0ZiNw 

  • Changing the Conversation on Cancer Diagnosis in Dogs
    Dr. Angelo Marco, DVM and Dr. Andi Flory, DVM join host Laura Reeves for an exciting conversation about advances in early cancer detection. PetDx’s OncoK9 test is able to “identify a biomarker of cancer that comes from cancer cells” from a simple blood draw, according to Dr. Flory.

    [caption id="attachment_10009" align="alignleft" width="308"] Dr. Andi Flory, DVM, Chief Medical Officer at PetDX.[/caption]

    Flory, Chief Medical Officer at PetDx, said the OncoK9 test has the potential to revolutionize our ability to detect cancer in patients, potentially even before they start to show signs and symptoms.

    While the blood test identifies a variety of cancers, it is most successful at finding the “big three:” Lymphoma, hemangiosarcoma and osteosarcoma.

    “Those big three,” Flory said, “that detection rate is really high. It's 85% and those are the most aggressive cancers that we see in dogs. So the fact that we have the potential to identify those really aggressive cancers sooner, it's just amazing.

    “The way that would kind of work, is if you think about dogs that are at high risk of cancer because of they're getting older, for example, we know that the risk of cancer increases with age. Or because of their breed. You're certainly aware there are some breeds that just get a lot of cancer, unfortunately. If we think about testing those individuals as a screening test, like as an annual test before they're showing any clinical signs you know while they're still healthy. If we can identify cancer while they're still feeling good, then we may have a better chance of controlling it longer term.

    “I think about the cases that we get almost universally when we discover hemangiosarcoma. It's because the tumor is bleeding or it's already spread and the metastatic lesions are bleeding and that often results in a middle of the night visit to the emergency room. It's a snap decision. Maybe your dog looked normal that morning and then all of a sudden you're in the ER being told your dog has a tumor on the spleen and it's bleeding and we need to do emergency surgery and we need to do a blood transfusion and there's really only one decision that you can make right now. It's shocking. It’s traumatic. It's painful for the dog. It's all of those things and it happens so unexpectedly and it's so emotional.”

    [caption id="attachment_10010" align="alignright" width="293"] Dr. Angelo Marco, DVM and his Border Terrier at Palm Springs Kennel Club.[/caption]

    “The important thing to know,” Marco said, “is that when we see a cancer signal on this test, it's an indication of malignant tumor cells in the body right now. It's not something that they were cured of five years ago and it's not a predisposition test, so it's not something that is predicting, it is something that is there in the body right now. So that really highlights the importance of going forward on that “cancer hunt” to find where is this cancer signal is coming from.”

    Be sure to listen to today’s episode in full and visit https://petdx.com/pet-parents/ (PetDx) for additional information.

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  • Meet Dr. Darin Collins, Saluki breeder, new CHF CEO
    Dr. Darin Collins, DVM, joins host Laura Reeves to discuss his new role as Chief Executive Officer at the Canine Health Foundation. Collins, a longtime Saluki breeder, came to CHF in October, leaving his role as the Director of Animal Health Programs at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle.

    Collins’ trajectory in the world of purebred dogs started as a boy in Central Illinois with hunting dogs, specifically a Brittany.

    “It wasn't really until after vet school that I got a Saluki,” Collins said. “I got a Saluki that nobody else wanted, that had recovered from a broken leg. That was my experimental Saluki. I made him live with me in an apartment in Chicago. And then I moved him to Seattle in 1991, when I took the position at the Zoo.”

    In Seattle, Collins contacted George and Sally Bell, of the famed Bel S'mbran Salukis. That encounter began a lifetime friendship with a direct through line to his new role at CHF.

    “When Dave Frei and George strategized how to film the breeds during the day at the Garden, I was one of the camera people selected. I had that for about 15 years, until which time the contract ended and I was no longer a camera person. But at that point the habit of going to New York in February had already been established.

    "I met people (during that time) and one of those individuals was influential in helping (my name) actually surface when the search came out for a CEO for the Canine Health Foundation.

    “I went from working with 300 taxonomic groups and over 1000 individuals of 600 species, to working with one species. Looking at all the divergence within the dog world, I find that very, very compelling. I love canine health and I'm very well suited to be in the position that I'm at right now.

    "I've only been here six months so I'm still learning the in's and outs of the organization and the job, but it's a phenomenal organization. I work with phenomenal people. We're all devoted to dogs and dog health and understanding disease and treatments and cures and diagnostics. It's phenomenal vortex of opportunity.”

  • Breeder, Buyer, Vet: Let’s TALK!
    Dr. Marty Greer, DVM, best-selling author, dog breeder and practicing veterinarian, is back with host Laura Reeves to talk about the delicate and critical communication protocols, best practices and successful strategies for Breeders, Puppy Buyers and the Buyers’ Veterinarian.

    “This is a challenge,” Greer said. “How do you have that three-legged stool and make it all work?”

    Reeves questions, “How do we set our puppy buyers up for success? Is their language that we can send home with that puppy buyer, that they can then take to their veterinarian to help bridge this three legged stool?”

    “I think the first thing that really has to happen,” Greer said, “is before the puppy buyer gets their puppy, they need to research the veterinarian that they're interested in using.

    "Now they may already have a good relationship with the veterinarian that they trust, that they know is open to a certain protocol for vaccinations, delaying spaying and neutering, certain other medical management situations, but I think the first thing they really have to do is know who they're seeing. If they have a great relationship and they're already doing that, that's great.

    “If you find yourself in a situation where you have a veterinarian that you're butting heads with, you've chosen the wrong clinic. You need to start doing some research and finding other alternatives. It may mean that you go as far as somebody that does integrative medicine, holistic medicine. You may have to kind of go to that level to get the kind of care that you need.

    “But if that's what it takes, in almost every community there are going to be veterinarians that are open minded, that are willing to work with you, that are willing to talk to breeders, that are willing to accept the fact that you wanna do some of these things somewhat differently. But you gotta know who they are. You have to do it before you get the puppy or before you have a crisis. 'Cause in the middle of a crisis is not the time to figure this out.

    “You may kiss a couple frogs before you get there, but it's OK. Go in for something simple. Go in for something that isn't complicated. Go for a heartworm test. If the vet clinic does nail trims, go for a nail trim. Just kind of get a feel for who they are, what they are, how they do things.

    “You just really need to make good decisions. People come to us frequently, and this makes me and my doctors and my staff crazy, they come in and they say, ‘well, we come to you for the really important stuff, but we just go to the local place because it's just shots.’ I'm like ‘no, no, no, no, no. They're not just shots!' First of all we don't shoot dogs, we vaccinate them. But as Dr. Ron Schultz and Dr. Lori Larson will say, vaccines are one of the strongest medications you give your dog.

    “Frankly, not every veterinarian has everybody's best interest at heart. Sometimes it's all about money. I hate to say that about any profession. But the reality is, you need to be very careful how you select your veterinarian, and how you work with them, because that will make or break your pets long term health. It is a hugely important situation that you work well with them. That you understand them.

    “It goes back to relationship. It may mean that you buy a bottle of wine for your veterinarian or take a plate of cookies to the receptionist or you take pizza for the whole staff. It really does all come down to relationships. The better relationship you have, the better communication you have, the better chances are that your dog gets the kind of care that you're looking for.”

  • Elaine Lessig: “Fashionista” Passionate About Dog Judging
    Judge and self-proclaimed “fashionista” Elaine Lessig joins host Laura Reeves to share her passion for dogs and dog judging.

    Lessig started her purebred dog journey in the 1980s with Cavalier King Charles Spaniels before they were recognized by the AKC. Today she judges the toy, sporting and non-sporting groups.

    “I love (judging),” Lessig said. “But I'm smart enough to know that I don't want to judge everything. Every breed has its detail and I think coming from toy dogs was a distinct advantage. Every toy dog breed is a boutique item. I don't look at sporting dogs as retrievers and pointers and spaniels, they're each a unique breed and I think I bring that detail into it.

    “I have no other reason to be here than I love what I do and it gives me so much pleasure. I am not a professional judge in terms of this is not my income. I don't have to go out and judge. I'm very happy doing just my three groups. This is a passion. It isn't a product.

    “I love to see the connection between whoever it is that’s handling the dog and the dog. I think the dog is better with somebody that they have that wonderful relationship with. I think they perform better. I'm looking for a show dog on those days and then I want to see a dog in good condition. Conditioning is everything here. I'm most offended if you bring me a dirty dog.

    “You have to take your losses and you have to put your losses in the loss pile. When you have a chance, you can get them washed and cleaned up again, but you can't dwell on those things because tomorrow is another day, said Scarlett O'Hara. I won't get negative about this. I refuse to do it.”

    Known for her fabulous wardrobe and keen sense of style, Lessig shares memories of Sandra Goose Allen, meeting https://puredogtalk.com/captivate-podcast/david-fitzpatrick-on-pekingese-the-palace-dogs-of-peking-pure-dog-talk/ (David Fitzpatrick’s) Pekingese Malachy the night he arrived in the US and celebrating after the team won the Garden in 2012.

    Hear more from Lessig on health in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqEYjAubTKc (here).

  • Poodles, Professional Handlers and Public ImageChristian Manelopoulos is back with host Laura Reeves for more Pure Dog Talk on Poodles, Professional Handlers and the sport’s Public Image.“I think really great people are very generous with their time and advice,” Manelopoulos said. “In the end, the thing we all struggle with is having time to do things. And so when people are generous with that time, you really have to soak that in. But the really great people are willing to do that.[caption id="attachment_9963" align="alignleft" width="224"] Winning the stud dog class at PCA.[/caption]“People think of handlers in one way and breeders another way and that they are two separate things. But they're very dependent upon one another. I do think people don't realize how much professional handlers actually influence breeds positively. We always get the negative….“We've seen a rapid decline in big breeding kennels. There's still a lot of people that breed but when you breed one litter a year or one litter every two years, it's really not enough. As dog show people, we need to pay a little bit more attention to these kinds of things. We do need people to breed litters of dogs. There’s just not enough dogs out there for the people that want them, especially purebred dogs. But we need to market ourselves correctly and we need to promote the breeds, the dogs, in the correct way.“I mean, we can't be elitists. When people come to dog shows and you're rude to people and you talk to them like they're idiots, they're not going to want to come back. We need to be encouraging to people about the dogs. We need to breed healthy dogs. People buy purebred dogs because they want dependability. It's like what Apple is. You buy an iPhone because it works. You buy a purebred dog because you want to get a poodle that looks like a poodle, acts like a poodle, has a temperament and then is hopefully healthy.“The first poodles that I bred, I have none of that bloodline in my lines today because of health reasons. So you can't be afraid to start over. You have to eliminate dogs from your breeding programs and move on. That doesn't mean you need to eliminate all of them. You have to be diligent in what you do and examine correctly ‘what I can work with, what I can't work with.’“We need to promote a positive image of the sport. We see people flying with their fake service dogs and they post videos on Facebook and people talk about how cute it is that you are committing a federal crime. I don't think that that's the right message we should send people. You could see why that would come off the wrong way to the general public. We need to self-examine." 

  • Christian Manelopoulos: “I’m Going to America”
    Professional handler Christian Manelopoulos joins host Laura Reeves for part one of a wide-ranging conversation about professional handling, working as an apprentice, the toughest dogs to trim and the challenges of moving to America to begin his career.

    [caption id="attachment_9957" align="alignleft" width="257"] Christian with his first show dog, Taraglen Nicholas[/caption]

    Manelopoulos started in purebred dogs as a teenager in Australia after a knee injury ruined his cricket game. He eventually worked his way up to earning expense money showing dogs for the president of the Victorian Kennel Association.

    But what he really wanted to do was move to the US and show dogs like the pictures he saw in Kennel Review of Frank Sabella’s poodles.

    So, when he had a chance to work for Joe and Pauline Waterman in Southern California in the early 1990s, he jumped at the chance.

    [caption id="attachment_9956" align="alignright" width="305"] Christian in a team photo with Joe and Pauline Waterman during his apprenticeship.[/caption]

    “Going to Joe and Pauline was fantastic because being in Los Angeles, Dick Beauchamp and Frank Sabella would call the kennel. At that time (the Watermans) were still breeding Bichons a little bit. I would study the pedigrees of all the Bichons and all the dogs. I knew their pedigrees better than they did. I was so eager to learn at that time and so that was a tremendous experience.

    “The dog show world in Los Angeles in the early ‘90s was a world of its own in that sense. Corky (Vroom) was like the king and then Bruce and Gretchen (Schultz), and then Joe, so it was a tremendous learning experience.

    [caption id="attachment_9958" align="alignleft" width="312"] With other assistants in Los Angeles, Jason Hoke, Tracy Szaras, Andrew Peel, Doug Carlson, Jr Alacantara, Amy Thurow.[/caption]

    “I tell people it was different also because we didn't have as many dog shows. Most of the shows were only Saturday and Sunday shows. So, all of the assistants, Woody's assistants and Bruce and Gretchen's and Corky’s, we would often get together on Tuesdays and go and do things. So it was a very communal thing.

    “Pauline, Sue (Vroom), Gretchen and Bergit Coady, they were very motherly influences on a lot of the (dog show) kids in the LA area. Especially someone like me, I came from another country, my family was thousands of miles away, so in many ways these women replaced my parents for me. I'm very appreciative to all of them. Sadly most of them have passed away now, but it was definitely a different time.

    “I groomed all the time. I mean, that's the story of my life for 30 years. I tell people that I started working 15 hours a day and here I am 30 years later, I still work 15 hours a day. Everyday. It hasn't changed.

    “You're very much an entrepreneur in this business. You're self-employed, so the businesses is you. When you start out, you go out from being an assistant, you go out to become a handler, you're literally saying ‘for the next 15 years of my life I am gonna work every waking minute of every day. I am going to forego going to people's birthday parties and weddings and things like funerals and baby showers. I will regret many of those things.’

    “But those are the compromises you make to be really successful. Now people can say ‘well, I want a work life balance.’ Those people either generally come from wealthy families or they're not that successful. The most successful people, time and time again, that is their story. If you think it's going to be different, then you should probably try something else, 'cause it's not.

    “You have to run it as a business. A lot of kids, they think ‘oh, I wanna get a big winning dog and then they travel around (in) a big truck, with a big mortgage for that truck, and make no money. They do some winning and then it's all over. The most common issue dog handlers run into is tax issues. You're...

  • Amanda Kelly on Sportsmanship, Spine and #squeezethejoy
    Amanda Kelly, Fwaggle Toy Manchester Terriers, joins host Laura Reeves for part two of their wide-ranging conversation discussing subjective sports that was sparked by this year’s Winter Olympics. Today’s topics touch on sportsmanship, “spine,” mentorship and Amanda’s new hashtag, squeeze the joy, about tasting every last drop of joy the sport brings its competitors.
    Sportsmanship
    “We see the Olympic spirit in many stories every time there's Olympic Games,” Kelly said. “This year the one that really stood out to me was (a skier) from Finland who won the gold in cross country skiing. (Then) he waited for the last place skier to cross the line before he would celebrate his gold. Because he had respect for the fact that every person in that race, no matter where they finished, had worked really hard to get there. I think that maybe we need a little bit more Olympic spirit in our sport.
    Spine = Courage
    “This type of subjective sport tends to draw people who are looking outside of themselves for reassurance and validation. Dog shows are an ego sport. We do it on some level for some sort of return in that area of our lives. Thinking about what that is and being able to overcome the challenges that come with whatever reason we're doing it for. I think that’s a self-awareness piece.

    “(That self-awareness gives you) the spine to be able to stand your ground and say ‘it doesn't matter to me if it's unpopular. It doesn't matter to me if all of the cool kids are doing it and I don't want to. I'm gonna do what I wanna do the way I wanna do it based on my own opinion and my own values.’
    Perspective
    “I really think that in the dog world we have to be cognizant of context for the importance of our sport and the people in it. There's a lot of stuff going on in the world right now and there's a lot of stuff that's going on in the world right now that is a a lot more important than who wins at the dog show. A little perspective is number one. Number two, do not ever drink your own koolaid. It doesn't matter who you are in the dog world, your importance, celebrity, “fame” is a tadpole in the mud puddle of life. When Ernesto Lara, or anybody really, goes to the grocery store, people are not queuing up for an autograph.
    #squeezethejoy
    “Sometimes we lose sight of what we're doing and why we're doing it. I took a really great pleasure in watching the last Olympic competition for the amazingly great snowboarder Shaun White. He finished fourth. (He was) an incredible competitor, had an incredible career and when he finished, he said that this time it wasn't really about winning, it was about squeezing the joy out of it. I thought, ‘wow, what a great way of looking at our sport. Squeezing the joy out of the moments that you're there means making your trip about more than the ribbon that you leave the ring with.”

    Listen today to hear the entire conversation. Listen https://puredogtalk.com/captivate-podcast/521-competing-in-subjective-sports-dog-shows-vs-the-olympics/ (HERE) for the first part of the discussion.

  • Pre-Breeding Veterinary Exams and Why They MatterDr. Marty Greer, DVM joins host Laura Reeves to discuss pre-breeding veterinary exams for female dogs and why they matter. Among the important clinical observations may be vaginal strictures.“I think stricture kind of lumps together a couple of different disorders that probably shouldn't really be categorized together,” Greer said. “But we don't know where else to put them. So, a stricture is, by definition, the inability of the vaginal vault or vaginal opening to stretch adequately to allow either a natural mating with a tie and a penis or the vaginal delivery of puppies.“So what does that really mean? That means that when we do a vaginal exam, for whatever reason the normal amount of space isn't there. It can be that the lips of the vulva, the skin part are really tight and you just can't adequately get them to stretch. It can mean that there's a circumferentially stricture meaning all the way around, it's just not stretchy enough once you get into the vaginal vault. It can mean that there is a column of tissue, a septum, down the middle, usually it runs from top to bottom, so we can reach in sometimes and feel these when we're doing our pre breeding exams.“If you do find one, you may decide that you're not going to do the breeding at that point. You may see if it's something that's surgically correctable. Some of them are and frankly some of them aren't and until you're in that situation it can be really hard to know. Then we have to make a decision, do we put the semen in? Do we plan a C-section? Do we see what's going to happen…”Greer noted that brucellosis tests are currently being sent to outside diagnostic labs, so results are taking much longer to return. Regular testing of breeding animals should take place at least every 6 months, she added.Listen in for Greer’s recommendations about additional complications that may hinder natural matings, including size mismatches, lack of libido or pain in the stud dog and poor ovulation timing. 

  • Chinook: The Gentleman's Carriage Horse of Sled Dogs
    Rare Breeds Month continues today at Pure Dog Talk. Our final conversation is with Karen Hinchy and Ginger Corley about the Chinook, the Gentleman’s Carriage Horse of Sled Dogs.

    Corley, one of the longest-term Chinook breeders in the US today, acquired her first in the 1980s.

    “I wanted a dog that was large but not bigger than me,” Corley said. “I wanted a dog that was friendly. I wanted a dog that didn't require a lot of grooming. Eventually, I kept narrowing down the list and came to Chinooks without really grasping how rare they were at the time.

    “It was designed to be a mid-level dog … it fills the niche between the smaller, racier Siberian and the large freighting Alaskan Malamute. The Chinook is the gentleman's carriage horse of sled dogs. It may not be as fast as the Alaskan Husky, which is the racing machine that is on your Iditarod teams. Those dogs are much smaller than your average Chinook. It's not going to be the huge freighting dog that the Alaskan Malamute and some of the other indigenous freighting breeds of the northern extremes were.

    “But it can go for a reasonably long distance at a darn good clip carrying a relatively heavy load. Plus it is the sled dog you can live with. They don't want to run away from home like your average Siberian. And they have very little urge to fight with other dogs. A lot of us will own multiples.



    “They were developed in the New England area by Arthur Walden, a gentleman who had been up in Alaska during the Yukon gold rush. He had worked as what was known as a dog puncher back then. He was delivering supplies and mail to the prospectors that were looking for gold. His favorite dog while he was up there was one he called Chinook.

    “Eventually he decides to breed his ultimate sled dog. They were a unique look of their own. They were a big yellowish, what we now call tawny or might be considered fawn, sled dog. Their coat rather than standing off from the body like you see in a show Husky or Malamute, it's more of a short-coated Saint Bernard type, where it lies flatter to the body, but there is a substantial undercoat. There were three in the initial litter and they turned out to be just magnificent sled dogs. And from there, things took off.”

    “The Chinook is the state dog New Hampshire,” Hinchy noted. “I think there are only a few States and dog breeds that we have where American breeds are recognized as official state dog, so we're pretty proud of that. The actual dog Chinook, and his progeny, were a large number of the dogs that competed in the first races in the New England sled dog club, which is a pretty famous group up here. This is before Leonard Seppala and some of the Siberians arrived and took over the speed scene.

    “The interesting thing about Chinooks is Arthur Walden sort of created them and stewarded their future and their breeding for the first 10 years (in the 1920s). Then he went off to Antarctica and when he came back, ultimately the breed ended up passing through one person at a time as the main breeder. All the way through the ‘70s there was generally one single breeder in the country that controlled the breeding of Chinooks. As a result, of course, it kept the numbers low and the breed very rare.

    "In 1965, Chinooks were listed in the Guinness Book of world records as the rarest dog in the world, with 125 alive. Fast forward to just before Ginger stepped onto the scene, we know there were eleven intact Chinooks anywhere in 1981. There are still only about 1,100 chinooks in the world.”

    Listen to the full episode to hear more fascinating details about saving and growing the population of this rare breed, the cross-breeding that was done to salvage them, and their unique characteristics in the working group.

  • Nederlandse Kooikerhondje: The Original Duck DecoyMarlene Valter and Susanne Martin join host Laura Reeves to share their passion for the https://www.nkcusa.org/history (Nederlandse Kooikerhondje) during Pure Dog Talk’s Rare Breeds Month.The progenitors of these rare Dutch duck decoy dogs are depicted in paintings dating to the 1600s, Martin noted. Saved from near extinction after World War II, they received full recognition by the American Kennel Club in 2018.The breed was used to lure ducks into traps in man-made Dutch ponds. Their flashing white tail acts as a decoy. In fact, the word decoy derives from the Dutch name for these water features, https://picasaweb.google.com/roseshenk/2009_9_20Endenkooi#slideshow/5384343175276437810 (Eendenkooi).“I fell in love with how pretty they are first of all,” Valter said. “They're really beautiful and attractive. It's a double coat, so it's weatherproof. My dog Harvey, he'll go out, run around in the mud and you can put him away, sometimes not even showered him off or anything at all, he's just full of mud. A half hour later, all the mud is on the ground and his coat is completely white.”HallmarksKooiker coloring is very specific, Martin said. They always should have a white blaze and the orange patches. (It was) thought that ducks were most attracted to the orange and white color combination.“So, the blaze, it goes to the nose,” Martin said. “The orange covers the eyes and then you have these black earrings which are pretty much the signature, the black eartips, and then the white plumy tail. But the real way that you know at Kooiker, in many respects, is because if you look at the standard it talks about lively, agile, self-confidence and that's what they are. They prance and step in this very deliberate kind of movement.”Temperament“There's a 30 second rule with Kooikers,” Valter said. “You meet them and you give them 30 seconds to just think about it. Then, when they come to you, you pretty much got a friend. They're just a discerning group. They're watching whether I'm accepting this person. If I do, they tend to. If I'm being aloof, they tend to be also. They're very kind of quick. One of the most unique things about them, in my mind, is that they’re puzzle solvers. So almost the more complicated the situation, the more interested they are.”Summary[caption id="attachment_9823" align="alignleft" width="302"] Susanne Martin works Search and Rescue with her Kooikers.[/caption]The Kooiker is a “dainty, pretty, sensitive, active and versatile dog with low maintenance that needs a very special owner with the right intuition,” Martin said.“I'll share a story of my experience,” Valter said. “So, we're getting ready to go to this show and … we get to the hotel and it has a pond… I need to go take my dog out for a walk. So, he goes out walking, without a leash, and he just starts trotting along and I look up and I see a duck. And then he's trotting along and I look up a few seconds later and there's ten ducks. And then he's moving right along in this very deliberate, quiet movement. I felt like I went back centuries the way he was moving quietly along … I quit counting at 35 ducks within a matter of minutes, (just following him)…”Be sure to LISTEN to the full episode for more details on this fabulous little sporting dog. 

  • Norrbottenspets: “Your GPS in the woods”Gabi Vannini, breeder and fancier of https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/norrbottenspets/ (Norrbottenspets), joins host Laura Reeves for a Love the Breeds episode during Rare Breeds month at Pure Dog Talk. Currently judged in the Miscellaneous group with AKC, this ancient hunting dog is used to tree game for the hunter.“They'll be in the hound group,” Vannini said. “They're hound spitz, so they don't look like every other dog in the hound group necessarily and in Europe they are in the primitive group. They are tree barking hunting dogs, so they're gonna be kind of like a coonhound as far as barking at things up the trees and then letting you shoot.“Back before we had GPS collars and fancy things, they were kind of your GPS in the woods because they would go hunting on their own and find something for you and then bark their fool heads off until you found them.”Related to the solid red Finnish Spitz, the Norrbottenspets were the parti colored members of the ancient breed. As breeders selected for the solid color dogs, the spotted dogs dwindled away, Vannini noted, “They actually got really close to being extinct before there was kind of a project made to go out and find some of them.”More popular in their native Sweden and Finland, Vannini estimates there are only about 250 in the US.“They are really, really nice dogs and honestly a really well-kept secret. I think a little bit of it is the barking stuff. If they're hunting, they're working but other than that they're really not obnoxious or reactive barkers.“(At 16-18 inches tall), they're nice little go anywhere dogs. We've got a lot of dogs in and out and that's been one of my big things is having dogs that are very tolerant of that. They're just really good with other dogs and really sweet with people.“It's a double coated breed. Typically, they drop the coat every six months kind of thing, but it's a nice shorter double coat. We're actually explicitly not supposed to blow dry them for shows. They shouldn't be back brushed and fluffed up. The coat should be a tight natural easy coat and that's something that's really nice about them and easy to live with.”Long lived with few genetic health issues, Vannini noted, these hardy little dogs often live well into their teen years. Typical hounds, they require creative training but are not demanding or needing a job. 

  • Special Reproductive Considerations for Rare Breeds
    Dr. Marty Greer, DVM joins host Laura Reeves to discuss some of the special reproductive considerations for rare breeds. Rare dog breeds offer specific challenges for their breeders including health concerns, limited gene pools, DNA testing mazes and infertility issues.
    April is Rare Breeds month here at Pure Dog Talk! Watch for upcoming episodes with deep dives into Norrbottenspets, Chinooks and Nederlandse Kooikerhondje.
    “Pick one thing a year that you're going to try to work through in your breed,” Greer said, quoting from Dr. Ian Dunbar. “Pick what your priorities are. You have to pick. I can't pick for you. You know your breed. You know your genes. At some point we have to really say this is what I'm going to focus on, this is what I'm going to try to breed for or away from, and try to take those incremental steps. You're not gonna get it all in one generation.”
    How do you eat an elephant...
    “I think that's so important in the rare breed community to emphasize the you eat the elephant one bite at a time,” Reeves added. “It's really important to recognize that and not get discouraged because you're trying to swallow a whole elephant. Be committed to that long term process. From a rare breed perspective, that's one of the things I always emphasize, this is not a fly by night operation. It’s a process, something you're going to dedicate your entire life to.”

    “You work with other people and you're honest with other people,” Greer emphasized. “So we need to stop hiding things. We need to stop backbiting. We need to stop saying bad things about other people and we need to be really honest with each other and with ourselves so that when you look in the mirror you can say ‘I'm breeding the best dog that I possibly can.’
    Full disclosure
    “Nobody goes out and deliberately breeds a bad dog but there's so many aspects to how you have to make these decisions. Without full disclosure you really can't get there. So we have to be honest with each other. No breeder deliberately produced a dog with a genetic problem, but you've got to tell people if you have it because if you double up on it you're going to have surprises in your litter.

    “Longevity, I think, is seriously under-appreciated. I love breeding females that can still have puppies when they're older. I love breeding old males that still produce sperm. Now that doesn't mean you can't freeze semen when he's young, and you should because then you'll have access to him, but if he lives to be 16 years old and he was fertile till he was 14, you rock man! That means he didn't die of orthopedic disease, he didn't die of bad temperament, he didn't die because he ran away from home and got hit by a car. He didn't die from 1,000 things that he could have died from.
    Longevity for the win
    “Don't forget about those old guys and their genetics. Go back to the old publications of your breed. Go back to the old pedigrees and take a look and where are those dogs and what are they doing and how long did they live and what was their lifestyle like and what did they die from.”

    Greer also strongly recommends purchasing Dr. Jerold Bell, DVM’s https://www.routledge.com/Veterinary-Medical-Guide-to-Dog-and-Cat-Breeds/Bell-Cavanagh-Tilley-Smith/p/book/9781591610021 (book) for learning more information on genetic diseases in specific breeds.

  • EOAD Gene Identified in Rhodesian Ridgebacks
    Adam Boyko, co-founder of Embark, and Rhodesian Ridgeback breeder Denise Flaim join host Laura Reeves to discuss EOAD (Early Onset Adult Deafness) in Ridgebacks and Embark’s discovery of the genetic cause that can identify affected and carrier dogs before the condition develops.

    “EOAD is early onset adult deafness,” Flaim said. “It's a form of deafness that's not related to color. Many breeds, like dalmatians, the way the white overlays the cochlea impacts deafness. This is just a simple autosomal recessive, inherited the same way brown nose color is. If you have two copies of this recessive gene, if you are a Ridgeback, you become deaf.

    “The interesting thing in Ridgebacks is these puppies are born hearing. So if you are a breeder who wants to do your due diligence and BAER test your puppies at 8 weeks, they'll all hear. What then begins to happen is they start to go progressively deaf. The males quickly, usually by six months are completely deaf and the bitches can take from 12 to 18 plus months.

    “(This test) identifies if your dog is a carrier or not. If your dog is a carrier, you simply don't breed it to another carrier and you're free and clear. This is a really important point because the tendency among dog breeders, especially those who want to be really, really virtuous and really, really ethical, is to say, ‘oh, I'm going to identify all these carriers and get them out of my breeding program.’ Which is, of course, what you don't wanna do.

    “You certainly don't want to increase the frequency of this gene in the population, but what you want to do is manage it. The thing is it's never what you know, it's always what you don't know. It's never what you worry about, it's always what you don't worry about. So yes, we've got this marker for deafness, but that deafness carrier you're throwing out of your breeding program may not carry for a really devastating disease for which we don't have a test. So, like anything, moderation and taking the bigger view is really important.”
    Teamwork for the win…
    “Project Dog started working with breeders like Denise,” Boyko said, “and recruited a whole bunch of samples and was able to find an associated region. But sequencing of a deaf dog didn't yield any candidate variants that were causing the mutation. So, you're sort of stuck in this world, do we want to offer a linkage-based test, which we know probably isn't going to be 100% accurate, or do we wait until we can find a mutation test. For a while, there was just a linkage test was all that could be offered.

    “So, Embark came onto the scene. We, of course, have a large database of dogs, of Ridgebacks and others, and so we were able to recruit more cases, more controls. We were able to verify the association Project Dog found. It's like ‘yeah, this is definitely on chromosome 18, right here. There had been advances in the genomics. We put some scientists on it …. and sure enough a mutation did find itself. It was in gene EPS 8L2, which was a fantastic gene because it's also associated with early onset deafness in humans, in recessive forms.”

    Hear the REST of the story on today’s episode. Just click play on the bar above.
    Adam Boyko
    Adam is an associate professor in Biomedical Sciences at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, focused on the genomic investigation of dogs. Adam’s research has addressed fundamental questions of dog evolution and history, disease and trait mapping, and advancing genomic tools for canine research. Adam has coauthored over 40 peer-reviewed scientific papers, including research in Nature, Science, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science and is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Morris Animal Foundation. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and received an MS in Computer Science and a PhD in Biology from Purdue University before his postdoctoral work at Cornell and Stanford....

  • Competing in Subjective Sports: Dog Shows vs the Olympics
    Amanda Kelly is back with host Laura Reeves to look at dog shows, which as we all know are an incredibly subjective sport, through the eyes and the lens of the subjective sports that we watch in the Olympics. This first of a two-part conversation examines the topics of “substances” and “subjectivity.”
    Substances
    “I think of substances from a dog show point of view, I think it's maybe not a whole lot different than from an Olympic point of view,” Amanda said. “Maybe the type of substances differs, but the underlying issue is the same. So we talk a lot in the dog show world about foreign substances and in the sports world in general cheating and drug use always comes up. It doesn't matter what sport it is, there is always some way to cheat.”

    “There's some shading, right?” Laura asked. “There's the cheating (that ranges) from ‘I put in an extra nuticle in my dog's scrotum because he only had one, to I put some white chalk in my dog after it was muddy.’ So there's a range here.”

    “So, it's always an interesting thing when you kind of take yourself out of something,” Amanda noted. “We take ourselves away from the dog show world and we look at an example in another context and then come back and reapply it, what a different perspective that you can get.

    “What I think of when I look at this whole idea of substances and cheating at the Olympics and then I turn from that and I look at the dog world, I think I see maybe from a more Bird’s Eye view the scale and how we've normalized things that are on one end of the scale. So, for example, I don't think any of us would blink at chalking a dog, putting hairspray in its hair, any one of a number of things. A little bit of chalk to cover up that scar or the white bit on its nail or a nose kit to darken in a nose. What about a hair switch in a poodle? So, these are things that I think that we have normalized.

    “I think that all of us will, in a conversation, say there are things that are absolutely wrong and lines that we absolutely will not cross. Having that conversation with yourself early on and then sticking with it is important. It can be very difficult. I think what we can do here, in this conversation, is just put it in front of people that everybody is going to have their own line.”
    Subjectivity
    “One of the things that I read was that in the aftermath of having changed their judging system (for Olympic Figure Skating in 2002), what they observed was that in the elements of scoring that had a subjective element, so a more subjective element say the artistic aspect, there was an observer bias that they noted. They could replicate it across many competitions and it indicated that that observer bias determines about 20% of the mark given by a judge.

    “This isn't my bias that I like such and such a person or I like such and such a dog. It might be a bias like an unconscious bias that I like black poodles more than I like white poodles, or I like this trim more than that trim, or I like a dog presented in a certain way or I prefer this particular head style or those sorts of things.

    “When we ask a (dog show) judge to interpret words like ‘slightly’ or ‘moderately,’ where is the clarity as a reference for them? To me it's a compounding issue because we're asking them to interpret things that we don't always equip them to do and on top of that they also have their own personal bias that comes into play.”

    Listen in for more of this absolutely fascinating and enlightening conversation. And check back for the "rest of the story" when we talk about sportsmanship and courage.

  • Talking Toplines with Stephanie Seabrook HedgepathAKC judge and Pembroke Welsh Corgi breeder Stephanie Seabrook Hedgepath is back talking toplines with host Laura Reeves. The topline, specifically, is the entire spinal column, from the tip of the occiput to the tip of the tail.“A lot of people confuse the term back line with the term topline,” Hedgepath noted. “The back line is basically what you may consider to be the back of the dog, like the withers to the set on of the tail. But the topline starts behind the ears, right at that bump, which is called the occiput, on the skull and then it just goes all the way down. It's like a suspension bridge. It goes all the way down, all the way back and all the way down the tail. It's like the links in a chain and it's not a rigid thing.Neck“In mammals there are seven cervical vertebrae. The interesting thing is that one way dogs can differ from dog to dog is in length of neck. When you stop and think about it, they all have the same length of neck, it's cervical vertebrae, there are seven of them. Even a giraffe has seven cervical vertebrae.“The difference is the size of the vertebrae. A lot of us look at a dog and you see his profile and you think ‘gosh he's got a short, stuffy neck.’ No, he's got the same seven vertebrae as all the other dogs in his class, but because of the positioning of the scapula, if a dog has an upright scapula, it'll cover that up. So yes, they've all got the same length of neck, but it is manifested in different ways because of the rest of the structure of the dog.Back“There are many different functions of the spinal column. One of the most important, in the thoracic, is the ribs fit in the spine, go down and join the sternum at the bottom and make a solid piece. So then we have all these thoracic vertebrae and the ribs fit into those vertebrae and that requires a lot of muscling. The only way that front assembly is held onto the dog at all is through muscles and ligaments.Loin“The loin area (lumbar vertebrae) is the only part of the dog where the internal organs are not protected by this outer armor of the ribbing. A dog is very vulnerable in that area. The dog with a really long loin is one who's more prone to injury.Croup“One of my favorite connections in the dog, when we're talking about hold everything together, is what they call that lumbosacral arch. Where the lumbar vertebrae come into the sacrum, which is the bones there in the pelvis. The last three vertebrae before you hit the caudal, in other words the tail, they're fused. It's the only three and they're fused. That's because a whole lot of energy is going to be pushed all the way through up to the front of the dog when he’s running.”Listen above to the entire episode for more fabulous insights about our dogs’ structure and how it impacts their performance. 

  • Spinal Cord Injuries and Diseases on Veterinary Voice
    Dr. Dan Griffiths, DVM, joins his wife Dr. Marty Greer, DVM to discuss trauma and diseases of the spine in this month’s Veterinary Voice.

    “As far as spinal injuries or spinal conditions go in dogs,” Griffiths said, “I kind of look at it as there's about three or four things that can cause it. One is trauma, as you've been saying. It can be from hit by car, can come from a dog-on-dog type thing where they run into each other, it can be a running dog falling into a hole. Those are all trauma incidences.

    “Dogs with spinal injuries and/or conditions can also come from a congenital situation. The poster child for those is dachshunds, where they have disc compressions that just happen spontaneously, usually not related to trauma but are prone to it due to their genetics. And then we also get into other things that can be in the spinal cord such as tumors of the spinal cord. You can look at degenerative spinal diseases such as degenerative myelopathy, which we're very familiar with in our corgis and German Shepherds and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. So there's a number of things that all fit into spinal cord mishaps. Surprisingly enough there is a condition called FCE which is … actually a blood clot that causes paralysis because of getting caught in the spinal cord. We call it a stroke of the spinal cord.

    “Trauma is probably second (most common) on the list as far as spinal cord problems. The number one cause is the achondroplastic breeds like Dachshunds, where they have a congenital propensity to hardened disks and the disks exploding up and expanding up into the spinal cord causing partial paralysis or full paralysis.

    Discussing the use of DNA testing for IVDD, Greer offered a note of caution about how we use those results in a breeding program.

    “Like all DNA tests, I tend to be a little skeptical of the accuracy the application, how we use that information, but it's out there. It's something worth discussing, but be careful what you use it for,” Greer said.
    Treatment
    “Treatments can go anywhere from strict cage rest,” Griffiths said “and using a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug or a steroid drug to takedown inflammation of the disks to laser therapy. We use a lot of cold laser therapy on those situations. We use some other drugs such as gabapentin to decrease nerve pain. If it's severe enough where the patient is actually paralyzed or has no use of its rear limbs, surgery is indicated.

    “Most general practitioners aren't doing back surgery, you're looking at a neurologist to do back surgery or a very competent general surgeon, and also they have the capability of having MRI's or CAT scans available to diagnose and locate the bad disks. A flat film or a plain X-ray may give you some indication of a collapsed disk space where the vertebrae are closer together than what they should be. But the gold standard for these is MRI's or CAT scans where you can actually see compression of the spinal cord with the disc material at that time. That's what the surgeons are requiring now is to identify where the lesion is.
    Spinal joints
    “Between each vertebra there's about 8 joints. They're called facets. That's where they articulate between the two vertebrae. We do see a lot of damage to those in trauma. We also see arthritis in those due to aging. We see a condition called Spondylosis, where we have calcium bridging of those joints. So, arthritis in the spine is pretty devastating in older patients. They can have arthritis in their spine and do pretty well with it but if they have any type of trauma like falling down the stairs, being rolled by another dog those type of thing, it upsets all that arthritis in there and then you can see some pretty acute pain.

    “The whole goal of our crate rest and our anti inflammatories is to have that joint somewhat back to normal. Now most of these joints, if they are injured, our best case scenario is that they stabilize. But...

  • Ante Lucin on How to Help Dog Breeders in War Torn Ukraine
    Ante Lucin, host of https://www.facebook.com/groups/784331345461256 (Talking Dogs With Ante), joins forces with Pure Dog Talk host Laura Reeves to share information supporting the dog people in Ukraine.

    “What we have actually tried to do,” Ante said, “is that we have tried to place as much as possible information on our Facebook group. We try to connect directly with the people who are still in Ukraine. Try to find out what is that they need. Ukraine is a huge country, of course. There are still places which are not affected by the war, but there are places which are heavily affected by the war. One of them is obviously the capital city Kyiv. There is a lot of lot of dog people in Kyiv. For your viewers who maybe don't know it, Ukraine is quite famous in Europe as a very professional organizer of dog shows. They are supposed to have the FCI world dog show in 2023. I mean their country has a lot of experience and a lot of good dog people.

    “Unfortunately, at this point, things are quite difficult because in the places which are affected by the war at the moment it's impossible to move. This is the biggest problem. There are still a lot of dog people, and there are still a lot of people in general, who would like maybe to go away from the war, at least children and women, because obviously for the men it's not allowed to leave the country. But unfortunately when this all started, even though everybody newspapers, media, they were talking a lot about this, but actually it happened like a surprise to everybody.

    “People who really managed to escape in the first 48 hours, they have managed. But the rest of the people are now very limited with the options which they can do. I'm really trying to connect all the people because I think that's the most important thing at the moment. We are trying to see who needs help, where they need help and what kind of help they need. What has been happening in the last 48 hours, I know a lot of dog people from the neighboring countries like Hungary, Romania, Moldova they were driving till the border with Ukraine and the people from Ukraine where finding some kind of ways you know to send their own dogs.

    “The thing is that there are unfortunately now a lot of people who cannot come to the border or who cannot organize the transport for their dogs to the border. I have read a lot of posts today where people are begging to find any kind of transportation, if not for human at least for the dogs.

    “I'm going to repeat it 100 million times, people are amazing when it comes to these kind of situations and in any country, in any border that people are being able to send their dogs, we find people who will go there and who will catch the dogs and who will put them in the nice homes and everything. And the same for the people. In my group there are hundreds and hundreds of messages from people from all around the world who say we can take dogs, we can take people, we will help as much as we can.

    “I go back to the fact that unfortunately now the people who are there mostly will have to stay there for some more time. What is now (an) emergency is the dog food. This is what I was talking with a lot of breeders in Ukraine I was talking with Helen who is the vice president of the Kennel Club, the dog food is a big problem. So what we are trying to see at the moment is we will try to connect with the Red Cross to see if there is a possibility to send some amounts of dog food with them.

    “(We are trying) to connect with with any people who will possibly go till the border and take (dog food) from there, because there are obviously still some men who are driving women children and dogs till the border. So, whenever we find somebody like that, when we manage to organize that, somebody takes the dogs, we try to send back some dog food with them. So, it's a lot of organization it's not easy but it's amazing how much that people want to...

  • Veterinary Insight on Why Brachycephalic Does NOT Equal Unhealthy
    Dr. Maryanne Mack, DVM, breeder of top winning Boston Terriers, joins host Laura Reeves to discuss recent developments in Europe in regards to legislating the breeding of specific breeds.

    “I went to vet school because I love purebred dogs,” Mack said. “I love their role as companions and I wanted to go to vet school really to focus on that role of the dog in our life… Just really wanting to work with people and their pets and breeders as well to just make healthier companions for all of us.

    [caption id="attachment_9568" align="alignleft" width="280"] Photo of host Laura Reeves' champion pug who likes to catch mice in her spare time.[/caption]

    “I think that the fact that a lot of groups have started to associate having a short face with being unhealthy is a really slippery slope that we don't wanna go down. There's a couple components of brachycephalic airway syndrome. Those are stenotic nares, or really tight nostrils, an elongated soft palate and a hypoplastic trachea. Those are sort of the three main issues that you see with brachycephalic airway syndrome.
    “We don't have any studies showing those are directly related to the length of the nose.
    “The component that we really have to look for, that we know make the biggest difference in these dogs, is the elongated soft palate…
    “That's not related to how long the nose is, that's related to different genes that are writing for the length of the soft palate. We see long soft palates in dogs with long noses. We see this in Labradors, we see this in mixed breed dogs. So, it's not only a brachycephalic issue.
    "I think it's really important to note that these things can occur in any breed of dog. They do happen to occur more in brachycephalic dogs, but we don't have concrete evidence that it's directly related to the length of the nose.

    “Most brachycephalic breeds, with the exception of some of the more mastiff types, these dogs were bred to be companions. That's their job and they do that very, very, very well. Part of the reason we love them so much is that these brachycephalic facial features elicit almost an infantile like response to people. I think that focusing on the fact that these are companion dogs.
    "These dogs are not out flushing birds, they're not working dogs, they are meant to make people happy, sit on your lap. I absolutely believe that they should be able to do things like go on a little hike …. they should absolutely be able to do that and be able to breathe while they do that. But this is not a dog that's out herding sheep in the summer. I think keeping that in perspective is really important.
    “I think we need to focus, as preservation breeders, on doing a little bit of a better job on selecting breeding stock and producing healthier versions of every breed. But for brachycephalic, specifically, we all know that there are some dogs out there that are not good breathers and that happens.

    "I think the hard part as a breeder is to say ‘OK this dog might be beautiful, this dog might have a great top line and this has great movement but he cannot breathe and I should probably put him in a companion home where he won't be bred.' That's a really, really hard decision to make, but I think as we move forward, especially in this new culture and climate, we have to make more of those decisions.
    Preservation Breeders are the Solution
    “We as preservation breeders are actually the solution. We are the solution to this problem. If we work together to breed healthier dogs and if we work together to breed more of these dogs… I can't tell you how many of my clients come in with a puppy mill puppy and they say ‘Well Dr. Mack, you told us some great breeders but we didn't wanna wait for three years, so we ordered this one online and picked it up at the airport and here he is.’

    "It breaks my heart because we as preservation breeders, if we had more available dogs that were well bred, people

  • Singleton Puppies: Whelping and Raising Strategies
    For Valentine’s Day, Susan Patterson, moderator of the fabulous Canine, Fertility, Reproduction and Neonatal Issues Facebook group (invite required) and host Laura Reeves team up to talk about the dreaded Singleton… puppy that is. Susan and Laura discuss proper progesterone timing to help avoid a singleton litter in the first place, planning and managing a c-section if needed.
    One is the Lonliest Number…
    Singleton puppies present unique challenges for whelping and raising successfully. In large breed dogs, frequently the single puppy in utero does not release sufficient hormones to trigger the dam to start labor.

    “This is again where progesterone timing, knowing your ovulation date, is important,” Susan said. “What most people fail to account for is placentas have an expiration date. You can't go past that date or you will lose your puppy, there's just no ifs, ands, or buts, and possibly your bitch. So knowing when the bitch is due is critical.

    “Once you know when she's due, you can be watching for labor to commence. I would strongly suggest you plan a C-section as a back-up, knowing you’re probably going to use it, but plan it as a backup. Give your bitch the chance to whelp naturally and then pull the trigger.

    "The other thing, especially a day before you think you're gonna have to pull the trigger, you're gonna wanna be monitoring heartbeats. You don't want your Singleton puppy to go into distress. If (the heartbeat) drops below 180 or 170 (bpm) I start getting really concerned.”
    Management is job #1
    Without the interaction of littermates, the singleton can overeat, under-exercise and may well need additional guidance to understand proper dog interactions.

    Susan and Laura discuss monitoring the bitch for mastitis and the puppy to avoid gaining too much weight too quickly.

    “The first thing I would do, is the minute she comes out of anesthesia is I would put her on sunflower lecithin,” Susan noted. “What the sunflower lecithin does, is it makes the milk less sticky, thins it down slightly, so that it passes through the memory glands much easier … it's basically one teaspoon of sunflower lecithin for every 20 pounds of dog.

    “A swimmer puppy is, it's not just a condition of obesity, but that is definitely a contributing factor. So what you wanna do is you wanna have in your whelping box lots of hills and valleys. You wanna use pool noodles, rolled up bathroom rugs, anything to make that puppy work for dinner.”

    Socializing singletons in other litters if possible and absolutely with safe adult dogs enables them to learn the critical life skill of appropriate interaction with other dogs as well as people.

    Tune in for more of this great conversation.