Blog Archives

The Handing Down
by Dennis McKeon

It would be useful if more adoption groups and their representatives, stressed the importance of understanding the nurturing of greyhounds, done by other greyhounds—the handing down.
This is the essence of the canine culture by which all performance greyhounds have been deeply informed and affected. It is highly unlikely that your adopted pet, prior to your having adopted him/her, was ever without the company of other greyhounds for even a few seconds.

Photo courtesy of Crossland Farm: -Dyna Nalin-and-Luxurious Trent litter-photo-by-Nicole-Crossland-4-2015

 

The impacts of this pack-oriented and colonial culture upon the greyhound, are as indelible to them, as are the circumstances of our own upbringing, growth and development, within a culture and a segment of society.
So the experience of being adopted, and suddenly finding themselves without everyone and everything they have ever known— the “lone wolf”, for the first time in their lives— is a form of culture shock, if not an outright trauma for some of them. Acting independently, outside the dynamic of the pack or colony, is a concept unfamiliar to them.
Much has been said and done, as it regards the adopters’ perception of “separation anxiety” and coping with it, should a newly adopted greyhound exhibit signs of stress when they are left alone. It is a wonder that we often fail to perceive the first instance of separation anxiety—that being, when the newly adopted greyhound is suddenly separated, or perhaps in his mind, expelled, from the colony to which he belonged— only to be confronted with a virtual universe of novelty and uncertainty, much of which is beyond his understanding.
We will never fully appreciate or understand the greyhounds we adopt, unless we can begin to wrap minds around the unique experience they all share, as purpose-bred canines– the effects of a nurturing canine culture, and the handing down of collective consciousness, which is predicated upon their co-existence within the pack or colony unit, and the supports, securities and bonding it affords them.

copyright, 2019

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Written by Jennifer Ng, DVM

Willow —- Photo courtesy of Jennifer Ng, DVM

 

Here’s my usual fireworks PSA. A little difficult to write this time as it will be my first fireworks holiday without a dog with noise phobia in many years. In memory of Willow, running free at the Bridge, never to be scared by storms or fireworks again.
With July 4th just around the corner, I hope everyone with a dog who is afraid of fireworks has a plan in place. There are a lot of options depending on how bad the anxiety is.
If this will be the first time your dog has experienced fireworks, or if your dog is just a little startled and worried but not overly anxious, you can start with some management and training techniques. Start by taking your dog out for a last potty trip before it gets dark so you won’t have go while people are setting off fireworks. Turn on the TV or radio so that there is some background noise.
How you respond and act during the fireworks can have a big affect on your dog’s reaction. Act calm and confident like it’s no big deal. If your dog is only mildly concerned, you can help prevent it from developing into a real problem by acting like it’s fun and exciting and immediately giving the dog a treat every time you hear any fireworks noise.
For dogs that are already mildly to moderately anxious with fireworks based on past experience, natural calming supplements can help. There are a number of products on the market, such as Composure Pro, Solliquin, Zylkene, melatonin, or Rescue Remedy. A lot of dogs also respond well to Thundershirts.
For more severe anxiety, talk to your vet about prescription medications like Sileo, trazodone, Valium, or Xanax. Just please avoid acepromazine, which only immobilizes the dog without providing any anxiety relief and can actually worsen noise phobias. Hope everyone enjoys the holiday and keep your dogs safe and happy!
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A WORD ABOUT MUZZLES and PREY DRIVE
by Dennis McKeon

I wish I had a fifty dollar bill for each time I heard someone remark:
“The reason Greyhounds wear those muzzles, is because they’re vicious.”
Now anyone who has even the slightest familiarity with the National Greyhound Association racing Greyhound, might be astounded by such an absurd notion. How could anyone think such a thing? These dogs are universally acclaimed for their placid, sweet and gentle nature.
Well, to understand how this characterization became part of the racing Greyhound’s pop narrative, we have to go back to the earliest days of anti-racing activism. Even then, the people who knew the least about the Greyhound were writing that narrative, and making it up as they went along–as they continue to do today.
There was a time when most young Greyhounds were given the opportunity to course after live game (the pestilence of jackrabbits), prior to beginning their racing careers. The anti-racing activists of the 1970s and 80s, focused much of their energy and effort toward banning the practice of live game coursing by Greyhounds. Eventually, they succeeded, in some locales.
The way they went about getting their point across, however, was to portray Greyhounds as having been “trained to kill”, and as a result of such savagery, having been made bloodthirsty and entirely unpredictable. Naturally, they wore muzzles.
Needless to say, the old media had a field day spreading this nonsense far and wide, and thus was born the Genesis book of Popular Greyhound Mythology. We won’t delve into the problems this toxic propaganda created for racing’s own early adoption pioneers, or the retired Greyhounds who were to be the first generation (and several later generations) of the organized, retired Greyhounds-as-pets phenomenon.
In their real world, Greyhounds wear muzzles so that they can’t injure one another during play or roughhousing sessions, and for their own safety, should one of those sessions become a little too animated. Having extremely thin skin, and storing relatively little body fat, that thin skin is quite easily penetrated and torn, as most owners of retired racers have learned. They do not, and have never worn them, because they pose a common and imminent threat to humans.
Now, racing professionals insist that their greyhounds be muzzled at all times during turnout sessions, when there can be as many as 25-30 greyhounds in one turnout area. This, again, is for the Greyhounds’ own protection.
Muzzles are not punitive devices.
The dogs can drink water, and can still sniff around the turnout pens–or their neighbors’ nether regions–to their heart’s content. The muzzle simply provides a protective barrier against injury, when the occasional scuffle or fight breaks out. And that can happen in a flash, when fiercely competitive Greyhounds, in the prime of life and in peak physical condition, take exception to the antics of one another.

Now, we occasionally read of the misfortunes of Greyhound pets, who have been allowed to play as part of a group, un-muzzled. A fight breaks out, turns into a donnybrook, and before order can be restored, one or more of the participants is in dire need of emergency vet care–or worse. And it can be much worse.
So once again, we have to view the Greyhound though the prism of thousands of years of selective breeding toward a specific function. They are genetically hardwired to chase prey (or prey effigies, as in racing and lure coursing), and upon seizing that prey, to quickly dispatch it. This genetic hardwiring is what we commonly call “prey drive”.
Now all canines are prey driven to one degree or another. In the case of the sporting Greyhound, however, that irrepressible desire to sight, chase and dispatch prey, lurks just beneath their very thin skin—and it can demand to be let out at the slightest provocation. Thousands of years of selective breeding toward a specific function will do that.
The trigger for projection of that prey drive need not be a moving object, nor the cries of a hare in distress. It can be the “yelp” of another dog, who has simply been stepped on during a light galloping session, or while passively standing still.
It is not anything the Greyhound can control, or that you can train or wish away.
The larger the play group, the more chance there is that un-muzzled greyhounds might do some real damage to one another, should things get even slightly out of hand. Once the frenzy begins, it isn’t controllable by anything other than physically interjecting oneself into the melee, and moving the dog(s) who is under attack, to a safe space. It goes without saying that the chances of things escalating to that degree, are significantly reduced when all potential participants are muzzled. It’s basic, common sense.
I know it may be hard for some of you to envision your dozy, elegant, demure, needle-nosed sofa ornament, as a fierce and fiery hunter, capable of committing mortal acts at the mere pitch of a sound. But they can, and they may, particularly if we decide for ourselves, that there is but a single, passive dimension to them. That is most certainly not the case. And it is why, in the case of muzzles, an ounce of prevention is worth a shipload of cure.

We are dealing with real flesh and blood hunting dogs, who have been bred to do just that (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) for countless generations, and thousands of years. Whatever whimsical notions you have about your Greyhound, true as they may be in their home environment, remember that their essence, as a sporting breed with an unusually high prey drive, and the capacity to act on that in the blink of an eye, is no less the case.
When in doubt, get the muzzles out.
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FDA Investigation into Potential Link between Certain Diets and Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy

In July 2018, the FDA announced that it had begun investigating reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs eating certain pet foods containing a high proportion of peas, lentils, other legume seeds (pulses), and/or potatoes in various forms (whole, flour, protein, etc.) as main ingredients (listed within the first 10 ingredients in the ingredient list, before vitamins and minerals). Many of these case reports included breeds of dogs not previously known to have a genetic predisposition to the disease. The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN), a collaboration of government and veterinary diagnostic laboratories, continue to investigate this potential association. Based on the data collected and analyzed thus far, the agency believes that the potential association between diet and DCM in dogs is a complex scientific issue that may involve multiple factors.
We understand the concern that pet owners have about these reports: the illnesses can be severe, even fatal, and many cases report eating “grain-free” labeled pet food. The FDA is using multiple science-based investigative tools as it strives to learn more about the evolution of this outbreak of DCM and its potential link to certain diets or ingredients.
This update does not include reports received in December and January due to the lapse in appropriations from December 22, 2018, to January 25, 2019. Because the Anti-Deficiency Act does not except activities that are solely related to protecting “animal health,” FDA was not able to continue its investigation during that time.

To Continue reading this go to:  https://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/NewsEvents/ucm630993.htm?fbclid=IwAR3IJg_u1SHuzDwsPzS1N7THk3qgnKUN4se3Ble_3A2L2TTPsZ8FIeGxk_I 

A comparative illustration of a normal heart and a heart affected by dilated cardiomyopathy. Dilated cardiomyopathy is the most common type of cardiomyopathy often caused by coronary heart disease, diabetes, alcohol abuse, viral infections, thyroid disease, or genetics. The walls of the ventricles stretch and thin (dilate), creating an enlarged heart. This inhibits the heart’s ability to pump enough blood throughout the body and may also result in abnormal heart beats (arrhythmia).

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Hookworms and Racing Greyhounds
By Jennifer Ng, DVM (Columbia, SC)
January 2019

In the past few years, the greyhound community has been recognizing an increasing problem with persistent hookworms. The issue was initially noticed by adoption groups as the majority of retiring greyhounds from Florida started arriving with hookworms, despite routine deworming at racing kennels,
and some were getting sick with GI signs. The stress of the transportation and transition from track to home life likely resulted in the onset of clinical signs and increased worm burden in dogs that were asymptomatic in the stable, familiar environment of the track.
Hookworms can be difficult to completely clear because of a phenomenon called larval leak. Some of the immature larva go dormant in the tissues outside the intestinal tract. Those larva can stay inactive for long periods of time, and they often don’t become active again until the number of worms in the
intestines drop. So when the dog is dewormed, those dormant larva re-emerge and re-infest the intestines, and the whole cycle starts over again. Because the hookworm life cycle takes 2-3 weeks to complete, the way to treat larval leak is to deworm every 2 weeks.
In addition to larval leak, it seems that some of the hookworms are also becoming resistant to the common dewormers. Racing greyhound breeders in Florida began to notice problems with hookworms even while deworming puppies with the standard, veterinarian-recommended products and protocols.
This suspected combination of larval leak and possible resistance can make it very difficult to eliminate hookworm infestations.

Treatment

After trying various combinations of dewormers and protocols over the past 2-3 years, I have had good results with using monthly Advantage Multi, along with a standard dewormer given in the middle of the month between doses of Advantage Multi. For the standard dewormer, I usually use Drontal Plus (or compounded equivalent), or a 5-day course of Panacur (fenbendazole) with a dose of Pyrantel pamoate given on the last day.  I add the pyrantel for added effect because it works synergistically with fenbendazole. For dogs that are asymptomatic for the hookworms, I will often just treat with monthly
Advantage Multi and only add another dewormer if the dog develops diarrhea
or other GI signs.
Even with an effective protocol, because of larval leak, it can take 6-8 months or more before the hookworm infestation can be fully eliminated. Often, even getting one or two negative fecal flotation results doesn’t mean the dog is clear. I usually recommend continuing monthly Advantage Multi until a
minimum of 2-3 negative results on fecals done several weeks apart. The IDEXX fecal antigen test may be more accurate, but it would still be prudent to continue Advantage Multi for a few more months past anegative result.
**A note on a couple other hookworm treatment protocols that have been shared and discussed on various groups. I would not recommend using Advantage Multi every 2 weeks as described in what is called the “prison protocol”. With monthly administration of Advantage Multi, the active ingredient of moxidectin reaches steady state in the bloodstream after the 3rd dose. Steady state means that there is an effective level of the medication in the blood constantly, so it provides continuous deworming activity, and there is no need to administer it more frequently. Using Advantage Multi every 2 weeks, especially for an extended period of time, will result in blood levels of moxidectin that are significantly higher than what has been proven to be safe in the product approval studies.
There are also some people who advocate the use of the horse dewormers Quest or Quest Plus, which contain moxidectin, the same active ingredient as Advantage Multi. While I understand the practical need for this when
managing large populations of dogs, such as on greyhound farms or racing kennels, I would not recommend this for pet greyhounds. There is no established oral dose of moxidectin in dogs, so we do not know what is safe and
effective for hookworms, Sticking with the approved product, Advantage Multi, is preferable.

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Cooper Eaton wants to wish everyone a Happy New Year!!!

 

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