Blog Archives

We will take part in the National Adoption Event held at PetSmart.  OGGA will have greyhound adoption information available on:

Saturday, September 14th and Sunday, September 15th

Times both days will be 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

 

 

Next PetSmart National Adoption Event:
Nov 8-10

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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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Thanks to everyone who brought their pets to Pet Supplies Plus store yesterday for photos with Santa. You helped make it a greyt success!!!

It was great fun meeting everyone and their furry families.

Thank you also to Melissa, the Alliance Pet Supplies Store Manager, and all her staff that helps OGGA thoughout the year in making the OGGA Meet & Greets and other events a success.

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15th PetSmart Adoption 11-4
16th PetSmart Adoption 11-4
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Some FDA Answers Regarding Investigation into a Possible Connection Between Diet and Canine Heart Disease

On July 12, 2018, FDA issued a public notification about the agency’s investigation into reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs eating certain pet foods. While it is early in the investigation, the Center for Veterinary Medicine recognizes that you may have questions. Below we have compiled answers to address some of the frequently asked questions raised by pet owners and veterinarians.

1. What potential connection is the FDA investigating?

FDA is investigating a potential dietary link between canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and dogs eating certain pet foods containing legumes like peas or lentils, other legume seeds, or potatoes as main ingredients. We began investigating after FDA‘s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) received a number of reports of DCM in dogs eating these diets. DCM itself is not considered rare in dogs, but these reports are unusual because many of the reported cases occurred in breeds of dogs not typically genetically prone to the disease and were reported to have been fed the same type of diet (labeled as “grain-free”).

2. What is the FDA doing about this possible connection?

The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network, a collaboration of government and veterinary diagnostic laboratories, are investigating this potential association. We are working with board certified veterinary cardiologists and veterinary nutritionists to better understand the clinical presentation of the cases. The agency has also been in contact with pet food manufacturers to discuss these reports and to help further the investigation. In addition, we are analyzing information from case reports submitted by pet owners and veterinarians. We will continue to work with all of these stakeholders to help advance our ongoing investigation.

3. What is canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM)?

DCM is a disease of a dog’s heart muscle and results in an enlarged heart. As the heart and its chambers become dilated, it becomes harder for the heart to pump, and heart valves may leak, which can lead to a buildup of fluids in the chest and abdomen (congestive heart failure). If caught early, heart function may improve in cases that are not linked to genetics with appropriate veterinary treatment and dietary modification.

4. Why did the FDA notify the public about the possible connection if the agency doesn’t have definitive answers?

While it is early in the investigation, the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) felt a responsibility to shed light on an early signal that we have been made aware of and to solicit reports from pet owners and vets that may know of related cases. The data provided through reports will help inform the investigation.

5. How many cases have been reported to the FDA?

Prior to issuing our public notification on July 12, 2018, the FDA received sporadic reports involving 30 dogs and seven cats. In the reports we received, some of the dogs showed signs of heart disease, including decreased energy, cough, difficulty breathing, and episodes of collapse. We are aware that the veterinary cardiology community has received more reports (approximately 150 as of 7/12/18). Since issuing the public notification, CVM has received many additional reports, but we are still in the process of reviewing them.

6. What brands of food have been included in the reports to the FDA?

There is a range of different brands and formulas included in the reports. Rather than brands, the common thread appears to be legumes, pulses (seeds of legumes), and/or potatoes as main ingredients in the food. This also includes protein, starch and fiber derivatives of these ingredients, (e.g., pea protein, pea starch, or pea fiber). Some reports we have received also seem to indicate that the pets were not eating any other foods for several months to years prior to exhibiting signs of DCM.

7. What are legumes?

Legumes are part of the Fabaceae plant family, and are the fruit or seed of these plants. Common legumes include peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas, soybeans, and peanuts. Legumes are used for both human and animal food and have become a common plant-based source of protein.

8. Does the FDA think this possible link includes diets with rice?

Rice is a grain, not a legume. The current reports do not suggest there is any link between diets with rice and DCM in dogs.

9. Are sweet potatoes and red potatoes classified as potatoes?

Yes.

10. What does the FDA consider a “main ingredient”?

There is no hard and fast rule for what qualifies as a “main ingredient.” We generally consider a “main ingredient” to be listed in a food’s ingredient list before the first vitamin or mineral ingredient.

11. Does the FDA know what it is about these foods that may be connected to canine DCM?

At this time, it is not clear what it is about these diets that may be connected to DCM in dogs. Taurine deficiency is well-documented as a potential cause of DCM, but it is not the only cause of DCM. Nutritional makeup of the main ingredients or how dogs process them, main ingredient sourcing, processing, amount used, or other factors could be involved.

12. How do I know if my pet’s food is one of the diets discussed in the FDA’s public notification?

We suggest reviewing the ingredient list on your pet’s food to see whether legumes and/or potatoes are listed as one of the main ingredients.

13. Should I avoid grain-free diets?

High levels of legumes or potatoes appear to be more common in diets labeled as “grain-free,” but it is not yet known how these ingredients are linked to cases of DCM. Additionally, legumes and potatoes may appear as ingredients in foods that are not labeled as “grain-free.” Changes in diet, especially for dogs with DCM, should be made in consultation with a licensed veterinarian.

14. Do I need to change my dog’s diet?

At this time, we are not advising dietary changes based solely on the information we have gathered so far. If you have questions or concerns about your dog’s health or its diet, we suggest that you consult your veterinarian for individualized advice that takes into account your dog’s specific needs and medical history.

15. What’s the safest diet for my dog?

Different dogs have different nutritional needs based on a number of factors, so nutrition advice is not one-size-fits-all. The FDA recommends consulting your veterinarian for personalized advice about what to feed your dog.

16. What should I do if my dog is experiencing symptoms of DCM?

If your dog is showing possible signs of DCM or other heart conditions, including decreased energy, cough, difficulty breathing and episodes of collapse, you should contact your veterinarian. Your veterinarian may ask you for a thorough dietary history, including all the foods (including treats) the dog has eaten.

17. How do vets and consumers submit reports to the FDA?

CVM encourages pet owners and veterinary professionals to report cases of DCM in dogs suspected of having a link to diet by using the electronic Safety Reporting Portal or calling their state’s FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators.

18. What information does the FDA need included in the reports?

Please see “How to Report a Pet Food Complaint” for additional instructions and information.

19. How long will the FDA’s investigation take?

There is no way to know how long the investigation will take, but CVM is hopeful that as we gather more data from case reports, we will gain a better understanding of this possible connection. We will continue to convey our observations publicly as the investigation progresses.
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