Ear Injuries are the Worse!

On Saturday April 28 I had let the pups out as usual to do their business and play for a bit. They started barking so I opened the door to let them in, first in was Thalia. I gave her some treats and lifted her into her crate, that’s when I noticed blood on her face. WHAAAT!! I start looking around to see where its coming from, I found a cut about an inch long on the inside of her ear flap. So thinking I have it solved and injury not too bad, I then notice I have blood all over me, she in fact has much more on her than I originally found, in fact it is dripping from her ear. On further investigation she not only has a cut on the inside flap but has split the tip of her ear flap open about a half inch. I swear by time I was done going over her, looking at myself, her shaking her head slinging blood everywhere, it looked like a murder scene!

If you have ever dealt with this type of ear injury, you know it is one of the most difficult to heal. The ear is very vascular so every time they shake their head it reopens the wound and you start all over.

Of course it’s the weekend and my vet office is closed so, off to the emergency vet we go. I knew she probably needed antibiotics and maybe some pain meds. If the whole area had been split open I would have had to have her stitched but I have found with this type of injury it is usually best to let it heal on its own. A lot of times sutures make it worse because if they shake their head to much it rips them out and then you are dealing with more damage.

So, when we arrived home from the vets this is what my poor little girl looked like. Grandma Riva had to give her the once over, I think she was reassuring her as Riva has had her fair share of ear problems.

Misty Shores Thalia Ear Injury (1)Misty Shores Thalia Ear Injury (2)Misty Shores Thalia Ear Injury (3) 

The cone lasted for about 24 hours and then I gave up on it. Seemed like it was causing more problems than helping. She couldn’t wear it in the crate because it was just too big and when outside it acted like a big scoop. I was afraid too much dirt and debris would get on her ear so I finally just left it off and diligently kept her from shaking her head. Over the next two weeks I walked her outside on a leash to take care of business, kept her crate confined more than normal just to make sure we had her ear well on the mend. This is five days after the injury…

Misty Shores Thalia Ear Injury (6)

You can see it is starting to heal pretty nicely, the half inch from the edge is where the ear is completely split.

It was at this point I noticed the outer flap was not getting enough air. With the ear wrapped to her head it can cause it to become too moist. I changed the bandage regularly and inspected the injury but we still ended up with her ear getting to moist on the outer flap which caused a bit of a problem with scabby areas and hair loss. It looks wet here because I had cleaned it off and put some triple antibiotic  ointment on it. But you can see the loss of hair where I cleaned off the scabby areas.

Misty Shores Thalia Ear Injury (7)

So, I tried using less vet wrap and using a knee high stocking with the foot cut off and one whole for the good ear to keep the ear up. After a day or so I could see that was not working either so I finally just used the stocking.

Misty Shores Thalia Ear Injury (4)Misty Shores Thalia Ear Injury (5)

Healing progressed nicely over the next couple of weeks and I could see improvement each day as I inspected it. This is May 12 post injury, you can see in the first photo there is a small notch which I figured would be the best it would get, but I could live with that compared to what is looked like originally. The last photo shows how much hair she lost on the outer flap. At this point I had been leaving all wraps off for about a week so the ear could get lots of air.

Misty Shores Thalia Ear Injury (8)Misty Shores Thalia Ear Injury (9)Misty Shores Thalia Ear Injury (12)

Over the next week it continued to heal nicely, this is May 17, still a very small notch but all scabbing is gone.

Misty Shores Thalia Ear Injury (13)

And this is this past Sunday…sorry a bit fuzzy, she was not having anymore of the injury photos. But you can see even the small notch is almost gone and the hair is coming back in nicely on her outer flap.

Misty Shores Thalia Ear Injury (15)Misty Shores Thalia Ear Injury (14)

I am so thankful it has healed so nice, especially since we have our National Show Specialty coming up in about 6 weeks.

Now for how this happened, I can only speculate. Once we came home from the er vet I inspected the backyard and discovered they had pushed the part of the fence next to the garage away enough that I think she stuck her head through and caught it on a nail. There was blood spatter all over the side of the garage and the trash can that sits there. My brother and I fixed this right away and reinforced it so they couldn’t push it away again. I still haven’t let her and Zelena out to play together in the yard, I want to make sure it is healed really well because if it were to reopen now I’m sure it would be a big mess and not heal so well a second time.

So that’s been our drama the past month! We hope y’all have a great holiday weekend!!

Tina & the Brown Dogs

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Why Genetic Testing??

Last month I did a review on the testing facility I used, Paw Print Genetics, for some of Maia’s genetic testing I needed to have done. You can read about it here.

Why do we do genetic testing on our breeding stock??

For me it is just one of the tools I use, to quote a friend, “in a full toolbox” to determine how and who I am going to breed my bitch to. I do not use the results to eliminate dogs but to make better breeding decisions to help reduce the risk of producing dogs that will have certain diseases or afflictions.

The information in my tool box enables me to choose a stud dog that will compliment her not only genetically but physically as well. Bringing things to the breeding I am looking to improve upon while also trying to minimize the bad genes coming through.

In my “full toolbox” I have the information from her pedigree, my breed standard, status of hips, elbows, Eye Certification, Degenerative Myelopathy (DM), Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC), Ectodermal Dysplasia (ED/SFS), and a Brucellosis test which will be done right before breeding. I also have the knowledge and wisdom of some long time breeders/mentors, some not so long time breeders and all the research and educational classes I have done on my own. I have a list of potential stud dogs that I have compiled, this list is a living document as it changes all the time depending of the bitch and how the male will compliment her.

Now how am I going to use this information? For example, Maia is a DM carrier but clear on PRA, EIC, and ED/SFS, so I would lean towards a clear male for DM and I have wiggle room on the other tests because with her being clear even if I used a carrier male I would not be producing pups that were at risk of getting the disease. Why you ask would I do that and not breed to a male that is all clear?? Well if it is the right male that might just be what I do however, in my breed if you only focus on the all clears then you will be limiting the gene pool greatly. I guess you could say “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water”. If we continually dismissed dogs that were not clear on every single trait we soon would be left with very limited breeding stock and could also cause great harm to the breed as a whole. Not to mention missing out on some pretty great dogs!

For me it is looking at the strengths and weaknesses of my breeding stock and then finding a suitable mate that will build on the strengths and hopefully correct the weaknesses.

Let’s face it, there are no perfect dogs out there. They are living breathing beings and as such we can only do the best we can when it comes to breeding. That is why I use all the tools at my disposal to make the very best educated decisions I can. The rest is up to nature!

Paw Print Genetics Review

Recently I used Paw Print Genetics to do some genetic testing on Maia.

I was introduced to them a couple years ago through friends on Facebook. I kept seeing all these posts about the site so I thought I should check this out. What I found was a place to do my major genetic testing at a price I could afford while not skimping on quality. This is from the homepage of their website…

Highest Industry Standards and Accuracy

Our laboratory is staffed with expertly trained geneticists, veterinarians, and technicians. We are equipped with the latest testing technology and analyze each mutation with two independent methods to provide you the highest accuracy in the industry.

  • All mutations offered are based on the published, medical literature
  • Board-certified geneticist by the American Board of Medical Genetics on staff
  • Each mutation is tested twice, with two independent methods
  • All results are reviewed and reported by both a PhD geneticist and a veterinarian
  • Majority of test results accepted by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals
  • Diagnostic-grade DNA extracted from a variety of accepted sample types

They were offering half off their breed panels, so I couldn’t pass it up. The breed panels are great as each one is geared to a specific breed so you know you are ordering the correct tests. The breed panel for Chesapeake’s consists of:

Degenerative Myelopathy (DM): is a gradually progressive neurological disorder of Chessies and many other breeds. It is similar to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease), a condition found in humans. For more information, look here.

Exercised Induced Collapse (EIC): is a neuromuscular condition that causes collapse of dogs when they become overly excited or exercise heavily. For more information, look here.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): is a general term referring to several different genetic diseases. These diseases have one thing in common: they affect a dog’s vision by gradual destruction of the retina of the dog’s eye. For more information, look here.

Ectodermal Dysplasia (EDA):  a skin fragility syndrome, where affected dogs begin showing signs of skin sloughing off from the nose, footpads, and lips immediately after birth. The disease is inherited as an autosomal recessive disease, meaning animals with a single copy of the mutation show no symptoms, while those with two copies usually die at a very young age due to the aforementioned symptoms and general failure to thrive. For more information, look here.

I was very pleased with their service. My test kit arrived in a timely manner and included the swabs, the paperwork to be returned with the swabs, all I had to do is verify the information and sign it and the prepaid return envelope. The instructions were very easy to understand, including a video I could view online. Once I did the swabs on Maia and sent everything back to them they sent me an email when they received my tests, I liked this so I didn’t have to wonder about it. Once they had completed testing they emailed me with my results. I had my results in a week even though they had told me two weeks, (note that result times may vary, this was just my experience). I had a follow up email from a real person regarding my experience with the company, to me that is great customer care in this age of automated messages.

The website it very user friendly and I was able to set up my breeder profile so I could easily give potential puppy buyers the link to check the results for themselves as well as having my paper copies. They also have a badge that you can download and use on your website or blog that enables people to see that you use them and I was able to link it right to my profile page.

breeder_seal_sm.3140d451c4d0

Go ahead and click it to check out my profile, you know you want to Winking smile

Their tests are very affordable however they have specials quite frequently, who doesn’t like a deal! So if you are looking for a genetic testing facility I highly recommend Paw Print Genetics!

Tina and the Brown Dogs

Yikes…what’s wrong with my dogs tail?

Sometimes having so much fun swimming has a price to pay!

The day after we returned from Lake Michigan I noticed Titans tail was limp, I knew immediately what the problem was.

You may have heard of “cold tail”, “limp tail”, “dead tail”, all of these are just different names for limp tail syndrome. When I googled it I also found it may be called “broken tail” or “sprung tail”. I have even heard it called “pump tail”.

You will see your dog hanging their tail down and not wagging it. Sometimes the tail may go out about 3 or 4 inches and then hang down, I think this is probably where the “pump tail’ name comes from as it looks like a pump handle. This affects the muscles in the tail not the tail bone and is quite painful but fortunately usually only lasts for a few days. It is unknown the exact cause but you may see it in dogs that have done an activity such as swimming or hunting where they use their tail a lot. It can also occur from cold water and very warm water baths.

Titan has had this one other time and I am pretty familiar with it so what I do for him is give him some Tramadol, which is a pain medication used to treat moderate to severe pain. I don’t need to keep him quiet as he doesn’t want to move around to much anyway. Anything that causes the tail to move or put any kind of pressure on it is very painful. Usually in 3-4 days he is much better. I don’t make him sit while his tail is sore as this just causes him more pain, so for those few days he gets freebies from obedience.

Here are a couple of photos I found online to show you what this looks like.

petsbest                       riverroadveterinary

                      Photo from petsbest.com                                      Photo from riverroadveterinary.com

 

**Disclaimer

I am not giving any medical advice or treatment recommendations for you and and your dog/s, you should always consult with your own veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.

 

Tina and the Brown Dogs

When a Positive is a Negative

In the spring of 2014 I started scheduling all the dogs for their annual Heartworm check. I started with Maia.

I went in not expecting too much out of the ordinary.

Blood was drawn for the test and she was a good girl as usual.

Then the out of the ordinary happened…my vet said she was positive! My heart sunk, how could this happen!!

These results were from the new test that was developed that is highly sensitive. So the protocol now was to draw more blood and send it out to the lab to be tested with the old heart worm check test. My vet also did blood work to check for microfilaria (microscopic baby heartworms) in her bloodstream. I had to wait for these results for a few days as it is sent out to a lab. Thankfully both came back negative.

I immediately scheduled the rest of the dogs to get their checks and again my heart sank as the vet told me Cheyenne was positive. I just kept going over and over in my head how, why!?!

So more blood was drawn and sent in for Cheyenne and that came back negative.

All along neither girl presented with any clinical signs of heartworm.

I was instructed to continue with their monthly preventative and every six months I had to take the girls back in for blood work, they would run one on the new test and one on the old. The old always coming back negative and the new always positive. Since it was suspected this was an issue with the test I did not have to pay for any of the repeat testing.

So of course I started doing some research on my own to see if the tests could have a false positive and I found it could; as well as a false negative.

On our last visit this past January my vet informed me that they have now found the triggers that are causing the test to come back positive and know how to remove those so they can get an accurate reading. She believes this was a false positive all along for both dogs. It actually took two weeks to get the results but in fact both girls were negative all along.

So I am glad this is behind us and it turned out to be a false alarm. But honestly I will be very apprehensive from now on when I have to take them in for their annual heartworm checks. I am thankful I have such great vets that really go the extra mile to check things.

It is important to follow your veterinarians advise and do your annual heartworm checks especially if you are in a high incidence area. As you can see from this map there are very few places that have not had a case of heartworm reported which may be due to a lack of veterinary clinics. I am anxious to see what the 2015 map looks like.IncidenceMap2013_Page_1                               Photo from the American Heartworm Society website. 

We are in mid Michigan, as you can see there have been quite a bit of cases reported. As awful as this disease is thank goodness it is not transferred from one animal to another. For more information about heartworm visit the American Heartworm Society.