Category Archives: Health and Wellness

Saluting Christina

~For All She Does

Nail Trim

Every OwyheeStar puppy is hand-raised, and this process requires a good eye as well as focus. Then there is follow-through–steps we take at every transition point from birth for the exit. We are fortunate to have our granddaughter (who we trained) as a puppy-whisperer. You cannot teach someone to do this–it takes instinct and the ability–and the eye to see the little things before they spiral into something bigger. Pups get scratched, develop little issues, need nails trimmed, ears cleaned, etc. –it is a lot because a young pup is susceptible to all kind of bacterial, viral, and yeast infections.

You might remember Dink–he was a miracle pup. Christina decided she would keep him with her 24 X 7 because he needed around the clock care. She did this knowing she might not be able to save him–but if she could, it would be so rewarding. Over the years, we have saved many ultra-small pups that needed extra care. They could not survive because the bigger, stronger littermates would push them off the best teats. There might not be enough teats for everyone to drink at once–and the bigger keep growing while the small ones get shoved away. This scenario doesn’t mean that a smaller pup has anything wrong, but without intervention, their chance of survival is slim.

You Probably Know the Story

Dr. Calhoun at the Idaho Veterinary Hospital gave his as through of a check that is possible at the six-week visit.

It takes all of us to produce a well-balanced ready to adapt puppy. People ask, “do you have them house-trained.” I always say, “no, but we have them ready.” I think that is the better approach–they have to learn your routine, the household layout, and adjust. If you stay after it, the housebreaking can happen very quickly.

Behaviors

~Habits Good and Bad Take Hold Quickly

Innocence –but there is one in the Group (Haha)

Habits form quickly–once a behavior (good or bad) starts it can soon become habitual. For example, the Weim can become an incessant barking machine. I swear they can bark at a cloud. Maybe it looks like a bird. Incessant by definition means unceasing or Continuing without interruption. Maybe that is an overstatement, but if you have that behavior ingrained, it will not seem an exaggeration.

Barking, digging, territorial behaviors, chewing on everything, and the list goes on–if you allow it in a small dose, it can become a thing. Us humans, often get duped and our efforts undermined.

To prevent that and other unwanted behaviors a person must be vigilant early on. It is not one and done thing either.  The childlike tendencies often last past their third birthday with the occasional teenage behavior surfacing from time to time. I laugh at people who want this breed and expect them to be easy to manage. A lot can and should be accomplished in the first three months; however, you are not home free so to speak. At the same time—getting the basics done right up front will save you a lot of trouble. 

Also consider that the Weimaraner who wants to rule their world can employ growling and snarling. They can withdraw and sulk. They have all kind of ways to get what they want–some are acceptable, others are not. One thing for sure–do not reward or excuse bad behavior.

Food For Thought

~ Or How Lisa added years to Azura’s Life

Breeder Note: When we met Lisa, she didn’t know how much longer her Service Dog (Azura) would be with her. So, she was seeking a Weimaraner to train to fill the very large Azura Paw Prints.

You all know that I don’t write about anything except the OwyheeStar Weimaraner. I ask you not to post other dog information, etc., but this seems like the exception. Someone might be able to use this information to prolong or save their Weimaraner’s life. So read on–as Lisa tells you her story.

A few years ago I met someone by chance, she was admiring Azura, my Blue Doberman, we got to talking and she shared stories about how a Dog Crockpot Stew had helped her rescue dogs with their their various coat, allergy and general health issues.  I asked her for the recipe, and she emailed it to me. I liked the idea and was going to try it when I had some free time.

Fast forward to the end of July 2019 when Azura, then 7 1/2 years old, was diagnosed with serious heart issues.  I asked the vet cardiologist how long he thought we had and he said, “Maybe a year.”  To say the news was devastating would be a huge understatement.  What I also learned from the vet is that the FDA had been doing studies on grain-free diets and heart disease and had found that the combination of grain-free and sweet potatoes and peas in the first 10 ingredients seemed to be the connection to heart disease. 

My regular vet recommended that we start Azura on some heart supplements in addition to the supplements and meds that the cardiologist had prescribed, and also suggested that I start feeding Azura beef heart.

Years before, my vet had recommended staying away from chicken and lamb, so I’ve been feeding Azura beef, fish or fowl kibble.  Now I was looking for non-grain-free beef, fish or fowl kibble and was finding almost nothing.  That’s when I remembered the Canine Crockpot Stew.  I bought all the ingredients and made my first crockpot stew.  I also managed to find a suitable kibble in the Wildology brand of kibble.

We returned to the cardiologist in November for Azura’s 3-month checkup.  They ran all the tests and the results were that she had improved around 80-85%.  He said the meds usually produced a 5% improvement.  I knew she had improved because her energy level and stamina had greatly improved, and I was so grateful that the tests proved it.  When I reminded the vet what he had said in July about “maybe a year” and asked how long he thought we had, he said, “Oh, years!  She’s doing great!”  I told him I had made a deposit for a puppy and he said, “Oh, puppies are great!  It will be great for Azura and great for the puppy!”  When I read his report later, his words were “Azura looks phenomenal today.”

We went back for Azura’s checkup in February and her test results showed mild improvement and the best news was that we could now go six months until the next follow-up.  If her results at that time are static or improved, the vet will likely start weaning her off her meds and we’ll continue with the supplements.

On February 18, Sophia, 2-month old Blue Weimaraner, was delivered by Shela and Cliff.  It’s been a little over a month, and I can safely tell the vet that he was right, this puppy is great for Azura and Azura is great for the puppy!  Azura is now getting the exercise that only a puppy can give her, which is so much more than chasing, fetching and retrieving a ball!  They’re both thriving.

Sophia had been here for three days when she realized that what she was eating was different than what Azura was eating.  When Azura finished her stew, Sophia was right there ready to lick the bowl.  I started adding a little water to the left-over stew at the bottom of the jar and I poured it on top of Sophia’s kibble.  She now licks her own bowl clean.  I’ve slowly been adding a bit more stew and a bit more water to Sophia’s meals and she now sits by her kibble until I add the good stuff.  Smart girl!

I feed Azura the stew morning and night.  She has free-fed all of her life, always had a full bowl of kibble available, and since she’s not used to eating only a mealtime, I open her kibble container early afternoon and let her snack.  Now, with Sophia having three meals a day, I put a half a scoop of kibble in Azura’s dish when I give Sophia her afternoon kibble, and that seems to be working well.    

Vaccine Crossroad

A Reminder to Proceed with Caution

The Bernie X Boone Litter are twelve weeks old today. Keep in mind that they will celebrate their sixteen-week birthday on March 12th. Now is the time to remind your Vet that the Weimaraner Club of America *WCA) recommends the antibody titer test instead of the sixteen-week puppy shot. Your Vet probably is not aware of the low-cost in house titer test option. Download the pdf information to share with the Vet.

We realize by now a lot has happened, and everyone will have found themselves insanely busy raising their Weimaraner. The Weimaraner’s (and the OwyheeStar) Vaccine Protocol may have been forgotten.

Your Veterinary office will have a different (broad-based) vaccine protocol. Even if they agree to follow the recommendations, it will fall on the pup’s owner to remember these details. We suggest putting the dates on your calendar and ignoring the Veterinary office alerts. Otherwise, it gets very confusing. If you have forgotten the protocol read on.

  • 6-Week NEOPAR® Puppy Shot (given at OwyheeStar)
  • 9-Week *Nobivac Canine 1-DAPPv
  • 12- Week *Nobivac Canine 1-DAPPv
  • Other vaccines such as Lepto and Kennel Cough (Bordatella) should be given as needed–and avoided when possible. We recommend not combining these shots with any other vaccine–, especially rabies. Vaccine challenges the immune system to build antibodies; therefore, we strongly encourage you to space Lepto, Bordetella, and Rabies vaccination at least two weeks apart. We realize that many veterinary practices give multiple vaccinations at a single visit; however, this approach is easier on the immune system. If a reaction does occur, then you know what caused it and then can plan to avoid it in the future. Yes, we understand this is a more costly approach–avoiding the risk is worth it!
  • 16-Week Crossroad <== Opt for the Vaccine Titer Test instead of automatically getting another puppy shot. We sincerely hope your Vet will agree. Your Vet is likely going to recommend just doing the shot because that is typical for the all-breed approach; however, a percentage of Weims are vaccine sensitive. Although it is likely that your pup probably never had a reaction before, please do not ignore this warning. Even a mild vaccine reaction can trigger immune system issues–some of these lead to on-going health problems and in certain instances death. It is not worth the risk! The vaccine titer test runs more than double the cost of the typical puppy shot, but it might save you thousands over time as well as the potential heartache, but the above pdf file is a much less costly option for the Titer Test. Almost without exception, our protocol has been producing immunity by week sixteen, which means your puppy doesn’t need another puppy shot. If you need the optional vaccines (Bordetella or Lepto) these can be done; however, please space them at least two weeks apart from the Rabies.
  • Vaccine Blog Post   For the OwyheeStar Client Only click here! (requires password)

PUPPY VACCINE CLARIFICATION (Lepto)

There is a significant push by the Veterinary community (due to the recent rise of Lepto) to include Lepto in the puppy shot. The Weimaraner Club of America (as well as others who study this breed) recommend you wait to give the Lepto, etc. until the puppy shots are completed. The puppy shot should not include Lepto or Corona. No other vaccine should be combined with the puppy shot. Waiting for the Lepto, Bordetella, and another vaccine until the pup is a little older is less risky. It takes more effort and costs a bit more to space the vaccine, but it is worth it.

What is the DAPPv?

Canine Distemper, Adenovirus Type 1 (Hepatitis), Adenovirus Type 2 (Respiratory Disease), Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus (Click Here to read more about the vaccine we use. Remember the Puppy Shot should not contain the Lepto or Corona.

OwyheeStar Disclaimer

The Weimaraner Club of America (WCA) Vaccine Protocol

We are neither Licensed Veterinarians nor Licensed Veterinary Techs. Our recommendations are based on twenty-plus years breeding the Weimaraner (exclusively) as well as the breed recommendation (from the Weimaraner Club of America). Ultimately, you have to decide what is the best approach. This protocol is considered a more Holistic and safer approach. That being said, our advice cannot replace that of your Veterinary of choice. 

OwyheeStar Alert

~This is a Weimaraner Issue

We want to alert you to a potential danger that you and even your Vet might not understand. We have been raising the Weimaraner for a goodly number of years–and this condition has proved to be rare, but not entirely absent. Please read on–learn about this disease, and what Kris has to share. Most of you should have read the materials and the vaccine warnings that we give out, but we want to take this opportunity to bring this topic to your attention. Only about 5-8% of Weims have a severe reaction such as this happen, but no one can predict which pup or pups might be affected.

Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (HOD)

~From the Weimaraner Club of American

Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (HOD) is a canine autoinflammatory disease affecting young rapidly growing large breed dogs between eight weeks to eight months of age. Affected dogs exhibit swelling and pain in their legs with reluctance to stand or walk. In addition to orthopedic pain, there are variable systemic signs of which some or all may be present during an HOD episode. Systemic signs include fever, lethargy, depression, and loss of appetite.

A diagnosis of HOD is founded on radiographic evidence of bone involvement concurrent with hyperthermia and pain, and by ruling out infectious causes of the clinical signs. The cause of the disease is unknown and current treatments are focused on controlling the fever, alleviating the pain and treating the specific systemic signs present. Prognosis for severe cases is poor due to relapsing episodes and the low quality of life for the affected puppies that sometimes result in euthanasia. Currently, dog breeders have no means of selecting against HOD.

We (at OwyheeStar) have had a few pups diagnosed with this–mostly a very minor case; however, for the second time ever, we have encountered a severe and potentially life-threatening situation. One thing we can tell you is the last time a similar incident happened; it was different parents–and a smooth coat. This time, it is a recent born Longhair. I want to share what Kris has written to help you better understand why we are so adamant about being careful with vaccines and medications. There have been several situations where heartworm preventative made the Weimaraner very ill–a mysterious situation for the Vet; however, once they Weimaraner owner stopped using the product, the pup rebounded. So, please be careful and do follow the vaccine protocol we suggest.

Remember This?!?

About Luna (Bettee X Manfred)

~As told by Kris

We went for her 9-week shot as suggested in the OwyheeStar Health Record last Thursday and spoke to the vet about the recommendations. As you (Cliff and Shela) indicated, they weren’t in line with them but I stood firm. This is my baby and only want the best for her. 
Monday (four days later) she stated having diarrhea and by Tuesday at lunch she started losing her appetite and stopped playing with Frankie. I immediately called the vet for her to be checked out. They put her on anti diarrhea meds with antibiotics but she wasn’t responding and was still having a low grade fever. I went back. Then they thought she had a UTI and put her on amoxicillin. She still wasn’t responding, her fever spiked and she started falling when she walked. 
I again immediately called my vet and we went to the ER. By the grace of God I had a Dr. who did a thorough checkup and through process of elimination was able to diagnose her properly with hypertrophic osteodystrophy by having xrays done. Apparently, he’s seen this in the past and did tell me Weimaraners can be predisposed to this. 
Right now she’s in good hands in the hospital while they manage getting her fever down. She’s started to eat again. 
I’m letting you know because I know Luna has 9 litter mates and if anyone else may be experiencing this, they may want to have this very conversation with their vet as the symptoms can be misleading. When speaking to the Dr. and reading up on this,  vaccination can trigger this if genetically predisposed to it. It seems Luna is and the Dr. also said there’s no way to even test for this. 
I just wanted you to know I’m not asking or looking for anything other than to alert the other litter mates owners of the potential of this. I feel it’s my responsibility and that if another litter mate is exhibiting the symptoms they can get proper treatment quickly. I was told this is about the time between 2-4 months this can happen and again at 20 months. Once the growth plates close, she’ll be a healthy adult dog. 
Please call me if you’d like to chat about this. It’s been a rough week but Luna is going to be ok now that we know what we’re dealing with. I’ve attached a link for your reference and certainly you can do your research ot call your vet to discuss this as well. 
https://m.petmd.com/dog/conditions/musculoskeletal/c_dg_osteodystrophy
Take care, Kris (January 23 @ 6:07 AM)

Thanks Shela! I really just want to make sure everyone is educated so if this does present itself, THEY can direct the vet to the right diagnosis. The ER doc said he feels vaccination is absolutely related but he could take 100 puppies and could never recreate the issue consistently. Hence the reason for your conservative approach to vaccination. Even the research I did supported what you advocate for this breed. 
I got a call from the hospital at 10 am this morning and Luna’s fever is down to 102 and she’s eating and getting sassy again. I was so happy to hear that. She’ll come home tomorrow if she continues improving and will be on oral steroids for approx 10 days. My primary care will be notified so they can help manage going forward. 
Even with Maggie I was very conservative with my approach for vaccinations, heartworm and flea and tick prevention. I contribute that to her long healthy life.  I plan to do the same with Luna.
I’m very appreciative of your response and support. 
Kris (January 23 @ 11:11 AM)

I called the hospital to get an update update on Luna at 7 local time.  She’s holding at a 101 temp since 8 am this morning. She is eating and drinking on her own and now on oral meds. She’s walking again too! Apparently they took her outside on a potty break with a leash and she wanted nothing of it and wanted to do it on her own. I got a little chuckle out of that and said my girl is back!!That’s what she does at home. She knows exactly where we go outside and never lets me leave her sight. When she’s done, she comes inside and gets a treat for a job well done! 😊 I’ll be picking her up tomorrow! I miss her so much!! 💞

Kris (January 23 @ 6:32 PM)

Breeder Comment

To say we are happy to learn Luna has rebounded after such a terrible vaccine-triggered health crisis would be an understatement. We appreciate Kris being proactive–and heeding our warning. We all can count our blessings that she happened to get so fortunate to have a Weim-savvy Vet that knew to look for HOD.

The initial symptoms could indicate many common problems –pups can get sick. They can easily pick up bacteria, viruses, or parasites. These can bring on all the same symptoms–except for the total collapse scenario–well unless the pup becomes dehydrated. We should always be proactive about watching for parasites–and other things. It is equally important to guard against vaccine reactions. We realize this will overwhelm and worry many of you. Just stay alert and be informed–you have to be proactive in these situations. Otherwise, a wrong diagnosis can lead you down the wrong path–and mean difficult recovery.

Kennel Cough

~This Time of Year

Click Here to Read our Kennel Cough Story

Just a quick note to let you know that Pushkin seems to have recovered from the kennel cough. Zula is doing better but still a work in progress. The amazing thing is that my 12 year old “mutt” had no symptoms and she and Push shared a kennel. ~Marie

From Lara–Kennel Cough

~Reaction to Kennel Cough shot when combined with other vaccine

Sage is doing better each day. I started a vaporizer Sunday night and the vet said I could give her half a Mucinex. He called back Monday, so I started that Monday night. She quit coughing up snot and foam sometime on Monday.

Boy did that snot smell bad.  I know I have a sensitive nose, but ewww! She never quit eating or drinking and was mad when we left her behind to walk the other dogs on Sunday.

Breeder Comment

One case in Salem and the other happened in Spokane. I think that speaks volumes–be careful in public places. The vaccine is not recommended for the Weimaraner, but it may be necessary. Please vaccinate separately–do not combine with other vaccinations such as rabies, or a booster. It costs more, but it is so worth the extra trip.

Hydrotherapy

~Blue is not an OwyheeStar but–

Thought you might find this interesting. Blue is going to Hydrotherapy for his hind leg stiffness. It’s expensive and I was skeptical but it REALLY works!

Breeder Comment

You might remember Stone, who joined Victoria and her resident Weimaraner (Blue). Well, the aging has been tough on him. Being the excellent Weimaraner Mama, Victoria would do anything to prolong their time together–and to improve the quality of life.

Many Weimaraners like other large breed dogs, suffer stiffness and problems with mobility as they age. We have been asked before if there is anything that can be done? We do recommend the supplements as well as Duralactin–it does help, but here is something else that is promising. We wanted to share this so you would know this option exists.

Going On Vacation?

~Is the Weim Onboard?

Hey, Karen, are you forgetting something? –Like Me!

Separation anxiety is real and palpable –and the consequences are sometimes staggering. We have received notes from people who suffered the worst of outcomes–a loss. Others, and more frequently this is what happens, come home to destruction. The rock-solid trustworthy Weimaraner didn’t handle the absence as expected. Anyone who loves this breed has most likely seen reports outlining shocking Weimaraner behavior. We are positive that many of you have experienced this phenomenon firsthand. (Ouch)

Ideally, we need to help our Weimaraner learn how to adapt and adjust to change. For people new to this breed, this can be a foreign concept. Possibly they equate the Weimaraner separation to what they experienced with another breed–somehow, I highly doubt it. Maybe, but more than likely, this person is going to be caught short–shocked at what can happen. This separation anxiety thing is one of the reasons so many Weimaraner end up being rehomed. It is a sad reality. Nonetheless, many Weimar-addicts walk into the relationship eyes-open knowing about this trait and the other quirks and quandaries they might face.

Happy 4th of July

~Here’s to Hoping it is A Good One

We are hanging out with Cliff and Shela — No Fireworks here!

Every year we hear about the Weimaraner shaking and scared of fireworks–but it is not true for every Weim. Recently we heard Bart and Jorga are unfazed. Possibly a big part of this phenomena is they were forced to become more adaptable. Jorja traveled to Belgium (where she spent the first part of her life), and recently she returned to the Pacific Northwest. That kind of journey requires acclimation to loud sounds, unfamiliar territory, and adaptability.

Bart was here longer than the average OwyheeStar puppy. The family slated to get him opted to wait for a future Longhair. He received more time and some attention to learning how to adjust and adapt. Possibly this worked in his favor. Also, his family was very savvy at the transition–careful not to overwhelm him. That is no longer an issue–he travels in large crowds (dogs, children, and noise are not a problem). Below are the notes we received yesterday.

We have opted to keep Bernie’s litter here an extra week. Having them out and about amid the 4th of July Fireworks and the additional potential exposure to Parvo didn’t seem wise.

Dan Reported

Bart (Atti X Boone) There were some fireworks the other night and Bart just looked up and kind of went “what was that?, huh? oh well, back to what I was doing”. We’ll see about tomorrow.

Eileen Writes . –Jorja’s First (Rosie X Zee)

Wa fireworks, doors open fireworks exploding and she is snoring away! Xoxoxo to a relaxed girl,

Pet Food

~ In The News

Whipping Cream is still good, right?

We are positive you have heard the news. Grain-free food is out. “Grain-free” (defined as having no corn, soy, wheat, rice, barley or other grains) is linked to Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). It is a type of canine heart disease that affects the heart muscle. Food for your fur family members is always a hot topic. Raising a concern such as this is the type of thing that makes a lot of good pet owners think twice about what they are feeding.

Click Here to Read the Report–and for your convenience here are the foods on their:

  • Acana (67 reports)
  • Zignature (64 reports)
  • Taste of the Wild (53 reports)
  • 4Health (32 reports)
  • Earthborn Holistic (32 reports)
  • Blue Buffalo (31 reports)
  • Nature’s Domain (29 reports)
  • Fromm (24 reports)
  • Merrick (16 reports)
  • California Natural (15 reports)
  • Natural Balance (15 reports)
  • Orijen (12 reports)
  • Nature’s Variety (10 reports)
  • Nutrisource (10 reports)
  • Nutro (10 reports)
  • Rachael Ray Nutrish (10 reports)

We believe all our Weim-loving folks are buying what they believe is in the best interest of their fur family member. You might wonder about our recommendation or what we are using. We like the two options we list below for our adults. Which one of these foods a particular Weimaraner eats depends upon their dietary need, age, etc.—Cliff makes that calls. They are not considered Grain-free, because they contain rice. The allergens that seem to cause the most issues in our beloved Weimaraner are beef, corn, barley, and wheat. Along with the food we use for the adults, we are also listing the puppy food we use as well.

Not Just Grain-Free

~Let’s Not Forget Recalls

While we are all in an uproar about the grain-free diet potentially causing health issue, let’s not forget all the recalls. Click Here to check out the list. Honestly, we don’t know if there is a company that has avoided a recall, but we believe the last time Diamond had a problem was in 2012. When you look at this list of recalls, it will put that into perspective. It was a minimal recall which didn’t affect the Pacific NW if I recall correctly.

Everyone is going to have to make up their mind about what to do. Keep in mind though–each company makes a variety of food–under various labels. Their less expensive food is often something you want to avoid–of course, But a more costly food doesn’t always mean it is the best choice for you fur family member. For example, the highly touted Diamond made Taste of the Wild is identified with a serious implications.

Just Putting This Out There

Nestle owns Purina–say what? Click Here to view the 15 companies making most of the pet food. For a quick reference, look below.

Mars –Altogether Mars Petcare owns 41 brands including Pedigree, Iams, Whiskas, Royal Canin and Banfield Pet Hospitals. Of course there are other foods made under different labels or brands: California Naturals, Catson, Cesar, Chappi, Dreamies, Eukanuba, Sheba and Temptations.

Nestle –it might shock you to learn that the second largest pet food producer is another candy company. Nestlé Purina PetCare brands include recognizable names such as: Alpo, Bakers, Chef Michael’s Canine Creations, Dog Chow, Fancy Feast, Felix, Gourmet, Kit & Kaboodle, Purina and Purina ONE.

Hills — Science Diet, Prescription Diet, Ideal Balance and Healthy Advantage. 

Diamond — Diamond, Diamond Naturals, Diamond Naturals Grain-Free, Nutra-Gold, Nutra-Gold Grain-Free, Nutra Nuggets Global, Nutra Nuggets US, Premium Edge, Professional and Taste of the Wild.

Blue Buffalo — BLUE, Basics, Wilderness, Freedom, Life Protection Formula, Naturally Fresh and LifeSource Bits.

Well Pet — Sojos, Wellness Natural Pet Food, Holistic Select, Old Mother Hubbard Natural Dog Snacks and Eagle Pack Natural Pet Food.

Merrick –Backcountry, Backcountry Raw, Before Grain, Classic, Good Buddy, Grain Free, Lil’ Plates, Limited Ingredient Diet, Natural Ultramix, Organix, Purrfect Bistro, Treats and Whole Earth Farms.

Ainsworth —  Dad’s, Rachel Ray Nutrish, Better Than and Kibble Select Complete.

Dear friend, if you to write us about what to do, you will get a link to this Blog. We have gotten several Emails from concerned Weimlovers. We understand. Honestly–there is a lot to consider when selecting any pet food. We are not Licensed Veterinarians, or Licensed Vet Techs, or Canine Food Scientists. The only thing we have to share is what we read and our experience. If you have been feeding a Grain-free diet, you might want to rethink your food situation. I believe you are going to see a huge shift away from grain-free pet foods.