Category Archives: Health and Wellness
Hello, we are having one of those weeks that keeps me going from one thing to the next.
I have a couple of blog posts that I can get ready for the coming week. While I am away, I want to remind people to take care of themselves and their pets during this heatwave.
~ In The News
Breeder Comment–We posted this article last June. Recently, we have been getting a lot of people writing us asking about food. We thought this was a good time to share this information with you.
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.
- Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete (5 stars) [M]
- Diamond Naturals All Life Stages Chicken and Rice [A]
- Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Lamb (4.5 stars) [A]
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.
~Our Emergency Vet Visit
Had to run Knobby to the emergency vet because he got into my daughter’s purse and chew up her gum package, she was sure how much he ingested so our vet said to take him to the emergency vet. Gum can be a bad thing because most sugar-free gum contains xylitol. Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs, even small amounts of xylitol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure or even death.
Keep anything with Xylitol where your Weimaraner cannot snatch it–
After $399.59, the pet poison hotline and induced vomiting at the hospital he’s fine. Luckily that brand and flavor of gum didn’t have xylitol. They also found several paper towels, he must’ve got into the trash also and one partial dissolved Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic chew. He doesn’t get dinner tonight so hopefully he’ll remember, probably not. If you like gum and have pets, stick to Wrigley’s Extra Cinnamon. Oh and get pet insurance, I also have that too, now I get to learn how to bill to it.
Since we are virtually sugar-free at our home, we have Xylitol around. Anything baked with it, sugar-free gum, etc., must be kept out of reach of the Weimaraner. Click Here to get some idea of products that might be in your home that could contain Xylitol.
~Cliff, Shela, and the Weimaraners
November 14, 2020
Our first actual snow arrived yesterday. We saw a very few snowflakes not long ago, and Payette (only 12 miles from here) had enough to photograph, but this time the snow shower was plentiful. This photo was taken a short while after it started, and it had covered the ground nicely already. Of course, our friends in the mountains got a substantial amount of snow–the skiing crowd is celebrating its arrival.
A couple of days ago we took our group of winter pups to the sanctuary. They seemed unfazed by the cold temperatures. We–Christina and I, were plenty cold and ready to leave before the pups.
This Week On the Blog…
Last week we shared information about vaccine reactions —we promised to post information about the Titer Test. That information was the focus of yesterday’s blog. We understand that it is overwhelming to think about the Weimaraner vaccine schedule and navigate the process. We hope these articles help you.
If you have a story that you will let me share–I need at least three sentences and a decent photo. I prefer to receive it via email. (FYI–we only use stories that feature the OwyheeStar Weimaraner). We are always in need of OwyheeStar stories to share.
Sunday— Nov. 8 — Sunday Faces
Monday–- Nov. 9 — Franny
Tuesday – Nov. 10 — Our First Week
Wednesday — Nov. 11 —Shadow
Thursday –- Nov. 12 — Road Trip
Friday — Nov. 13 — Antibody Titer Test
On a very personal note
As weeks go, it was a quiet one. Nonetheless, we found ourselves on a dead run. How does that work? I mean, seriously, there is less to do, such as running around and socializing, but we manage to keep busy. Cliff is still waiting for his four-wheeler to be finished. It is still a parts issue–and promises are made, but they cannot keep them. I suppose once he gets it back and the Gator goes in for an overhaul, it will be the same. Christina and I use the Gator, but not so much in the cold weather. We revert to using one of our Jeeps.
Like so many people I know, I have begun to put up a little Christmas decor. Once taboo–and unthinkable (I had been told many times) to put anything up before Thanksgiving, we are all desperate for joy. We will not be able to attend the family Thanksgiving, and other folks we have mentioned this to are planning to defer as well. I don’t know about other locations, but it seems to be a theme in Malheur County and the surrounding area. We are not fearful, but we feel if we can avoid exposure, it would be smart.
Ambrosia has been down, as apparently the vacuum pump failed. Harvest Right has sent us a new one, and it was supposed to arrive yesterday. Then FedX told us they could not make the delivery due to road conditions, and it was slated for a Monday delivery. A few minutes ago Cliff received notice that the pump is out for delivery again. So, maybe we are getting it today. The Freeze-Dryer is a complicated machine. There are a lot of things that can go awry, but the vacuum pumps seem to be the most common culprit.
Cliff and I are doing well, and with Mr. Sunshine arriving moments ago, it must be an endorsement of today’s well-being.
~ What you need to know!
We have discussed the Weimaraner and vaccine reactions, and there was a promise made to discuss the Titer Test as recommended by the Weimaraner Club of America (WCA). Here are the previous links regarding the potential risk of a vaccine reaction:
- November 2–As Your Pup Begins Their Life with You
- November 3–Cautionary Tale (regarding Kris’ Luna)
Our recommendation is to get a Titer Test at sixteen-weeks of age rather than the typically recommended puppy shot. The idea is to avoid a potential vaccine reaction. If you call or visit your Veterinary about the Titer Test, you are likely to get some resistance, or if they are willing to do the test, the price-tag can be staggering. The regular Titer Test (that only screens for Parvo antibodies) cost us $125 several years ago. We are certain the cost has risen or is higher in metropolitan areas. Might we suggest you try to find a local Veterinary practice that offers VACCICHECK by Spectrum Labs? This test measures more, the results are generated quickly, and the cost is less than the Parvo only Titer Test. There is a sheet you can download and print for more information–this is relatively new. Not many Vets are familiar with this option.
Measures canine antibody titer to:
- Infectious Hepatitis (ICH)
- Parvovirus (CPV)
- Distemper (CDV)
Below in an excerpt from the WCA Vaccine Protocol—Click Here to go to their Web Page.
–the Weimaraner Club of America Health Committee recommends the following vaccine schedule:
8 weeks: Canine Distemper, Adenovirus Type 2, Parainfluenza– Parvovirus
12 weeks: Canine Distemper, Adenovirus Type 2, Parainfluenza– Parvovirus
15–16 weeks: An antibody titer is recommended to confirm immunity since a small proportion of puppies may still not be covered.
Puppies showing no evidence of antibody production in the titer should be re–inoculated.
The use of Corona, Leptospirosis, Bordatella and Lyme vaccines are not recommended unless these diseases are prevalent in the area; and should never be administered along with the core vaccines listed above, but rather separately, and at a time when the pup’s immune system is mature. Rabies vaccinations should be given as required by law, but not coincident with other vaccinations. If possible, wait until the puppy is older than 16 weeks.
If a serious adverse immune response occurs, further vaccination prior to one year of age is not recommended. Options should be discussed with your veterinarian. Some states provide exemptions for Rabies in cases where an underlying medical condition is likely to result in a life threatening condition in response to vaccination.
While this protocol helps in preventing reactions, it does not prevent them in all susceptible individuals.
We (Cliff and Shela at OwyheeStar) realize that some pups will need an additional vaccination–but avoiding as many vaccine reactions as possible is the best approach. We understand this information is overwhelming, and no one wants to face the worst possible scenario.
~ Our Frightening Event
I love seeing all the happy Owyheestar dogs on the blog, and I go their first if I have a basic health question and Cliff and Shela have covered so many topics! Wealth of information. But sometimes things happen to our pups and it can be cray scary. So, my sweet 10 month old Franny had a truly frightening pain event a couple weeks ago. We ended up at the emergency vet (and this is not a failure on their part, they can’t be expected to be specialists in all things) but they suggested her x-rays showed a specific syndrome indicating a scary, progressive back concern.
My regular vet, (Cornelius) and (after talking to Cliff, he asked their vet to look at the film too – thank you so much!) the Owyheestar vet also saw the xrays, but they saw something different. All recommended an expert review.
VCA is the closest site in Oregon with a neurologist, and from my research there are only a couple hundred vets in the country that do this specific work. I was pretty worried about how this was all going to shake out.
After their exam, it was clear that Franny does have a transitional vertebra (my vet and Owyheestar’s vet both agreed!). However, this vet thinks that wasn’t likely the cause of her pain. She said she thinks my little athlete likely had a bout of intense psoas pain. She had taken her first weekend at the beach and then spent the very next weekend in Central Oregon where she got to run leash free the entire time, doubling her normal daily activity, and then – the long car ride home where she was still for 4 hours.
Runners (as a former marathon runner, I can vouch from personal experience) know that not moving after a long run can tighten everything up and cause pain. Kind of makes sense now that I think it through. Also makes sense that the anti-inflammatory meds helped even more than pain meds.
Barring any additional events, specialty vet said keep her playing, stop any meds and just use anti-inflammatories as needed, and all should be fine.
She didn’t even recommend more imaging. She thinks the vertebrae issue is a red herring, not a current concern, and said unless things dramatically change, no surgery (the emergency vet thought she might have to have surgery) in fact, she said she wouldn’t perform any surgery outside of repairing trauma on a dog this young as she is still growing.
The neuro vet was personable, warned me her staff wanted to keep Franny (shout out to #owyheestar, they said she was one of the most beautiful pups they have ever seen), and I am so very grateful that they weren’t about upselling tests or treatments that aren’t needed.
Miss Franny is full on back to normal. I am so grateful to Cliff and Shela for being there for us not just for the cute pictures but for their support during the scary times too. I included part of Franny’s play group at night with their light up collars, a gorgeous shot of her in Central Oregon, and of course the one I cll “legs for days” – she is so tall and lanky.
Thank you for taking care of this lovely girl. Any number of things can happen with our beloved fur children–it can be overwhelming. Vets don’t always have the answer–and sometimes we have to talk to more than one to figure things out. The process can be exhausting, gut-wrenching, and scary. Thank you–for doing everything possible for this beautiful girl.
~ From Kris (Luna’s close call)
As I watch you prepare to deliver another litter of pups to their forever homes, I can’t stress the importance to everyone about the vaccine protocols you provide to everyone and how they must be followed.
As you know when Luna received her first vaccination after coming home to us in January, she had a near fatal reaction. She was diagnosed with HOD. She was not eating and lethargic. At 10 weeks old, I knew this wasn’t right.
I immediately took her to the vet and she was diagnosed 2x incorrectly with a GI and UTI infection. The medicines prescribed did not work and I was getting more anxious and feared for her life. They simply did not know or were familiar with vaccine reaction or HOD in weims. HOD is an inflammation of the growth plates and very dangerous causing a high fever (Luna’s was 106 at one point) in addition to what I mentioned above.
It was an emergency vet that performed a simple test and squeezed her legs (Luna did not like it and whined) and finally got the right diagnosis. He took immediate action putting her on the right track.
If I could send any message to your clients and those getting new puppies, it would be to follow the protocols you’ve outlined. Be vigilant in observing for adverse reaction. It took 5 days for Luna to start presenting symptoms. More importantly, if your puppy starts showing symptoms, get medical help IMMEDIATELY! Your puppy’s life depends on it! Lastly, make sure your vet understands HOD and make sure they’re examining your dog if they appear sick after a vaccine. Time is of the essence with HOD.
With the right medications which are typically steroids over a period of time, your puppy will recover as Luna did. Now she’s living her best quirky weim life and we love her so much!
Here’s a pic of her after coming out of the hospital on the road to recovery and below is one of her now almost 1 year old. ❤
Click Here to read yesterday’s post if you missed it–it has a few informational links as well as our heartfelt message to those who are beginning a journey with a new fur family member–the Weimaraner in particular.
We asked Kris to write about Luna’s vaccine reaction from her perspective–hearing from someone who has experienced such an event means more than hearing it from us. It is not the first life-threatening vaccine experience we know about, but we hope it is the last.
About fifteen years ago, a fellow Weimlover (an Engineer in the Portland area) who picked up a pup from us succumbed to his Vet’s pressure. She gave his Weimaraner pup a puppy vaccination that included Lepto. She assured him there was little to no risk. Within hours he was back with her, and she was fighting to survive–she did, but he regretted the decision. The truth is many Weimaraners had the same puppy shot, and they didn’t have a severe reaction. Nevertheless, a percentage do, and a few will lose their life. Others who have vaccine reactions develop ongoing health problems — we suggest everyone errors on the side of caution.
Here is where we will make a full disclosure that we are not Licensed Veterinarians nor Vet Techs. We are speaking from the breed club recommendations and experience. Ultimately, you choose what is right for your pup. The Weimaraner Club of America (WCA) vaccine recommendations are similar to those we practice. Click here to learn more.
There is never a time when pups depart OwyheeStar that we don’t have concerns of one sort or other. We screen our applications and make every effort to ensure each pup’s future. But we are dealing with living creatures, and so many things can happen despite making every effort to set a pup up for success. Once they leave here, we have no control over what happens, and each person has to navigate a plethora of situations that sometimes are perplexing. Most people more than survive.
Quite possibly, the worst situation is a Veterinary who doesn’t take Weimaraner Vaccine Reactions seriously. We understand the science behind their reasoning and that all Veterinary Practices must base their protocol on the average dog (those most familiar to their practice). Typically these are mixed breeds, and the popular purebred is the Labrador Retriever. Click Here to see that 2020 list. The Weimaraner (according to AKC) is 39th in popularity. How many Weims do you think your Vet office sees? Now, consider that about 8% will have a severe (or life-threatening) vaccine reaction. Many Vets will never encounter this situation. If they do, we are sorry to say they might misdiagnose or inadvertently mismanage the situation. Don’t get us wrong; we believe their intentions are noble.
There is no doubt some of you will face opposition if you insist on getting a Titer test to prove immunity rather than another puppy shot at sixteen weeks. Watch for additional posts about vaccine, vaccine protocols, titer testing, and vaccine reactions.
How old do you think Willow is? Most folks who see her, cannot believe that she will be NINE years old in December! Other dog owners, and also my “dog friends” are amazed and impressed with her health and condition. Taking wonderful care of our dogs is key to their mental and physical well-being, and their longevity. Daily exercise is SO vital, and mental stimulation with training and games is essential too. Also, premium quality food and fresh water are necessary (we need to make sure to not allow our dogs to become overweight!) Also, we need to groom our dogs, which includes bathing, teeth cleaning, ear cleaning, toenail clipping, brushing (and trimming if needed.) Routine and preventative vet care is best, and of course having them treated by our vets if they become sick or injured. I am looking forward to many more delightful years with Willow- let’s remember that it is not only the quantity of life that matters, but also the quality!—UKC Best-In-Show and High-In-Trial Champion/Altered Grand Champion Sunstar Willow of OwyheeStar, AKC Canine Good Citizen, AKC Novice Trick Dog, UKC Rally Obedience I, UKC Agility I, Therapy Dog International certified!
Jan Magnuson~SUNSTAR All-Breed Dog Training http://sunstardogtraining.com
Des Moines, WA 98198
Thank you, Jan, for the excellent care you give Willow. We never know for sure how long our beloved fur family members will be with us–but for every day they share their life, we hope it is a good one. She is vibrant as well as radiant. Thanks for earning all the titles together and loving her so much. And thank you for the gift of sending me this to share–as always, I am desperate.
~Reducing exposure to TSP (total suspended particulates)
Hello from the smoky Willamette Valley boasting the worst air quality in the world. To help reduce Porsche’s exposure to TSP (total suspended particulates), this simple fix should work. Take a six inch coffee filter cone (a vacuum cleaner HEPA filter would be even better); cut enough off folded edge to miss eyes; open large part; stuff it inside a well ventilated muzzle; voila, you have a doggie mask. Porsche is not thrilled with it, but it allows her a bit more outside time. We are blessed with the ability to let dogs out right into the kennel for business. If someone has to walk their dog, this might help. This is a home remedy, not a scientifically tested filter system.
I worked 15 years with the American Lung Association dealing with air quality issues, and feel this will help.
God Bless you all; stay safe.
Thank you, JuneAnn, for this information.