Category Archives: Hot Topics
The Basics …
Nothing is more important than loose leash heeling. It is imperative it be achieved. I am not talking about using a head halter, gentle leader, front-hooking harness, or a prong collar in order to accomplish the goal.
A regular (or flat) collar
This is what I hope every OwyheeStar Weimlover will accomplish……..
- Loose Leash Heeling (on a regular flat collar)
- Come; followed by the Sit-stay
We (Shela and I) would like you to focus on achieving these four goals with your OwyheeStar Weimaraner. I am positive when accomplished in the right manner, the outcome will be good. There are various ideas on the appropriate timeline to have mastered these disciplines. I would like to see you have them done by the time the pup reaches 7 months–before the hormones kick in. Puppy classes can get you off to a good start, but the quality of sit-stay, etc. is not finished at 4 months. As the Weimaraner develops, there will be challenges.
Respect and the Relationship
Depth in your relationship is worth achieving; respect is a crucial part of your relationship-development. When you get the loose-lead respect, then you can easily achieve these other goals. It is a bit like a thread that pulls you through a good novel (or movie); without a strong relationship (or the underlying story-line), it is hard to get to end. Distractions come along.
Jan Magnuson –The priorities in my basic obedience/good manners classes are loose leash heeling, sit-stay, down-stay, come and sit-stay, and no bite. I agree, if folks can get these down pat, everything else tends to fall into place. Loose leash walking is imperative, as it is representative of the relationship between dog and handler (if the leash is relaxed, so is your relationship, if the leash is tense and strained, so is your relationship). Dogs that “do better off leash” feel they are in charge and do what pleases them, and if they mind it is because they happen to feel like it at the moment- that is not a trained dog. I like down-stays a lot because it is a subservient posture, the dog should learn to be totally relaxed so we do lots of these- we allow them to lie on one hip or their side and get their head and tummy rubbed, with lots of calm praise.
Get it done; Keep it Fun…
Never forget to have fun. If this becomes a grind, neither you nor the Weimaraner will enjoy it. If it becomes boring, there are always other things you want to do. Once these four things are mastered, you need to keep them sharp. It is not something you achieve and forget about; these are lifelong skills you take with you on the entire journey.
Note: We will discuss collars (and choices) in a later blog. There are many suitable styles of the regular (flat-collar) type. Collar purchases are more a fashion-statement than we like to admit. Hunters are field-fashion conscious. Some prefer a fine leather collar, while others prefer a durable plastic-based collar that resists dirt, odor, and fading. These collars wipe clean. They come in a variety of colors; fluorescent orange, fluorescent green, and fluorescent yellow are popular. Some hunters find the cammo collar a must-have accessory. One of our favorite vet techs saw a purple collar we had on a girl, and asked where we found it. There are other great colors too.
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.
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.
~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.
~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.
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.
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)
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.
~Is the Weim Onboard?
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.
~Here’s to Hoping it is A Good One
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.
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,
~ In The News
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 Sweet Boris
Our sweet Boris is scratching and itching. We think he has fleas. Is there a flea product you recommend? I use revolution for my cat and used it on my last dog Moon. But after reading Cliffs pamphlet. And learning how sensitive these dogs are. We are concerned. Today Claude plans on giving him a bath we don’t want anything toxic for our pets. We do believe in natural remedies. And want Boris to have the best care we can give him. Right now Claude and Boris are outside playing in the rain. He is such a joy.
We tried to get you the photo you wanted– it’s a bad pic but it’s the best I could do right now. He’s a wiggle worm. Already working us over. He rings the potty bell. A couple pee pee accidents, but it was our fault for not acting quickly . Now he rings the bell because he wants to go outside and chew on pine cones and tree bark. He’s such a rascal! Feeling comfortable at home . Don’t have a minute to spare. He’s barking at me now . So gotta go! I’ll send a better pic when my daughter is here to help us out.
We understand that getting a quality photo of a young Weimaraner can be a challenge. Thank you, for your effort. I am sure everyone loves seeing Boris with you.
It sounds like you are doing well–we trust you got the information we Emailed you. Please let us know how it works. For those who wonder–this pup was older when they got him. We had and have a few available pups that are older than the traditional eight-weeks. To find out more, Email us.
~Titer Test @ 16 Weeks
You might remember that Dr. John Calhoun’s Idaho Veterinary Hospital (IVH) agreed to start offering the VacciCheck Titer Testing. OwyheeStar’s Henri was the first to be tested using this system–and the fabulous Rebecca A Balls (Certified Veterinary Technician) handled all the laboratory details. We cannot thank IVH and their competent staff for their professionalism and making this possible.
The results are returned a little different than with the traditional titer test–but by all reports it is reliable. Henri’s results showed her having protective antibodies sufficient enough to provide immunity to
CDV — Canine Distemper Virus
ICH — Infectious Canine Hepatitis–Adenovirus
CPV — Canine Parvo Virus
This less expensive titer test is relatively new so most Veterinary practices may not yet offer this option. Please click here to read about the titer test, and ask your Vet if they can make this available to you–it is affordable, accurate, and helps you avoid vaccine reactions that are common in our breed.
Dear OwyheeStar Faithful,
The Information Age has changed everything. Getting published and putting your story out there for the public has never been easier. The truth of it is startling when you think about how it has changed our world.
Every day we post a blog. That is 365 blogs a year. (Whew) Without our OwyheeStar Weimaraner clients sending us photos and their stories to post we would be lost. In this day, when everyone has their Facebook Page and possibly a blog, many of you share their story without us being in the loop. This self-publishing thing is a reality for us.
We have out OwyheeStar Weimaraner Group–a community where those who have a puppy from us can share their photos and news. They can exchange ideas. People seem to like that–and again, we appreciate your posts. Nevertheless, we depend upon the kindness of others for our blog fodder. It is a lifeline–that makes publishing everyday doable.
A lot of folks are posting their stories — I find some of them on Facebook. Thank you–it means the world to see your OwyheeStar is cherished, celebrated, and an integral part of the family activities. Honestly, I am saddened when I look at a profile that doesn’t contain the Weimaraner. It makes me wonder what has become of the beloved Weimaraner puppy.
If you happened to have a cute story you would be willing to let me share please Email it to me. I will also need a photo. Frequently people send only a few words and some photos. I love them, but filling in the storyline is difficult–essentially impossible. So, let me thank those of you who update us annually or several times a year. I cannot thank you enough. If you have promised an update and not yet sent it, now would be a good time.