Category Archives: Information and Education
~ 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.
~Or Chester has Style
Just because we are all cooped up in the house doesn’t mean we can’t do it with style.
Well, Chester–the photos are what we needed–your cute face for a Monday morning. Oh, and a little education on how to look fabulous in any situation.
In our heart forever–
They all too soon outgrow being carried around–this is not a purse-tote baby. The truth is your lap, scrunched into the chair, or snuggled on the sofa works well for the Weimaraner. Velcro closeness is a thing.
No one is happier about the work at home scenario than our Weimaraners. One word of caution, though–severe separation anxiety (or a feeling of abandonment) is a strong possibility when things return to normal. You must prepare them adequately for you to be gone. (OMG)
~At The Nielsen Farm Pond
Well, here we are on the cusp of Spring–and I am so excited for warmer weather. And I am looking forward to Cliff filling the farm pond so we can swim pups. I can hardly wait, but while we wait, I thought, let’s look at a litter swim from the past. I hope you enjoy this!
Note: This is a repost of an article we have shared several times. Our pups are ready to acclimate to their new environment upon arrival. We recommend not over-thinking at the early stages.
- Be committed — Commitment to the process is primary. Training your pup will take time. Think of this as a journey (a road trip) with a destination in mind. Don’t set timelines; instead, take this adventure together. It will take as long as it takes for each achievement. Sometimes just when you think, you have arrived; your Weimaraner will hit a snag or transitional phase. There are many of these stages in the first couple of years. As with an adolescent, they can be going along well and suddenly regress. Please take this in stride it is nothing personal. The first occurrence could well be prior to week twelve. Stay calm and move ahead–this is how to avoid ingraining fear or some unwanted behavior.
- Keep your eye on the young puppy at all times—This is vitally important for at least the first 2-3 weeks, or until you have the housebreaking part accomplished. Use a crate, bag, or soft-side crate to confine the pup when you cannot be vigilant. The crate should not be too large. If it is more than they need they may select one end for a potty area.
- Be consistent–Do everything in the same manner! For example, the pup wakes up and stirs. At first, you would pick them up and carry them out to the area where you want them to go potty. Each time you see them circling or rousing from a nap go to the potty-area. If you use the bells hung at the door, then ring them as you go out the door. Soon they will be ringing the bells as a signal for you to open the door.
- Keep it simple — Although your pup can learn amazing things, it is best to do a few simple things and build upon those experiences. The process will unfold naturally if you allow it to do so; start with getting them to come. Although they all follow and come to us, it is different once they start to mature. Do the hallway exercise (5-7 retrieves each night). By using a hallway (with adjoining doors closed) there is nowhere for them to escape with the toy, ball, or dummy. Some people treat them when they bring the item to their hand. It is not necessary. The activity is a reward in and of itself. Have a couple of bumpers or toys (designated for this activity). Make it an event every day until you move to the yard because you have compliance.
- Keep it fun — Weimaraners are brilliant and learn quickly. A trainer might tell you to work for an hour and even a half hour doing one exercise every night, but we suggest ten minutes. Do it for ten minutes and then do something fun. This approach works for us! If your Weim pup loses interest, you lose ground in the training process.
- Remember it is about your relationship — No matter what you are doing it is important to remember that Weims are all about relationship. If they get their feelings hurt, things can go sour quickly. Your bonding experience is vital to the success of this relationship. Take time to think and see things from their perspective. You are the center of their world. They not only want to control you, but they want to own you. Weimaraners are the ultimate Velcro dog and must learn how to stay alone. Your relationship is a double-edged sword. They need a lot of time, attention, and affection. They also need to find ways to cope when you are absent. We recommend starting this process very early, or they will come to expect you will be there 24 X 7. Separation anxiety can be a huge issue in this breed.
- Be patient — When you go out to teach your pup a skill, make sure it is a learn-able task. Plan enough time to accomplish the task–but keep your training focused to ten to twenty minutes maximum. The short bursts of success are more effective than lengthy sessions. Your attitude and demeanor play into the equation too! If you are feeling stressed, forego training your Weimaraner. There are many methods of training. Nevertheless, choose one that enhances your bonding experience and one that creates a respectful environment for all concerned.
The best Weimaraner people are those that are natural leaders. Anytime you feel your relationship is stressed then you are going down the wrong road. The persons that are neither too strict nor too lenient are usually, the ones that excel. Regardless of what happens, it is always best to pro-active than to be reactive. Stay calm. Keep it simple. Get results. Plan little steps of learning and build upon them. Try our 7 steps to Success, and we believe you will be on the right path.
Wishing you fewer puppy bites and more puppy kisses
~ Shela and Cliff
~ With Sena
On occasion, we get lucky–and we find a Golden Year Placement for a retired female. Dazee–did not turn out as we planned. I won’t bore you with all the details, but let me sum it up that she was the result of a cross between a couple of lineages (both carried the Longhair gene, but neither was related to Stackhouse). The plan was then that we could raise Longhairs with Stackhouse, but things didn’t work out as planned–so, we decided not to mate her again.
Finding the right placement for Dazee was challenging. She is a quieter gal that likes things pretty much her way. Not that she is not friendly, she is–and she gets along with other dogs. But she doesn’t take to a lot of commotion or activity. Ideally, we needed a quieter lifestyle. And along came Sena, who is a bit older (my age), and she needed another Weimaraner in her life. And so their journey together began a couple of weeks ago.
~As the Journey Together Begins
(Day One) She’s a precious soul. I think we’ll be fine. She has no interest in going outside. She is not interested in much–including food.
(Day Two) Another day, and now she is eating -chicken soup got her interested in supper. She wasn’t interested in her dry stuff but was definitely interested in my chicken soup so I put a tablespoon of broth & a few pieces of carrot & cleaned right up. Same with breakfast. She’s drinking too. In the past I explored about a doggie door here but just not feasible. So I have to participate. I think too she was exhausted from her travels yesterday. I’m sure each day will bring something new. Good for both of us.
(Day Three) A new day– I have a different girl today. She’s initiating & going to the door. Not resistant to the lead now. Up & more interested in life. 😉
(Day Four) I left the back door open & closed off other free space & just went away. The birds & squirrels were teasing her. She’s been out several times now. Briefly, but HALLELUJAH. Progress! (See the above photo–she loves her domain.) 27 frickin’ degrees out there. She’s an outdoor girl after all. 😁
Yup. Birds & squirrels. 😁We are doing very well. She’s just right for me. 😉
(Day Six) And yet another significant change–And, now she’s only requiring crating if I leave. Great progress. Yes, when I saw her birthday, I realized I should get to have most of her 5th year, which also made me happy. She’s a precious little soul & now I have a family again.
(Finally at One Week Plus) Oh definitely–this girl is heart healing. I was in despair, and that’s all gone. Not to say I don’t miss my boys every day, however, I am functional again which I was becoming less each day til last Saturday. My friends also know I’m different, affirming this was needed and she’s so right. Ok, busy lady, thx for all once more I will be in touch. 🐾👋
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.
~Let Me Share A Bit More with you!
I have a lot to say –to Luna’s littermates, to the OwyheeStar Weimaraner News Blog readers, and to Weimlovers in general. 😊
I don’t know why but I love pictures of sleeping dogs. You’d think all Maggie ever did was sleep by the amount of pictures I have of her resting or tucked in a blanket. —–‐‐——-‐———————–‘Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for all your support and kind words. I had asked Shela to share my story with you so you could be aware of the potential risk of vaccination.
Luna has been home from the hospital 3 days and is rebounding really well. She’s definitely her sassy self again. She’s more confident in her walking (some trotting but we’re not at running yet although I can see she wants to), moving around more and playing with her brother (although I’m supervising because we don’t want too much rough housing right now). We are back at our training and going through our day as if this never happened.
To make my point–here she is (pictured) Saturday night after having to go out in the soaking rain and then getting a nice pat down and grooming. She was such a patient girl letting me brush her head to tail.
How This Event Unfolded
Luna started exhibiting symptoms 4 days after her 9-week puppy shot–it started with diarrhea. I didn’t think much of it until the following day when she didn’t finish her lunch. Her energetic behavior went from playing to laying and that’s when I knew I was dealing with something more.
After 2 vet visits and misdiagnoses, I found myself in the ER because Luna could no longer walk. I want to note, during those visits, Luna was getting IV fluids because she stopped drinking too, and her fever that ultimately spiked to 106 even with the supportive care. The ER doctors and nurses were amazing!! There was never a question–she needed to be hospitalized. This was out of my wheelhouse! By the way… it was the ER doctors physical exam of applying light pressure on her legs that pointed us in the direction of HOD. Luna did not react well to his touching. X-rays confirmed it.
I did and had intended to follow the vaccine protocol recommended by Owyheestar and started those conversations at Luna’s first wellness visit. Knowing what just happened, I’m even more firm in my position to be an advocate for her. Vaccine reactions can be as mild as local swelling or mild fever or in most cases, nothing much at all.
Hypertrophic osteodystrophy (HOD) is something that is very rare but very real. You never think it couldn’t happen to you, and chances are it won’t. But please please please be educated!! Owyheestar posted some really good information on HOD. Follow the recommended vaccine protocol, know the signs and keep a keen eye out for any change in behavior even up to a week after vaccinations. The ER Vet had only seen HOD one other time and he was certain my primary care vet would not know to look for it as these are usually emergency cases. So, educate the Vet when necessary, too. 😊
Luna will be on a steroid and pain meds as needed for another 10 days. If there’s a relapse, I know the signs and we know exactly how to treat it. I’ll be on high alert until those growth plates close–probably around fifteen months, but sometimes it takes almost two years. Based on her response to treatment, I anticipate a full recovery.
Luna and I have only been together for almost 4 short weeks. In that time, I’ve gotten to know she’s my sweet girl, a Diva and a Warrior! I can’t wait to see how the rest of our life together unfolds. 💞
Thank you, again! Kris (Sunday, January 26, 2020)
I am positive that Luna is going to be a frequent contributor for our blog–everyone is invested in her future. Cliff, Christina, and I do not have anything much to add to what Kris has so kindly shared. Take a deep breath Weimlovers, most likely you will avoid this scenario; however, the best approach is to follow the recommendations we sent home with you.
There is one bit of information we want to add to this post–it is about canine temperatures and taking your pet’s temperature. Click on the highlighted test and it will take you to a page that talks more about how to do that and other specifics.
What Is a Dog’s Normal Body Temperature?
~Luna my Diva Warrior Princess Girl
Kris writes– I’m breathing again! The kisses I got when we reunited was heaven! I will write more for your Monday blog so everyone can be updated with all that has transpired.
Kris has stayed in touch since she figured out what was going on with her precious baby girl–the HOD, something we have mentioned countless times. It is not something most Vets see–how many Weimaraners are in their care in comparison? Not many. So, typically they go on about how they feel vaccinations should take place, making recommendations that far exceed what works well for this breed. We know they mean well, but each of us has to guard and make the best possible decision for our Weimaraner. It can be so tricky–Kris navigated this difficult situation well. She lucked out with the Emergency Vet being somewhat Weim-savvy and knowing about this vaccine reaction that can occur in the Weimaraner.
~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.