Category Archives: Information and Education

Sunday Sunshine

~ Of A Different Kind

Hello From OwyheeStar

~Cliff, Shela, and the Weimaraners

November 14, 2020

Sunrise October 21 2017

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.

Antibody Titer Test

~ 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:

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 ProtocolClick 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.

Cautionary Tale

~ 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.

Breeder Comment

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.

As Your Pup Begins Their Life with You…

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.

Note: The photo at the top is Luna. Her Mama has written up their journey and the experience they had with HOD. That Post is coming tomorrow!

Eyes Opening

~ More Sunday Faces to Warm your Heart

Breeder Comment

The eyes are just opening–they don’t yet see at this stage, but between about 10 -14 days, the eyes start to open. Eyesight develops over time–in a week or so.

The Place Command

~Does Your Weimaraner Know Their Place?

We thought we would throw this information out there for you Weimlovers. Some of you would never consider this command, but (for others) teaching ‘Place’ might be the answer you are looking to find.

We do a lot of business with Gun Dog Supply, and we are confident in their staff’s ability and willingness to assist you. They carry Cato Boards and the video on how to train your dog to know their place–click here to shop for a Cato Board. You can use a bed, a pillow, or manufacture a short stand like these. To order TEACHING THE PLACE COMMAND by Robin MacFarlane, click here.

Note: Cliff and Shela Nielsen and OwyheeStar Weimaraners are not affiliated with Gun Dog Supply. We do believe in teaching the Weimaraner to settle, and having a place they know to do that is ideal.


~Part One

Thanks for contacting in regard to our OwyheeStar Weimaraner. We are getting a record number of inquiries–it has recently slowed down a bit. COVID-19 is puppies on steroids–we have had more than 300 inquiries since January. Answering everyone and their multitude of understandable questions is a daunting situation. I created a pre-scripted reply that talked about the situation. Here is some of what I have been telling people this year:

We are happy to accept applications for a future puppy. The expected wait should be somewhere between four months and as long as a year–there are many unknowns as well as variables. First, it is going to depend upon your specifications. The more flexible you can be, the quicker the process will go. So, if we have ten families who all want a Blue Female–then the wait for a Blue Female is going to be longer, etc.

Please keep in mind breeding females come into season every six to eight months (typically we don’t mate each time)–a mating doesn’t ensure pups. So, there are no guarantees. And keep in mind, once mated, if they carry to term, it will be about four months until the puppy joins their ‘forever family.’

No one can guess the number of pups, the sex of the pups in the litter, and in some instances, you cannot predict the coat color or the coat length. For the litter with the potential to produce both Longhairs and the traditional smooth coats, typically, we send off DNA to be tested. So–it gets involved. Yes, we realize you can use the ultrasound as well as X-ray, but we hear from people all the time that were waiting months for a Weimaraner pup from someone else, and the pups disappeared–this can happen for a number of reasons.

We have been breeding for more than fifty years and the Weimaraner exclusively for about twenty-five years. If you are interested in getting one of our pups, you should expect to complete the application and, once approved, to give us a non-refundable deposit. Then plan to wait–and we understand it requires a lot of patience and trust, but that is how it typically works.

To save time and help expedite the process, we ask you to put all the details on the application. That way, we do not need to write things out more than once–if everything is on your application, it’s perfect. Plus, I return to the application to review details during the process–you can see this application is essential to our process, and the information on it is invaluable. A scanty application or one that doesn’t have all the details can lead to a misunderstanding–it makes it more challenging to keep the facts straight.

So, if you can wait and are sold on getting a puppy from us–we need your name (first and last, please) and the email you want to use. If you are in a desperate hurry, you might be searching everywhere. Your rush means you will most likely not follow through with us quickly. The delay means that other people are probably making application and being added to the Waitlist–making your wait longer.

We hope this helps you understand our application process, and we want you to know we appreciate your inquiry and the interest in our OwyheeStar Weimaraner. Here is where we want to give our loyal fans a shout-out; we do appreciate you so much. –Shela and Cliff

From Jan Magnuson

We all need to give our dogs interesting, enriched lives and keep their minds and bodies in shape. We like to say “a tired dog is a good dog”, so lots of daily exercise, in addition to training of course, is very important. Providing entertainment like toys is fun for them too, and there are many types of quality dog toys that we can get for our doggies. Folks sometimes say to me “my dog has SO many toys but seems bored with them”, so here is a simple way to make them fun again: rotate! I have a “jillion” toys for my dogs (no surprise ��) so I give them a few each day or two, then put those away and give them a few different ones…it makes me laugh how those toys now seem brand new and novel to my dogs, try it and you will see! Here is Willow with her “new” favorite today, the squeaky pink flamingo!

Jan Magnuson~SUNSTARAll-Breed Dog Training
P.O. Box 98072Des Moines, WA 98198206 241 2908

Breeder Comment

Thanks Jan, for passing along some pointers. We appreciate it. And, we always love hearing about Willow.


~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.

Breeder Comment

Thank you, JuneAnn, for this information.