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Veterinary Care – Alangus Mini Aussies: A Dog Blog
Oct 142014
 

Until Swagger was my keeper to use as a stud dog with my girls, I hadn’t had experience with an intact male and the minor issues that arise.  Swagger is a superb pet while being a major part of my breeding program so I strive to keep him healthy and happy in order to pass along his best traits to the next generation of pups at Alangus Mini & Toy Aussies.

The only true issue that I have encountered is keeping Swagger at an optimum weight.   With the assistance of Dr. Laurelee Rubsch of MVP Vet in Louisville, KY, I have found the perfect combination of food and supplements to keep him feeling his best.   Because there are other dogs in the general population that might encounter similar stumbling blocks (both male and female, breeding and non-breeding), Dr. Rubsch’s holistic approach is worth sharing.

Although my dogs are house dogs and live a basically calm life, there are times that they inadvertently  reach their stress limit, just as we do.  Because of Swagger’s situation with intact girls cycling, he would sometimes be off his food whether it was a time for them to be bred or not.  Once he stopped eating, it seemed a bellyache would start a cycle for him and he blamed the food for his belly ache and then to “save” himself, he didn’t want to eat again, a downhill spiral.

Once I pinpointed that Swagger does much better on kibble that does not contain chicken or chicken fat, that was the first step to his feeling like the little man he was meant to be.  Once I ruled out foods with chicken, it was even more difficult to find foods that did not have chicken fat because it is a staple in the majority of dog foods.  I won’t say that he has an “allergy” to that protein source, but I will say that his stomach flora seems to be much more stable on other proteins.  My veterinarian tells me, as does Internet research that this is very common, more common than I had realized.

My next step was reading about irritable bowel syndrome, which can be a disease, but often is a symptom as in Swagger’s case from the cycle I mentioned earlier.  That led me to adding Tripett Canned Green Tripe  to his daily menu. Tripe is the stomach contents from cud chewing animals and is a natural probiotic. It is not a whole food in itself, but 1/3 can each day gets Swagger off to a good start just like a good breakfast sets us up to perform at our best.  I only feed my girls once each day, but Swagger gets his tripe in the morning as an “extra”.  The girls love it too and I also give them some occasionally, although not on a regular basis.  The canned tripe is available online from www.chewy.com or at some pet supply stores.

Dr. Rubsch advised adding additional probiotics (Probiotic Miracle) to the menu as well as Standard Process Canine Enteric Support powder *1/8 teaspoon of each daily.  On my own, I also added Seacure for Pets because it is touted as another all natural supplement with awesome reviews (and I will add my own).  These 3 supplements along with the tripe have Swagger in the best condition he has ever been in and full of spunk and vinegar as is the saying around here. Note..these products are available on Amazon.

This regimen may seem extra, but I have seen the difference in the health of my boy. It is probable that once Swagger’s digestive system was stabilized, that the supplements could be discontinued but since they are only food source supplements and not drugs, I see no reason to make changes when it is working and working well!  If you find your dog under undue stress for any reason causing a stomach upset or loss of appetite, or they just need a boost to look their fittest, you might consider adding some “yummies” to their diet, but only after your veterinarian has checked them for underlying health problems that need additional treatment.

 

 

 

 

Dec 192013
 

full moonI’m an old country girl, so the axiom “the watched pot never boils” is stuck in my head this morning when looking down at my new litter of six toy and miniature Australian Shepherd puppies (aka Miniature American Shepherds) born December 19, 2013.

I bred my black tri, Fancy, to my blue merle male, Swagger, back in October and the excitement has been building for the puppies to be born.  Even though I breed my girls once a year, having a litter of puppies has not become old hat for me.  I get nervous because I love my dogs and would never intend to jeopardize the health of my female for a litter of puppies.  When I’m nervous, I chatter, so I chatted online with friends the last three days as the time I had calculated for the whelping came.  Luckily, I have three really good friends that share my excitement and in some cases, remind me to breathe and relax a bit!!!

Fancy has a very predictable cycle and has had three litters of puppies in mid December from 2011-2013 within three days on the calendar of each other.  After taking her temperature early yesterday morning and it being 98.2, I knew birthing was eminent within 24 hours. However, when she started the normal shaking and quaking about 10 am and then no signs of puppies, I started to stress “a little” and gave my goto whelping vet a call.  She wasn’t concerned and said call her back if no puppies in 24 hours.  Okay.  Well, about 4 pm, Fancy’s water broke, or in dog terms, one water broke which usually indicates a puppy is in the birth canal and you should be seeing a nose or back end within 10 minutes.  Nothing.  She laid down and decided to take a nap while I paced and texted my friends.

So, what did I do, at 4:30 pm I called my vet again and she assured me that things were fine.  Just take a nap and relax.  My husband was making peanut butter balls for some of his friends for Christmas, so I ate a couple, thinking sugar was the perfect medicine.  Six pm passed and 7 was on the clock and no puppy.  Hmmm, the 10 minutes was long gone and I begin to wonder if a little ground hog baby that might have been in that sac of water was laying crossways in the birth canal holding up the train.  Yes, I called the vet again, after hours, and pleaded with her to meet me at the office just to be sure things were okay.  Dr. Ross at PeWee Valley Vet is awesome and I could see her smile on the other end of the line and she told me to meet her there in 15 minutes.

I packed up Fancy into a crate just in case, loaded my warming box for puppies, just in case, and took off.  After an ultrasound on that cool equipment that Dr. Ross has, she told me not to worry, relax, the water I saw was a bag without a puppy that bitches often have.  She said nature has a way of opening the birth canal for the real puppies with that bogus bag of water sometimes.  She also told me to expect puppies within the hour.

8 pm, 9 pm, 10 pm…..no puppies.  Fancy was panting and doing the weird stuff that girls do when they are trying to birth a baby, but no babies.   By then, I was like….come on Fancy, push those pups outta there.  Oh, and I gave her ice cream which I always do when she is whelping because it gives her some sugar for energy, some calcium to help her contractions and helps cool her down from all the panting.

Just before midnight, I woke Paul up from his slumber (haha) and told him to get downstairs because I was seeing a puppy bubble.  Wooohoooo!!!  A bubble with a puppy inside!!!!   And, headed out into the real world!!!

From that point on, Fancy delivered quite naturally and without any kind of issues, five little mini or toy Aussie puppies.  Three of them (all boys) were merles and one black tri girl and one black tri boy.  I remembered the 2012 surprise puppy, so I started to straighten up the gear but I didn’t totally put things away.  I gave my good girl a smooch to tell her thanks for her hard work and walked over to my couch which has its back to the whelping pen to send a couple of emails to tell my friends that all was well.

Five minutes at the max, I walked back over to the bed and saw blood on the pad.  Ah oh, I thought Fancy had done a number on somebody’s belly button since she is a licker and can get pretty wild with her cleaning duties.  I picked up a little black tri and saw it’s button was a little red so I pressed a Quik Stop pad on it.  It was kind of wet and I thought, oh Fancy, you lick too much so I rubbed the puppy a bit with a cloth and stuck her on a nipple to get some milk.  Remember, it is 3 am.

Then, I looked down and what??????  I’m counting six puppies and before there were only five!!!  Fancy, you tricked me again and gave us a surprise puppy.  How did you get that little girl birthed and cleaned up in the time it took me to type a short paragraph email?

So…the night ended about 3 am on December 19 with six gorgeous little puppy dogs.  Swagger is a daddy!!!  Izzy is a grandmother!!!  And, I’m happy to have another sweet litter on the ground on this Full Moon in December 2013.

Flea Prevention

 Dog Flea Prevention, Veterinary Care  Comments Off on Flea Prevention
Nov 242013
 

fleaLuckily, I have not YET struggled with fleas or mites on my dogs, but like everything else, most likely my time may be coming.  No dog nor home is totally immune because we are not separate from our environment.  There are many products on the market and I will give my personal experience with the ones that I have used.

As a preface to the discussion, some dogs, particularly dogs in the herding breeds can carry MDR1 reactivity so it is good to know your dog and their bloodline.  In my case, I have tested my adult dogs and they are MDR1 Normal which takes that issue off the table for me and stops that genetic issue from passing to my puppies.  However, if you are unsure about your dog, ask your veterinarian about the safety of specific products containing avermectin or its derivatives before getting your prescriptions.

I am deciding not to add links to the individual products nor to describe the particular way they work in the dog’s system, but rather to discuss my personal experiences.  There is no way, in my limited expertise, that I can give that any credence and much more reliable information is available elsewhere.

Frontline is a topical product for flea and tick prevention and that only.  It is an old product and has been around for most likely 20+ years and is available over the counter and online without a vet’s script.  It works reasonably well for the “brand” of flea in the Kentucky area, but since it does not include heartworm prevention, I marked it off my list.  Before Interceptor left the US markets, I used the two in combination and was quite pleased with the result.  If you are in an area of the country where heartworm is not an issue, Frontline is still a viable choice for you.

Revolution has been my brand of choice for several years and I’m still using it, with some rotation in my monthly applications.  It too is topical and in the case of my dogs, has given me no skin allergic reactions.  I am always careful to apply topicals in the evening  just before the dogs go to their crates to sleep so they don’t  play and lick each other and perhaps ingest the chemical.  Revolution is an avermectin product and prevents fleas and heartworms.  One of the vets here suggested it also helps with intestinal worms although is not listed on the product description.  I am hearing there are flea mutations in some areas, particularly the South, that are resisting this treatment although it hasn’t been an issue for me yet.

Another topical which I have added to my list recently is Advantage Multi because it is full spectrum against fleas, mites, heartworms and also all 3 of the intestinal worms that plague dogs.  I treated all my dogs for the first time in early November and saw no side effects so I may likely move to this product full time, depending on the competitive pricing with Revolution.  I have chosen Revolution and also Advantage because both are advertised as being safe for breeding dogs which applies to me, but perhaps not to you.

Trifexis is another new product on the market and it is in pill form.  I have read reviews quite extensively and also talked to my vet personally about this product from the standpoint of safety.  As a layman, I realize that medicines that are trans dermal are not so different than those that enter the digestive tract, but somehow, I am more leery of the latter which is just a personal thing.  In the summer, I did a round of Trifexis with each of my 5 dogs at the time and saw no reactivity.  However, I was very careful to follow dosing instructions and give the tablet with a FULL meal.  After doing that dose, I read the warning more closely and saw that it was perhaps a bit iffy with breeding dogs, so have not continued this medication except for with Ike and Izzy, my neutered dogs.  Most likely, when the box I have is gone, I will not purchase again at this time.

Comfortis is not a product I have used, but one of my young dogs owned by my daughter was fighting “southern” fleas from South Carolina and also a low grade mite infection around one of her eyes and this product seemed to do what the others could not, rid her of the problem.  That is my only advertisement and from what I read online this morning, it is a flea prevention product only so another product must be used in conjunction for heartworm and intestinal worms.

I am adding one last item.  I have for many years given my dogs a brewers yeast/garlic tablet on a regular basis for the only reason that naturalists suggest this supplement helps the dogs not be so “tasty” to those little bugs that haunt them.  The added benefit is a nice shiny hair coat.  Does it really work?  Doesn’t hurt.

Those of you that read my Blog or FB regularly and have used other products successfully with your Mini Aussies are encouraged to post or reply your experiences with additional flea prevention products.  I learn from you and then others can as well.

Any additional information about my dogs can be found at Alangus Aussies

 

Dec 182012
 

Mini Aussie and litter of puppies

We decided to load up the motorhome and start the trek home to Kentucky from Hilton Head Island on Sunday, December 16 since Fancy seemed to be holding stable.  She had held off, so we had our fingers crossed that perhaps her body was telling her to wait for her own bed and safety zone.

Of course…not to be and as I originally predicted..day 74 from first show, the exact same time interlude as her litter in 2011.  We stopped for the night in Maggie Valley, NC at the base of the Smokey Mountains in the campground we typically use when traveling on I-40, Creekwood Farm RV Park.  It was pouring rain, so luckily we stopped a little early, around 6 pm.  By 8, Fancy was panting and pacing and crying just a little and there was no doubt, it was happening.  I gathered all the supplies and we got ourselves set to help her and for an all-night stint.  Why is it that it always starts just at bedtime?

At 9:15, the first puppy appeared and struggled a bit to finish its  entry into the world.  We cut the cord and helped it along and found the reason it was hanging back was that two puppies were trying to come down the chute at the same time.  Oops, one at a time please!  Things progressed well, with just a few glitches, but nothing serious.  By 2 am, we had 5 puppies and since the ultra sound had shown 5 heartbeats, our sigh of relief could be heard through the valley.  We straightened up the supplies and Paul went to bed and I stayed on the couch so I could monitor.  At about 4 am, the babies were squeaking a bit and I woke from my coma to check on them and found another baby entering the world.  Oh My!!!  The little blue merle boy was the biggest of the lot and ready for milk right now, or yesterday even!  Paul says this one should be named “Tardy” 🙂  We ended the night with 3 girls and 3 boys, 3 black tris and 3 blue merles.

Because I’m one to try to be as prepared as possible, I had already gathered vet info for the area and set my alarm for 730 am.  I wasn’t sure the last placenta delivered and Fancy hadn’t totally settled as mamas usually do after whelping, so I called a local vet office to ask about an Oxytocin clean out shot for her. My local vet felt like I shouldn’t risk waiting just in case because of the possibility of infection or even another puppy.  Dr. Gibson at Animal Hospital of Waynesville was so helpful and worked us into her schedule for the morning, something a lot of veterinarians just won’t do, especially for a traveler that will probably never be back.  X-rays and an exam didn’t indicate problems, but we opted for the clean out shot and a round of antibiotics.  We then loaded up to continue our ride back toward LaGrange Kentucky.

The shot gave Fancy a little discomfort because just like a similar drug for laboring people, it “induced” contractions to push out any residue that might need to be released.  Within the hour, she was obviously feeling better and laid down quietly to snuggle her new family.  The puppies had already nursed non stop for 12 hours and their little flat bellies had  rounded out and little squeaks of content could be heard on occasion.

I can’t help but interject Paul and my discussion here as we drove down the road with mama and 6 sweet little Mini Aussie puppies.  The production of a new living being is a miraculous event whether it be an animal or our more precious skin children.  There is just no way it could be a random freak of nature coming about with so much precision and in such a complicated way.

Fancy is a wonderful mom to her babies and once settled into her x-pen in our sun room, she is just relaxing and making milk to feed six hungry little mouths. We had a very nice vacation with our daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren and our “fancy girl” but coming home is always sweet.  We had missed our pooches left behind with the petsitter on this trip.

Stay tuned for updates on these puppies!  Additional info can be found at my website www.alangusaussies.com.

 Posted by at 5:18 pm
Sep 132012
 

Izzy, our blue merle mini Aussie just turned four last week and has given us two very nice litters of puppies. However, she struggles to whelp and when her last litter had to be taken by C-section, I determined to have her spayed after her recovery period of a few months. The vet that performed the section did not advocate a spay during delivery because of the risk of bleeding and extra stress on her with nursing babies.  Our dogs are first and foremost our companions.

Izzy had the normal pre-op fast and she went in early in the morning for her surgery so she would have the day to recover before closing time. I chose to have the additional blood work done to ensure her safety and also to have pain meds administered. The vet I used called me after blood work and again at the end of the surgery because she knows I’m a worrier. Izzy did great with no complications during the procedure to remove both her ovaries and uterus.  My vet is a traditionalist although she does use glue in lieu of sutures that have to be removed.  I know in some clinics, laser procedures are being done and I read it speeds recovery time.

Because I’m relatively dog smart, the doc sent her home to my care by noon instead of keeping her the full day. She was still groggy and glassy eyed, but walked out on her own steam. When we got home, I gave her the chance to get a little drink and then I put her in her crate away from my other dogs to sleep it off. I withheld food and water to prevent her getting sick.

By late afternoon, she was ready for a small meal and a drink. I took her out to potty and then back to her safe place. She was still feeling sleepy. I remembered  that she had had antibiotics so I gave her some probiotics to help her stomach flora stay balanced. The evening came and went and she slept all night in her crate by our bed. By morning, she was her tail waggin, bebopping self.  I continued to walk her on leash and limit her jumping for another couple of days, but by day 3, I just let her be.  Her 1-1/2″ incision looked good and she was not licking or bothering it at all.  My vet did not mention her wearing a cone, although I know some do.  In her case, it was not necessary.

I have to admit that I’m sad to know that Izzy will not be able to produce any more babies, but I do have Swagger as her progeny and to keep her intelligent bloodline. I’m sure she will continue to help me train any new puppies that come along.  She has a way with them to teach them manners without intimidation.

It is advisable to have your dog spayed or neutered unless you intend to breed them, and then only if you understand all the ramifications of a breeding program.  Having a female dog in heat is quite a nuisance for 3 weeks about every 6 months and unplanned litters are nothing to scoff at.  All the females I have owned over my 40 years of having dogs have been spayed except for the two that I will now be breeding, Fancy and Rosie.  Recovery time is minimal as is the expense, even for worriers like me.

 Posted by at 8:16 pm