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Everything posted by mjk05

  1. We use our pet lambs as training sheep. We have about 20 of them now, yearlings up to 12 year olds- most of the ewes are out with mobs having lambs, and just come back to the house paddock later in the year, and the wethers hang out with our training sheep (cripples and random leftovers). So we have 30-50 sheep in the training paddock, and up to half of them can be ex-pets. Pet lambs go out with that mob as soon as they are off milk/milk replacement pellets, and we work them around with experienced dogs until they learn to stick with the other sheep. They make reasonable training sheep for young dogs- the only issue is their tendency to lean on legs, and lack of brakes when being pushed too hard.
  2. mjk05


    Yes, we've had a few TNS carriers (have 3 at the moment aged between 12 and 5, and my parents' 10yo ex-working pet dog is a TNS carrier too), and no, none of them have ever had reactions to vaccinations or intermittent fevers or any issues with blood results. We don't do rabies vaccination, so I don't know about that, but our TNS-affected puppies did have minor vaccine reactions (localised swelling, mild malaise) to usual puppy vax. None of the carriers have shown any abnormalities.
  3. Orivet do an individual test for AU$75 but a full breed panel including CL, IGS for $150 (AU, so US$107). Compare that to CEA, which has a similar incidence of severe disease- AU$200 for a single test. Even in the past, TNS done individually by UniNSW was AU$55, and our small working sheepdog community negotiated a discounted price for group testing. I imagine a group like the ABCA would have significantly more bargaining power than 30 rural West Australian sheepdog triallers. Once many local breeders identified the majority of dogs that are clear, they rarely test unless using untested dogs. I don't think I see TNS where it isn't- I am open to the possibility that it's presenting without being identified. I still haven't seen any affected pups other than ours (although I have heard of them, in other working litters). Those pedigrees have well known working dogs on both sides, and it came from somewhere. The pedigrees don't have one easily identifiable common line. We don't know where it came from. So without testing, we don't know where it is going. If I were expending significant time and effort in breeding a litter, I would want to take the relatively simple step of DNA testing to make sure I knew where I stood on these easily avoidable diseases.
  4. Of course I assume you mean "a working dog... Or a working bred litter that was affected in the U.S." TNS is almost certainly underdiagnosed and poorly understood. The Israeli article I linked to earlier was very interesting for its mention of HOD as a concurrent diagnosis- that's what our later presenting TNS pup was provisionally diagnosed with (by a specialist vet centre with past experience with TNS). Osteomyelitis, gastroenteritis, respiratory tract infections, fading puppy syndrome- all potentially TNS-related. If they're fatal before extensive investigations are conducted, TNS could easily be missed.
  5. Some of the more successful and popular working border collies of recent years. Dogs that (rightfully) have a lot of first degree relatives being produced and producing around the working border collie world. Those don't have to be mutually exclusive, though, do they? We can breed with concern for maintaining genetic diversity AND perform cheap and simple genetic tests for known diseases.
  6. Yes, we're aware of EOD and keep it in mind when looking at dogs. If there was a simple cheap genetic test for EOD, then yes, absolutely we would test for it. Yes, we have tested for IGS since a cheap, simple test (like that for TNS) became available. Why wouldn't we? I have never met or heard of a local dog with IGS (or confirmed CEA in our state either, FWTW) but if the test is easily performed and affordable, it seems like a total no-brainer. If a test (such as gonioscopy or screening echo or BAER) was very expensive and logistically difficult (given we are a fair distance from the only city in our state with such facilities) AND the likely yield was not really high (ie those tests for conditions where mode/degree of inheritance is murky) then we would think hard and possibly elect not to do them. But a test like IGS or TNS these days? Of course. Because then (if I had the opportunity) I could confidently use a top dog like Llangwm Cap or one of those listed above (the Dewi Tweed offspring or Nij Vyas' young dog) to outcross to one of our dogs (lovely low COI!) and know that the pups would absolutely not be TNS affected. Wouldn't you?
  7. Did you look at those pedigrees linked to above, Mark?
  8. So that's fairly significant for an inevitably fatal disease, no? Much higher than rates of cystic fibrosis in the Caucasian population. If we compare to CEA, the Optigen website lists the rates (from eye testing in the 90s, presumably even lower that) of the severe manifestations of CEA/CH as 0.57% for coloboma, and 0.06% for retinal detachment. So similar to or lower than the quoted incidence of TNS (if we believe that). Obviously for breeders, CEA is more of a threat because it isn't fatal and genetically affected dogs can breed, significantly raising the allele frequency in the population beyond what is possible with TNS. But from a puppy buyers POV, there may be as much risk (or more) of getting a pup that dies of TNS as one that goes blind from CEA, if parents are untested. That's why it really surprises me that it isn't more publicised for working dog breeders. It isn't even mentioned on the ABCA website page on inherited disease. And so easily tested for! Check out the pedigrees listed above- various prominent, top working lines (honestly, look at them!), not heavily inbred. With international AI breeding so popular now, and top sires producing pups all over the world, the potential for TNS to crop up without awareness and testing must be increasing. Why is this still considered not really worth testing for? As far as the original question, re the word "widespread", I think its intended meaning was "spread across the population"- not necessarily common, but present in border collies around the world.
  9. Massive apologies for my massive overuse of the word "massive" in that last post. For those who are interested in the sorts of dogs that might have carriers in their lines (I know previously there's been some pedigree analysis to try to identify common ancestors), here's another pedigree of a really well bred dog tested as a carrier. And please do check out the pedigrees I linked above. I'm just so glad we have a simple, relatively cheap test that can prevent affected puppies being produced when such quality dogs are used extensively (as they should be).
  10. So, just to check because it's not my area, an allele frequency of 0.06 (which is what Wilton and Shearman reported in that study) would give a carrier frequency of about 12%, which is about what they've been quoted in other articles (Mason, Jepson, Maltman 2013). And a carrier frequency of 12% would be about 1 in 8.5 dogs? (edited to remove my erroneous comment about CEA- which apparently has an affected/incidence rate of 2.5%, so a carrier frequency of about 25%, but of course is not fatal, and many genetically affected dogs will have normal vision) Oh, I totally agree with you. They did try to reduce sample bias by eliminating dogs from known carrier parents, but I still really wonder where they got their samples. We did send in samples in 2006 (from dogs related to our TNS pups), and later on our sheepdog organisation did collections for (paid) testing at trials, and most people agreed to use of those samples for research, but I don't know if they were used for this study. And there were a significant number of dog owners who elected not to test, so it was somewhat skewed towards those with lines related to our affected pups. But I'm pretty sure there was no widespread sampling of Australian working dogs outside our isolated state. And anecdotally, I find it hard to believe that there is a TNS affected rate of 1 in 250, which I believe is what you'd expect from the allele frequency you've quoted above (correct me if I'm wrong, not my area). It is obviously poorly understood even now, and almost certainly frequently missed (interesting case from Israel Journal of Vet Medicine here, Gans 2015, where HOD was also diagnosed- that was the working diagnosis for one of our TNS pups also- "TNS is a relatively newly recognized disease entity, which has been identified in Britain and Australia since the 1990’s but relatively little has been published about it and its existence is not widely known in the practicing veterinary community. "). But 1 in 250 AFFECTED? Unless there is massively unrecognised in utero loss as a TNS presentation, I think that's got to be a massive overestimate. But it is almost certainly more common than anyone believed 10 years ago (when I was happily telling people it was a show dog disease, not found in working lines), or even 5 years ago. And when at least a couple of the ISDS International Supreme Champions in the past decade are either tested carriers, likely carriers or close relatives of carriers, I'm surprised that there isn't more widespread testing (or at least publicity about testing) in working dog circles. I'm massively saddened to still be hearing, just in this past year, of puppies bred by conscientious working dog breeders, taken home by experienced dog owners, no issues recognised, and later dying of TNS. It just shouldn't be happening with the available test. But, probably because of the lack of knowledge of the disease or the test among working dog breeders and their vets, and possibly because of that stigma and the persisting belief that this is mostly a disease of show dogs, it will keep happening.
  11. Which population studies are those, Mark? It doesn't seem that there is widespread testing yet, although obviously increasing. I definitely agree care needs to be taken, especially when carriers feature among such prominent dogs as recent IntSup Chs (which deserve to have a significant influence on the gene pool). Now the test is so cheap and easy and DNA testing for other conditions (like CEA) is being done by so many breeders worldwide, it seems irrelevant how widespread or not it is, why wouldn't we test?
  12. It's not really known how widespread it is, but in every population where testing is performed, it seems to be more common than predicted, and it certainly isn't limited just to show dogs. Testing is much cheaper now than it used to be, and I'd definitely be testing from any dogs I thought might be bred from. Getting either a clear or carrier result allows breeding without worrying about producing affected pups. There are some absolutely top shelf working lines with known carriers (Nat. and Int. Sup. Ch.s), so having information about your own lines can be really useful. Of course, there is still the stigma hanging over from past years (TNS = show dogs/poor breeding), and some breeders believe they'd definitely have noticed such a disease in their lines, so there's still reluctance to test or to even consider the issue, and that does make me sad. I heard recently about someone who bought a working-bred pup from a pretty experienced breeder with top dogs and a good reputation on the other side of the country (Australia) and lost it to TNS at about 4 months of age. Apparently it was a very healthy happy looking pup at the time of sale. A couple of interesting pedigrees to check out: Llangwm Cap, doesn't really need any introduction- advertised semen on the Come-Bye website, TNS carrier Dot, a Czech dog, all ISDS lines, TNS carrier- info here Jimmy- info here, TNS carrier Blaze and Bess - half siblings to Dot and to Jimmy's dam As testing is now cheaper and easier and becomes more common in working lines, I'm sure we'll have more information about its prevalence.
  13. This is a hard one to prove. There's undoubtedly been dingo-dog crossbreeding in the background of the kelpie, but I'm not convinced it fully explains ee red in our working dogs. Anecdotally, I do know of at least one dog with apparently all UK breeding that was ee red (owned by a local obedience/agility judge before she moved to Australia), but when you look back at the kelpie history records, some of these early dogs recently bred from imported working dogs looked like dingoes- it's often assumed that these "red" pups were brown/chocolate, but it seems far more logical that these were ee red. From the WKC website: The following description by Mr Phil Mylecharane gives an idea of what Brutus and Jenny looked like and their working ability. 'In 1870 I went out to Mr Allen, of Geraldra Station, to buy flock rams for Goldsborough Mort and Company. When I got there Mr Allen told me the rams were out in the paddock, but he would soon get them in for me. So saying he opened the yard gate, whistled up two smooth, prick-eared black and tan dogs, a male and a female, and sent them out into the paddock. In a very short time they were back with the rams, and put them into the yard. I never saw dogs work sheep like these two did, and noticing that the bitch had pups, made up my mind that I must have one. So after I bought the rams (I took a big lot of them) I asked Mr Allen where he got those dogs. His answer was that they had just imported them from Scotland from a wonderful working strain there; the dog's name was Brutus and the slut Jenny. I asked for a pup. He told me there was only one left, and he thought I wouldn't like its colour. We went around to see the pups, and he pointed mine out, a little red-coloured one, exactly like a dingo; the rest were black and tan. I thought that it was a dingo. Mr Allen assured me that this was impossible, as the pups were sired on board, and every care taken. He advised me to take the pup, and he would write home to the breeders and see about it. I took his advice and the pup. The latter turned out a splendid worker. After having him for two years he was stolen from me down at Coolagong, near Forbes. The next time I saw Mr Allen he told me that the breeders of Brutus and Jenny had written back to say that in nearly every litter they got a similar pup to mine and that they were great workers’. I don't think we'll ever know for sure.
  14. I think it must depend on the dogs. I was expecting all sorts of problems with my dogs and my kids, and haven't had any yet (touch wood!)- kids are now 5yo and 2yo, so babyhoods are almost over. None of our house dogs seem to have an issue with babies or our small kids, and in fact they mostly seem to really like them. The dog I was most worried about (a bit neurotic, not a fan of strange people, obsessed with me, slept on the bed) seemed to instantly recognise our children (especially the eldest) as part of me, and he'll follow them around like a nanny, lying down next to them if they stop to do something. The biggest issue we currently have with the kids and dogs is the dogs that are too enthusiastic with greetings or play, and knock small kids over, and one bitch who guards the kids against our other dogs. I haven't cracked down on this much because it's fairly subtle (body blocking etc) and has actually been handy to stop boisterous pups jumping into the pram etc, but in retrospect I think this was a mistake and I should have stopped it earlier. We have had our most recent puppy chasing and nipping at the kids when they run, but the kids seem to have largely dealt with this themselves and now she's 6 months she seems to have grown out of it. The other problem we've had has been with old dogs being hurt by the kids, and my eldest dog (a badly arthritic cattle dog) was wary of the baby when he started toddling. In my own experience, for what that's worth, some border collies are good with kids, some aren't. I'm sorry your dog hasn't taken to family life as you'd hoped, but kids grow quickly, and hopefully as you said, once they're old enough to engage with the dog in his favourite activities, they'll become good friends.
  15. The same with us (in Australia), Julie. We sell most of our lambs as soon as possible after weaning, mostly straight to abattoir. Less time here = less input costs like drenching, shearing, and more available pasture for the ewes, and available paddocks for cropping. Possibly if we had year-round pasture available we might keep them longer, but there would still be input for worm control/shearing etc, and really there's not much increase in value keeping them longer- they're pretty well-grown at weaning, definitely not 'baby' lambs. I guess that's about breed/trait selection for your farming system too- over here, if you need to keep lambs for much longer to get decent weights, you probably should be looking for another breed.
  16. That's the classical Kiwi "handy dog"- heading dog x huntaway. My father-in-law actually has a version of the "handy dog"- a border collie-huntaway cross. As far as I'm aware, they can vary depending on lines, but tend to be loose-eyed, good on a mob and in the yards, perhaps not great for a few sheep. Oakie (FIL's bitch) must be 14 or 15 now, still sound and working (has spent most of this week bringing in mobs for preg-testing). My brother-in-law's dog is a kelpie-huntaway cross, but from a yardy-type kelpie, and he's an excellent yard dog. We have a dog from a line of huntaway-kelpie mixes bred by a local sheepdog trialler- much more huntaway than kelpie, lots of bark, very free backing and yardy, no eye at all. He is used only in yards here, but his breeder has run his huntaways/huntaway/kelpies in our 3 sheep trials with a fair bit of success. And there's another local trialler who had a pretty nice kelpie-collie-huntaway mix that he used to trial, she looked and worked basically like a kelpie or collie, but would sometimes have a bit of a woof at critical moments. I love the huntaway nature and temperament, rock solid dogs, but I can't handle the barking.
  17. We live in the first shire (like a county, I guess) in our state to have one million sheep- the locals are very proud of it Of course, sheep numbers have fallen significantly in recent years, and last thing I heard they were down to 70-something million nationally. Climate might be a big issue- sheep management in very cold winters is something we don't have to deal with. But maybe it's also cultural (farming culture as well as market demand), because over here, sheep can be very useful even in broad acre cropping, for weed control etc. Most of our friends who are primarily cropping also run some sheep. Could be, or maybe she wasn't visiting the right areas? Or the hills got in the way ? I do remember sheep from a holiday in NZ, but mainly from a farmstay rather than driving around. I don't remember noting lots of sheep when I lived in the UK, or even from some driving holidays there. But maybe that's a relativity thing, as you suggested, or that I wasn't in the most heavily sheep-populated places.
  18. If she were my pup, I probably wouldn't do anything with her on sheep for a while. She's pretty young, she has a confidence issue which is showing up on sheep, and practising the bolting as a response to her anxiety might make it worse. She doesn't really need to be training now, plenty of time later. One of my current trial dogs actually came to me because he was doing a similar thing- he started nicely, balanced well, but when the handler put any pressure on him (and sometimes not in response to any apparent pressure) he would do a bunk. The weekend I picked him up, he was being shown to prospective buyers and bolted out of the round yard and hid under the ute. He was 9 months old. I took him to rehome as a pet, spent a few months bonding with him and decided to keep him. We didn't restart on sheep for quite a while, and even then he would get quite anxious if I put any pressure on (didn't quit with me, but would get stressed, zoomy and couldn't listen). He did best being allowed to work in a low pressure environment- out of the round yard and in a bigger paddock, no rakes or sticks and with me trying not to "dog perve" or face up to him. I couldn't pin him down with commands for quite a while, but he's got much better and I can now growl at him and insist on winning any arguments, and he won't stress. With young dogs who lack confidence, I like to put them in a low-handler-input environment, like holding up in a force or the last few minutes of getting a mob into the yards, with an experienced older dog who doesn't need any instruction, and just let them enjoy working without any handler pressure. Lass doesn't look like she would do much wrong, so she'd be fine. You can build relationship away from sheep, and then put it together with her enthusiasm for work later. I don't think she's getting to the head in that video, and I don't know whether that's because she's naturally short heading, or because of the round yard environment and having the sheep go round and round you, or because she's a bit anxious and holding back (or some of all of the above). If it's environmental/stress related, I think that not being able to get to the head can be dissatisfying/stressful for some dogs, and that be making her more likely to quit. For recalls, I'd work on them heaps off sheep, and if you're going to work her on sheep you could just use a long line if you need to, or just block her with body position until she calls off, without making a big deal about it. I'd kind of expect a 9mo pup to be a bit cheeky and reluctant to call off sheep. I do use a different recall from my general obedience one though, so it's just a sheep-specific issue. That's my pretty novice opinion, for what it's worth.
  19. No, not just you. I must have missed some of those the first time I watched it (very slow internet at the moment) but if that were my dog I'd be really unhappy with that sort of biting, and even more unhappy that those shots made it onto the video. But it's beautifully shot, and lovely to watch apart from the biting.
  20. We couldn't do it that way, we just don't have the manpower. We don't have any employees and the kids aren't old enough to help, so with family members and the odd ring-in we'd be lucky to have 6 or 7 people total, and really have to get it done in under a week, because it's a busy time of year. Sheesh- I thought merino ewes were bad! What breed are they? Our ewes don't like people or yards, but they'll usually look for their lambs in the large yards. We'd do ours in mobs of 500 or less ewes most of the time, and take them back out into paddocks (fields) as a mob when they're done.
  21. Mulesing is removing skin from a small area of the breech of merino lambs so it heals smooth and without wool. It's done to reduce flystrike in the breech. The area done is heaps smaller than anything you'll see in animal lib videos. It has to be done by an accredited person, and there are anaesthetic/antispetic sprays to use. There's an article on it from the RSPCA which is quite balanced (they don't oppose it because at present, like for tail docking, there's no feasible alternative in many areas): RSPCA Most of our lambs are prime lamb crossbreds, so they don't need mulesing. We lambmark in August, so in our winter, just before the flies usually (although some years they are quite bad then already). We have heaps of flies in general, it's one of primary causes of sheep loss here (mainly breech strike on adult sheep, although in wet years like this year we've had a lot of body strike too). You can use Trisolfen, the local anaesthetic and antiseptic, for tail docking and I would imagine knife castration, and we use insect repellent sprays for late marked lambs, which seem to work pretty well. What sort of table do you use? Are the lambs in cradles? We have a rotating stand with 4 cradles, so one person catches lambs and clips them into the cradle, they get vaccinated, ear tagged and earmarked, ram lambs banded and tails docked with gas knife, so each person stays at their station, and the stand turns to switch lambs. It's easy to do 1000 a day with just 5 people, and we tend to standn the mobs for a while to mother up again. It looks just like the one pictured in this article: Lamb marking in style
  22. That's fantastic! Is it a European band?
  23. Yeah, I must have ingested a fair amount of sheep poo without even trying. I don't seem to be able to go in even slightly muddy yards without ending up with muck across my face. Both my kids have munched on a few pellets too. Hopefully building immunity to something... I'm sure it depends on the circumstances- maybe ages of lambs, breeds of sheep- but we'd mark 800- 1000 lambs a day with 4 people on a mulesing cradle, someone else pushing up. Good professional teams are probably much faster. Most people here do band nuts, rather than surgically castrate, but then mulesing takes a while too. Merinos are notoriously bad mums, but then our paddocks are generally smaller (hundreds of acres), so that evens out.
  24. Which can of worms? I must have missed that one. I wonder what sort of 'event' it was, and why they were castrating instead of banding? Just rereading the article, apparently 12 people took several days to mark just 1600 lambs, so you'd have to think they'd have been better off banding from an efficiency perspective.
  25. That's the way it often used to be done in the UK as well as Australia. Apparently it's easy to get a grip and crushes the tissue at the same time, to reduce bleeding. If anyone has read Great Australian Working Dog Stories (good book, btw), there's at least one story there that mentions castrating with teeth (one of Geoff Blight's stories from his contracting days). Why is that? You think it makes a difference to the lambs? They get their nuts cut off either way, and I'm told castrating using teeth is quick and reduces bleeding. I can't imagine contractors who castrate thousands of lambs a day would do it otherwise. Obviously it has its downsides, but I'm not sure why they "deserved" what they got. ETA: in answer to this: Everyone I know bands ram lambs, and we use a gas knife on the tails. ETAgain to say I just googled quickly, and found this, which says in part: Off-topic, but the article had me hair-tearing just for its repeated references to campylobacter as a virus.
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