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Posts posted by juliepoudrier

  1. My Pip, who will be 14 in July, was dx with early renal failure a couple of years ago. He’s kibble fed, so I immediately switched him to the lowest phosphorous commercial kibble I could find (FirstMate senior weight control).  The phosphorus isn’t quite as low as with the Rx diets, but he’s getting slightly lower protein and it’sa *high-quality* protein (vs most, if not all, Rx diets, which use corn as the main protein source). Thinking has definitely changed over the years and my preference is to slightly limit protein, but to use high quality protein, and to limit phosphorous. Pip’s bloodwork values have been holding pretty steady and I’m good with that. Eventually he may require fluid therapy, but even that isn’t a difficult undertaking. 

    I have a friend who managed two elderly dogs with renal failure. I took care of them when she had to travel. She did homemade diets for both, tailored individually by a nutritionist. They both did really well for quite some time.

     I’ve had numerous cats who required management for CRF. Some went years on special diets and sub Q fluids. 

    Most side effects can be managed. I always felt that as long as my pet still seemed to enjoy life then I’d do what I could to keep them happy and comfortable. 


  2. Even smooth can come in varying degrees, from slick with no undercoat to pretty darn thick and fluffy. For example (not the best photo, sorry) the red dog Kite in front is much smoother than the white dog (Pip) behind him, who has a big old ruff around his neck (which has gotten thicker with age, he’s couple months shy of 14), but has more coat than the two slick dogs (one barely visible, often referred to as “bare skinned” in the UK) behind the white dog (Birdie and Dove). A couple dogs further back (behind the two smiths who are side by side) is another type of smooth: Corbie is slick on his sides but quite rumpled down his back!



  3. I agree with Mark. Most of my dogs are smooth coats because less stuff attaches to them, namely burrs, briars, and the like. Burrs aren’t a huge problem on my farm, but briars are. 

    That said, my newest puppy is a rough coat. Although not my preference, the breeding was something I didn’t want to pass up (closely related on one side to my best ever stockdog), so I’ll deal with the things that attach to her coat. 


  4. Re: low blood sugar. Yes, seizures cause intense muscle activity (tremors) and a dog can be ravenous during the post-ictal phase (post seizure but still not quite normal). I used to be a once-a-day feeder but because there’s some belief that consistent blood sugar levels are better for epileptics I started feeding my epi dog twice a day. 

    Most cases of idiopathic (no known cause—which is most cases) epilepsy develop between 1 and 6. After 6 I’d be looking for other organic causes in addition to considering epilepsy. 

    It sounds as if your dog had a grand mal seizure the first time around. Seizures that occur in groups are called cluster seizures. I understand them to be more dangerous because it can be more difficult to get them stopped and of course  the act is dissing repeatedly can raise body temperature dangerously high abs also affect the brain.  The somewhat dazed phase after a seizure is called the post-ictal period. That period can vary in length and the dog may appear mostly normal to mostly out of it, depending on the dog. 

    Do not try to handle your dog in the midst of a seizure. They are unaware and can accidentally bite you. If the dog is in a location where it could be in danger then do try to move it, but be careful. You indicated that you have a second dog—be sure to restrain that dog away from the seizing dog. Things like seizures can trigger attacks from pack mates. Also when you leave the house consider separating the dogs. My Phoebe was perfectly house trained, but for her own safety, should she seize while no one was around, she was crated when I wasn’t home. 

    One thing you can do right now is keep a seizure diary. Note length of seizure, any behaviors before onset, any activities or unusual occurrences the day of a seizure. The idea us to see if there's a pattern to the onset of seizures. 

    Seizures, even in idiopathic epilepsy, may have triggers—something that wouldn’t bother a normal dog but that could elicit a seizure in a dog with a lower threshold to that thing or things. For example, your other dog not might be bothered by a flea medication that is deemed perfectly safe but your epileptic dog might have a “sensitivity” to an ingredient in the same medication that results in a seizure. Caveat: sometimes you’ll be able to identify triggers (the diary helps) and sometimes you won’t. 

    There is a canine epilepsy group on Facebook if you happen to be on FB. There used to be a listserv group as well but I don’t know if it still exists. 

    At any rate, I’d avoid foods and anything else that you think could be triggering (mice and mouse poop are unlikely; some feed ingredients could be possibilities) and pay close attention to the things that occur with your dog in the day leading up to a seizure. (I know you can’t predict seizures, so you just need to take mental or physical notes daily for a while, again looking for patterns). 

    And although we’re all social distancing, more than one seizure—and especially cluster seizures—merit a vet visit or at least a consult. Usually, by the time you get to the vet after a seizure the dog appears normal and the bloodwork is unremarkable. BUT, just in case there is an organic cause to the seizures you should have bloodwork done so you can rule out disease or metabolic issues as a cause for seizures. 

    Finally, there are a lot of medications available to control seizures. My dog was put on phenobarbital and was completely controlled for the rest of her life. Many vets don’t like to prescribe it now in favor of newer meds that might have fewer side effects (Pb can cause liver damage over the long term), but I also hear of people struggling to get seizures under control with some of the newer meds as well. My epi dog was on Pb for years. We did bloodwork yearly to check Pb level in circulation and liver function. I kept her on liver support (milk thistle, Denamarin, “liver support factors”—there’s lots of such neutraceuticals out there) and her liver enzymes stayed fairly normal over the years, and she was on a fairly high dose of Pb from age 4 to 12. Anyway, work with your vet to figure out the best way to manage/control the seizures and it’s best to do that sooner rather than later. 

    If you have questions I’m happy to try to answer!



  5. Gentlelake gave plenty of good information. I’d also add that *mental* exercise (tricks, obedience, etc.) will wear out a pup faster than any amount of physical exercise. 

    And you’re right to worry about the health ramifications of extended exercise in a young puppy. Their normal mode of exercise is short bursts of activity for the most part. Taking them for hours long walks or other exercise is probably going to put undue strain on growing joints.



  6. I’ve been working from home since mud-March. Fortunately my work is easy enough to do from home. I work for a university and everyone is home for the foreseeable future. 

    I think the dogs are happy because I’m home. It means more long walks for them. I’m on a farm in a very rural area and I think there’s a lot of denial out here, unfortunately. My housemate goes out a lot, which makes me crazy because it puts us both at risk. 

    That said, we have livestock, chickens, a bunch of baby plants In the greenhouse and a garden that’s ready for them to be planted in, fruit and nut trees, grapes and berries. We may not be able to easily get staples and paper goods, but as the summer goes on we should be able to feed ourselves relatively easily. 

    I may go a little stir crazy at times but I don’t miss my long commute and I’m finally getting enough sleep at night not having to get up at 4 a.m. to make the drive into Richmond. 

    As long as my job doesn’t become collateral damage I’m hoping to just weather this storm. And I hope all my friends and family stay safe. 

    My home office “help”:



  7. A friend of mine just posted on Facebook about their dog with diabetes. Is your dog intact? Apparently female hormone fluctuations can be a culprit. In that case, spaying  the dog resolved the issue. 

    Under treatment diabetic dogs can lead normal lives. Are you checking her blood glucose regularly?



  8. How is Ziva doing? My Willow had suspected mitral valve prolapse. She was on Enalapril for years and pimobendan for a period of time (on two different occasions). In the middle of all that she also battled mast cell cancer, which eventually went into remission—this is why she was off vetmedin for a while, was unemployed and had to cut expenses during cancer treatment).  She did not develop congestive heart failure that I know of, at least not till the very end maybe. We monitored heart enlargement with radiographs every 6 months to a year. Her murmur was a grade V for years. As her heart enlarged it impinged on her trachea, which caused that characteristic cough. She lived to be one month shy of 17, the longest lived of all my border collies. 


  9. As you probably know, great hips in the parents don’t guarantee good hips in all puppies. Genetics is a funny thing that way. Also there is an environmental component, meaning if a pup is predisposed to CHD certain activities as a pup (whelping area without good traction, lots of travel up and down steps, any repetitive activity that puts pressure on the hip socket) can contribute. 

    I can’t help with the total hip replacement question. I know if a working dog (years ago) who has FHOs done on both sides and she went on to a long, normal working career. 


  10. I just had my 14 week old pup at the vet yesterday and she weighed in at 16 lb, or a little over 7 kg. If anything I’d say she’s a little chunkier than I’d like. A thinner puppy puts less strain on growing joints/growth plates, and that’ll serve you well in his later life. If he’s energetic and active then he’s probably just fine. 


  11. I wouldn’t worry terribly about the occasional groaning while repositioning. If he acts sore at other times or has difficulty getting up then you may want to revisit the possibility of a problem. For now I’d just observe and not worry overly much about the occasional bit of groaning. 


  12. Interesting. Honestly, though, I'm not going to run out and change diets based on this report. Like Jovi I think it makes sense to read additional research. I also wonder if lifespan plays a role (that is, humans live longer and therefore have longer term exposure). It seems as if every time we turn around there's another reason to feed or not feed something. I don't think anyone can look at our agricultural system and say that anything that comes out of "factory farming," be it animal or vegetable, is entirely healthy. I aim for a balanced diet and hope for the best (that old age gets them before something else does, basically).

    That said, when I lived in NC I had a neighbor who used round up liberally. They had a little cocker spaniel who developed weird skin lesions that no vet could ever accurately diagnose, beyond that whatever it was didn't respond to treatments and eventually killed her. I mentioned the round up to them then because I had my suspicions given the amount of the chemical they used (showcase yard). I really think it cost them that dog's life.


  13. There are actually generic color tests now so you could definitively determine if she carries merle. As the poster above noted, merle is dominant, do if she had the gene she should display the pattern, cryptic excepted.

    As for breeding, unless you can breed to improve the working border collie, I would suggest not breeding. There are scads of lovely, even tempered, smart border collies out there who add nothing special to the gene pool. If she likes to work stock and proves herself to be an excellent stockdog, then breeding might be worth considering.


  14. I agree with GentleLake. The younger dog may settle down with more exposure; the older dog may turn on with a few more tries. The key will be if he is willing to take direction/corrections from the trainer. He, at least, doesn't sound like a good candidate for you to learn on (just because the barking/seeming chasing will make it difficult for you to learn because you'll be worried about the stock, whereas an experienced trainer may well have the skill to redirect his instinct to useful work). The older dog may surprise you. Sometimes dogs who start slow will quickly change to being a little "wilder" once they gain confidence. The real point is that you can't know if either dog is worth training without at least a few more exposures to stock.



  15. Find toys she likes that aren't easily destroyed. Most of my dogs just hang out relaxing when they're out in the yard, but a couple will entertain themselves by playing with toys. Favorite toys are jolly balls (both the kind with the handle like horse owners give their bored horses and also the hard plastic kind that has a smaller soft ball inside).  One of my youngsters will roll the latter type around the yard to play. Another form of outdoor entertainment: digging (which you may it may not appreciate) and chasing one another (which doesn't work with only one dog). A dog who likes balls might enjoy a tether ball. Just keep an eye on whatever toys you leave out there so you can remove them if they get damaged/chewed to the point that they could become a health hazard to your dog.



  16. 20 hours ago, Jim O said:

    My border collie is mostly white with some small black spots.  As I said earlier that my breeder said she had not produced a nearly all white border collie in 10 years.  I saw the parents of my mostly white border collie.  The male was a typical black and white border collie, the female was a light grey merle.   I don't believe the photos of the male and female you posted would produce a white or nearly all white pup.  I don't think they are telling you the truth. I would choose another breeder.  I am not a breeder, but I have three Border Collies.  I am new to the BC boards, but I would very interested in what a Senior Member who is a Border Collie Breeder has to say about that pairing.



    I'm a senior member. I don't consider myself a breeder, having bred just a couple litters when I needed a working dog for myself, but I do understand color genetics in border collies. As I noted earlier, both dam and sire appear to be white factored (note the white going up past the stifle in both dogs; and one has white going across the hips). Doubling up on white factor can certainly produce piebald and mostly white dogs. The white dog I posted in my previous post is the product of white factored sire and dam. The dam was obviously white factored; you had to look closely at the sire to see it. I know because I bred him. He had several piebald littermates but they weren't as obvious because both parents also carried the gene for ticking and those pups were heavily ticked, appearing grey across the base white areas.

    Bottom line: those two dogs could indeed have produced a mostly white pup. They could also easily produce piebald pups. And they could just as easily produce nothing but classically marked pups.

    With your pup it's also possible that what you labeled as merle could have been heavily ticked piebald, unless the breeder clearly stated the bitch was a merle. The sire may have looked classically marked, but I'd be willing to bet he was white factored.


  17. To be clear, "idiopathic" indicates of unknown origin. Although it likely is hereditary, the genetics are so complicated that it can't be predicted, and dogs who have never themselves priduced it before from lines not known to produce it can throw epileptic pups. The sire and dam of an epi pup or pups could be bred to different dogs and never produce it again. The complexity of the genetics is the main reason there is no genetic test for it.

    My epi did started out having seizures during periods of high excitement (running to the creek with the pack). They happened only occasionally, about once a month and she had a multimonth period with no seizures. Later, when I moved, she started having seizures much more frequently and they occurred when she was resting (so a more typical pattern). I was convinced that something in our new location was triggering the more frequent seizures, but never could definitively figure it out. My vet put her on phenobarbital and she never had another seizure.

    The reason someone mentioned changes in chemical use, etc., is because dogs with idiopathic epilepsy have lower thresholds to some substances and so exposure to those things can trigger seizures. If you keep a seizure diary (recommend highly, assuming she has more) you may be able to draw some correlations between exposure to certain things and the onset of a seizure. If that's the case, then you can limit exposure and potentially prevent them from happening in the first place. But that's also fairly rare.

    My epi dog was a working dog and worked stock her entire life without any problems (but she was well controlled on Pb).

    Seizures are scary to watch, but the dog won't remember what happened. The "dazed" period after a seizure is known as the post-ictal period and is typical. Some dogs have longer, more dazed post-ictal periods than others, like much of the course of an individual dog's epi journey. The main thing you can do during a seizure is to keep your dog safe. If you have other dogs in your house a seizure can trigger those others to attack. Phoebe was perfectly safe to leave unattended in my house but I always crated her so that if she seized while I wasn't there, she'd be safe from any resulting pack behavior from the other dogs.

    Finally, it seems that the younger a dog is when it starts seizing the more difficult it *may* be to control the seizures over time. But there are also a lot of medications out there that simply weren't available in the past. If you're on Facebook there is a canine epilepsy group that can be helpful and supportive.


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