Thursday, January 31, 2008

Outside the Box

Sometimes finding an answer requires thinking outside the box.  For me, this meant leaving traditional veterinary medicine and the dispensing of one medication after another, to visit a holistic practice.

I have a German Shepherd dog who came to me after being diagnosed with allergies.  He had been treated with cephlaxin and other drugs for over 1 1/2 years. When he came to live here last June he was still on medication and he had no guard hairs and a brittle undercoat. He also had an ear infection. He was bloated from the meds but you could see the sparkle in his eye.

I started feeding raw and he was weaned off the medication. His coat improved.  We ran and played and his physical conditioning got better, as well. We started alternating feeding days with Solid Gold kibble.  Even though he had improved tremendously and his beautiful dark sable guard hairs were growing back, he continued to have moist spots that I would treat with sprays and ointments from the vet.

Then, in November, my well meaning husband added cedar chips to the bedding.  Some dogs react to the oil on the cedar and I had stopped using it in the kennel for this reason.  Of course, Ali reacted.  This time, his face swelled and he itched and I called the vet when he wasn't bouncing back.  Steriods were prescribed.

He got worse! His skin was scaly and dispigmented, and he lost hair again. When the vet said "well, we always suggest trying a novel protein" I felt there was a lack of communication. My friend had recently taken her elderly GSD to a holistic vet and seen amazing results but cautioned that it had to be approached with an open mind.  I know her to be a skeptic and believed that if there was any voodoo hocus pocus about it, she would not suggest it.

I met with Dr. Strickfaden at Countryview in Green Bay.  She explained to me how antibiotics are used to kill bacteria, but that they also kill the "good bacteria".  When I got home, of course, I did more research on the internet and this is from the link listed below:

In a healthy body, there is both good and bad bacteria in the intestinal tract. There shouldbe about 80% good bacteria and about 20% bad bacteria. Let's be very clear about antibiotics: They are used to kill bacteria.
antibiotics are used, both good and bad bacteria are destroyed in your dogs intestinal tract! Once the antibiotics are stopped, the bad bacteria grow back first - and faster. "

Click here: antibiotics, antibiotics for dogs .

Essentially, what had occurred was that there was probably some allergic reaction to begin with . Tests show sensitivity to wheat and corn, neither of which are contained in what he is fed now but are common in many commercial foods. However, the antibiotics meant to help him, killed the good bacteria and left him open to infection. He did improve when the offending foods were removed from his diet, but the underlying infection remained.  Then, when faced with another allergic reaction and given MORE antiobiotics, he had nothing left to fight with and the yeast infection went crazy.

As an aside, we also ran a thyroid panel and that does not show this to be a thyroid issue.

So, the first thing to do is get his interior back in order.  Part of that involved the voodoo part of all of this~  bioresonance therapy.  Read here for more on that subject:

CountryCare Animal Complex > Bioresonance Therapy

To tell the truth, it reminds me of a divining rod! The flexible tip of the rod moves in circles until the magnetic field is "in tune" with the dog? the universe? anyway, it stops moving in a circle and moves up and down, signaling the end of the session.  Ali slept all the way home.   The following day, he greeted me at the door with barking. That meant he was feeling better and wanting to DO something, darnit!! Am I seeing improvement that isn't there? I'm trying to remain objective but have to say that I finally have hope that there is an explanation and a treatment for him.  And one that does not involve keeping him medicated.  We have another treatment scheduled for Monday, so I will keep you posted as to whether we continue to see progress.

Search and Rescue Munsterlanders

FoxTal is proud to have two of our Small Munsterlanders involved in Search and Rescue.  Catja vom Foxtal, owned by Wendy Wied, has an airscenting certification through NASAR.  We know that the qualities that make the SM an exceptional versatile gun dog are the same things we look for in Search and Rescue.  Desire, high retrieve/prey drive, a terrific nose.  What was interesting is that, unless things have changed, the SMCNA will not grant permission for a dog to be bred who is certified in SAR; they must compete in NAVHDA specifically.  Clearly, this would be contrary to working in the SAR field, and teaching the dog that finding people is rewarding, as opposed to birds.  That means that a person who is interested in the Small Munsterlander for SAR must find a breeder who does not require the NAVHDA testing and understands the type of foundation a puppy should receive in order to maximize their abilities.

My puppy foundation is the same for all, whether they are gun dogs or not, with one exception.  That is, once I make my selection of the SAR puppy prospect, and after seeing their natural reaction to birds, that puppy does not work with birds again.  Instead, I cultivate a bark, pursuit and tug play.  All the puppies experience climbing under and over obstacles and working on unstable footings, as this is good confidence building for any dog.

The latest addition to the SAR mission is Der Spartacus "Sparti" vom Foxtal, owned by Christopher Bichsel.  They are part of Northwest Disaster Search Dogs in Washington state.  We are very proud of them and look forward to hearing of their many successes over the years.  Enjoy this video of their training:!3C9698DD57D57D7C!284.entry

Monday, January 21, 2008

Jinx at CSS class in CT

This photo was taken of Jinx and I at the Canine Search Specialist class in Connecticut this past fall, where we also passed our (FSA) Foundation Skills Assessment.  To my knowledge, we are one of only two dogs currently certified to that level in Wisconsin.  And guess what?  Both of them, plus another FSA dog from Illinois, are on the team I belong to, People and Paws.  I have been very fortunate to have great mentors on that team to help me along with the process and assist in getting me to the necessary classes and tests.

We are planning to host a Type I test this spring, at our training site in Milwaukee.  USAR takes particular dedication but I would encourage anyone interested to learn more and see if there is a contribution you can make.

Brett Henderson...another Hero in Heaven

A new journal entry for Brett Henderson's CaringBridge site was posted at 01:19 PM on 01/21/2008.

Read the latest update now by using this link:

Tell Someone About CaringBridge

We hope you are finding CaringBridge to be a powerful way to stay connected with and support Brett. Is there another person in your life who could benefit from CaringBridge?

Every month, over 1 million people use CaringBridge to stay connected during a hospitalization, cancer treatment, surgery and recovery, a significant accident or injury, a premature birth, while waiting for a transplant, or while caring for an elderly parent. These families share information and receive love and support for a wide array of medical conditions.

Spread the word and share CaringBridge with a friend, colleague, or loved one today. They'll be so grateful for your help.

Click here to tell a friend about CaringBridge.

In 2005 I met Brett Henderson and his dog, Star (affectionately nicknamed Porn Star) at the Canine Search Specialist course at College Station, Texas.  He was a firefighter, handling an Urban Search and Rescue dog, and I remember him as friendly and helpful, with a great sense of humor.  I last saw him in the airport, as we both headed home.  Star was bouncing around happily!  In February 2007 he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.  After radiation and treatments he was able to go back to work, but the symptoms and the tumor reappeared late summer 2007.  His wife, Rae, kept a journal on the Caring Bridge site and folks could sign in to the guestbook, which entertained Brett to read.  Brett passed away in his sleep on Saturday night.  Rae's entries, and the strength of that family, amaze me.  I'm not sure how long it stays posted but the web site does a tremendous job of supporting families facing medical conditions, stay connected.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the Henderson Family.

Frigid Weekend Leads to at least one Death (from Associated Press)

A 44 year old northern Wisconsin woman died from the cold Saturday morning and authorities in a Milwaukee suburb were also investigating whether a woman found dead in her front yard also died from the frigid temperatures.

A Drummond resident found the body of Cathleen Traczyk around 10:30 a.m. Saturday in his yard; according to Bayfield County Sheriff Bob Follis.

Traczyk was in a Drummond bar until it closed Saturday morning, went to a friend's house but then around 4 a.m. tried to drive home.  Her car went off the road and became stuck, Follis said.

Traczyk, who was not wearing a hat or gloves, became disoriented and attempted to walk home, Follis said.  She became hypothermic as she attempted to take a shortcut through neighbor's backyards, Follis said.

Authorities were testing her blood alcohol level, but the results weren't immediately available.

***Now I will never be driving home intoxicated-- or even "allegedly intoxicated"--  this underscores my care in making sure the van is packed with winter survival gear when I travel at this time of year.  Cell phone batteries die, cars do go off the road and you need to have at least some basic supplies.  Don't eat snow to stay hydrated; it takes more energy for your body to heat it.  Instead, melt it first by some other means. Did you know that Frito's burn well?  A little knowledge can go a long toward keeping you focused and on task, not in a panic.  Be well, be safe.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

-19 degrees at the moment.  To quote Yukon Cornelius (in Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer) it's not "fit for man nor beast!"

The temps don't seem to stop Jinx and Cooper from wanting to go outside and romp in the snow.  The kennel is heated, so those dogs (the smart ones) are tucked into their dog houses and not running in and out.

I had a meeting in Milwaukee today. Tom laughs at my traveling accessories.  Hey, I grew up in Northern Wisconsin, spitting distance from Minnesota and not all that far from Canada and we learned to carry basic survival supplies with us, in case we were stranded in the snow.  Nowadays, with cell phones, there is perhaps less urgency but I still pack for cold and snow.  Emergency blanket, sleeping bag, flashlight, water and food, warm boots, hat and gloves, hand heater.  You just never know.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Good Bye, Dear Aryan

Today we said good bye to a dear friend and partner.  Over 13 years ago, Aryan v O'Meara/Sengpiel joined our household as an impish blur of brown and white.  She amused herself by torturing Tom's elder statesman Labrador, Arlie, and was Tom's introduction to pointing dogs.  She came from an illustrious heritage, with a pedigree far more impressive than either Tom or I.  Her sire, Jeiko v Jakobsbrunnen was the first Small Munsterlander to earn a UT Prize 1 and go to the NAVHDA Invitational Championship (1996) ; Aryan became the second  (1998).  Later, her brother Andreas (Hans) was the first Small Munsterlander to earn his Versatile Champion title at the Invitational.

Tom said " I owe her so much and I miss her.  She overlooked my shortcomings and forgave my handling errors.  This morning the spark in her eyes was gone and I had to let her go."

Aryan turned 13 in September.  She was the last remaining puppy from her litter, but lived long enough herself to see her grand-puppies this summer.  She was still hunting with Tom at age 11.  This past summer, I took Aryan, Arec and her C litter daughter, Confetti, out for a run together and lost Aryan in the pond for over half an hour, chasing ducks!  She was not too old to remember the scent of duck and to pursue it with all she had.

Today, when it was apparent she was asking us for respite from the tumor that pressed against her heart and lungs and made it difficult for her to breathe, Tom held her in his arms and said good bye.  Why must that gift be the hardest one to give?  But yet, it was the kindest response for all that she had given us.  No more suffering, and in my mind I see her greeted by Arlie, Eros, Sofie, Kilo and Mitsubishi, all running free and healthy, waiting for us across the Rainbow Bridge.

Making these farewells is a difficult task.  There is little heed given to mourning the loss of a dog.  There is still work to attend to, meetings to make, other dogs to feed and train.  We have no public sharing of grief with pretty slide shows of their lives and aside from a honorable mention, are expected to move on.  We have known them longer than many people we call our friends today, shared our most private moments and left wet trails of tears in their fur with many disappointments and losses.

Tomorrow morning, there will be an empty kennel and a gigantic hole in our hearts.

Good bye, Dear Aryan.  We love you so.