Hip Dysplasia in Keeshonds

Keeshonds are easy dogs to live with. They are always happy and full of “energy”. They are naturally loving dogs, gentle and mellow, and especially friendly to children and other pets. They are easy to train and once trained, are very obedient.

Keeshonds form deep bonds with their owners and develop an almost human-like understanding of emotions and moods. If you’re having a really bad day, your Keeshond will more than likely sense your tension and offer comfort. If that sounds funny or odd to you, ask anyone who has a Keeshond as a pet and listen to the stories they can tell you about their dogs.

Keeshonds do need a lot of attention, and if they are ignored for any length of time they get very emotional and agitated.

They easily adjust to living in an apartment or small condo but still require several brisk walks every day. If you live in a house with a fenced yard, they’ll run around and around, really enjoying themselves.

Keeshonds have thick, bushy coats which is why they like cooler climates. On hot days they need plenty of shade or be kept indoors with air-conditioning. Their thick coats need daily brushing, and they shed fairly heavily in the spring and fall.

The Keeshond comes from an Arctic dog breed with traces of Samoyed, Chow Chow and Pomeranian. They were originally bred to guard river barges along the Rhine River in Germany, and for many years they worked on Dutch riverboats where they were valued for their sturdiness, intelligence and resourcefulness. They make excellent watchdogs because they are extremely alert, protective and cautious. It takes very little to cause them to bark.

Keeshonds are small dogs covered in long, thick coats with manes around their necks. In this respect they resemble one of their ancestors, the Samoyed. Their wedge-shaped heads have medium-length muzzles and erect, triangle-shaped ears. They have dark, chestnut eyes with thin rims that give them the appearance of wearing glasses. Their long, straight coats come in mixed patterns of gray, black and white.

A healthy Keeshond can live as long as 15 years. They are considered a healthy breed, but common health problems include heart and eye disorders, and hip dysplasia.

Hip dysplasia is a genetic disease that primarily affects large and giant breeds of dogs but can also affect medium-sized breeds and occasionally small breeds. It is primarily a disease of purebreds, although it can also occur in mixed breeds.

To understand hip dysplasia and the resulting arthritis, you need a basic understanding of how the dog’s hip joint is affected. The hip joint is comprised of a ball and socket that forms the attachment of the hind leg to the body. The ball portion is the head of the femur and the socket is located on the pelvis. In a normal hip joint the ball rotates freely within the socket. The bones are shaped to perfectly match each other with the socket surrounding the ball. To strengthen the joint, the two bones are held together by a strong ligament. The joint capsule, a strong band of connective tissue, circles the two bones to provide added stability.

Example of a normal hip joint:

Hip dysplasia is linked to abnormal joint structure and a laxity of the muscles, connective tissue, and ligaments that would normally support the dog’s hip joints. As the disease progresses, the articular surfaces of the two bones lose contact with each other. This separation of the two bones within the joint causes a drastic change in the size and shape of the articular surfaces.

Example of an abnormal hip joint:

Most dogs who eventually develop hip dysplasia are born with normal hips, but due to their genetic make-up the soft tissues surrounding the joint develop abnormally. This leads to the symptoms associated with hip dysplasia. The disease may affect both hips, or only the right or left hip.

The symptoms of hip dysplasia cause afflicted dogs to walk or run with an altered gait, similar to a bunny-hop. They begin to resist any movement that requires full extension or flexion of the rear legs. They will experience stiffness and pain in their rear legs after exercising and on first rising in the morning. Climbing stairs becomes difficult if not impossible. Some dogs will limp and are less willing to participate in normal daily activities, including walks they formerly enjoyed.

It appears that the amount of calories a dog consumes, especially during its fast-growth period from three to ten months, has the biggest impact on whether or not a dog genetically prone to hip dysplasia will develop the disease.

Obesity can increase the severity of the disease in dogs that are genetically susceptible and the extra weight will intensify the degeneration of a dog’s joints and hips. Dogs who are genetically prone to hip dysplasia and also are overweight, are at a much higher risk of developing hip dysplasia and eventually osteoarthritis.

Exercise can be another risk factor. Dogs genetically susceptible to hip dysplasia may have an increased incidence of the disease if they are over-exercised at a young age. Moderate exercise like running and swimming is best for exercising young dogs.

Because hip dysplasia is primarily an inherited condition, there are no products that can prevent its development. Through proper diet, exercise, and a daily regimen of Winston’s Joint System, you can slow, and sometimes halt, the progression of these degenerative joint diseases while providing your dog with relief from its pain. Winston’s provides many of the raw materials essential for the synthesis of the joint-lubricating synovial fluid as well as the repair of articular cartilage and connective tissue.

You might also want to consider providing your dog with an orthopedic bed like the Canine Cooler Bed which distributes the dog’s weight evenly and reduces pressure on its joints. The Canine Cooler Bed uses revolutionary SoothSoft Technology to give your dog the very best in comfort, and the fluid-enhanced design offers a dry, cooling effect with superior cushioning and support. It’s perfect for dogs with hip dysplasia or arthritis.

If owners insisted on only purchasing an animal whose parents and grandparents were certified to have good or excellent hips, and if breeders only bred these first-rate animals, then the majority of the problems caused by hip dysplasia would be eliminated. If you are looking to purchase a Keeshond now or in the future, the best way to lessen the possibility of getting a dog that will develop hip dysplasia is to examine the incidence of hip dysplasia in the dog’s lineage. If at all possible, try to examine the parents and grandparents as far back as three or four generations.

There are different assumptions on how to prevent the progression of hip dysplasia in Keeshonds. Poor nutrition, inadequate or improper exercise, and increased body weight may all contribute to the severity of osteoarthritis after the hip dysplasia has developed. By watching the calories your puppy or young dog consumes and preventing obesity in your dog, allowing only non-stressful types of exercise, and a daily regimen of Winston’s Joint System, are the best things you can do for your dog.

Get The Facts On Hip Dysplasia & Your Dogs Health.

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Dog Training Builds Relationships

BuddhaA year ago if you had asked me to describe Buddha "aloof" would have definitely been one of the adjectives I used.

Buddha was an adult when we adopted him. He wasn’t fully house-trained and had no notion of using a crate. He was very agreeable around both people and dogs, but there was always an undercurrent of independence and, to use that word again, aloofness to him. Any physical affection was brief and on his terms and when I first starting working on training with him the joke was “He knows he’s going to get dinner at 5 either way.”

He was still a great dog. He was very well behaved once he got the hang of things (he was definitely an "outside" dog before coming to us.) Buddha has always exhibited wonderful interpersonal skills with other dogs. He is also very calm in busy situations, which makes great as a "demo dog" in classes and "neutral" dog for training exercises. This is what I needed when I got him and where his name comes from. This dog has Buddha nature.

But when we got home he tended to head to one of the beds and just hang out there. He was a bit of a loner.

Then last year I decided to attend the Dog Trainer Professional program at Karen Pryor Academy. This is a pretty intense course that spans several months, with a lot of both online and hands-on training work. I was attracted by the focus on hands-on training, “getting animals to do stuff with no force or coercion at all” is how I put it to one of my friends when I enrolled. (However I ended up learning a lot more than I expected. But that’s a future post.)

When you enroll in the course you have to enroll with a dog. Throughout the course there are training exercises both at home and in the classroom, and then in order to graduate you need to be able to complete a pretty difficult training exercise with your dog. (Again they’ll be a post on this in the future.) I of course had 2 choices: Caffeine or Buddha.

Facebook friends may remember this status a while back:

Porsche status

Caffeine is a very easy to train dog. Part of this is due to her temperament, and part is likely that we brought her home from a very savvy rescue at 9 weeks that had already started training her. I decided to take the challenge and use Buddha for the class.

We graduated a couple of weeks ago. The final training exercise was a bit harrowing (mostly due to me and recovery from shoulder surgery 8 weeks before the final class) but we did it. I also realized during that weekend that I had a different dog.

He’s not just “better trained,” whatever that means. He’s more connected to me and to people in general. His relationship with me and with the rest of the world is different.

About a week before the final classes Buddha and I attended Clicker Expo together. Clicker Expo has “labs” (no pun intended) in which you can work with your dog. I naturally decided to bring Buddha. He has always done better than Caffeine in settings like that and since I would be working with him the following weekend to graduate my class, it was a chance to work with him in different environments and maybe learn a few things that we could apply to class.

A friend that I used to work with at St. Hubert’s also attended the conference and said “I can’t believe Buddha! He’s a different dog.” This came as a bit if a surprise to me.

So I took stock of the new things Buddha has been doing lately.

  • When I get home from work at night Buddha runs to me with a toy so we can play.
  • When I wake up in the morning Buddha greets me. If I head right to the shower, he’s waiting in the hall when I finish.
  • If I get ready to leave the house, he waits at the door, as if he is ready to go with me.
  • If I am working at home I will get a visit at least every half hour for a back scratch or pet. He’ll also sleep on the bed closest to me.
  • If I am in the living room the dogs “play chess” to see who can sit with me.
  • The classes were far enough away from home that I had t travel and stay at a friend’s home overnight. The first couple of weekends Buddha slept in an open crate. By the third weekend he was in bed with me.

All of these changes are outside of the context of training. Naturally he’s better at training now, and the differences between him and Caffeine are more of a running gag than reality. But look at that list. Is he doing these things because he expects to get some treats? Of course not. He’s doing them because working together has created a stronger relationship.

Karen Pryor Academy talks about how training with positive reinforcement builds relationships. To be honest I was a little skeptical at first. Obviously training with positive reinforcement is more kind and more pleasant for everyone involved than the alternatives. But does this translate to a deeper relationship "off the field?"

Yes.

Training done right is a shared experience. Shared experiences build relationships. Get to work!

Dog Training Builds Relationships is a post written by . You can see the actual post at Dog Training in Bergen County New Jersey

      


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Guess what I gave all my friends with pets?

Treats, of course!

I’m a practical person. My friends and family know this. I give generously but I give what is needed, like, boots for my sister or cute socks for my friend’s daughter. And, I barely paste a bow on the gift! Wrapping is just not my thing.

BUT, what I GIVE is GREAT! Everybody wants to be on my gift list!

My brother has three gorgeous longhaired Himalayans, all over seven years old. He brushes them every night. Skin and coat is very important for these cats, as is hairball control. Did you know that hairballs can become life-threatening in some cats? So they got the gourmet Cat Treats (this is a reformulation of the Hairball treats and it’s much better, if you ask me).
They’re going to swallow hair, that’s a given. You just want to be sure that their fur is strong enough not to just fall out in clumpbs and that they have enough oils in their digestive tract to either barf them up safely or have them pass out safely in the litter box. Hence, the special ingredients in the treats and supplement.
I also brought him a bottle of the new Life’s Abundance Wellness Supplement for Cats. It’s a vitamin so you only let them have 5-7 kibbles. My rescued ferals really love it, I use it to help tame them, so I gave some to him. His kitties wolfed it down! Being older kitties with heavy nutrient needs due to their lavish coats, I think they’ll do really well on this.

Last but not least, he wanted to try the new canned cat food. His kitties have been on the dry Life’s Abundance for the last two years but he, himself, is not a canned cat food person so his kitties never even eat table scraps. But somehow he got into the Christmas spirit and he wanted to give them something special, so I gave him half a case of the Instinctive Choice.
Two of my other kitty friends, Starla and Konnelle, are getting half-cases of Instinctive Choice for their kitties.

Let me just tell you, it’s a big hit!

My friend Natalya at work is a big fan of the porkhide bones and the weight loss food. She has a little Dachsund who just loves those bones. So I gave her a package of the medium size bones with a bow on it! Oh, she was so happy!

Rawhide is nasty, why do pet food manufacturers still sell it? Rawhide is often treated with harsh chemicals like ash-lye and bleach. That just can’t be good for our pets. And it doesn’t dissolve so they can choke on it. Don’t even get me started on the plastic bones — one of my friends had to dig a piece out of his dog’s gums when a piece broke off.

But the pork, while a little pricier, is safer and is digestible, and Natalya’s little guy sure loves them!
I have two other packages of the porkhide bones to give to two other friends who have medium-sized dogs.

I bought several jars of the Wholesome Hearts Baked Treats. These are low-fat and they also contain L-Carnitine so they’re perfect for dogs who need to lose weight. Most of my other dog friends got these.
My trainer at the gym is also my chiropractor. He’s ADORABLE and so are his two little Springer spaniels, so I give treats to his dawgs!! They got a nice jar of Wholesome Hearts this year.
And I will be keeping one of the very large 24 oz jars of treats in my car because when we get into marathon training season, I’ll meet lots of people with dogs and I always like to give them a treat and a drink of water on a hot day!

A day in the life of a HealthyPetNet Rep

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In the Game of Boys, you win or you die

Every once in a while I find myself remembering just how similar we are to our primate relatives; how, when the trappings of modernity are removed from our dextrous fingers we regress to our most primal of behaviors with nary a glance backwards. You don’t even need to travel to a different continent to explore indigenous tribes or venture out with an anthropology researcher intent on dissecting human behavior. You just need to go camping.

Preferably with a large group of young boys.

When my husband decided to join Adventure Guides with our seven year old, I said, great. Once a month camping adventures with just dads and sons, how sweet. He came back from the first trip, an oceanfront camping adventure with 1000 of their closest friends, the closest to shell shocked I have ever seen him, and this includes the first time he met my extended family.

We had timed our joining just so, as the very next trip was the annual wrap up at which mothers and sisters were also invited. “Hooray!” said my husband, son, and daughter. “We can all sleep in a tent in one big puppy pile!” I tried my best to smile encouragingly, but inside I knew this was one of those take one for the team moments.

yaaay

Kinda like that.

My first hint that this was not going to go according to plan was the fact that despite the fact that mothers were invited, the vast majority of them demurred.  Of the 10 or so families from our tribe, the only women were me, the leader’s wife, and one other woman who pulled up in an RV with a full kitchen and the only fruit to make it onto the campsite.

Eight Million Boys With Guns

The way Adventure Guides works is, you have your little ‘tribe’ that sticks together, but on trips the 10+ tribes in your nation all show up to camp at the same time and enjoy camaraderie get their first lesson in saber rattling. In short, there were roughly eight million (gauging this solely on sound pollution) little boys thrown together in this remote wilderness location. You touch down, and while you are setting up your tent your child begins their slow re-enactment of Lord of the Flies by disappearing into a throng of squirt gun wielding savages for the next three hours. By the end of the first day, at least ten percent are naked except for mud. My daughter hides in the car.

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In the wilds of Tanzania, chimpanzee alpha males are known to herd juveniles into a circle, surround them, and pelt them with figs. OK they don’t. I don’t know why these men are throwing balance balls at little children but they seemed to like it.

The newer fathers worry at first. “Where’s Tyler?” they ask. Everyone else shrugs. “He’ll turn up,” the fathers say, then go back to cooking meat (which is, along with chips, the sole foods brought to this weekend event.) Tyler does turn up eventually, three hours later with a skinned shin, one shoe, and some green gooey substance on his face. This is how it goes all weekend.

The Red Tenting

Like other chimpanzee communities, while venturing out from your tribe is tolerated to a certain extent where resources are not at risk, there is a certain level of tribal warfare bound to happen when boundaries are at stake. In this case, this was played out over a game of Laser Tag.

“It’s all in good fun,” says the crew-cut leader of our competing manpanzee tribe , comprised of 50 beefy 10 year olds wearing warpaint. Our tribe, consisting of 15 six year olds, bravely gets into position. The referee blows his whistle. I start humming “The Rains of Castamere.”

K32C8061

It was looking grim from the get-go.

“KILL THEM!” yells Crew Cut, who had now revealed himself to be the reincarnation of Walder Frey, and within two minutes our tribe is massacred. No mercy. There are no survivors. They are sprawled across the field in various levels of snot-nosed distress, grass stains spreading like green blood. At Grandma’s house back home, Brody howls.

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Fight bravely, little manpanzee.

I am watching this testosterone laden display of aggression with horror from the safety of a far away picnic table. I now know how Jane Goodall must have felt the first time she saw a chimpanzee eat the young of another tribe. My friend with the RV silently offers me a Bloody Mary (it was a virgin one, I swear), which I down in one gulp.

You can always count on the medicine man

It’s a miracle there are not more severe traumas at events like this, where kids run around in the pitch black fencing with marshmallow forks, a fact I attribute to sheer luck and the number of surgeons who attend this event. I was awoken at 6:30 the next morning by a boy on the far side of camp yelling “DaaAAAAaaaaaD! Some kid’s hurt real bad!” Bummer for that kid.

It wasn’t even 7 am.

About 30 seconds later, my daughter pokes her head in the tent to inform me that it was my son who was hurt real bad, and the adult on scene requested we come over with our car.

I zip over to find my son screaming on the side of the road, attended by one general practitioner and one surgeon who inform me he is not dying but did manage to fall off his bike and tear a decent sized V-shaped flap of skin off his inner thigh in some strange bike accident that to this day no one can accurately reconstruct.

“If you took him to an ER,” the surgeon said, “they would put in a few stitches.” He shrugged. “But if you don’t, it’s not in an area where a kid can’t have a scar.” So in addition to great memories my son is now permanently branded with a “V” on his groin to remind him of this strange and bizarre rite of manhood, the “suck it up you’re on a man-trip” scar. To their credit, these doctors were not of our tribe, reassuring me that even in the vast wilds of tribal warfare, you can always count on the Medicine Man to put politics aside when life is in danger. Or at least when life screams like it is.

The reason moms aren’t invited but once a year, I am told, is because of the stress and panic these events bring on in mothers. It’s true. Just ask Catelyn Stark. (sorry, I really am done with Game of Thrones references now.)

Over the course of my career, people have asked me lots of questions I once couldn’t answer.

  • Why didn’t you become a pediatrician?
  • Isn’t being a veterinarian stressful?
  • What drives you to go to remote places like Tanzania and Nicaragua?

I can now answer them all with confidence.

  • This trip
  • Not as much as watching that Laser Tag massacre
  • Peace and quiet

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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