Tag Archives: beagle

Limber tail – it’s more common than previously thought

Limber tail photo

Limber tail is a condition that affects mostly large working dog breeds.  It’s a distressing condition that causes the tail to become limp and painful and it’s official name is acute caudal myopathy.

A research team at the University of Edinburgh compared 38 cases of limber tail that were identified from owners’ reports about their dogs’ health with 86 dogs that had no tail symptoms.

Their goal was to gain insight into habits and lifestyle factors that might explain why some dogs are affected and not others.

The majority of dogs in the study were pets but those affected by limber tail were more likely to be working dogs, they found.

Swimming has previously been thought to be a risk factor for limber tail, which is sometimes known as ‘swimmers’ tail’. Some but not all of the affected dogs had been swimming prior to the onset of symptoms, the study found.

Dogs with the condition were more likely to live in northern areas, lending support to anecdotal reports that limber tail is associated with exposure to the cold.

Labradors that had suffered limber tail were more likely to be related to each other than unaffected dogs, which may indicate an underlying genetic risk.

Experts hope that further studies will identify genes associated with the condition, which could one day help breeders to identify animals that are likely to be affected. Over time, this could help to reduce the prevalence of the disease.

The symptoms usually resolve within a few days or weeks so many cases are not reported to vets. This may be why it has been so underestimated in the past. However, owners report that it can be very painful and distressing for the animals.

The study is the first large-scale investigation of limber tail and was conducted as part of the Dogslife project, which follows the health and wellbeing of more than 6000 Labradors from across the UK.  (Note:  the disorder also commonly affects English Pointers, English Setters, Foxhounds and Beagles.)

The study has been published in the Veterinary Record.

Source:  University of Edinburgh media release

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The Peanuts Movie

Opening next month, Snoopy is coming to the big screen!

I like the look of the animations in this trailer; Snoopy and Woodstock look like the cartoons that I remember which were originally drawn by the late Charles M Schulz.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Most balls caught by a dog (with paws in one minute)

This title, granted by the Guinness Book of World Records this year,  belongs to a beautiful Beagle named Purin.

She’s quite the goalie!

Teddy’s journey ends

This is a blog post I didn’t think I would be writing for some years.  Unfortunately, some things are just not meant to be.

Teddy, the Beagle who so bravely came back from a front leg amputation last year, passed away on Saturday.  He was only 8 years old – gone too soon.

TeddyTeddy 10_9_14

Cancer took Teddy’s life away very quickly.  For the last 8 weeks or so, Jill had been saying things like ‘he’s not himself’ ‘he’s tired today’ or ‘he hasn’t been right since we changed his medication.’

We discussed diet, a different mixture of supplements, different medications, and different acupressure sequences…

Some days he seemed like his old self, others not.  Sometimes his liver function tests came back as abnormal, then re-tests would show an improvement after changing his core food.

But late last week, things turned quickly.

Teddy vomited up his breakfast on Tuesday and then stopped eating and drinking.  Another blood test showed highly escalated liver enzymes and Teddy was in trouble.  He was booked initially for an ultrasound on Monday but then he had to go to the vet on Friday for fluids and stayed overnight.  The ultrasound was moved up to Saturday.

And the ultrasound specialist had terrible news.  His report reads “These findings are consistent with metastatic neoplasia (likely sarcoma, adenocarcinoma, or carcinoma).  There is hepatic and splenic involvement (with likely metastases to lymph nodes and lungs).  Unfortunately Teddy’s prognosis is grave.”

Jill took a distressed Teddy home and her regular vet came to give him his final injection.  As Jill said, there was no choice.

When I saw Jill yesterday, she just said that in writing Teddy’s last story, she wanted his story to matter.

I’ve thought really hard about this.  I think everything about Teddy mattered.  He was a Beagle that was just a little too large to win in the show ring (despite winning best baby puppy several times).  Early on, Jill discovered that Teddy was born with bilateral hip dysplasia and she set about keeping him happy and healthy (I came into the picture in 2010 after an unsuccessful attempt at hydrotherapy, because Teddy also had neck problems that were aggravated by swimming).

When I lost Daisy last July, it was Teddy who would come and sit beside me in sympathy.

And then last August’s horrible accident and the amputation which was going to affect Teddy’s mobility as he aged.  And he came through it like a trooper.  When I adopted Izzy (my greyhound), I took her for a visit and a 3-legged Teddy was zooming after her as if nothing had changed.

So, what do Teddy’s last days tell us?

I think they tell us that no matter how well we take care of our dogs, and with our best intentions for seeing them to old age, we really have very little influence when the end comes.  We do our best.  And we have to make the right decisions for our dogs in the face of critical or terminal illness.

I’m glad that Teddy came through his amputation so well and that he and Jill had months together that they wouldn’t have had if she had decided to end his life then.  And I’m glad Teddy didn’t suffer for days and days like people suffering from terminal cancer do.

Teddy is one of those special clients that I will carry in my heart for the remainder of my days.  He was My Favourite Beagle.  Everything about him matters.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Willow’s surgery for cleft palate

Willow is a beautiful Beagle who was born earlier this year with a cleft lip and palate.  As part of the defect, she has a bottom jaw that is slightly forward and bucked top front teeth – so her top teeth sink into the soft tissue of her lower jaw.

Cleft lip and palate are birth defects that have been traced to genetic factors.  (see my earlier articles on Cleft Palate in Dogs and The Genetics of Cleft Lip and Palate in Dogs)

Willow, before her surgery, showing the cleft lip

Willow, before her surgery, showing the cleft lip

The inside of Willow's mouth, showing the palate deformation more clearly

The inside of Willow’s mouth, showing the palate deformation more clearly

Last week, Willow had surgery to correct her birth defect.  She’s now home but taking strong pain relief medication and sucking on ice cubes for fluids.

Willow's mouth, post-surgery

Willow’s mouth, post-surgery

Willow in her Elizabethan collar (which brother Freddie believes makes her into a scary monster)

Willow in her Elizabethan collar (which brother Freddie believes makes her into a scary monster)

We are all hoping that the surgery was successful; her Elizabeth collar comes off later this week and she’ll be re-examined.  Then her owner will discuss what can be done to help with the mis-alignment of Willow’s jaws and teeth.

Cleft lip and palate are serious defects (Willow had to be hand-fed from birth because she couldn’t nurse like normal pups; many people will ‘look the other way’ when a pup is born with these defects and let it die from malnutrition.  Thankfully, Willow’s owner Gwen Hindmarsh wasn’t willing to do that).

Surgery is expensive and painful for the dog involved.  Dogs with cleft lip and palate in their lines should not be allowed to breed, as the defects don’t always appear in every litter.

Good luck Willow!

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

 

Within Teddy’s reach

It’s been a while since I had an update on Teddy and this is very much a case of ‘no news is good news.’  Teddy is doing great.

Here’s a photo taken by Jill earlier today.  It’s Teddy in the kitchen demonstrating his reach and food drive.  As Jill says, ‘drive is something they look for in the Beagle standard.’  Jill knew that Teddy was reaching the counter because he stole a bunch of cheese off the top of toasted cheese sandwiches earlier in the week!

Teddy has adjusted well to his life as a tripod and he’s looking fit and trim despite his kitchen antics…

Teddy stretching in kitchen December 2014

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

Teddy’s journey: core strength

Teddy continues to be a happy boy.  During his appointment this week, we discussed two aspects of Teddy’s rehabilitation:

  • Variety/mental stimulation
  • Core strength

Jill remarked that she and Teddy now have a routine, but it means the same walk every day in the same location, and of course adjusting to limiting his activities to avoid stress and strain on his joints.

The solution:  variety!  Teddy’s is a smart boy and he needs jobs to keep him mentally active.  Little things like distributing food around the house and garden for him to find will provide Teddy with stimulation and something else to do.  Changing paddocks for Teddy’s walks and even getting other dogs to visit with him for play dates will also give Teddy variety in his day-to-day life.

And, as mentioned last week, Teddy needs greater core strength.  I showed Jill the value of supervised balancing exercises using a large peanut-sized ball from the FitPaws range.  These exercises, done on a soft surface that ‘wobbles’ slightly, require Teddy to balance on his 3 remaining legs.  In doing so, it means he works on his core muscles to keep his body steady.

I want greater core strength in Teddy before progressing to exercises for his proprioception.

And in case you missed it, I’ve already answered What’s proprioception?

Teddy concentrates as Jill helps him to balance

Teddy concentrates as Jill helps him to balance

 

Teddy core strength photo

Teddy’s a little unsure about these exercises, but trusts Jill

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand