Tag Archives: Greyhound

Elevated cholesterol’s link with canine osteosarcoma includes a better prognosis

Note from Doggy Mom:  I follow lots of areas of research in the canine field, but anything to do with osteosarcoma is interesting to me since greyhounds are known for suffering from this type of cancer.  Izzy is a greyhound!


Usually thought of as a health detriment, elevated cholesterol may play a role in longer survival times for dogs with a common form of bone cancer.

In addition to their veterinary significance, the findings by Oregon State University researchers advance the understanding of a type of malignant tumor, osteosarcoma, that’s often diagnosed in humans as well, typically afflicting teenagers and young adults.

Dog with cancer

A dog with osteosarcoma; Photo courtesy of Oregon State University

“This is one of the first steps into identifying cholesterol as a potential biomarker for canine osteosarcoma,” said Haley Leeper, a veterinary oncology resident at the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. “We don’t have answers as to why high cholesterol is associated with this disease and with a better prognosis, but we’re hoping to advance these findings in future research.”

Leeper and collaborators at OSU and Iowa State University compared 64 dogs with osteosarcoma against two control groups: 30 dogs that had suffered traumatic bone fractures and 31 healthy dogs similar in age and weight to the animals with cancer.

Researchers found nearly half of the dogs with cancer – 29 of the 64 – had elevated levels of total serum cholesterol, a dramatically higher rate than occurred in either control population; just three of the 30 dogs with broken bones, and only two of the 31 healthy animals, showed high cholesterol.

Of the dogs stricken with osteosarcoma, 35 had the cancer in a leg which was subsequently amputated, followed by chemotherapy, which is the standard-of-care treatment; the dogs with elevated total cholesterol had a median survival time of 455 days, more than 200 days greater than the median survival time  for dogs with normal cholesterol.

“When people think of cholesterol they think of cheeseburgers and heart attacks,” Leeper said. “However, cholesterol is involved with many key processes and structures in the body like cell membranes, bone health and the immune system.”

Future studies that follow dogs long term and look at specific lipid content in the blood may shed light on the mechanisms behind cholesterol’s role in enhanced survival, Leeper said.

“There are a lot of things we plan on investigating,” she said. “This is exciting and fascinating, partly due to the comparative medical aspects between human research and our research.”

Source:  Oregon State University media release

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Walking the talk

For some of my clients, I recommend that they take their dogs to hydrotherapy.  Sometimes I recommend a water treadmill and, other times, a swimming pool is better.

And with some owners, it seems they are reluctant to give it a try.  I think it is because they question whether hydrotherapy for dogs is a ‘real’ thing or they just can’t imagine their dog doing it.

Today, I took Izzy swimming for the first time.  (My previous dog, Daisy, who passed away in 2014, was a regular at the pool for almost the last two years of her life).

Here is Izzy at the Dog Swim Spa.  The lifejacket gave her support and confidence and she did very well.

We are going to make it to the pool at least 3-4 times per year and will increase the frequency of visits as she ages and depending on her physical condition.  It is good variety for her fitness regime at the moment plus these visits will serve as added enrichment.

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

Second hand treasures

Dogs of many breeds have been depicted in collectibles and decorative arts over the ages. Earlier this week, I was given this bronze of a greyhound…it was found in a load of scrap metal.

After a little elbow grease (polished first with toothpaste and a brush and then soaked overnight in Coca Cola), I have a second hand treasure.

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

Workplace fostering

Most rescue and adoption groups are familiar with fostering programs – these are programs when a dog is taken to a home on a temporary basis so it can learn to adapt to a domestic living situation.

Foster carers are very special people who bring animals into their homes knowing that they may have had a rough start in life; they expect some teething problems.  Adopters will often ask to look at dogs who have been fostered because these dogs have a ‘head start’ in terms of settling in and can be less challenging for the adoptive family.

The folks at PetRescue, which supports 800 independent rescue groups in Australia, have taken fostering to a whole new level by developing a Workplace Foster Care Programme.  The rationale for the programme relies on research evidence into the human-animal bond and the positive impacts that pets in the workplace can have on productivity.

Things like encouraging staff to interact with one another, stress relief with a dog who wants pats or walkkies, and breaking the ice when new staff are introduced, are all aspects of workplace life that benefit when there’s a dog around.

Workplace Foster Care Programmes also raise awareness, so staff, clients and the general public learn about the benefits of adoption.

workplace foster dog

Vinomofo, a wine retailer based in Melbourne, was an early addition to the Workplace Foster Care Programme (photo by StartUp Daily)

The Sydney Morning Herald has recently covered the story of one company with a greyhound as its workplace foster dog.  Click here to view.

If I was looking for employment, I’d definitely be attracted by companies with a foster dog included in the benefit package.  (Sign me up!)

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

Izzy’s letter to Santa

Dear Santa

This is my first-ever letter to you, although I will soon be 8.

I was a racing dog until the age of 5 ½ when I came to live with mummy.  I was still settling in during our first Christmas together and, last year, you might remember that we had our photo taken together. 

Back then, I just thought you were a guy that was over-dressed for a warm summer day.  I wasn’t sure about sitting next to you but that’s what mummy wanted and so I did it to make her happy. 

Then someone told me that you are the one who brings presents at Christmas.

So I’m writing because for Christmas I’d like a bed; I already have a bed – this one is for mummy.

You see, I don’t think there’s enough room for both of us in my bed.  When mummy is in bed with me in the hot weather,  I get too hot.  So I’d like another bed for mummy.

But there isn’t enough room in our bedroom for another bed and I do like sleeping close to mummy so I was hoping you could arrange to make the bedroom bigger, too.

Now I know I’m asking for a lot, but everyone says that you are really good at what you do – getting around the world in one night and leaving everyone presents.  And it isn’t like you’ve heard from me for the last 7 years.  That should count for something.

I have faith in you, Santa. 

You got this.

Love,

Izzy

The art of Lucy Dawson

Lucy Dawson (1870-1854) was a British illustrator who was best known for her pen, ink and pastel drawings of dogs.  Sporting breeds were a favorite subject, but she also painted other breeds and her work can be found on collectible items such as postcards and cake tins.

Through used booksellers, you can still pick up copies of her illustrated books including Dogs As I See Them, Dogs Rough and Smooth and Lucy Dawson’s Dog Book.

Dogs Rough and Smooth

Dogs Rough and Smooth published in 1944

You can also purchase reproduction prints such as these:

Sleepy cocker spaniel

Sleepy Cocker Spaniel, 1937

Scottish Terrier

Scottish Terrier, 1946

Flaxman the Greyhound

Flaxman the Greyhound, 1946

Original works periodically turn up at auctions, for those who are die-hard collectors.

I particularly like how Ms Dawson was able to render the beautiful fur coats on the dogs she drew, a rare talent.

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

 

 

Will’s raffle

Will

I follow a number of greyhound sites on Facebook because Izzy is a greyhound and greyhound owners are well known for wanting to share photos of their hounds.

This year has been particularly hard on Will’s family.  Will was very ill and required surgery.  The vets couldn’t find anything that was causing the massive inflammation in Will’s chest and abdomen.  Lots of drugs and he still wasn’t getting better.  So more surgery and finally, they think they got the problem under control.

Will’s family stuck by him, but as you can imagine the vet bills were massive.  A call went out for raffle prizes to help them pay the bills (something they reluctantly agreed to) and I had to contribute.

Today I am sending this prize to the winner of the raffle.  It contains three bags of my preservative-free dog treats  – Cranberry & Coconut Biscotti, Apple, Cranberry & Ginger Biscotti and Salmon Squares – and a triple-headed toothbrush which is ideal for greyhounds (who are known to have lots of dental problems).

Will's raffle prize

As an independent business, I get lots of requests for support.  Some resonate more than others.  Will’s family weren’t going to give up on him without a fight and in this case, I think they made the right decision.  We are all hopeful that his inflammatory condition doesn’t return (it was thought to be a foreign body of some type, that has never revealed itself on scans, etc).

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