Archive for the ‘Mixed Breeds’ Category

Hybrid Vigor: Real or Assumed?

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

Many of us talk about “hybrid vigor”- the notion that mixed-breed dogs avoid the inherited medical maladies passed along to their purebred counterparts. Does proof exist that mixed-breed dogs are indeed healthier? An article  within the most recent edition of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association helps answer this question. Titled “Prevalence of inherited disorders among mixed-breed and purebred dogs: 27,254 cases (1995-2010)”, this study determines the proportion of mixed-breed and purebred dogs with 24 common genetic disorders including four types of cancer, orthopedic issues, birth defects, bloat, hormonal imbalances, eye issues, allergic dermatitis, and epilepsy.

The Results

Compared to their purebred counterparts, mixed-breed dogs were more susceptible to only one inherited disorder- tearing of the cranial cruciate ligament (the main stabilizing ligament within the knee).

Purebred dogs were more likely to develop ten specific inherited disorders including:

Aortic stenosis (a birth defect within the heart)- Breeds most affected: Newfoundland, Boxer, Bull Terrier, Irish Terrier, Bouvier des Flandres

Dilated cardiomyopathy (disease of the heart muscle resulting in heart failure)- Breeds most affected: Doberman Pinscher, Great Dane, Neapolitan Mastiff, Irish Wolfhound, Saluki

Hypothyroidism (inadequate production of thyroid hormone)- Breeds most affected: Giant Schnauzer, Irish Setter, Keeshond, Bouvier des Flandres, Doberman Pinscher

Elbow dysplasia (malformation within the elbow joint)- Breeds most affected: Bernese Mountain Dog, Newfoundland, Mastiff, Rottweiler, Anatolian Shepherd

Intervertebral disk disease (slipped disk)- Breeds most affected: Dachshund, French Bulldog, Pekingese, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Doberman Pinscher

Allergic dermatitis (skin allergies)- Breeds most affected: West Highland White Terrier, Coonhound, Wirehaired Fox Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Tibetan Terrier

Bloat (gastric torsion, twisting of the stomach)- Breeds most affected: Saint Bernard, Irish Setter, Bloodhound, Great Dane, Irish Wolfhound

Cataracts- Breeds most affected: Silky Terrier, Miniature Poodle, Brussels Griffon, Boston Terrier, Tibetan Terrier

Epilepsy- Breeds most affected: Catahoula Leopard Dog, Beagle, Schipperke, Papillon, Standard Poodle

Portosystemic shunt (a birth defect causing shunting of blood around rather than through the liver): Breeds most affected: Yorkshire Terrier, Norwich Terrier, Pug, Maltese, Havanese

 

No differences in disease incidence between the mixed-breed and purebred groups were found for 13 different disorders including:

The cancers evaluated (hemangiosarcoma, lymphoma, mast cell tumor, osteosarcoma)

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (a disease of the heart muscle)

Cardiac birth defects (mitral valve dysplasia, patent ductus arteriosus, ventricular septal defect)

Hip dysplasia

Patellar luxation (displacement of the knee cap)

Addison’s disease (a hormonal imbalance)

Cushing’s disease (a hormonal imbalance)

Lens luxation (displacement of the lens within the eye)

 

Conclusions

The authors of this study surmised that genetic mutations resulting in inherited defects may have developed at different times during the evolution of dogs. For example, a mutation introduced very early on into the canine genome (closer in time to the wolf progenitor) would have been spread throughout the entire dog population, purebred and hybrid alike. For disorders affecting purebred dogs in higher proportions, the underlying genetic defect may have occurred more recently, after the gene pools for a particular breed (or related breeds) evolved.

It is possible that the same genetic traits that predisposed to domestication are chromosomally connected to the genetic traits that predisposed to the disorders shared equally by purebred and mixed-breed dogs.

It is possible that the hard wiring for some of the genetic disorders is chromosomally linked to the DNA that determines dog size rather than dog breed. While patellar luxations and lens luxations occur without breed specificity, they do occur primarily in small dogs. Conversely, cancers are more likely to occur in large breed dogs.

Lastly, the results of this research may have been influenced by the hospital population (study performed at UC Davis). For example, we know that Standard Poodles are genetically predisposed to Addison’s disease, yet the results of this study do not demonstrate this. If the study population contained an overabundance of Standard Poodles (evaluated for a wide array of diseases), it is possible that their specific predilection for Addison’s disease may have been “diluted out”.

So now what do we have to say about hybrid vigor? Clearly, for some inherited diseases, this theory fits. For others, it is inapplicable.

Do the prospects for future diseases influence which dogs you choose to adopt?

Best wishes,

Nancy Kay, DVM

Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Author of Your Dog’s Best Health: A Dozen Reasonable Things to Expect From Your Vet
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health.   There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health are available at www.speakingforspot.com, Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.

The Science Behind Saying, “No” to a Pet Store Puppy

Saturday, May 18th, 2013

Approximately one year ago I told you about animal welfare advocate, Dr. Frank McMillan’s study documenting the increased incidence of behavioral abnormalities in adult dogs rescued from puppy mills. This important research provided scientific documentation that these animals come part and parcel with a plethora of negative behaviors.

Dr. McMillan has done it again. This time, his research focuses on puppies purchased from pet stores, the vast majority of which are born in commercial breeding facilities (aka, puppy mills). The most recent edition of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association features Dr. McMillan’s research documenting the behavioral differences between puppies obtained from pet stores and those obtained from noncommercial (non-puppy mill) breeders.

As Dr. McMillan states,

It has long been an article of faith among veterinarians and canine professionals that dogs obtained as puppies from pet stores have a higher prevalence of health and behavioral problems. However there has been a dearth of empirical studies to support this notion.

Research results

Dr. McMillan and his fellow researchers found that pet store dogs received less favorable scores than breeder-obtained dogs for almost every behavior variable measured. In no behavioral category did the pet store group achieve a more desirable score than the breeder group.

Pet store dogs were significantly more likely to exhibit aggression towards human family members, unfamiliar people, and other dogs. They were also more likely to have separation anxiety and touch sensitivity. Additionally, dogs originating from pet stores were more excitable, energetic, and attention seeking and generally less trainable. Lastly, they exhibited higher frequencies of negative behaviors such as escaping from the home, mounting of people and objects, and urinating and defecating in the house.

The authors theorize that stress experienced in a commercial breeding/puppy mill environment during the formative stages of a pet store puppy’s life negatively impacts brain development. There is also evidence that prenatal stress (stress experienced by the pregnant female) can alter normal behavioral development of her offspring. Specifically mentioned stressors include confinement to a small space, extreme temperatures, negative interactions with kennel staff, inability to regulate exposure to negative stimuli, and limited access to positive interactions with humans.

The researchers acknowledged that those who purchase puppies from pet stores might use different methods of training compared to those who purchase from noncommercial breeders. The current study did not investigate this variable.

I wholeheartedly applaud this terrific research. The more scientific substantiation we have to underscore the insanity of purchasing puppies from pet stores the better.

Have you lived with and/or trained a pet store pup? If so, how did it go?

 

Best wishes,

Nancy Kay, DVM

Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Author of Your Dog’s Best Health: A Dozen Reasonable Things to Expect From Your Vet
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health.   There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health are available at www.speakingforspot.com, Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.

 

Back at the Keyboard

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

© Diane Gerba

Following a brief medical leave of absence I’m thankfully back at the keyboard.  I’d like to draw your attention to a PetConnection blog post I wrote in which I discuss a study that examined the causes of death in more than 70,000 purebred dogs (82 breeds represented).  While some of the data presented was rather predictable (at least for those of us who have worked with the particular breeds studied), some of the findings were surprising and fascinating.  I invite you to check it out- the blog is called “Breed Profiling: What Does it Mean for Your Dog’s Health.” If you are curious to know what the study had to say about your favorite breed, feel free to ask.  I’ll let you know if it was included in the study.

 

Best wishes for good health,            

Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of  Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.

Adopt the Internet

Monday, March 14th, 2011

  

Please, will you join the “Help Petfinder Adopt the Internet Day” effort on March 15th?  Email your dog loving friends and relatives.  Feel free to share this blog post with them.  Heck, write a blog post of your own! Together we will increase awareness about adopting homeless pets and hopefully create the kinds of happy endings that Quinn and my family have enjoyed.  

Do you have your own story about adopting a homeless pet?  We’d love to hear it.   Know of an animal who needs a home?  On March 15th, please post a photo along with adoption contact information on my Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/speakingforspot).

Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook  

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.

March 15, 2011: Adopt the Internet Day

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Photo © Susannah Kay

 

When I first met Quinn, he was a two to three month old pup with a soft orange and white coat and an even softer disposition.  That was two years ago and I often find myself reflecting on the fact that the life of this adorable dog I love so dearly came disastrously close to being purposefully ended.   

Quinn was one of many orphans in an overcrowded shelter in Bakersfield, California.  The notion of “no kill” is nonexistent there, which is why this shelter is a regular stop for a wonderful rescue organization called The Dog Spot (http://members.petfinder.com/~CA1428/index.html). Their hard working volunteers make it a habit to scour the California central valley pulling adult dogs slated for euthanasia out of shelters. On what will always be Quinn’s luckiest day, The Dog Spot volunteers made an exception and opted to rescue a few puppies as well.   

The Mighty Quinn Photo © Susannah Kay

 

The Dog Spot rescues are showcased on Petfinder (http://www.petfinder.com/index.html) and that’s exactly where my daughter began her search the minute our family agreed we were ready to add another dog to our family.  The Petfinder photo of Quinn captured her attention and his personality captured all of our hearts.  It has been an ongoing love affair ever since.  

Why am I telling you all of this?  The organizers of Petfinder are asking us to do something special in honor of their 15th birthday.  They would like us to join together online on Tuesday, March 15th to promote the adoption of homeless pets.  Frankly, I’m willing to do most anything Petfinder asks of me.  Not only did they help my family find the world’s cutest dog, they work tirelessly to do a fabulous job rehoming millions of wonderful animals each and every year.  Petfinder is truly remarkable and I am profoundly grateful to this fabulous organization.   

  

Please, will you join the “Help Petfinder Adopt the Internet Day” effort on March 15th?  Email your dog loving friends and relatives.  Feel free to share this blog post with them.  Heck, write a blog post of your own! Together we will increase awareness about adopting homeless pets and hopefully create the kinds of happy endings that Quinn and my family have enjoyed.  

Do you have your own story about adopting a homeless pet?  We’d love to hear it.   Know of an animal who needs a home?  On March 15th, please post a photo along with adoption contact information on my Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/speakingforspot).  

Best wishes for good health,  

Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook  

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.

A Rottweiler Reunion

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

If you’ve been following my blog for some time, you may remember a series of stories I posted about two pregnant Rottweilers that were abandoned at my veterinary hospital (www.speakingforspot.com/blog 2/20/09, 3/8/09, 3/17/09).  In fact, these girls were so darned pregnant that, within 24 hours, one of them, now named Mia, delivered ten healthy, happy puppies.  Mia and her little sausages were fostered by Jill, a member of the amazing team of receptionists at my hospital.   Jill ended up keeping the runt of the litter, now known as Dodger, and she managed to find wonderful homes for Mia and the other nine pups. Candy, the other mama, found her way to Linda, a Rottweiler maven who works tirelessly doing Rottie rescue work.  Candy delivered five pups while in Linda’s care.  Mama and all five pups were placed in caring homes. 

  

 

 

Jill has managed to keep tabs on Mia and all but one her puppies.  As the adoptive families report, they are all matches made in heaven!  At their recent one-year birthday reunion (held at a local dog park) the puppies were all playing while their humans were sporting grins from ear to ear!  Although there were thirty or so dogs at the park that day, the siblings seemed to hang out preferentially with one another.  Have a look at the “before” and “after” photos.  In the adult photos, there are clearly two distinct facial appearances. (Perhaps two different dads were involved in the creation of this litter!) Charlie, Bandit, and Giovani have kept their original names.  Abby, Delilah, Ember, Freda, Hans, Ivan, and Juno have become Maggie, Dee Dee, Dodger, Ava, Trixie, Bruno, and Sadie.   

Dodger is the dog furthest to the right in this photo

Those little sausages have all turned into massive dogs with weights varying from 80 to 110 pounds.  And guess who the 110 pounder is!  None other than Dodger, the original runt of the litter! 

I hope this blog makes you smile and reminds you to support your local animal rescue organizations. 

Best wishes to you and your four-legged family members for abundant good health, 

Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association 2009 Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, 2009 Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, 2009 Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life

Website: http://www.speakingforspot.com
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook 

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, or your favorite online book seller.

Nellie (Toto) is a Superstar!

Friday, January 1st, 2010

My little Nellie has become a star of stage! For those of you who may have missed it (http://speakingforspot.com/blog/?p=537), I blogged about volunteering to train my little, bitty ragamuffin of a mutt to become a believable Toto in the Santa Rosa Junior College production of the Wizard of Oz.  Nellie and I trained tirelessly for two solid months during which time no one was allowed to call her Nellie.  We helped her “get into character” by referring to her only as Toto.  There were training treats galore (she may have gained a pound or more) and my family and neighbors grew tired of hearing my high-pitched commands of, “Nellie come!”  While all of this was going on, my husband Alan was rehearsing for his dual roles as Professor Marvel and The Wizard of Oz. 

           

The production was a stunning success!  The actors were brilliant, the costumes were breathtaking, and the sets were extraordinary.  There were flying witches and flying monkeys, and the hurricane scene was dazzling.  I may be a bit biased in my assessment, but want you to know that my husband was nothing short of spectacular in his acting debut.  And what about little Nellie?  This marvelous little canine actress captured the character of Toto in a fashion never before realized on stage or film.  She was utterly captivating as she sat demurely in her basket, listened attentively as her beloved Dorothy sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, stole a hotdog on cue from Professor Marvel, acted fearful in the arms of the flying monkeys, and successfully escaped from the witch’s castle! 

From start to finish, Nellie was a little angel and grew to love going to the theatre.  The entire cast and technical crew doted on her and she even had her own personal stage manager who made sure that she had opportunity to empty her bladder and showed up at the right places at the right times.  She received thunderous applause during the cast bows.  My little Nellie is truly a superstar.  It may be time to think about finding her an agent! 

Wishing you and your four-legged family members abundant good health,

Dr. Nancy Kay
Specialist, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine 

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, or your favorite online book seller. 

Order  a copy of Speaking for Spot personally signed by Dr. Kay – http://www.speakingforspot.com/purchase.html

Join our email list – http://speakingforspot.com/joinemaillist.html

Look for us on Twitter – http://twitter.com/speakingforspot

Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Listen to Dr. Kay’s interview – A Veterinarian Advises “How to Speak for Spot” on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross

Tipper’s Trials and Tribulations

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009
Tipper and Jacob

Tipper and Jacob

Tipper came to live with us just over a month ago.  We don’t know what he was called during his former life in Louisiana.  Like so many other dogs, Hurricane Katrina forced Tipper to adapt to a new name, unfamiliar humans, and an unknown environment (while undergoing treatment for heartworm disease).  Tipper is the definition of adaptable, and he came through all this change with flying colors and a big ‘ole smile on his face.  He’s a big beefy mutt- likely the result of a Doberman and Shepherd rendezvous.  His tail is jet-black with a white tip (thus the name Tipper) and never quits wagging.  My son Jacob, then an undergrad at Colorado State University, signed up to adopt a Katrina rescue dog.  He was paired with Tipper (a match made in heaven) and the two have been inseparable, up until now that is.

Jacob graduated in May with a Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife biology and minors in Spanish and conservation (can you sense a mama bragging here).  He is now off in Guatemala studying jaguars.  He figured he could trust his two parents, both veterinarians, to take care of his dog.  So now Tipper has become part of our canine trio enjoying the life of a country dog. In addition to goats, and horses (and horse manure), and deer, and cats, and foxes, and wild turkeys, Tip’s experienced some unexpected mishaps during his short stay with “grandma” and “grandpa”.  

Week one:  It’s foxtail season here in California, and one of these annoying plant awns landed deep in Tipper’s ear canal resulting in furious head shaking. Using an otoscope and a special type of instrument called an “alligator forceps” I fished the foxtail out of his ear canal. Tipper and his eardrum were immediately relieved. Problem solved. 

Week two:  Over the course of a few hours, Tipper vomited six times and his face swelled to the point of his eyes being closed.  Poor boy must have ingested or been stung or bitten by an insect or spider resulting in a severe allergic reaction.  Some antihistamine and TLC were administered and, within 24 hours, Tip was good as new.  Problem solved. 

Week three (at dusk):  Tipper came scampering into the house with his eyes at half-mast and reeking of “Eau de Skunk.”  Clearly, the little black and white critter took good aim and hit poor Tipper right between the eyes.  Fortunately, Nellie and Quinn, his two partners in crime managed to avoid the skunk- they’ve learned from past mistakes.  Tipper received eye ointment and his first California baths.  Problem solved (although he still smells a bit skunky). 

Week four:  One minute the dogs were ripping around the horse pasture, the next minute Tipper was three-legged lame.  Manipulation of his affected leg revealed a torn ligament in his knee. Tip’s going to need to have surgery followed by a couple of months of rehabilitation therapy.  Problem will be solved. 

I hate to think what week five holds in store……………

Wishing you and your four-legged family members good health,

Dr. Nancy Kay
Specialist, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine 

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, or your favorite online book seller. 

Join our email list – http://speakingforspot.com/joinemaillist.html

Look for us on Twitter – http://twitter.com/speakingforspot

Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Listen to Dr. Kay’s interview – A Veterinarian Advises “How to Speak for Spot” on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross –

What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

It began as a simple request from my incredibly talented friend, Leira.  She is directing a production of The Wizard of Oz at our local junior college, set to run around Thanksgiving.  Knowing that I am well connected in the dog world, she asked for my assistance in finding a suitable Toto.  She told me that any breed or look would do as long as the dog was small enough to fit in a basket and was well trained.  

I reassured Leira that I would be able to readily recruit a few suitable candidates to audition for her.  I let my dog training buddies know, put out word at the dog park, and solicited all of my more than 100 dog-loving coworkers.  My notions of being a successful talent scout were quickly dispelled.   I heard the same response over and over again-  “I’d love for my dog to be Toto, but he’s not really well trained,” or  “I know a dog who would be the perfect Toto, but she’s doesn’t really obey commands.”  I should have considered things a bit more carefully before reassuring Leira that I had the role of Toto covered.  My experience tells me that the vast majority of little dogs are not well trained.  It’s not that they are not smart- in fact the opposite is usually the case.  They are so smart that it is more about them training their humans than the other way around!  

I approached Leira with my tail between my legs and let her know that I’d struck out.  I should have kept my mouth shut after saying, “I’m sorry.” Rather, the part of me that hoped to “fix” the situation blurted out, “You can use Nellie if you want.”  What in the world was I thinking! Nellie is an 11 or so pound Terrier mix who was delivered to my hospital a couple of years ago by a good Samaritan.   He’d found her wandering the streets. She was a skinny little ragamuffin- in heat, terribly underweight with horrific skin disease, and her body was peppered with BB’s.  The second I looked into her eyes, I was smitten. I took her home just to “try things out.” It took just a night to know she was ours for keeps.  She is the very first little dog we’ve ever shared our home and hearts with and yes, she is our very first dog that has not been taught all of the basic obedience commands.  She is lovely, kind, adorable, and sweet in every way, but we simply never “trained” her.  Somehow, just as for all those other “little dog people” it simply seemed that such training wasn’t really necessary, that is until now.  I have until mid-November to teach my little Nellie to play a convincing Toto.  Come by my house these days and you are likely to hear a high pitched “Dorothyesque” voice shouting, “Toto come!”  Oy Vey! What have I gotten myself into!?

Wishing you and your four-legged family members good health,

Dr. Nancy Kay
Specialist, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine 

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, or your favorite online book seller. 

Join our email list – http://speakingforspot.com/joinemaillist.html

Look for us on Twitter – http://twitter.com/speakingforspot

Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Listen to Dr. Kay’s interview – A Veterinarian Advises “How to Speak for Spot” on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross –

The Results Are In!

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Thanks to everyone who provided their guesses about the breed composition of my puppy, Quinn.  I was chastised a bit for not providing enough information about his height (his back comes to just below my knee), his weight (he’s 18 pounds soaking wet), and his behavior (he’s wonderfully animated and super quick and agile).  Here were the breed guesses provided: 

-Papillon

-Corgi

-Sheltie

-Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

-Rat Terrier

-Collie

-Spaniel

-Australian Shepherd

-Basenji

-Chihuahua

-Border Collie

-Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

-Shiba Inu

-Rhodesian Ridgeback

-Golden Retriever

-German Shepherd 

My favorite guesses came from Cassandra and Pam.  Cassandra thinks that Quinn might be a Canardly (canardly tell), and Pam suggested I refer to my pup as a Yurgess (yurgess is a good as mine).  Many of you agreed that Quinn looks more like a fox than anything else!  I will certainly let you know if ever I do decide to learn more about Quinn’s DNA.  Thanks again for your wonderfully entertaining feedback!

Wishing you and your four-legged family members good health, 

Dr. Nancy Kay
Specialist, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine 

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, or your favorite online book seller. 

Look for us on Twitter – http://twitter.com/speakingforspot

Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Listen to Dr. Kay’s interview – A Veterinarian Advises “How to Speak for Spot” on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross