Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dog Depression - But feeling good

Woo hoo I am feeling back to my old self again today and very happy playing toss the tug with the mom out in the open with NO lead!!!!! We only have a small back yard and having been up in the mountains and being allowed to run free, plus the whole car trip thing, change of environment and my dad being away so much, I think I suffered a little depression. Yesterday, even though we went on a nice walk the mom was worried because I wasn't my usual self, I just walked along beside her, not really interested and I was rather shy when people came close. I also didn't want pats or any lovin, last night (something I always have before bed time) instead I just wanted to sleep in my cool dark laundry. So the mom did some looking on the internet and found that dogs can and do suffer depression. After doing quite a lot of reading and watching me....she figured out what I really missed was the free running. So even though we do have a small yard, behind our house is a BIG open area and even though she doesn't normally like me to run out without a long lead, today she did and dog oh dog did I have fun, I ran, I hopped, I jumped and I sniffed at everything. The mom was also very proud of me because when she said wait I would stop and sit and the more I did that, the more confident she was letting my just run. Sometimes humans forget that we dogs can get upset over changes in our routine or new things happening around us to so here is a bit of information she found.

Article #1 -If your dog is experiencing stress, whether it’s the loss of a companion, a change in its surroundings, there are things you can do to help. If your depressed dog is not being active or social, you may consider doggie daycare. This will create an environment for your dog to interact with other dogs.

If your depressed dog is experiencing a sense of loss of a companion or guardian, shower him with love and attention. Take time and visit a dog run, set up playdates, fun rides in the car, and just being around each other. This will help the depressed dog.

Article #2
Yes, even dogs can become depressed. It is not uncommon to see a dog start acting differently when certain things happen. For example if someone who cares for them goes away, you may find your dog sitting at the door at the time the person always comes home staring at the door. When the person returns the dog is likely to return to normal behavior.

Symptoms of Dog Depression Your dog may seem mopey. S/he may be lethargic or slow moving. They may stop eating and may not drink enough water. The symptoms for dog Depression are strikingly similar to those seen in humans. Depression in dogs could be very dangerous especially if they stop eating or drinking enough water.

Causes of Dog Depression

Grief may be a trigger for pet Depression. If they have had a playmate for sometime and the other dog dies, your dog may try to act as if the other pet is there. They may be sad and mope around.

A change of environment where a dog is moved to a new home or put in a kennel may also cause your dog to feel depressed and stop eating or drinking. Returning home or getting used to the new home will likely see your dog's Depression start to lift.

Chemical imbalances typically in the brain may be to blame as well. Like humans there are chemicals in the brain that help to control mood. Treatment can be very effective for your dog. Sources: and

Woofitty woofs!!!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A walk in the park

The mom thinks I have been a bit 'down' since coming back from the mountains. I really did like being able run free up there and now my little yard does seem a bit small. I decided to use the the sad eyes (which of course I know how to use perfectly to my advantage) on the mom this morning and before you knew it, off we went to the park by the river. Mom likes going to this park as there are nice wide flat paths for her to walk on, and lots of grass for me. And there are big trees that have the fattest biggest chestnut colored squirrels in them. The mom loves squirrels and wishes we had some around our house. I do too, they would be so much fun to chase and bark at and maybe even nip their tails a little. Anyway, back to our walk. It was perfect weather for a long walk, nice and cool with a cool breeze blowing. I was little confused about the noisy things that were zooming up the river. Mom said they were boats and that people were going fishing. Mmmmm fish smell very good when they are dead. I was hoping the mom would take me back to the lake to see the dead fish again, but she drove in the other direction! As you can see in this photo, at one point I got a little 'stumped' about which direction to go.....eventually I decided 'that-a-way' was good. This park along the river goes for miles and miles and the best thing is there are no houses close by, so you get to enjoy the scenery. Not that I do a lot of looking, I am much more interested in all the wonderful smells. The river - which is the Missouri was flowing exceedingly fast and the mom wondered how safe it was for those little boats to be out on it. We watched one small boat that was about 8 foot long and they were really struggling against the flow. Mom thought they were really stupid to be out there. Three nice ladies who were jogging then stopped and said what a beautiful dog I was, and asked if they could pat me. I didn't mind at all....loving from any source is good lovin'. The only thing I was NOT to happy about was them saying "SHE " is such a good dog.........grrrrr couldn't they tell I am a he not a she!!!! On the way back the mom took me over to see where the little humans play. This was lots of fun although that sand stuff felt a bit funny under my paws and the mom grumbled because it got in her shoes. I quite liked this spinning thing, providing it was going slow. The mom also liked it a lot and she said it was favorite thing when she was a little human. The slide thing, that was odd !!! It was rather scary looking to begin with and I had to inch my over to it and give it a good sniffing before I trusted it. I figured eventually that I would give it a try......the only problem was mom told me I was supposed to come down nose first not butt first!!!!! And that has been my morning.......I am off to see what else my 'sad eyes' look can get me. Woofitty Woof

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Been doing some reading

Mom says reading not only improves one mind but ones vocabulary of fine insults and sarcasm - what ever that means! The mom uses some strange words sometimes. Anyway, it has been a quiet day so I thought I would catch up on a little internet surfing. I borrowed the mom's glasses as they have an anti glare thing on them.....but woofsters they make everything look big! One of the things I was looking for was any 'famous' shelties' but I didn't really find any. But I did find this quote which I must say is 110% true......although of coarse I think we are number one in ranking but I guess sixth isn't too bad. Hope everyone is having a great week - woofitty woofs!

Shelties have a high level of intelligence. According to Dr. Stanley Coren, an expert on animal intelligence, the Shetland Sheepdog is one of the brightest dogs, ranking 6th out of 132 breeds tested. His research found that an average Sheltie could understand a new command in less than 5 repetitions and would obey a command the first time it was given 95% of the time or better.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Humans can be soooo smart and soooo dumb

Woofitty woof woof woof.... we went to the lake today and even mom and dad were happy to be out in the fresh cool air. We also went in the dad's car. I didn't use to like this much as it was hard for me to get into, but now I am grown up, I can jump up on the seat easily and I love it because I can see out the windows so much better. Anyway, we got to the lake and the first thing we noticed was an awful smell.......personally I quite liked it. Ode Cologne Dead Fish. As we started walking we saw big containers of dead fish which mom and dad wouldn't go near and which I tried to reach with my long lead...but dog gonnitt they wouldn't let me get close either. I just wanted to roll on those fish a little - they smelled so good all rotten and icky. Eventually we came across an elderly gentleman who was just stood there shaking his head. He kept mumbling about how stupid they were and it was a disgrace. The dad stopped to talk to him and asked what was happening to all the fish. It turns out my lake has got an infestation (what ever that is) of something called Zebra Mussels. I don't know what they are either but I guess they are bad. My lake has an overflow into the Missouri river and they don't want these mussel things getting in there so they had to poison the lake which is sadly also killing all the fish. We saw a huge huge fish over three foot long and mom was going to take a picture but she couldn't get close enough because of the smell. We didn't even know there were fish that big in the lake!!!! The old man told dad they have already taken away over five tons of dead fish this week!!!!!!! Mom was very upset as all the fish on the at the top of the water gasping for air - they are basically suffocating to death. She got this one picture and you can see how big this fish was and its only a medium sized one. Mom said those big big fish that have died are probably 20-30 years old. The bad thing is mom says we can't go back to the lake until probably next spring so even though I liked the smell of those dead fish and thought the humans were so smart for making that....I like my walks better and I am really angry at the dumb humans now.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

It's been a quite week

Overall it has been a quiet week, trips to the pet stores and the doggie doctor. I somehow managed to loose that halti thing that mom puts on my nose while we were on vacation (hee hee....I wonder if anyone will ever find it buried under that rock?) Darn, the mom decided to by a new one! As for the doggie doc - I am pleased to say all my tests came back normal and mom talked to Dr Boyer about them and they are in the normal normal range, not normal high or normal low. She was very pleased to hear that. Apart from that the mom hasn't felt much like doing anything this week even though I have done my best to pester into taking me walks and playing, but today I finally managed to drag the her outside for some playtime...she needed the exercise! Why she had to bring that camera thing with her....I don't know but she took these photos of me and thought it was cute that I had all different expressions (actually, I was just yawning!) I am really liking this time of year, it is not too hot and I can run around my yard without overheating and I am going to get me one of those pesky ground squirrels before they hibernate for winter. The dad is due home tonight which means tuggy time!!!!!! The dad plays the best tuggy ever! Hopefully I can convince them to go to the park this weekend.....or maybe they would like to take me back to collar-raa-do....I REALLY liked it there.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sad sad day

My aunt in Australia sent my mom an email this morning to let her know that my little cousin has passed away.

I am heartbroken to announce that my baby Dhugal passed away at 9.24am Tuesday 16-9-08.
He has a good life living to age 18 which is long for a toy poodle.
He will be badly missed by me as he was family to me.
Rest in peace Dhugal. I love you.
My mom is very sad today as mom was the one the that bought Dhugal and Kris together on Kris's birthday all those years ago. He was just a tiny six week old and looked liked a pom pom. Mom also spent a lot of time with him back in Australia and was a big part of his life. Mom would take him walking with her everyday - She had set herself a challenge to walk down every street in her town and with Dhugal by her side, barking, yipping and jumping the whole way - she did it. It took her nearly a year and she would walk for around three hours each morning...always ending up on the beach so Dhugal could chase the seagulls, his favorite thing. Hmm maybe it was the caffeine that kept him going....Mom says Dhugal loved to share his mom's morning cup of coffee. Rest in peace little mom will miss you greatly and wishes so badly today that she wasn't on the other side of the world and could be there to give her sister a big big hug.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Some Interesting Sheltie History

Shetland Sheepdogs as they exist today are a relatively young breed. The original stock probably consisted of Scandinavian herding dogs from the same stock as the Norwegian Buhund or the Icelandic dog. (The Nordic herding dogs are rarely mentioned in the history of the breed, but there is every reason to assume that the original Norse settlers brought along their dogs as well as their small sheep, cows and horses. There is archaeological evidence of such dogs dating from before the transfer of the Shetland Islands to Scotland.)

When larger sheep began to be imported to the Islands from Scotland, it is reasonable to assume that they were accompanied by working collies related to the ancestors of the modern Rough Collie and the Border Collie, and earlier importations of Scottish dogs may have been made by the islanders. Crosses were also made to dogs off the fishing fleets, with the Icelandic dog and the Greenland Yakki dog being particularly mentioned.

No doubt the crofters (essentially small sharecroppers working as fishermen and in many cases not even owning their boats) bred some of their bitches to what they considered the best of the imported herding dogs. At this time the selection was probably mostly for working ability on small numbers of Shetland sheep, Shetland cows, and possibly even ponies. All were small, and the sheep in particular were extremely wild and agile, so agility, speed, biddability and the ability to work on a minimum of food would have been prized above size or ability to intimidate lazy stock (what is now called "power" in Border Collies.)

Two stories often mentioned about the early Shelties should be mentioned here. The first, probably true (or at least sensible) states that the dogs were used not for herding so much as to keep the half-wild sheep out of the gardens and hayricks.

The second, which for a long time did not make much sense to me, is that the dogs were left on islands with sheep carried to the islands by boat to eat whatever vegetation was available. Why? There is nothing else to suggest that Shelties were ever predator control dogs, and in any event the small islands would probably not support predators of any size. Herding would not be needed until it was time to get the sheep back into the boats, and what would the dogs eat? The practice sounds like a way of teaching a dog to become a sheep killer if the dog and sheep were left alone for longer than a protected store of food (for the dog) that would not decay would last.


Could the Shelties have been left on the islands to protect the little groups of sheep against bird attacks? Certainly it is not unusual for Shelties today to be very interested in and protective against birds.

Back to Sheltie history. Tourism (though perhaps not under that name) became important to the Island economy during the 19th century, and one of the things the Islanders found they could sell to the tourists was their little dogs. Tourists liked little, fluffy mites, and many of the Islanders began breeding to anything small and fluffy. The use of a Prince Charles Spaniel left behind by a visiting yacht is mentioned by Catherine Coleman, and Pomeraneans are also mentioned frequently. (A comment is needed here: Pomeranians at the turn of the century were much larger than today. Photographs of a typical Pomeranian from the Dogs article in the 1905 Encyclopedia Britannica, show a dog that looks more like a small Samoyed than a modern Pom.) A number of the early dogs looked suspiciously like Papillions. Some were very short-legged and could have had Corgi ancestry.

By the end of the 19th and early in the 20th century, some of the Islanders realized that the original breed was vanishing. Crosses with Collies, possibly including show Collies, began to be made on the Islands at that time in an effort to recover the original type. (Note that the Collie at the end of the 19th century was not the same Collie we see at shows today, but much closer to the old farm Collie in type.) Other supporters argued that improvement in type could legitimately be made only by selection of those specimens showing the best of the old Island type. A third group existed, though not often referred to, that continued to breed for small size and pretty, fluffy pets. Shelties of all three types were exhibited through the first decade of the century and to some extent up to World War I. Collie breeders, who by that time had considerably refined the appearance of the modern show Collie, were vitriolic in their reaction to calling these little mongrels (actually a fairly mild description compared to some) Shetland Collies, and within a few months of the first registrations managed to induce the Kennel Club to change the name of the breed to Shetland Sheepdogs. The dogs which have most influence on our modern Sheltie, however, were the Collie crosses, often bred to the dogs selected for type.

The first registration with the Kennel Club was Badenock Rose in the March 1909 Kennel Gazette. (In Great Britain, the Stud Book carries show results while the Kennel Gazette carries registrations.) Rose, who does not appear behind modern Shelties, was registered as a Shetland Collie (rough) under "Any other variety British, foreign and colonial." She was bred by her owner, Mr W. Wolfenden, was by Barny ex Rags, and was born Nov. 20, 1907. In all, 28 Shelties were registered in 1909, at least 4 of whom eventually appeared behind modern Champion Shelties: dogs Lerwick Tim and Trim and bitches Inverness Topsy (Family 11) and Inga (Family 13.) The Collie breeders objected at once to the name of the breed, however. There was a gap in registrations from May through September, and when 12 Shelties appeared in the October issue, still as "any other variety," they were registered as Shetland Sheepdogs. Shetland Sheepdogs as a breed rather than a category under "any other variety" first appeared in September 1914.

The first Shetland Sheepdog in the Stud Book (under any other variety or breed and listed next to Saluki Shami, Creston Spaniels and Crossbreeds) was Kilravock Laddie, a son of Inverness Topsy. (This was Stud Book volume T, published in 1914 and covering 1913 events.) Laddie represents the sire line IH (named after his grandsire, Inverness Hoy) and was the sire of Eng Ch Walesby Select, who finished his Championship after World War I and was later imported to the United States. Select is behind modern Shelties through several of his English offspring, but the sire line ended with him.

A total of 46 Shelties appeared in the Stud Book through the 1918 issue (reporting on 1917 shows.) The bloodlines and colors recorded provide some interesting insights on the state of the breed at that time. Half of the dogs were tricolors. The next most numerous color, with 11 registrations (less than a quarter of the total)was sable, with and without white. The remainder included 8 black and whites, 3 black and tans, and one blue, tan and white (this was Peat: not a blue merle, from contemporary accounts, but a uniform blue, like a blue Great Dane or Doberman with white and tan markings.) Lerwick Jarl, an older unregistered dog of outstanding type, was probably the most important sire and grandsire during the early part of the period. His line continued to produce Champions after the War. Jarl appears in photos to be a black and white dog, and many of his descendants were tricolors or black and whites. He is very definitely behind modern Shelties, and his sire line continued to produce winners in Canada almost until the beginning of World War II.

Lerwick Jarl, an important sire in the early part of the 20th century. Although Jarl was too early to be shown, and was never even registered with the Kennel Club, his descendants dominate the earliest show winners in England. He may represent the results of the early crosses on the Shetland Islands with small working Collies. The first US Champion, and the only pre-World War I import who has descendants alive today (via offspring sired in Great Britain), Ch Lerwick Rex, was Jarl's full brother.

By 1915, however, a new line began to appear with Glebe Challenger and Suzanne of Mountfort, both sired by a dog registered April 1914 as Wallace, by the unregistered Butcher Boy out of the unregistered Jean. This was the start of the BB (Butcher Boy) line which now dominates British breeding.

Then shows and breeding were halted because of World War I. Dogs born during this period were barred from showing during their lifetimes. The breed was not yet strong enough, in numbers or quality, to shrug off this restriction, and many of the bloodlines prominant before the War were lost. Miss E. P. Humphries, the owner of Wallace and one of the few breeders still registering dogs during the War, took a historic step, though a controversial one at the time, and mated Wallace to Teena, described as an 18" golden sable Collie with a white face blaze and prick ears. War Baby of Mountfort was registered from this mating as whelped April 17, 1918, with his dam shown as Teena (Small Collie.) While War Baby could never be shown, he had an enormous influence on later pedigrees.

Collie crosses, as mentioned earlier, were by no means unknown among Sheltie breeders. Ch Woodvold, the second English Champion of the breed, was widely known to have a Collie, Gesta, as his dam. His official registration, however, shows his dam simply as Gesta (unregistered) owned by his breeders, Keith and Ramsay. I am in the process of scanning the original registrations for other declared Collie crosses, but there are certainly none declared prior to 1915, and I suspect that War Baby may be the first cross officially registered as a cross. Crosses were undoubtedly taking place, and many were widely known among the breeders of the day. But few were officially reported to the Kennel Club. In some the Collie parent was given as an unregistered Sheltie, in others the crossbred remained unregistered and was shown as an unregistered Sheltie in future generations, and in still others a Collie was registered with a Sheltie pedigree. Evidence for some is still cropping up today; others will never be known.

Teena, in any event, went to J. G. Saunders of Helensdale fame. There she was bred to one of Wallace's best Sheltie sons, Rip of Mountfort (out of the unregistered Lerwick Mona, whose breeding is known through the survival of a handwritten pedigree.) The resulting litter, whelped November 1, 1920, is generally stated to have consisted of four bitches. Tiny Teena of Mountfort was registered by Miss Humphries as being out of Teena (Collie). Silverlining was registered by Mr. Saunders as being out of Teena, with no qualification. KoKo and Printfield Bess were never registered. War Baby and the four bitches had such an influence on the modern Sheltie that Teena makes up between 5 and 8 percent of the pedigree of the modern British Sheltie, appearing from tens of thousands to millions of times in the pedigree of a given Sheltie. The percentage in the United States is somewhat lower - around four and a half percent - due possibly to the refusal of the AKC to register some of Teena's close descendants.

Recently found was some handwritten evidence that a dog, Bayview Jock or Jack, sire of the unregistered Dondy Caesar, may have the same breeding as these four bitches and could possibly have been a littermate. This is from a handwritten pedigree found in the papers of an early Swedish breeder whose first Sheltie, Sw Ch Connis of Redbraes, was sired by a son of Dondy Caesar. Connis is behind some modern European lines today. Another son of Dondy Caesar, Dondy Tinto, sired Linda of Clerwood (ex Golden Lady of Mountfort), dam of Ch Lochinvar of Clerwood. This dog appears well back in the pedigree of Eng/Am/Can Ch Crag of Exford, who appears in modern American ROM pedigrees through Ch Kismet's Conquistador ROM)

Rip of Mountfort was mated to his own half-Collie daughter, Printfield Bess, to produce Forward. This dog was a successful sire, his most important son being Helensdale Emerald who sired Eng/Am Ch Rob Roy O'Page's Hill. This line strongly influenced early American pedigrees, but did not last long as a sire line.

War Baby was mated to the Wallace daughter Suzette of Mountfort to produce Rufus of Mountfort, whelped on November 10, 1920. Teena's daughter KoKo had gone to Mr. D. MacGregor, who bred her to Rufus. One of the pups went back to Miss Humphries and was registered as Specks of Mountfort (later an Eng Champion). Miss Humphries, meanwhile, had bred War Baby to the Wallace daughter Christmas Box of Mountfort, getting a bitch registered as Princess of Mountfort. Specks and Princess were mated, producing a puppy ragistered as Peter Pan of Mountfort on February 17, 1925. This puppy was purchased by E. C. Pierce, another breeder working with the Teena crosses, and renamed Eltham Park Eureka. He won his first CC at less than a year of age, and finished with an impressive series of 6 Challenge Certificates the following year. Luckily for the breed, he sired a number of litters in England before being exported to the United States. Luckily, because his export pedigree (and his pedigree in the Stud Book) identified War Baby of Mountfort as a crossbred, and the AKC refused to register Eureka.

A new line, however, was already appearing. Chestnut Rainbow, although himself unregistered, was the son of two registered Shelties, Irvine Ronnie and Chestnut Lassie. On paper, at least, he was the result of a brother-sister mating between two straight Island Shelties, and a double great-great-great great-great-grandson of Lerwick Jarl. He was mated to an unregistered bitch, Chestnut Sweet Lady, who was supposedly a full sister of Rainbow's dam, Chestnut Lassie. In fact, it appears that Chestnut Sweet Lady was a tricolor Collie bitch with a crooked face blaze, tracing to the Mountshannon Collies. The cross was rarely alluded to, and then with great circumspection, in print, but seems to have been well known to the breeders of the day.

Chestnut Lassie, dam of Chestnut Rainbow and alleged full sister to Chestnut Sweet Lady

The litter, whelped February 20 1924, produced seven puppies. Two of the males (Chestnut Bud and Chestnut Lucky Boy, the latter behind almost all modern U.S. Champions in direct male line) and one of the bitches (Eng Ch Redbraes Magda) appeared in the same Stud Book issue as Eureka. The other two males (Redbraes Rollo and Nut of Houghton Hill) both founded male dynasties still producing today. The remaining bitches (Chestnut Blossom and Chestnut Garland) are also well-represented in modern pedigrees. The mating was repeated three years later, though this time Chestnut Sweet Lady shows up as Rubislaw Lady Fayre (unregistered), to produce Eng Ch Tilford Tontine, the leading producer of English Champions until Eng Ch Riverhill Rare Gold.

The influence of the Chestnut cross descendants is such that the American Sheltie today is roughly 22% Chestnut Sweet Lady. The percent influence in British Shelties is generally between 15% and 20%, but the lower values are due in part to the fact that unregistered Shelties, some of whom probably carried Chestnut Sweet Lady if their pedigrees were known, continued to be accepted for registration until after World War II in Great Britain.

The modern American Sheltie is descended almost entirely from dogs imported between World Wars I and II, generally close descendants of the Chestnut Sweet Lady cross. The most influential dog in modern US pedigrees, Ch Wee Laird O'Downfield (around 27% of modern pedigrees) and the three most influential bitches (Ch Ashbank Fairy [8%], Natalie of Clerwood [6%] andDownfield Grethe[5%] were all sired by Eng Ch Blaeberry of Clerwood, the result of mating Chestnut Lucky Boy and Chestnut Blossom.

The second most important import in modern American pedigrees,Ch Peabody Pan(10 to 13%) was a great-great grandson of Redbraes Rollo in the direct male line. His pedigree also included Chestnut Lucky Boy, Chestnut Bud, Chestnut Blossom, Eng Ch Redbraes Magda, War Baby of Mountfort, Tiny Teena of Mountfort, Printfield Bess, and KoKo. In Great Britain, the Houghton Hill and Exford lines were heavily linebred on Nut of Houghton Hill. Even today, when almost all British Shelties trace tail male to War Baby of Mountfort, the traces go through matings with Chestnut cross bitches.

It should be mentioned that the Shetland Sheepdog is one of the few breeds for which sire lines and female families have been routinely traced. In Great Britain, publication of new CC winners in the ESSC newsletter, The Nutshell, is routinely accompanied by the line (top line of the pedigree, traced sire to sire or tail male) and family (bottom line of the pedigree, traced dam to dam or tail female) of the dog. Many other countries follow the same practice, tying their own lines and families to the British charts. The lines are designated by letters (usually the initials of the unregistered founder of the line), while the families are numbered from 1 to 25. (A provisional Family 26 appears to exist in Europe.)

The first two ASSA Handbooks included genealogy charts, and I myself set up charts for US Champions, using Bob Miller's computer-generated line and family sheets, for a couple of years in the late 80's. The problem is that there are so many Champions finished in a year in the United States that it is an overwhelming task to set up the charts here, and just about impossible in the standard graphic format. The line and family charts for all of the Register of Merit Shelties, in outline format, are available on line.

Information is also available on line on the early American kennels and the imports whose influence survives to this day. For information on the top producing American dogs since the breed became firmly established here in the late 20's and early 30's, have a look at the Register of Merit (ROM) Shelties. Off-site, information is available on the climate of the Shetland Islands, as well as more general information on the Sheltie's original home.

Quoted from

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Thyroid Issues and Shelties

The mom is still concerned about my scratching. It has subsided a lot but in the last two weeks I have been shedding like crazy and when the dad gave me a bath yesterday (eeeeekkkkk water!!!!) he said he could actually see my pink skin!!!!! Something he had never seen before because my fur has always been so thick. Now it could be that I have just shed out my puppy fluff and I am starting to get ready for my winter coat but the mom is still worried, so we are off to see Dr Boyer tomorrow just to make sure it is not anything else.

Mom has also been doing some reading and came across quite a lot of information about Shelties and thyroid problems. She found this on the Illinois Sheltie Rescue Website and thought others might like to read it and just keep the information tucked away for future reference.

Help.....My Sheltie is scratching and itchy all over.

Help.....My Sheltie keeps gaining weight

Help...... My sheltie has terrible allergies

Help........My Sheltie has constant ear infections

Help.......My Shelties skin and coat look awful

If any of these sound familiar, your Sheltie may have "Hypothyroidism".......or "Low Thyroid". It is one of the most common ailments in this breed, yet is goes undiagnosed MOST of the time.........

A low thyroid Sheltie may display some or all of these symptoms:

  • Overweight! Weight gain or the inability to lose weight.....ravenous appetite, acts starving all the time. A sheltie who is overweight and normal diet and exercise don't help.....should be checked for low thyroid.

  • Skin problems. Dry, itchy, flakey skin. The Sheltie will scratch and chew at his skin. Often diagnosed as an allergy. Mild cases can just involve itchy irritated skin. The more severe cases often have infected, open sores. These dogs often smell bad because of the infection in the skin, or the resulting yeast infection in the skin from Antibiotic use. Unlike DM........thyroid hair loss is most often on the trunk of the body.....not just the feet or tail. Thyroid tests should be run on any Sheltie with skin problems.

  • Ear infections. Either bacteria or yeast based. Ongoing or occasional. The lower the thyroid the more chronic the ear infections become. If a Sheltie has gone too long with low thyroid, the ears can thicken and become deformed from constant infection. (Often called Cauliflower Ear) Any ear infection in a Sheltie should be accompanied by a thyroid test. When we have a dog come in with an ear infection, the thyroid is the first thing we check.

  • Puppies that are the same size as their littermates but weigh considerably more are the ones that have a thyroid problem in later years. I know this is not scientific.......but this is what we see.

  • Coat problems .... Low Thyroid shelties just don't have healthy looking coats. It can vary from thin, short, sparse, fuzzy, and often downy soft fur. In all cases, a low thyroid Sheltie just does not have a nice thick, long coat.

  • Runny eye or eyes. A clear watery discharge coming from the eye. It is often misdiagnosed as a blocked tear duct. (note: a yellow or green discharge from the eye is not low thyroid and should be looked at by your Vet)

  • Cholesterol deposits (foggy spots) on one or both eyes.

  • High cholesterol blood test results

Of course there are always other causes of all of these symptoms, but low thyroid needs to be ruled out.

Our group alone places 100-200 shelties per year. I would easily say that about a third of them are low thyroid. It is so common that we can now just look at a group of shelties and pick out the ones with low thyroid.

The reason that so many Shelties with Low Thyroid go because Shelties need to maintain a higher thyroid level than most other breeds. Sadly, this is NOT what most vets are taught in vet school. What many vets would interpret as a "normal" test result, is NOT normal for a sheltie. A sheltie must always run very high normal to be truly normal. We suggest making sure the T4 is in the upper 1/2 to 1/3 of normal. For example; lets say your test's normal range is from 1-6. If your Sheltie's tests result is 1.8, many Vets will call that "normal". We disagree. We would like to see a Sheltie test at 3.5--4 or higher on this scale. We have seen some extremely sick Shelties that will test at under a 2.

Another interesting scenario we have run into. Let's say that your Sheltie has multiple low thyroid symptoms..... but the T4 tests show he is in the upper range already. Don't give up on thyroid !! Sometimes the old "If it walks like a duck" thing applies here. It could just be that your Sheltie is "going" low thyroid. Wait 2 months and test again.

Now; we are not suggesting that you march in and tell you Vet what to do! Rather; we are suggesting you share this vital information with your vet, and ask him to work with you in solving the problem. This is not something you can treat by yourself. However, if your vet is unwilling to listen to you, or refuses to work with you....... well then you have some choices to make.

Ask your vet to make sure your Shelties T4 (test) is in the upper 1/3 of normal. If your shelties test comes back "low normal" and your Sheltie has symptoms, (see below) ask your vet to start him on thyroid medicine. Soloxine is the drug of choice. We have not had good luck with the generic brands. Your vet can advise the strength and dose. (We prefer twice a day treatment over once a day.) The normal dosage is .10 per 10 pounds of body weight twice a day. So, a 30 pound sheltie would get .3 in the morning and .3 again at night. Adjust the dosage with the dogs weight.

As far as what test to use.....we have played with the different tests and symptoms in all of these Shelties. The test itself doesn't matter as much as knowing the normal range. The T4 always and consistently tells us what we need to know. I know the T4 can vary with many things......but not that much...and not enough to make a difference in what we are looking for. In other words.........start with the T4. It may be all you need, and it is far less expensive than the full thyroid panel.

After 30-45 days on the Soloxine, you should begin to see the symptoms easing away. It doesn't happen overnight, as it takes Soloxine a month to build up in the system. When beginning on Soloxine, ask your vet to check the levels (T4) every 6 weeks for a few months just to make sure the dosage is correct. Then check levels yearly after that. Just remember ......... with Shelties you want the levels in the upper third of normal.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Tissue Monster

Ohhhhhh we seem to have a monster in our house that loves to tear up tissues into little shreds all over the carpet. I have heard that there are many of these monsters around. Mom had left some tissues on the coffee table that the wind blew onto the floor and of coarse the monster found them. (I think he hides under the sofa - just waiting for the right opportunity) Mom thought it was me.......just because I had some tissue stuck on the end of my nose, but I told her I was just checking out the scent trail and it must of got stuck there. I even found proof that other humans have tissue monsters too, check out this photo and you can see these two little guys were looking for the monster as well. Anyone else have tissue phantoms at their houses??????

Friday, September 12, 2008

My Colorado Adventure

Day 1 – The Long Drive

We started off early at 7.00am and begin our trip to Colorado. Mom and dad stopped often to let me out and I must say I was very impressed with the Colorado rest stops as they had wonderful fenced dog runs where I could run and romp and stretch those muscles. The Nebraska ones were nice too, but I had to stay on my lead at those. Mom wasn’t sure how my stomach would take such a long trip so instead of having breakfast; she gave me some of my favorite cookies every hour. I didn’t get car sick at all (I never have - which of course I told mom) but she was being careful. I also had my harness on the whole way. It is very comfortable as it has real lamb’s wool on the inside. We stopped for lunch and mom gave me a little of her grilled chicken which I thoroughly enjoyed and wished I could have more of. After eight hours of driving we finally arrived in Boulder which is a real ‘university’ town mom called it. I am not sure what that is, I just know there were lots of people and it was very busy. We went to the hotel and I was on my very best behavior as it was my first time staying at a hotel. I sat very still and quietly as dad checked in and the clerk said what a wonderfully behaved dog I was. We then went to our room and dog oh dog that king sized bed was wonderful. There were super soft pillows for my head and a feather duvet and the air conditioning was on. Mom took me for a long walk and then we came back and she made me a big dinner. I wanted to gobble it down but the mom made me eat it slowly. We were all tired and even though there was a nice cool floor in the bathroom, my usual snoozing place, that big bed was just too nice so I slept there with mom and dad all night.

Day 2 – Up and Up We Go

We slept in a little later then normal and the mom took me for a walk while the dad went and got breakfast and when we got back, the mom made me mine too. After my big dinner I wasn’t very hungry though. Mom and dad said they were very proud of me as even though there were some strange noises in the hotel and lots of new people, I didn’t bark even once. We packed our bag and off we went again. There was some big bike race going on so I got to watch lots of people on the two wheeled things as we travelled along. We stopped to pay for our entry into the Rocky Mountain Park and the nice ranger person gave us lots of information about the park. Mom was a bit shocked to read that doggies were only allowed in the picnic and parking areas and not allowed to go on any of the trails. I was woofagasted !!!!! No walks in the park!! The dad stopped where ever we could and we got some great pictures and I did get to sniff a little. Mom says the road we were on is the highest anywhere in the USA. After going through the park which took three hours we finally arrived at Grand Lake where the cabin mom and dad were renting was located. But first we decided to check out the town of Grand Lake. It was wonderful and very dog friendly. Many of the stores had doggies as official greeters waiting to say hello as you went in. The lake front was just dogtastic too and there was lots of grass and it was doggie friendly too. We then drove half a mile to our cabin and was wonderful. It was surrounded by trees and there was 5 acres of land for me to explore. The first day the mom and dad kept me on my lead when we went out but that was okay as I wasn’t to sure about the strange noises I was hearing. I discovered this thing mom called a leather sofa and it was so comfortable and cool to lay on, that that is where I decided I was going to sleep.

Day 3 – Off We Go Exploring

Our first trip was to Granby a nearby town that was about fifteen minutes away. On the drive there we passed Shadow Mountain Lake and Granby Lake and it was amazing how different they looked. Shadow Mountain Lake has trees right down to the waters edge whereas the area around Granby was open and flat. It was also odd to see these large flat areas of land and there were a lot of large animals that mom called cows and also others called horses. We had a walk around Granby which didn’t take long as it is a very small town so then we decided to go and look around the Granby dam. I really liked this as we took a long walk and I got to bark at the ducks. Mom and dad seemed to enjoy watching this white thing out in the water – they called it a yacht. It didn’t look at all interesting to me, not when there was chipmunks close by to chase. We went and had lunch and then went to Grand Lake to do a bit of shopping and some more exploring. Mom and Dad were both very tired due to something called altitude so we went back to the cabin and mom and dad sat on the porch while I explored a bit. It was while I was doing that, that I came across some huge rocks and I had to bark at them to begin with because I didn’t know what they were. Mom came and put my paws on it, and then I knew it was okay to sniff around. In the evening mom and dad settled down to read and I was happy snoozing on my leather sofa.

Day 4 – Hiking at the Lake

Today mom, dad and I went to Monarch Lake and it was just the prettiest place. Mom just kept standing in one spot starring out over the lake ……I was getting a bit annoyed at that as today I was being a scent hound not a herding dog and I wanted to follow my nose because there was so many new and unusual smells. We followed the lake edge and mom kept stopping to take pictures of all the flowers – why I don’t know, they were just flowers!!!! We came across some other humans throwing some sort of line in the water….mom said they were fishing. We continued our walk and then saw a fox which had been sitting just above where the humans were. The park ranger later told the mom that that particular fox has a habit of waiting for people to catch fish and then will sneak in and steal it. Why would anything want to eat a fish!!!!!! There was also some more of those big dogs that mom calls horses. They were going on an overnight trail ride but you know they were really strange….they kept eating the grass……why would a big dog like that eat grass? We went back around the lake and there at the Ranger station was another fox which the ranger told us had decided to live near the station now. Mom said that the fox and me are related….I think mom got too much sun!!!! how could I be related to something that eats fish….. erk!!!!!! We headed back to the cabin and then settled down for another cozy night.

Day 5 – Heading Home

We were meant to stay another couple of days but Mom and Dad were both having trouble with this altitude thing they kept talking about were starting to feel quite bad, short of breath, headachy and tired to the point of exhaustion…….so we or I should say THEY decided to leave early. I wasn’t happy about leaving and I didn’t want to go…….it is the first time in my 13 months of living with mom and dad that I got stubborn and did not do as I was asked. I planted all four paws on the ground and refused to get in the car and when dad tried to get me I kept running out of his reach. Mom waited and watched and then eventually told me to sit/wait and dog gone…..I am so use to doing it, I did it….and the dad picked me up and put me in the car!!!! I pouted and sulked for a good hour but when we made out first rest stop, I couldn’t wait to check out the smells. And so our vacation came to an end….but I have lots to remember and to dream about and we are now planning our vacation for next year……but not in the mountains or at least not such high ones.

Here is a few of the photos mom took. You can watch this little slide show on this page or go to this one which has more comments on the photos and the pics are bigger

Friday, September 5, 2008

On Vacation

The mom, dad and I are heading off to the Rocky Mountains. (Cue a little John Denver Music here) Of coarse mom wants to take a dogzillion pictures while we are there and even though I tried hiding that camera thingy she still found found it. And if that isn't bad enough, she is taking that other video camera thingy too.....oh well, will have lots of pics to share when I get back! Me, I am just looking forward to meeting lots of new people, all the new smells and having lots of places to run........oh and one more thing, it will be cool there!

Woofitty Woof!!!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A quiet few days

The weather has finally cooled down!!! Yeah, the furry one has stopped panting at last!!! It is only in the 70's and it is so nice to go and lay outside in the sunshine without over heating. Of coarse I have been taking the mom on nice long walks in the morning. I am getting her in training for going to to that place next week called Col-or-ado, Dad says it's in the mountains and there will be miles and miles and miles of places for us to walk - dog gone - how cool is that!

Now, this next thing isn't really something to do with MY blog, but it is about me so I guess I will allow the mom to show you. Mom entered this scrapbook layout as an example of her work to be a guest designer on one of the big scrapbook sites. She says she doesn't have a hope of winning but how can she not when the page is about me? I am after all pretty darn cute! She won't find out anything until October but I have my toes crossed (I would cross my paws but I tend to fall over a lot when I do that !!!) Hope everyone is enjoying the last dog days of summer, the leaves are already starting to turn here so I guess old man winter isn't too far away.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Mom and dad got up early this morning so they could take me for a walk to the 'other' lake before it got to hot. This has nice wide paths and just grass on the side so no chance for me to get my paws into something I shouldn't! Even though we went early the humidity was still high so when we came across a nice shady spot, I just has to take advantage of it and have a little rest. This is a big lake where people do something called 'fishing'. Hmmm mom has fish in her aquarium but they are like an inch big....why would anyone want to catch those!!!! Mom says the fish in the lake are much bigger......but I bet they still smell!!!! It is a really nice lake and has walking trails that go all the way around it. People ride on those big wheel things mom calls bikes and today I saw something new....people on little wheels. Mom called those roller blades. I just sat patiently as they went by because that is what mom has told me is the polite thing to do. Today I also got to see a chipmunk and a big old toad and this funny blue/grey colored bird with long stick says is was a blue heron. It is obviously a silly bird because it was stood in the water....why would anything willingly go and stand in water????? After that we stopped to admire the flower garden and then headed back to the car where mom got my bowl out and I had a nice big drink of water. I hope everyone else had fun this weekend and I hope all the pupster in the hurricanes way will be safe....I will be keeping my paws crossed.