Wendy Volhard’s “Healthy Dog Conference” is an annual event for Sandy. Attendance allows Sandy to stay current on matters of health and nutrition and the role they play in a dog’s behavior, performance, and in breeding quality Labradors.
The conference is for anyone interested in; good health for their dog, their dog’s quality of life in old age, learning how to feed the correct food for their dog, dealing with dog emergencies, maximizing performance, solving complex behavior problems, homeopathy, preventative medicine, practical application of Chinese Medicine and chiropractic care, reducing their vet bills, enjoying a healthy dog.
Canine healthy and nutrition is one of Sandy’s passions and she is proud to be a Volhard Dog Nutrition Consultant.
You can learn more about Volhard Dog Nutrition at their website: www.volharddognutrition.com
This is Huck. He’s a pup from our May 2012 Chivas x Bella litter. As with all our puppies, Huck was weaned onto Volhard Dog Nutrition’s NDF2. He was thriving and in excellent health when we was delivered to his new owners. They had concerns about feeding a raw diet to a dog and came to the decision to switch Huck to dry kibble. Huck experienced intestinal difficulties and his owners endured extremely high vet bills trying to get Huck’s gut back in order. After researching raw diets Huck’s owners came to the decision to put Huck back on NDF2 and we are happy to report that he’s doing just fine. Read on for Huck’s story in his owner’s words. Thanks to Jen & Deb for sharing this success story.
We got our Lab, Huck, from Bella’s last litter May 2012. My spouse and I were new to having a *brand new* puppy as our other dogs were rescued as adults. It’s been a real learning experience. When Huck got a bad case of giardia I blamed the raw diet since I honestly knew nothing about it. I thought at first it sounded weird and unhealthy. Humans can’t eat raw meat, with all the bacteria and what not in it, so how could my dog? So when he got giardia, and kept having it no matter how much Flagyl and panacur we put him on, I blamed the raw diet. We put him on “sensitive tummy” vet ordered kibble and wet food. He got worse. By the end of summer we figured out we had treated him for giardia about 8 times and had spent several thousand dollars in vet bills and meds for all 3 of our dogs (the older ones having contracted giardia as well). I finally realized that meds alone were not going to make my Huck healthy again and that we needed to rethink how we could heal his little gut.
I did my own research online about a raw diet for dogs and was surprised at how much sense it made. I read the average time to digest the hard kibble is 10-14 hours and then it dawned on me that Huck was sometimes vomiting up his morning kibble in the late afternoon and it made sense. How can he have a healthy gut, let alone rid himself of something like giardia, when that stuff is sitting in there all day long?! It can’t. A raw diet digests right within an hour to two. So I made the choice to slowly restart the raw diet using smaller amounts and then gradually building back up to the full amount. That was about 3 months ago and he hasn’t had a recurence since. He’s energetic, he LOVES his food (which occasionally also includes bugs and People magazines but we can live with that), his poop is normal, and the vet said he’s the perfect example of a Lab. 🙂 We are quite proud of that one.
As for how he got giardia, we think it might have been when we took him to a dog park as a puppy. We thought we were doing the right thing exercising him and socializing him this way but now we understand his immune system wasn’t ready for that quite yet. Learn from our inexperience and hold off on that until they are ready.
Jenny and Deb Armstrong and Huck 🙂
Always eager to stay current on the best in health and nutrition for our Labradors, Sandy will be attending Wendy Volhard’s “Healthy Dog Conference” from September 6th to 10th.
Presenters are: Wendy Volhard, Sheila Hamilton Andrews, UK,RN, MSc, CCAB, Jana Froeling, DVM, AVCA, and Marcia Lucas, BS., CLT, TCAP, Certified Laser Therapist.
If you wish to learn how to be in charge of your dog’s health, happiness, well-being and longevity, this Conference is for you. Once you learn how to feed your dog correctly, take care of his physical well-being, you will have information that will last a lifetime.
Lecture topics include:
Nutrition – how it affects every aspect of your dog’s life. If you want your dog to live into his teens, then you need to know how by making small changes, you can increase your dog’s life span by several years. You will learn to understand the increasingly complex dog food industry and learn that what you are feeding is not quite what you thought; what your dog can and can’t eat – especially long term; fascinating facts on dry, canned, frozen and natural foods on the market; and the choices that are available and what is SAFE. Have 5 minutes? That’s all it takes to feed your dog naturally. We will show you how to do it.
Supplements – Should we use them or not? Which supplements work and which don’t. Can they be used preventatively? What’s new? We are excited by a new supplement that increases the quality of life and longevity of older dogs. Details in the lecture.
Homeopathy – what it is, how to use it for minor health conditions and emergencies. The use of nosodes instead of vaccins. How to deal with Lyme disease, Staph infections and more. An intelligent approach that is drug free.
Kinesiology – the art of muscle testing for allergies. You will learn how to ‘test’ your dog for the correct food and supplements, as well as medications. Take the guess work out of decision making – let your dog ‘tell’ you what is right for him.
The endocrine gland system and how it affects every aspect of your dog’s health and behavior. Understand the veterinary testing procedures for thyroid and adrenal functions.
Sports Medicine – simple daily exercises to keep your dog’s body in the best possible shape – especially if he is involved in performance activities. Begging, crawling, walking backwards, can all be accomplished, even if you live in an apartment.
Silver tails – our old friends – can you make your old dog younger? Yes, you can. Addressing the special needs of the older dog. How to avoid cognitive dysfunction – simple exercises and supplements to make these last years rewarding.
Behavior – how to solve complex behavior problems by using Nutrition.
Counseling dog owners – if you are in the business of giving advice – you will gain invaluable insights to make your consultations successful.
TCM – An introduction to Chinese Medicine and how you can use acupressure to help your dog and yourself. Feeding dogs seasonally – the logic behind it.
Massage – learn ‘skin rolling’ that stimulates all the acupuncture points in the body – and it only takes 3 minutes.. Wonderful not only for performance dogs, but old dogs too.
Laser Therapy – Use of lasers as an alternative therapy.
Puppies – what you can and can’t do with puppies, nutritionally, physically and mentally. Raising super puppies that will have long and healthy lives.
Join Sandy at Graves Mountain Lodge (www.gravesmountain.com) for 4 days packed with information that will change you and your dog’s life forever.
Tuition is $495, with a $100 non-refundable deposit required with your resgitration. Go to: www.volhard.com and click on Healthy Dog Conference 2013 to find the Registration form.
A special rate has been obtained for a block of rooms at Graves. for your reservation, call (540) 923-4231 or e-mail Graves at firstname.lastname@example.org. All meals included. There is a one-time charge of $25 per dog.
Always seek professional veterinarian advice in the event of illness or injury to your pets. However, we do recommend being prepared for any emergency you might face. The following materials are suggested items to include in a Canine First Aid Kit.
The significance of genetic testing should not be overlooked when one is making the decision to purchase a Labrador Retriever. Prior to issuing a CHIC number the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) requires the following testing for Labrador Retrievers:
Hip Dysplasia – OFA Evaluation
Elbow Dysplasia – OFA Evaluation
Eye Exam by a boarded AVCO Ophthalmologist – results entered with CERF or with OFA
EIC (Exercise Induced Collapse) – DNA test through the U of Minnesota
CNM (Centronuclear Myopathy (Optional) – DNA Based CNM Test with results registered with the OFA
Red Barn Ranch and Labradors, LLC goes above and beyond these requirements and include the PennHip exam for hip dysplasia, testing for Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), and regular screening with full thyroid panels.
Hip dysplasia occurs when the hip joints fail to develop normally. This leads to gradual deterioration and causes crippling lameness and painful arthritis. Labrador Retriever is one breed that is more likely to have the genetic predisposition for hip dysplasia than other breeds.
Elbow Dysplasia simply means ‘abnormal development of the elbow’. It causes an abnormal amount of wear and tear on the joint and can be disabling or cause a great deal of pain. Elbow dysplasia is a significant problem in many breeds, including the Labrador Retriever.
Eye exams performed by a member of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists certify that a dog is free of heritable eye diseases. The conditions ruled out by the A.C.V.O. examination are too numerous to list here individually but, include conditions of the globe, eyelids, third eyelid, cornea, uvea, lens, vitreous, and fundus.
Exercised Induced Collapse (EIC) is an inherited disease common in Labrador Retrievers. Dogs affected with EIC become weak in the hind limbs and collapse after brief periods of intense exercise and is some cases after a simple game of fetch. Dogs with EIC can live fairly normal lives but, must be limited in intense exercise and excitement.
Centronuclear Myopathy (CNM) is a debilitating disease found in both field and conformation Labradors. CNM causes muscle weakness and exercise intolerance. According to the Altfort School of Veterinary Medicine, “The age of onset of the disabling phenotype varies between 2 to 5 months with an awkward gait and a decreased exercise tolerance, associated with a generalized muscle weakness leading to a ventroflexion of the neck, abnormal postures and movements”. An affected puppy will not recover from this disabling disease.
PennHip is a not-for-profit program owned by the University of Pennsylvania. Their mission “is to develop and apply evidence-based technology to direct appropriate breeding strategies aimed at reducing in frequency and severity the osteoarthritis of canine hip dysplasia”. PennHIP incorporates a method for evaluating the integrity of the canine hip that many believe is more accurate than the OFA exam. It is accurate in puppies as young as 16 weeks of age. It has great potential to lower the frequency of canine hip dysplasia (CHD) when used as a selection criterion. Follow this link for an interesting study:
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is an inherited disease of the retina in dogs which causes the dog to go blind.
Canine thyroid disease (Hypothyroidism) occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough T4 hormones. According to Dr. Jean Dodds, “up to 80% of canine hypothyroidism cases result from an inherited autoimmune condition known as autoimmune thyroiditis”. Symptoms of canine thyroid disease are many and include, lethargy, weight gain, cold intolerance, mood swings, dry, scaly skin, coarse dull coat, and infertility. Misdiagnosed or left undiagnosed, thyroid disease can prove deadly.
Here at Red Barn Ranch and Labradors, LLC, our goal is to produce Labrador Retrievers that are physically and mentally sound. We will continue genetic testing to ensure that we are producing the healthiest puppies possible.
As a breeder and trainer I am often asked my opinion on spaying and neutering. I believe the decision to spay/neuter or leave a pet intact should be made by a well informed owner. There are many myths in regards to the benefits of spaying/neutering and research has proven them false. The following article, posted here with the written permission of Wendy Volhard, is very informative and can help to educate anyone trying to make the decision to spay/neuter.
Spaying and Neutering – To Be Or Not To Be?
Everyone who owns a dog has to come to a decision at some point whether to spay or neuter. Up until now, veterinarians, rescue groups, shelters, breeders and trainers and everyone involved in the pet dog world, have been advising their clients to spay or neuter their pets. Reasons cited are better health, less bother and mess in the house, a dog that is easier to deal with, less unwanted puppies in the world and a myriad of other reasons.
Recent studies out of Rutgers University blows away a lot of the myths above.
1. Did you know un-neutered animals live several years longer than neutered animals?
2. Hypothyroidism and heart problems dramatically increase after a dog has been neutered.
3. Neutered animals get cancer of the prostate, urinary tract, heart and bone much more frequently than non-neutered dogs?
4. Neutered animals get obese three times more than non-neutered dogs.
5. Neutering increases the risk of adverse reactions to vaccinations.
On the positive side of neutering there are pluses –
1. Eliminates the small risk (less than 1% of testicular cancer in males)
2. Reduces the risk of fistulas in male dogs
3. Reduces the risk of mammary gland tumors in females
4. Removes the risk of uterine, cervical and ovarian tumors (which are now less the .5%) in females.
5. Reduces the risk of pregnancy and bringing unwanted puppies into the world.
To read the whole study http://www.naiaonline.org/pdfs/LongTermHealthEffectsOfSpayNeuterInDogs.pdf
We think that given the correct information, each pet owner will be able to come to an informative decision regarding his/her own pet and the specifics of their life style. Obviously if you live in the suburbs and you have several children and an unsprayed female dog that could be let out during her season by accident, the obvious and safest answer is to spay that particular dog. Also if you have a dog that is stronger than you, pulls you down the road on a leash and likes to fight with other dogs, then that is a candidate to be neutered. However, the long term health effects are such, that if you at all can take care of your pet, train it, and train it some more, keep it safe and under control, it would be better not to neuter. The answer obviously is to become more educated on the subject, to be totally accountable for that dog and to make the best and most honest decision you can based on your own circumstances.
It seems common sense to say that you deprive the body of its’ hormones, the price will be paid somewhere and somehow in the future. It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature!
One item that is not mentioned in the study is the difference in cost of keeping neutered and non-neutered dogs. Whole animals are a lot less expensive in the long term than neutered animals and they live longer. Since so many dogs are hypothyroid shortly after spaying or neutering, they have to be maintained on medication for the rest of their lives. As they age, their rear ends become weak and that means more medication, trips to the veterinarian, chiropractor, possibly acupuncture and hydrotherapy. The cancer statistics of neutered dogs is staggering and having to face that at any time in a dogs life, is not only emotionally devastating, it is also very expensive to treat. Adverse reactions to vaccinations can be costly too.
So think before leaping into a decision based on old wives tales and myths, educate yourself, and train, train and train some more! If your veterinarian doesn’t agree with you, take the study above to his office and let him read it.
Brandy Station, Va.
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