The Midwest Wolfhound

 

FOR AND ABOUT IRISH WOLFHOUNDS AND THEIR PEOPLE

Midwest Wolfhound is the quarterly newsletter of the Great Lakes Irish Wolfhound Association that is provided as part of the membership in the organization. We publish articles about our hounds and activities, medical information about dogs, brags and match results, historical information about Irish wolfhounds and anything else that might be of interest to our membership.

The Midwest Wolfhound is now available in color, on line to GLIWA members in the Members Section.

 Don't forget to send us your brags and pictures, and let us know what you'd like to see in Midwest Wolfhound. This is your newsletter, we want to hear from you!


Contact Pat Powers, Editor, treanaiw@yahoo.om


Some sample articles available in our Newsletter:

Sunday
Jul262009

The Acupuncture Bloat Point! IT SIMPLY WORKS

C.A. Krowzack, DVM

In February of 1998, the Great Lakes Irish Wolfhound Association (GLIWA) held their annual meeting. The meeting is an occasion for fellowship of the members, the club attends to business and also hosts a speaker on a special topic. In the past it has been obedience, therapy dog training, and this year the topic was acupuncture.

Dr Krowzack demonstrating point

Dr. Debbie Mitchell gave an overview of what acupuncture is, its history and its medical uses. Then, using a member’s dog, showed the participants several acupuncture / acupressure points that they could utilize. One point was to stimulate gastrointestinal motility to combat bloat.

This week at my clinic, a GLIWA member brought her wolfhound in for an examination.

During the night Quinn had begun experiencing discomfort. He sleeps in the bedroom with his owners. The husband had worked a long day and was asleep, but the wife was awakened by the restless behavior of Quinn. When she petted him she found his abdomen severely enlarged and hard to the touch. She knew it was bloat, but didn’t know what to do. She is a small woman, and Quinn a large dog. She remembered the acupressure point Dr. Mitchell had shown and began massaging it. Within a few minutes, Quinn began passing “a lot of gas” and his abdomen became smaller and softer. The husband and wife brought Quinn in the next morning to make sure he was all right, and because he had diarrhea.

On examination, Quinn was completely normal. He was not experiencing discomfort upon palpation, and no abnormalities beside the diarrhea could be found. Because she remembered the acupressure point, the wife had saved Quinn’s life.

The acupressure point is on the hind leg. If you start at the hock, on the front of the leg (anterior) you can feel the tibia. Move your hand up the leg along the tibia’s sharp crest; what in humans would be called the shin. As your hand approaches the stifle, or the “knee” the crest becomes very pronounced and then curls around to the outside (laterally). Just inside this curve is a depression. The acupressure point is in this depression. An acupuncturist might insert a needle into this spot, or inject a liquid, but, as Quinn’s owners will attest, massaging also stimulates the point. The gastrointestinal tract starts to contract and move (peristalsis) and expels the built up gas before torsion can occur. If torsion has occurred, massaging the spot will not help.

I don’t recommend this procedure instead of veterinary treatment, but begun early, or on the way for veterinary treatment, can save your hound’s life!

Sunday
Jul192009

Therapy Dog - Not Just a Pretty Face

Leslye Sandberg

We all know how great the IW is as a loyal friend, family member, garbage disposal, throw rug or cushioned bolster. Never underestimate their ability to take on a new roll—community activist!

This year, Smidgeon and I have embarked on a new venture as certified pet therapy dog and tag along owner (respectively). I provide transportation and scheduling. Smidge provides love and kisses to a multitude of people who don’t have the opportunity to live with their own pet.

We have visited several homes for the elderly and also the adult handicapped. Our favorite is Clearbrook, where our visit is announced on the board in advance and the clients are waiting for us to appear. A normal visit lasts up to 45 minutes, as we go from room to room and stroll the halls and activity rooms to say hello to anyone who wants to meet us. Reactions vary (especially at the first sight of a wolfhound) from “Now that’s a dog!” to happy shouts of “It’s Smidgeon” accompanied by hugs and kisses. Even the most timid can touch a wolfhound, since the back end is so far from the end with teeth. Several have started at the rear and worked their way forward to receive puppy kisses. (Some of you might remember that Smidgeon did win the GLIWA picnic award for most puppy kisses last year) And there is no problem reaching those in bed or in wheelchairs, as the wolfhound is an ideal height for reach and hug. On a more serious note, the Activities Director is thrilled to participate in this program, citing a client who has clearly experienced a complete change in disruptive behavior since dog visits started at the center. Other clients who experience touch aversion have come forward to hug Smidge as well. A good time is had by all—even those who get their cookies stolen by a fast hound.

The group we belong to is Four Paws Animal Foundation, out of Bartlett, Illinois. The founder and President is Arleen Braun, a dedicated pet owner and therapy dog handler herself. The primary goals of the organization are to help reduce the overpopulation of stray and feral cats through spay/neuter financial assistance and to help reduce the number of canines that are relinquished by their owners to animal shelters due to behavioral problems by providing financial assistance to pet owners for a basic dog training class. In addition, their animal assisted pet therapy program uses volunteers to make social visits to nursing homes and hospitals with canines who have been certified by the Foundation. Individuals who join this program serve as an example to the general public as to the important role our dogs play in our lives. Given half the chance, many secondhand dogs adopted from shelters or breed rescue organizations can become Certified Canine Good Citizens.

Four Paws has associations with a number of nursing homes and hospitals in the Chicago suburbs. Volunteer dogs must be Certified Canine Good Citizens. Arlene is authorized to certify dogs wishing to join the program if they do not already have certification from another agency, such as AKC. An initial visit, accompanied by Arlene, gets you started. After six visits to nursing homes, you and your dog may elect to visit hospitals affiliated with the program. If you have a nursing home or hospital near you that would like to get involved with pet therapy visits, Arlene would be happy to develop a program with them. Scheduling after the first visit is done between you and the location Activities Director to accommodate your ability to make visits. In my case, scheduling is often done just one day before the visit because of work or travel constraints. Typically you might visit weekly, biweekly or even monthly, during the day, evenings or weekends. It's really not difficult to fit in.

For more information on getting involved with this program contact Arleen Braun at 630-497-2078 or visit www.fourpawsfoundation.org on the internet.

Sunday
Jul192009

An Introduction to Lure Coursing

C. A. Krowzack, DVM

Lure coursing is an athletic sport for all sight hounds, of which the Irish wolfhound is one. Sight hounds pursue their prey visually instead of by scent like beagles or bloodhounds. While many dogs will chase a lure, or “bunny” as it is often called, only sight hounds may compete for a title.

Lure coursing takes place outside in an open field, not on an oval track like greyhound racing. Three lures (bunnies) are attached to a cord and run through a set of pulleys. The lure may be plastic bags or strips of fur, but is never a live, real bunny. The cord runs through a machine with a battery powered motor, which is how the bunnies “run.” The course itself is a minimum of 500 yards and incorporates turns, reversals and straight runs. The idea is to simulate chasing a real bunny. The finish is adjacent to the start, so the dogs are returned to their owners at the end of the run.

Hounds are run by breed in groups of two or three. While being fast helps, speed is not the sole criterion used to determine the winner. The hounds are also judged on enthusiasm, endurance (some of the courses are 1200 yards), agility (how well they negotiate the turns) and follow (are they chasing the bunny closely or making up their own course plan?). A slower dog who follows well may outscore a faster dog who “cheats” the course. The lure operator can speed up or slow down the bunnies depending on the breed and the vagaries of the individual run.

Sunday
Jul192009

Don't Let It All Hang Out

C. A. Krowzack, DVM

It's getting warmer; summer is on its way. Now, before the humidity sets in, is a perfect time for driving with the car windows open. Dogs enjoy riding in the car and love hanging their heads out the window with their ears blowing in the wind. You might let your dog do it.

Don't.

Consider this: a rock kicked up from a truck or off the road surface can crack your windshield. I'm not talking about a boulder; I'm talking typical road gravel. I've had headlights broken two times and one time a rock went through the car radiator. What would happen if that rock hit your dog in the head or eye?

What would happen if you had to stop suddenly? Your seat belt holds you in place but your dog will be thrown forward. If his head is out the window his neck or shoulder is going to hit the doorframe or pillar possibly resulting in a broken shoulder or neck or paralysis. If you have to swerve suddenly in an emergency avoidance maneuver the dog can be thrown from the car into traffic.

If your dog has his head out the window what could happen if a truck or van with those large extended mirrors veers into your lane or passes too closely on the side?

What if your dog sees a squirrel and decides to jump out of the car to chase it and jumps right in front of a car in the next lane?

Less dramatically, think of all the dirt and debris that is being blown into your dog's eyes and ears during the ride.

The chances of a severe injury are probably small, but are you willing to risk it?