Category Archives: Care

Blastomycosis—What Every Dog Owner Needs to Know – Life with Llewellin Setters

Blastomycosis, or Blasto as it is often called, is a very serious and potentially deadly, systemic fungal disease that can affect dogs, humans, and other mammals. Blasto is caused by inhaling the spores of the fungus Blastomyces dermatitidis. B. dermatitis grows as a mold in acidic, organically rich …

Source: Blastomycosis—What Every Dog Owner Needs to Know – Life with Llewellin Setters

This Substance Is Making Dogs Sick, and It’s Probably in Your Home Right Now – American Kennel Club

This post contains a link to, and excerpts from, the article published by the AKC, Dog Health. Please be aware of the substance and danger, read the entire article by clicking here:

This Substance Is Making Dogs Sick, and It’s Probably in Your Home Right Now – American Kennel Club

Dangers Of Xylitol


A substance called xylitol is making thousands of dog sick and even causing death…something this benign, an ordinary sweetener, could be toxic to pets.

What Is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a sugar substitute most often associated with “sugar-free” chewing gum and mints, but it’s also found some brands of peanut butter, toothpastes, certain medications, and vitamins, many sugar-free products (chocolate, JELLO, yogurt, pudding), and even some household products such as baby wipes and lip balm. A comprehensive list of products is available here. VCA Hospitals reports that xylitol is 100 times more toxic to dogs than chocolate.

Why Is Xylitol So Dangerous?

According to Caroline Coile, AKC Family Dog Nutrition & Health columnist: “The dog’s pancreas confuses xylitol with real sugar and releases insulin to store it. The insulin removes real sugar from the bloodstream and the dog can become weak, and have tremors and even seizures starting within 30 minutes of eating it.” Other symptoms of hypoglycemia include poor coordination and vomiting/diarrhea.

Liver failure (and death) can also result from xylitol ingestion, and symptoms can take as much as eight hours as show up. A dog only needs to consume a very little amount of xylitol to receive a deadly dose. As much as two pieces of gum can cause a problem in a small-breed dog.


Excerpts from and links shared by Sally Gift, Mesa AZ

Photograph by Susan Roy Nelson



What to Expect: Introducing a Puppy to Your Adult Dogs | Karen Pryor Clicker Training

If I were to tell you that in my family, growing up with 4 brothers and sisters, we got along famously all of the time, never argued, never bickered, never hit or tattled, shared our toys and our treats, shared love with mom and cuddling on the couch and never, ever, said a bad word to each other or argued bitterly I’d have a nose the length of Florida!

Raising dogs, like raising kids, does take patience along with a common sense approach if you want to create a happy household, and this is especially true when bringing a young puppy into the fold.

Whether you’re the new puppy  owner, or the breeder who wants to provide the new puppy owner with sound advice, the article by Karen Pryor “What to Expect: Introducing a Puppy to Your Adult Dogs” is right for you. Simply click the highlighted article title to go there to learn.

If you have other advice or strategies or helpful links please share them with us in the comment section as our aim is to provide an in-depth guide to help new owners and breeders.

Thanks for joining us here, till next time…Sally

Photo (Elfie) by Sarah Armstrong

Sally Gift, Mesa AZ

What to Expect: Introducing a Puppy to Your Adult Dogs | Karen Pryor Clicker Training.

Dewclaws – should we remove them?

“Do the Dew” …should we or shouldn’t we? M. Christine Zink DVM certainly gives food for thought in her articles, but she’s not talking about that well known bright yellow soft drink, instead she’s talking about dewclaws and the fairly common practice of removing these. Dr. Zink exposes us to her concern about the long term ramifications that may occur from foreleg dewclaw removal, the possibility of injury or disease (carpal arthritis).

Quite frankly I’ve always removed the dewclaws from puppies in my litters, and I haven’t really given much thought to the practice. I’d always been told that the dewclaw served no purpose, and that when working in the field, the dewclaw could be a source of injury if caught on a branch or bramble. So, I simply had them (the dewclaw that is) lopped off at my earliest convenience within a day or so of the puppy’s birth. I do remember being told that it wasn’t a good idea for an amateur like me to nip those claws off myself, as if done wrong, one could damage the tendons in the dog’s foreleg causing lameness or a limp, so I always asked my vet to perform this simple procedure.  Well, those tendons attached to the dewclaw that I just mention, that’s what lead me to share these articles with you today, articles by Dr. Zink that offer a different opinion about the function of the dewclaw and how injury or disease might result from their removal.

M. Christine Zink DVM, PhD, DACVSMR of Johns Hopkins University “When a dog runs, however, the entire foot from the carpus to the toes contacts the ground. If the dog then turns, it can dig the dewclaw (the equivalent of our thumb) into the ground to stabilize the leg and reduce torque on the rest of the leg.”

Anatomical diagram viewing the medial side of a dog’s front leg demonstrating the 5 tendons that attach to the dewclaw.  From Miller’s Guide to the Dissection of the Dog

Wikipedia:  Dewclaws and Locomotion

“Based on stop-action photographs, veterinarian M. Christine Zink of Johns Hopkins University believes that the entire front foot, including the dewclaws, contacts the ground while running. During running, the dewclaw digs into the ground preventing twisting or torque on the rest of the leg. Several tendons connect the front dewclaw to muscles in the lower leg, further demonstrating the front dewclaws’ functionality. There are indications that dogs without dewclaws have more foot injuries and are more prone to arthritis. Zink recommends “for working dogs it is best for the dewclaws not to be amputated. If the dewclaw does suffer a traumatic injury, the problem can be dealt with at that time, including amputation if needed.”[1]

To gain a full understanding of Zink’s position regarding the dewclaw’s purpose and any injury that may result from their removal read through links I’ve provided to her articles. Click the bold type link to open and read each in full. You’ll also find I’ve included a few excerpts if you’re looking for a quick Reader’s Digest version.

Dewclaw Explanation

“I have seen many dogs now, especially field trial/hunt test and agility dogs, that have had chronic carpal arthritis… Of the over 30 dogs I have seen with carpal arthritis, only one had dewclaws.”
“…there are 5 tendons attached to the dewclaw… at the other end of a tendon is a muscle, and that means that if you cut off the dew claws, there are 5 muscle bundles that will become atrophied from disuse.”
“Those muscles indicate that the dewclaws have a function… to prevent torque on the leg. Each time the foot lands on the ground, particularly when the dog is cantering or galloping the dewclaw is in touch with the ground. If the dog then needs to turn, the dewclaw digs into the ground to support the lower leg and prevent torque. If the dog doesn’t have a dewclaw, the leg twists. A life time of that and the result can be carpal arthritis, or perhaps injuries to other joints, such as the elbow, shoulder and toes.”
“As to the possibility of injuries to dew claws. Most veterinarians will say that such injuries actually are not very common at all.”

I also found this video that may be of interest to you. It illustrates how dogs use their dewclaws on ice.


I haven’t decided whether to make any change to my practice of removing dewclaws. Whether to “do the dew” or not is still in question for me, and I’m not here to give you my advice, or to assert that you change what you do, what I did want was to simply share this information with you and then to ask whether you have any thoughts, questions or practices that you’d like share about dewclaw removal through the comment section?

I did find this funny tidbit on Physchology Today in an article written by Stanley Coren“There is an interesting bit of folklore that keeps some people from removing the dewclaws of their dogs. In the southern states in America there is a common belief that dogs that are born with dewclaws on their hind feet (which is somewhat rare) have a natural immunity to the venomous effects of snake bites as long as the dewclaws remain intact. Once, when I was in South Carolina, an old man brought out a favorite hound of his and showed me the dewclaws on her back legs. He explained to me, “She’s been snakebit more’en one time, but she’s still here ‘cause them dewclaws sucked up the poison.”

well…there are rattlesnakes here in AZ and we are in the south so…

Sally Gift, Mesa AZ

Developing High Achievers When Raising Puppies

Sarah Armstrong
Sarah Armstrong

Please thank our Guest Blogger – Sarah Armstrong  MI  for her contribution today with a link to information and comments about her experience with Early Neurological Stimulation for puppies.

Sarah wrote:

I learned about the bio-sensory stimulation after my first litter.  I’ve experimented with it, doing it on one litter and not on another.  What I have found is that it DOES work!  It makes the puppies better able to handle stressful situations and to make a quicker recovery when they get scared or startled.
One puppy in a recent litter flew to Denver.  A few weeks later had to be “rescued” and he went to live with friends in Nebraska for a month.  He was then dropped off

Photo by Sarah Armstrong
Photo by Sarah Armstrong

in Chicago with fellow Gordonites for a weekend before continuing his journey back home to me.  He was maybe 4.5 months at this point.  In Chicago he strutted down the sidewalks like he owned them.  The people, the cars, the noise, nothing phased him.  Maybe he would have reacted that way had I not done the stimulation, but I would rather help them from wet to the time they leave become the best companions they can be!  This will always be my protocol with puppies!

Photo by Sarah Armstrong
Photo by Sarah Armstrong

The link to the article and method followed will open on a new page by clicking the title: Developing High Achievers by Dr. Carmen Battaglia orginally published as “Early Neurological Stimulation”.

Sarah Armstrong, MI

The Importance of Exercising Your Dog’s Brain – YouTube

This is a link to a wonderful resource for everyone who owns a dog, and is certainly pertinent to our Gordon Setter. Veterinary behavior expert, Dr. Karen Overall, introduces her discussion on the importance of exercising a dog’s brain and the effects it has on physical and mental health.

View this in its entirety – free registration compliments of the AKC Canine Health Foundation simply click this link to go: The Importance of Exercising Your Dog’s Brain – YouTube.

NEWS FLASH – Gordon Setter Students & Mentors

I started a new discussion group that you may find totally useful if you’re seriously into breeding and/or competing with your Gordon Setter. Now, I realize that many of you are not on Facebook and may well have sworn never to go there BUT you don’t have to turn into a Facebook junkie, nor do you need to accumulate a slathering of friends, but you will need to set up a Facebook account in order to view and post to the group.  There are already fabulous discussions starting, questions being posed, and pictures being shared of dogs from way back, all things educational can be shared here.

Here is the link Gordon Setter Students & Mentors click here if you’d care to check it out or join the group.

Gordon Setter Students & Mentors


Welcome Gordon Setter students and mentors! This group is meant to serve as a resource and learning tool for Gordon Setter fanciers who are serious students or experienced breeder/exhibitors willing to join forces where everyone can learn about and mentor the art of breeding better Gordon Setters. A place also to fine tune our skill and expertise when competing in conformation, performance or field events. Topics might include such things as genetics, structure, pedigrees, ancestors, health, and proper care, grooming, as well as training tips pertaining to competition in conformation, performance and field events. To make the most of this forum you are encouraged to submit questions, content and photos to provide examples as well as actively participate in discussions with helpful answers and guiding principles.

Things to keep in mind:

No personal attacks, ridicule, or harassment on or about another member’s post. You will be removed from the group and blocked. We don’t always need to agree and various opinions on a topic are encouraged to promote a learning environment, however remember when you are expressing an opinion to please do so in a tactful and polite manner.

Since this group is meant to serve educational purposes only, please do not submit your win photos and brags, we do love to see those and are very happy for you, but let’s post them on other forums to maintain focus here. The same would be true of those happy Gordon photos we post just for fun.

Please focus on the positive traits of any dog pictured. If you have constructive criticism always be considerate and tactful in your comments to ensure you are providing encouragement as well as an educational experience for the student. Please do share educational articles and links to other sites that will educate and promote better breeding and competition practices.

No SPAM or ads to promote the sale of merchandise or dogs. Spammers will be removed.

No personal attacks on other members! We are here to help each other learn and we will respect everyone and treat each other with dignity because of our differences, a different view could be where a new learning begins.

Sally Gift, Mesa AZ
Photo by Bob Segal – 2015 GSCA National Specialty

Gordon Setter Health Clearances before Breeding

All the Gordon Setter health clearance links in one place. If we’ve missed any, or there is information here that needs updating please be sure to send us a comment or an email at:

Gordon Setter Expert

meet n greet Photo by Bob Segal

As with any question, ask several breeders the same question and you’ll get several different answers. When it comes to acting responsibly as a breeder to bring healthy Gordon Setter puppies into the world it’s agreed that completing certain health clearances on breeding animals before any mating occurs should be a priority. However, ask any breeder which tests are necessary or which certifications are the most important – that could become a topic for debate. For purposes of this article, we are listing the screening tests that address health issues that pertain to the Gordon Setter along with where to obtain or find proof of existing certification. These screening tests are suggested tools that will prepare you to make informed breeding choices that will affect the health of many future generations of Gordon Setters. OFA StickerCanine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) – screening/certification organizations. Click any of the active…

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Vaccines, and why this conversation should not be so polarized

Dr. Dodds protocol for the Rabies vaccine is published as follows and differs from the information written in Nancy’s blog post:

1 Year after the initial dose:
Rabies, killed 3-year product (give 3-4 weeks apart from distemper/parvovirus booster)

Perform vaccine antibody titers for distemper and parvovirus every three years thereafter, or more often, if desired. Vaccinate for rabies virus according to the law, except where circumstances indicate that a written waiver needs to be obtained from the primary care veterinarian. In that case, a rabies antibody titer can also be performed to accompany the waiver request. See the Rabies Challenge Fund website.

W. Jean Dodds, DVM
Hemopet / NutriScan
11561 Salinaz Avenue
Garden Grove, CA 92843

Nancy Tanner

Fear has more traction than love.

Fear is more powerful than common sense.

Fear moves faster than understanding.

Fear makes us fight, run, or freeze.

SO, grab your pitch forks, light your torches, gather together, and lets go after those that cause us fear! Oh wait a second, that would be the witch hunts which we have grown past right? Nope, they are alive and well, and growing.

If you read social media news, watch TV, read the newspaper, or are a breathing human being, you are well aware that the vaccine controversy has flipped on its head. For humans and animals.

Words that incite us, make us emotional, and spread fear, are all over the place. Epidemic, disease outbreak, catastrophic cases of preventable diseases, shrill voices, super duper big scary words. The media has dug deep into their thesaurus of ‘scary ass words’. And because we are human, and we…

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My Interview with MERCK – kind of

Nancy Tanner

I’m going to make this short and sweet, or as sweet as possible. I would really like you to read the linked article below, that is the big part of this post.

In June I contacted ALL of the veterinary clinics within a three hour drive from my home to see who carried the DPv vaccine. It is the safest puppy vaccine available, two in one, thimerosal free, and recommended by Dr. Jean Dodds. That was twenty eight clinics just to be clear.

No, No, No, we wouldn’t consider it, we can’t, we like what we have, we believe in the four in one, please don’t call back… and the pleasantries continued.

Out of frustration, and curiosity, I e-mailed MERCK. Some of you might remember the connection or transition with MERIAl, SANOFI-AVENTIS, here is that STORY.

Within a day I received a call from the MERCK salesman. Super friendly…

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