Thank you, Marie Gadolin - kennel Hound's, for sending me Kasi and his old Scandinavian bloodlines when I needed him most!
ps Kasi is in Teo's pedigree as he is a great-grandfather.
This was SUvCh NUvCh SVCh FC Hound's Kashmir who died at age 14.5, quite apparently in his sleep, three years ago while I was at work. Kasi fathered just two litters before leaving Sweden at the age of five but he is in many, many pedigrees of dachshunds around the world. And he was the father of just one litter after he came to the States, but that litter of seven, my O litter, consisted of seven very talented and highly accomplished dogs.
Thank you, Marie Gadolin - kennel Hound's, for sending me Kasi and his old Scandinavian bloodlines when I needed him most!
ps Kasi is in Teo's pedigree as he is a great-grandfather.
After running errands, I attempted to take a short nap this evening. Since I hadn't fed the dogs yet, it didn't work too well. I noticed the after-the-storm light through the window was interesting. So I got up from the couch and one at a time invited the dogs to take my place for an impromptu photo shoot. Didn't have to twist their paws, Owl and Taya had been trying to sleep on me on the couch anyway! First photo is Owl, next two are Taya, then Nexus, and Viljo. They are good dogs, good friends really, and I very much enjoy them all.
Today, I took Owl for an evaluation of his reproductive status. We visited Dr Robert Hutchison of Northview Animal Clinic in North Ridgeville, Ohio. Dr Hutchison is an expert on canine and feline reproduction. He has many, many years of experience and has shared his knowledge with breeders in seminars all over the country. I figured it would be worth the 3.25 hours drive north for Owl to be assessed by this guy.
The bad, but not surprising, news is that Owl has a fertility problem. Dr Hutch said that normal canine sperm counts run about 10 million per pound of dog's body weight. Owl weighs 20 lbs so we would expect something like 200 million sperm. Owl's count was 42 million.
One would think that 42 million of anything would surely be enough!
But it gets worse. Of the 42 million sperm, 58% were immature. Dr Hutch explained that, like other glands in the body, the testes are 'used to' a certain level of production and that Owl was likely much more fertile when he was younger. So, in an effort to 'keep up the numbers' in the ejaculate, the testes are throwing out sperm that have not yet matured.
This is the reason, I was told, that Owl was not able to settle either Taya or Tasha this spring.
Now for some good news:
1. Owl has sperm. I was half-afraid there wouldn't be anything in there.
2. The motility of the sperm was good.
3. The morphology of the sperm was largely normal.
4. Ultrasound showed no masses or significant lesions in the testicles.
5. Ultrasound showed an enlarged prostate but the amount of enlargement is moderate and well within normal for a dog Owl's age.
6. It was also clear that Owl does not have an infectious process going on; there was no blood or pus. Prostatitis is a leading cause of acquired infertility so this was very good to hear.
I had shown Dr Hutch the semen evaluation from a different repro specialist done February, 2013. Unfortunately, the report was rather vague. I repeated what I'd been told and what I saw, which I had also relayed to Diane Webb in an email at that time.
"He said it looked pretty good. About 70% were what he called normal sperm 'which would be fine for live cover or fresh chilled. But for freezing and storing and the expense that goes with it, I think we can do better. I would like to get the numbers up to around 90% for freezing and I think we can do it.' He also showed me the little bit of blood in the bottom of the spun-down tube; the blood that had made it into the sample before bleeding became obvious. He said that the freezing process hemolyzes red blood cells and hemolyzing RBCs will destroy some sperm so another reason to clear up the prostate. He gave me a script for 30 days worth of Cipro. Interestingly, under magnification it appeared that some sperm were attempting to impregnate the small clumps of red cells. Good luck with that! He did comment on how good Owl's physical condition is." ~ Patt Nance in an email to Diane Webb, February 12, 2013
Three months later, based on what I had seen and been told, Babe was bred to Owl. Babe did not conceive. But she was six years old. We thought Babe had the problem. : (
Again, though, no prostatitis today, (if there ever was). Instead, Dr Hutch said it looks like we have a hormonal problem related to aging. I asked if these hormonal changes in Owl are normal. He slid me a look sideways for effect and said. "Oh yes. Very normal. Owl is something like a 60 year old man." I am pretty sure the good doctor Hutch is in his 60s!
The rest of the good news:
7. Owl's libido is fine.
8. He received an injection of testosterone with pre- and post- level blood tests and the results were good.
9. He is not obese and he doesn't smoke. ; )
I had had to make a decision, before the ultrasound, blood tests, and medications, how far I am willing to go to try to obtain a litter from Owl. Considering everything: his health, vitality, and energy level which are all truly extraordinary, his sound conformation, size, intelligence, eagerness to work at anything, his voice, coat quality, pedigree, I could go on and on...
I decided to do what seems reasonable. Not less. Not more. Dr Hutchison agreed with this. He said, "I am a logical, reasonable person, too. So let's do what is logical and reasonable and see what happens." I was able to connect with that statement.
Owl has been started on Megace 5 mg daily for 21 days, then 5 mg weekly. I was surprised by this. Megace is a progestin, a synthetic progesterone. Really? Megace? Yes. See Progesterone: a male hormone for more information. I learn something new every day!
He was also started on a male fertility supplement in capsule form called, um, Male Fertility Supplement, manufactured by Coast Science. Doc said he began prescribing MFS after a conversation with a human urologist. Sub-title on the container is "The Male Prenatal." Well, I can hope so. Owl is to get one capsule of the powder on his food each day.
Dr Hutch wants to re-evaluate in eight weeks. So we will. Please hope with me for a positive outcome!
Owl's appointment for semen evaluation with Dr Hutchison in North Ridgeville, Ohio has been moved to Tuesday afternoon, June 24. I would VERY much like to have a litter or two with Owl as father. If that isn't to be, then we have some big decisions to make. I will post evaluation results on Tuesday.
Because I will be working Thursday, (see previous post), I must change the date of Owl's appointment with Dr Hutchison. Hopefully, the good doc can see us Friday. If not, it will have to be next week.
I like black snakes. Or maybe I don't like them so much as I appreciate them. But I knew that a snake had decided to make its home between the inside and outside walls of my outbuilding. And if Blacky was home when my dogs were out, their verbal and non-verbal body language was speaking volumes. I figured it was a matter of time before the dogs got this snake as they have gotten others in the past. I was hoping I would get to it first and be able to cart it down the road. I have done it before.
But lately I have not been above wishing that the dogs would just get it, kill it, and get it over with...
This afternoon shortly before leaving for work, I went out to bring the dogs in. They had been out for about 15 minutes. Walking in, I saw Owl and Nexus pulling against each other on either end of the largest snake they have caught yet. And I saw that it was dead. I didn't know whether to think "Poor snake" or "YAY!" So I alternated.
Then I thought, as I often do, well let me go and get my camera. I came back and took some photos.
I got caught up in observing the dogs' behavior. Suddenly, I remembered - work!
I barely had time to wash my hair and get dressed. As I pulled out of the driveway, I saw a hen turkey with five or six little ones traipsing along on the road behind her. As I watched, she climbed the road bank and the little ones were flapping and fluttering and looking like sparrows in their endeavor to follow mama up the hill. It reminded me of a toddler having to work extra hard to keep up with a long-striding adult. Suddenly, I remembered again - work!
I had not had time to dry my hair, so off and on I hung my head out the window on the hour drive. I clocked in with four minutes to spare. As I walked into the conference room, they looked at me. "What are you doing here?" I said, "I'm working." They said, "No you're not."
I had forgotten that I'd moved myself from working today to working on Thursday when I only had three RNs scheduled!
Well, I needed to go get some groceries anyway.
Back home when I was pulling into the drive, I saw a large doe come out of the woods and stand beside the road for a couple of minutes. I waited to see if other deer were coming behind her. This time, I said to myself, you do have time to watch the animals!
Sometimes you just have to laugh. After their digging and wall-wallowing snake expedition, I made some coffee and walked into another room. Taya, eyes closed, was lying with ball tucked in safe. I thought of Robin Mousseau's photos of her Trouble and got my camera. When Taya heard me click it on, she opened one eye. haha! She closed it again. Then Owl, coveting the ball and whining softly the whole time, came and said to me, would you PLEASE make her give me the ball? (Nine other balls and toys scattered around and he HAD to have the one Taya had.) Owl will tear down walls for snakes but he won't go for a ball that Taya has! That's just been the case the past couple of months. Taya is now a mature, well, you know, little bitch. Owl may be driven but he's not dumb. : )
Owl's 10th BIRTH day may also be his LAST day. That snake in the wall of the outbuilding? It is still there. I am not brave enough to post a photo of what the dogs, led by Owl, have done to the wall on the inside. Now I am ready to get rid of that thing, the snake, not Owl (yet) whatever I have to do. Well, come to think of it, so is Owl.
Marta's second and last litter was born 10 years ago today. Father was Swedish import SUvCH NUvCH SvCH FC Hound’s Kashmir.
May as well just say it. Taya is not pregnant. I am very (VERY) disappointed but I am not going to whine about it. I have been disappointed before and good things came later.
There are several reasons why having a litter of puppies is so important to me.
First, ultimately all I do in the dog world is routed through the perspective of a breeder. I do not have many litters but breeding is the lens through which I see just about everything else in dogs. In August, it will be five years since I had a litter, and they were born in Mississippi. The last litter born here was in July 2008. Yet everything I have done in the past five years, including acquiring Viljo from Finland and Taya from Denmark, and all the trials and tests, has been with a view to breeding my interpretation of excellent, fieldworthy, standard longhaired dachshunds.
Longhairs have their place in the working world and I am committed to seeing them there. As I said to Cliff Shrader this spring, "no puppies, no future." Well, no puppies this time.
Second is that I was not breeding this litter for a pup for myself. I have four dogs and that is plenty for me to manage as they should be managed. But I have had several people on board the wait list for puppies - for months. These are tracking and performance homes with really good people. It is not fun to disappoint them.
There is one more thing. Owl, Oslo, and Odin are the only possibilities to continue the eight generations that I have worked on, and with, for decades. I would really hate to lose that connection. And they are going to be 10 years old in June.
I had a repro vet do a semen eval on Owl in April, 2013. The evaluation was fine. I have no reason to doubt in the spring of 2014 that Owl is not capable of producing a litter. We will see what happens with Tasha.
In the Madison Area Dachshund Club class of 18 Field Champion Dogs, three of the five ribbons went to Nexus, Oslo, and Owl!
I am proud of all of them but especially 12 year old Nexus. On an 85 degree afternoon, the warmest day we've had in months, Nexus put forth great effort had some excellent runs!
I did not run Nexus and Owl on Friday or Saturday because I wanted to concentrate on my youngsters Taya (on Friday), and Viljo (Friday and Saturday.) I think the older dogs were telling me, to heck with this sitting in the car business, we want to run rabbits!
I am gratified to be able to report that Owl is doing MUCH better! If I were to rate him on a scale 1-10, 10 being normal, I would say a solid 9.5. He is walking a straight line! Active. Happy. Jumping. No discernible head tilt. The only things I am seeing are that he appears to stumble slightly in the rear when turning right, he has a minute wobble when lifting his leg to pee, and his movement appears very slightly rigid, like he is not 100% trusting or finding total balance. I would say most people would not notice these things but I am seeing them because I know Owl so well.
Thank you for all your support!
I am so looking forward to my first litter in 4.5 years! Owl mated Taya last evening, on the 9th day of her cycle. The mating took place just as nature intended, with no interference from me. Taya was willing and Owl was eager, and I was happy that it went so well.
Later, though, I noticed that Owl looked a bit 'strange.' He was hunched a little and mildly hesitant to walk but it was subtle. He lifted his leg fine but wobbled just enough for me to notice it. He retched a couple of times, then seemed better. At bed time at 0200, Nexus and Viljo went into their crates and I put Owl on the bed with me. He had a slightly vacant expression as if he wasn't feeling well, then he sighed, stretched out, and went to sleep.
At 0415, I was awakened by a noise. Owl had fallen out of bed. I heard him retch. I got up. Two minutes later, it looked for all the world like Owl was having a full blown seizure. On his side, arched, rigid, flailing. It went on, too long, before he settled. Oh God. I went out into the 15 degree night to start the car and put a crate in there. I put Owl into his crate in the bedroom while I dressed. I heard sounds like he was seizing again. Owl's crate was moving and shaking from his spastic movements inside. I carried him out to the car and headed for Medvet in Columbus, 90 minutes away. In the car, there were two more episodes, both of them brief, when it sounded like Owl was seizing again. Each time ended with a soft whine. I noted the times and kept thinking, praying, Oh Lord, PLEASE don't tell me I just bred Tayter to Owl on the same day I find out he has a seizure disorder. The ramifications of that scenario hit like a ton of bricks.
Thankfully, what I was told three hours later was that Owl is having a bout with Vestibular Dis-ease. Vertigo. A problem with his balance. My dog is dizzy. Oh, you could have cut my relief with a knife.
The vet was great but he wanted to consult a neurologist. He said he could tell me what the problem was but could not tell me why. Is the problem originating with the inner ear(s) as is most often the case? Or is it, worst case scenario, coming from the brain stem? He left me to think about what I wanted to do. Well, I just got a smart phone on Wednesday and, boy, is it smart! I consulted my phone for information on Canine Vestibular Disease. I learned that it is actually not uncommon, affects mostly older dogs but sometimes middle age dogs, too. (Owl and his O littermates will be 10 in June. The fact that they are all very healthy and active at nearly 10 is one of the reasons I decided to use Owl in the first place.) One vet had an article saying she basically adopts the wait and see plan; improvement is often complete all the way to baseline, and often within 72 hours. So I told the vet I was taking Owl home and he was fine with that. They hydrated him with some subcu fluid and an injection of anti-nausea med. They gave me the same medication, Maropitant, in pill form, to be given once a day for the next three days.
Before I left, I asked the vet why the symptoms mimicked seizures so closely. I said that I have seen seizures a number of times, in dogs and especially in humans. Earlier this year, in fact, we had a patient who seized repeatedly something like 20 times before we got him transferred to a medical unit. The vet said basically, the vertigo was making Owl nauseated which is why he was retching. When he fell on his side that first time at home, and flailed, it was because he could not find equilibrium. Owl literally could not tell up from down. He was arched and rigid because he was trying hard to right himself. He was moving and shaking the crate when, again, he was trying to find balance and couldn't. And some of the body tension likely came from finding himself in a frightening predicament.
Outside of the vet hospital, I put Owl on the grass to see if he had to pee and he sat there looking like a bobble dog in someone's car window. When we got home, Owl did walk - like he might walk if he'd been into the Vodka - and lifted his leg and peed. He ate some soft food (canned cat food!) that I fed him with a spoon. He didn't want anything to drink.
Tonight, Owl is walking better but moving sideways, like a fast-moving crab. He has a head tilt and a bit of a body wobble. No retching though, no falling or flailing, and he knows which way is up.
Owl appears much more relaxed.
Until I open the front door and he sees the cat on the porch.
Until he pulls toward the kennel building where Taya is.
Opened my eyes this morning, saw sunshine in the window and couldn't get out of bed fast enough! Now I am waiting for the sun to move up over the evergreens and shine on all those iced up trees!!!
In the meantime, these are photos of my dogs that I took on our walk early evening yesterday. I DID figure out how to walk four dogs and carry my camera, too. And I felt safe carrying it with me on the icy road because I had on my Yaktrax. If not for the Yaktrax, I would not have been able to walk the road.
Played around a bit and had some fun with effects, too. I haven't quite figured out how to tone down the reds. It shows up pretty dark and brilliant in snow. But then, they are brilliant. : )
I took some photos of Owl outside in the dark in the snow tonight. Then I cropped and edited the very last and best photo and this is what I came up with. I like it. But that's easy, because I like Owl! I am learning a lot about photography as I go along trying things out. It is fun to discover what works and what doesn't.
I came out of the kitchen this morning to see Owl watching KITTY TV - again. He is obsessed with the star of that show; never misses an episode if he can help it. Thinking that my view of the dog and cat 'lineup' was interesting, I went to get my camera. No concerns that Owl would move. He would be watching as long as Kiki was on screen!
In this weather, my dogs are getting more chew time than usual. After lunch, I gave them American-made rawhide to chew for 30 minutes so that I could get some stuff done. They started in on their rawhides, I watched 'em for a minute and decided to take photos. There went my 30 minutes!
The photos are interesting from a lighting perspective. All of them were taken in the same room. As I have said before, the coloration of red dogs is an evolving, revolving light show anyway, and different lighting makes the red tones even more interesting. The 1st and 3rd photos, the older Owl and Nexus, have more artificial lighting, because Owl claimed the couch and Nexus the dog bed which are further from the patio door. 2nd and 4th photos, Taya and Viljo, were taken on the carpet nearer the natural lighting from the glass door. Natural light is really beautiful, isn't it.
Nope, I said 101!
I love to read. Over many years, though, I have collected far too many books. All the bookshelves are overflowing and there are stacks of books too many other places.
On January 1, I began the slow and sometimes painful process of re-homing books. My original goal was to move 50% of them on to other people. I have revised that to 30%, at least until after I have been through all my books one time!
Tonight I reached the milestone of 100 books that are no longer 'mine' and have gone OUT THE DOOR. I have many, many more books to sort through but it feels good to get this far down the path to a reasonable number.
I posted this on Facebook for 'throwback Thursday.'
Marta's second (and last) litter was by the Swedish import Hound's Kashmir who was out of venerable old hunting lines. Four males and three females were born in June of 2004. It was my O litter and I was working on coming up with O names. These were days before my photography went digital, so I had to wait to see photos. When I got this batch, I studied one particular photo of the four males together. The expression of one pup caught my eye. I said, hmmm, he looks like a wise little owl. Which is true to this day. I'm pretty sure you will know which one I am talking about.
hmmmm. Wonder who got into the last of the mashed sweet potatoes.
Actually, I gave him the last of the mashed sweet potatoes! Owl had it smeared from one side of his nose to the other. He swallowed much of the 'evidence' while I was reaching for my camera!
I am enjoying and photographing this seemingly insignificant thing because Owl has only just gotten over three days with gastritis. In pain and not eating or drinking during that time, it is GOOD to see him hungry and active again!
I like seeing "throwback" pics and want to post one of my own. Don't have much time today though, so instead of scanning and posting a much older photograph, I looked for something in my digital files. Don't believe I have ever posted this one anywhere.
It was taken September 2007 and 3 year old Owl had just passed the DTK (German Dachshund Club) SchwhKF blood track test in Reading, PA. I am holding the markers (articles) that Owl found on the track in the forest.
Owl is the first, and so far only, USA longhaired dachshund to pass this test. He was also the only one of four dogs to pass the test that day, and he did it on the last track.
If (ha!) I look like a zombie, it is because I'd worked the evening before, driven all night, and arrived at the hotel meeting place in eastern PA at precisely the start time of 8 am! It proved to be a warm and muggy day and by the time we ran our track, I was beyond much more than hanging onto the tracking line. But Owl had it all very well under control and I basically just went where he went.
This was fine with Owl; he likes to tell me where to go.