The Hovawart Club of Great Britain


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Breed Notes - 26 Mar 2013
Six months has now elapsed since our visit to the Ophthalmic Vet in Leominster with Acorn, and today was the day of our appointment with a German Ophthalmic Vet. Originally, we thought we would have to go to Germany, but Crista, who stays each year for Crufts with her whippets, and incidentally but most enjoyably takes us for a day’s racing at Cheltenham the week afterwards, made enquiries when she returned home about suitable “eye” vets who knew about Hovawarts, only to discover that such a lady German vet was part of a practice in Solihull, a mere 90 minutes away. Since the initial diagnosis last year at Crufts with Professor Bedford both John and I had become used to the idea that we would not be able to breed with Acorn, so you can imagine how pleased we were to be told that Acorn’s cataracts were not, in her opinion at least, hereditary. We would have to be sure to use an eye-tested dog, endorse all the paper work (which we do anyway) and keep a careful watch on any puppies produced. It took the journey home for it to sink in, and it will not be until late autumn at the earliest, but all in all a wonderful result. After three different, independent, and expensive examinations, countless drops, wonder powders, and much heartache and soul searching, it looks as though it might work out OK in the end.

When a leaflet arrived from the KC recently with some new rules for the Assured Breeders Scheme I must admit that I didn’t pay too much attention to it but after reading Sheila Atter’s article in the 22nd March edition of DW I feel a bit anxious. She says that after the clarification by the KC means “business as usual”, but I am not sure that is quite right, as the form’s wording is “Ensure that all breeding stock is protected as far as is reasonably possible by routine immunisation against current common infectious disease unless advised otherwise by a vet”. To me, that implies at least that the decision as to whether you vaccinate or not is in your vet’s hands not yours. I think the KC needs to remember that vets are in business, and need to make a profit, and that one of their biggest profit areas is annual examination and inoculation. I am sure we have all heard the view that this is the way they can reduce the price of difficult operations, and perhaps enables them to undertake work for the less financial able pet owners. The KC are here handing them an opportunity to maximise this area of profit in a captive market, because members of the scheme have no option but to comply with what they advise. Suffice to say that after the usual puppy inoculations at about 10 – 12 weeks, and a booster the following year, it hasn’t been our practice to regularly inoculate annually. Would you be able to get away with just the bitch you were going to be breeding with, I do hope so. I asked our Vet if they could carry out a simple blood test to see if any particular dog actually needed a booster, to which the reply came back…. yes, certainly, but it would cost twice as much as the annual inoculation. It’s not just the money with these shots, it’s the concern I have with filling our dogs with all these toxins that I can’t be certain they need. I think the dilemma we have here is usually called “a rock and a hard place”!!
I was excited to see an advert in the dog press recently about a green interactive feeder to make your dog eat slowly. I have ordered one, so watch this space and I will tell you whether it does actually work. Whistle eats her whole meal in one huge mouthful, and if this cures it I will be forever in their debt, as I worry about bloat and torsion. So far I have used a big stone, several pebbles, scattering her food over the yard, hand feeding and nothing has really worked. This feeder is a large pad of plastic grass between which the kibble falls. (It sounds like the sort of thing you would have suggested on Dragons Den)! I can’t wait for her to try it. Just wish I had thought of it!
Elaine Betts
01544 318705
This article was posted on: 20-Mar-13