Wednesday 25 June 2008

Kennel Cough

Yesterday we took the decision to close our club for two weeks. About ten dogs caught acute tracheobronchitis or Kennel Cough. It is a widespread disease caused by several different viruses and bacteria and is highly contagious.The most common symptom is a dry hacking cough sometimes followed by retching. Many owners describe the cough as being similar to whooping cough in children. A watery nasal discharge may also be present. With mild cases, dogs continue to eat and be alert and active. Many times, there is a recent history of boarding or coming in contact with other dogs. In more severe cases, the symptoms may progress and include lethargy, fever, refusal to eat, pneumonia and in very severe cases, even death. The majority of severe cases occur in animals with a low immune system or in young unvaccinated puppies. There are two treatment options depending on the severity of the disease. In the most common mild and uncomplicated form of the disease, antibiotics are usually not used. If the dog has a good appetite and is alert but suffers only from a recurrent cough, it is best to let the disease run its course just as with a cold in humans.In more severe and complicated cases where the animal is not eating, running a fever, or showing signs of pneumonia, antibiotics are needed.The best prevention is to not expose a dog to young puppies. If this cannot be avoided, then proper vaccination is the next best option.Infectious tracheobronchitis is a disease of dogs and wild canids. It does not appear to be a risk to healthy humans or cats.

Sunday 22 June 2008

Dog Show

This week end I am at the 112th edition of the Brussels Dog Show where 18 countries among them show 278 varieties of dogs. I feel a dog show is not just about breed competition leading to the ultimate best in show but there is a broad range of activities to be seen. Working dogs, assistance dogs and activity dogs display their skills. They are far more concerned with being “man’s best friend” than whether they comply with the breed standard.
Our club is an official partner and we are giving an obedience demonstration. The exercises we show emphasise that early socialisation and acquisition of basic obedience skills enable a dog to be happily integrated in our daily lives. We are also showing some Doggy Dancing and giving spectators a taste of our newly opened Flyball section.

Sunday 15 June 2008


A study published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America presents the world's first evidence that size can be assessed on the basis of vocal signals. Anna Taylor, a psychologist at the University of Sussex, and her colleagues recorded growls emitted by 30 privately owned domestic dogs of 22 different breeds. An experimenter would get a dog to growl by showing up at the dog's house, approaching it and then staring into its eyes. The dog perceives this as an intimidating move and emits a defensive growl. The researchers then played these growls back to over 50 human listeners, who were asked, "What is the size of this dog?" In virtually all cases, the listeners correctly guessed the general size of the dog, be it a 45 kilos Rottweiler or a miniature Dachshund, based on just the animal's growl.

Wednesday 11 June 2008

Happy end for some

The South China Morning Post reports that a team from Hong Kong has found one of the two dogs that helped an elderly woman survive 196 hours trapped in rubble. Volunteers from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) came across Qian-jin, a six-month-old mongrel, on a hill next to a Buddhist temple in Pengzhou city. The other dog, a German shepherd named Guai-guai, was found earlier by temple staff. The animals were reported to have kept alive Wang Youqiong, a 61-year-old Buddhist, by licking her face as she lay stuck between two rocks next to the temple. Their barks led rescuers to her last week. The mongrel was taken to an animal shelter, but will be reunited with the German shepherd and returned to the temple after it is rebuilt. Tony Wong Tse-tong, superintendent of a team sent to the earthquake area by the SPCA, said both animals were in good shape.

Sunday 8 June 2008

Puppies to the rescue

There are numerous stories of brave dogs which helped in finding victims in the recent earthquake in China. This particular story I thought was worth telling:
"Wang Youqiong did not know the two puppies. But the two canine strangers have become her best friends since they helped save the devout Buddhist who survived 196 hours stuck between two giant rocks.A resident of Chengdu , Mrs Wang was planning to stay in a Buddhist temple in the city of Pengzhou throughout May. But her month-long retreat was interrupted when the massive earthquake struck the mountainous region on May 12. The grandmother fell to the ground and was then swept away by an ensuing mudslide. When it was all over she was stuck between two rocks, the Xiaoxiang Morning Post reported. Villagers in the surrounding neighbourhood had abandoned the area, so her cries for help went unheeded, then the puppies came along. In the following eight days, the dogs were her only companions. They did not leave her until rescuers followed their barks and found her."Over the past eight days, these two dogs kept barking, and licked Wang Youqiong's face and mouth," the report said. Mrs Wang reportedly survived by drinking rainwater and by the moisture from the dogs' licks. She was conscious when pulled out and was able to give rescuers her family's contact details. The family was overwhelmed upon receiving the rescuers' call. "I have been waiting for my mother's call. I couldn't believe a miracle would happen," her son Zeng Linghua said. "

Wednesday 4 June 2008

The oldest dog ever

The owners of Bella say that she is at least 29 years old. That's 203 if every year of a dog's life equals seven human years. David Richardson, 76, said he bought the Labrador cross from an RSPCA rescue centre about 26 years ago when she was at least three years old. The faithful pet is believed to be the world's oldest living dog and could even be the oldest dog ever. Unfortunately her owner has no documentation to prove her precise date of birth and so Bella's extraordinary longevity will never enter the record books. Does it matter?