Why Should I Cerf My Entire Litter Of Pups?

The reason for cerfing your litter is to determine if there are any issues you need to know about for the pups you have produced that are going to their new homes;   and for your future breeding program.

I had a litter cerfed by a board certified (ACVO) canine ophthalmologist (which I do with every litter) where one pup was diagnosed with Incipient Posterior Cortical Cataracts.

This is a condition seen often in King Charles Spaniels and I was advised by my canine Ophthalmologist that it usually goes away in 4 weeks and the dog will never have any eye issues for life.

However this vet/Optho advised me not to breed a pup from this litter or to ever repeat the breeding, which I have not and will not.

The pup was checked 4 weeks later and passed the cerf.  Otherwise I would have paid for the surgery if needed.

That is the right thing to do as a reputable breeder.

There are dogs out there with issues that some breeders feel are a “non issue” and, therefore, keep breeding those lines.

I choose not to do that.

My reputation as a breeder is only as good as the pups I produce.  And, therefore, I choose to spend the extra money to cerf my litters before they go to their forever homes.

Pups should not be cerfed prior to 8 weeks of age.  If you check with your local Optho vets they often offer certain days of the week that are a “clinic” price.

Take the time and money to do this please.  It is for the sake of your pups first and foremost, not to mention your reputation as a reputable breeder.



Ectropion – Eye Condition In Dogs

This is said to be a hereditary condition in dogs and should be monitored by your vet.

The eye lid(s) will droop down and can allow debris to enter causing infections.  This is not something a breeder will necessarily notice at 8 weeks of age when the pup goes to their new home.  Please keep that in mind.

However, if you have this condition diagnosed you should definitely notify your breeder where you got the pup.

Surgery may be needed to tighten the eye lids but should not be done until the dog is of a mature age.

This is the opposite of Entropion – which can be a more severe issue.

I would have your vet refer you to an Ophthalmologist for follow ups and to determine if the dog will ever need surgery to correct the issue.

The pup should be monitored by the Ophtho until it is old enough to determine if it needs surgery.

Your regular vet is most likely not trained in this type of issue or surgery.  Please be sure to ask them if they have performed this surgery, what the success rate is and don’t hesitate to ask for references from other patients they have treated and done surgery on.

Its always best to deal with a specialist.

I personally would use a board certified Optho for surgery rather than my regular vet.

Here is more info:




Entropion – Eye Condition In Dogs

This is an eye condition that is said to be hereditary in dogs.

The eye lid turns in toward the eye and the eye lashes can irritate the eye or scratch it causing damage or ulcerations to the cornea.

If left untreated it could lead to scarring of the cornea and loss of vision.

Some pups will correct as they grow and most vets will tell you to wait it out.  Surgery may be necessary but it is important to wait and see if the pup is outgrowing it.  Even if it is suspected the pup will not outgrow this condition it is best to wait till the pup is older before surgical correction.

The eyes should be checked regularly to prevent damage.

I would recommend a canine ophthalmologist to do the routine checks, tacking or surgery.  If you choose to use your regular vet be sure and ask them how many procedures they have performed and what the success rate is.  Don’t hesitate to ask them for references from other patients they have done the surgery on

Often the vet can “tack” the eye lid to prevent issues until the pup outgrows this condition.

You may notice your dogs eyes tearing all the time or a heavy constant discharge.  If so, you should see the vet and discuss the possibility of this condition.

In some cases constant tearing can be caused by a clogged tear duct, or the duct is too small.  The vet can put die in the eyes and wait to see if it runs from both nostrils.  If not, most likely a duct issue as opposed to entropian .

More info here:




Incontinence In Dogs

There are different reasons for this.

It could be:

Spay incontinence

Old age

Kidney issues

Urinary tract infection (UTI).

The easiest to deal with is the UTI.  Once you clear it up the incontinence should stop.

The other causes can be more difficult and there are drugs on the market such as Proin, but they can have side effects.

There are natural remedies that work for some:

Soy milk at about 1/2 cup per day

A mixture of chinese herbs –  www.pawhealer.com – has been recommended by a friend who had good results with their products.  They should consult and mix your remedy.

Marshmellow drops

Corn silk drops


Lighter weight in a dog with incontinence from reasons other than UTI is recommended probably because there is less pressure on the bladder.



Intervertebral-Disk-Disease (IVD)

I have no experience with this but it seems worthy of blogging to try and help anyone suspecting it or going thru it with their dog.

I have read that in most dogs diagnosed with IVD, its the discs gradually degenerating over the course of a lifetime.  And small breeds such as Lhasa Apso, Shih Tzu, Dachshund, Pekingese, Cocker spaniel, Beagle, etc.) are termed chondrodystrophoid (KON-DRO-DIS-TRO-FOYD) and more prone to develope IVD.



Most dogs can be treated for pain and specialists will determine if the dog would benefit from surgery.




Yoga With Your Dog

I recently read an article in my local paper about this.  I think it is a great bonding experience for you and your dog.  It can also help to de-stress our dogs at times when we find ourselves stressed and our dogs react to us.

Here are a couple of links:   I had no idea that “doga” has been around for about 4-5 years.

Some positions are possible with small breeds as described in the links.  But there is a lot you can do with a medium, large or giant breed.






AKC Registration Does Not = A Well Bred Pup

This is a great article:

Beware AKC Registration by Charlie Petrizzo (Notes) on Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 1:35pm

Cross Post:

While watching the news this morning a segment came on about a woman who purchased a dog from an AKC registered breeder. The dog ended up having all kinds of health problems and the owner took it up with the AKC because the breeder from whom she purchased the dog was an AKC registered breeder.

Let me address this issue from a couple of angles. First, the AKC is nothing more than an organization that documents and memorializes the birth of a litter of pups. They know absolutely nothing about the health of those dogs and while they do have “inspectors” who visit breeders that are AKC registered, some of the facilities they do register are what you would refer to as puppy mills, and backyard breeders. The first sign of such a place is a breeder that has puppies for sale every single day of the year. If you find this with a breeder you are considering, run as fast as you can in the other direction.

Let me explain what the AKC is in another way. The AKC is the organization that prints birth certificates for pure bred dogs. Do you have a birth certificate? Where did it come from? What does it tell the person who reads it about you other than when and where you were born, a bit about your mother and father and perhaps a bit about your physical characteristics? Does your birth certificate attest to you being in good health, if your parents have good health, if your family has any genetic propensities that you might inherit? NO! Well neither does the AKC registration for a puppy. The only thing AKC papers tell you is that the parents were registered with them as pure bred dogs of a particular breed, who the breeder was, and again certain physical characteristics.

Now, excuse my extreme bluntness here. Given the problem of canine overpopulation it is ignorant to purchase a dog simply because it has AKC papers. If you do this you are part of the cause of canine overpopulation. You are potentially supporting backyard breeders, puppy mills or a person who bred their dog because, in their words “she/he is the sweetest dog ever”. “Sweetest dog ever”compared to what, and what credentials allow you to make that statement “she is the sweetest dog ever”.

There are many good reasons to own pure bred dogs. Chief amongst these reasons is that you know exactly what you are getting in terms of temperament and physical appearance. That is, if you purchase your pure bred dog through a responsible breeder. If you don’t do the legwork to ensure that you are purchasing a puppy from a responsible breeder than you don’t need a pure bred dog because it is highly likely that the pup you get will fall far short of the breed standard both in physical conformation and temperament.

The Labrador retriever is the most popular breed the United States. When I take my 8 and 9 week old pups out to places like Petsmart people are amazed at their calmness. Why? My pups are nothing more than pups bred to meet the breed standard. Here’s the answer, and excuse what will appear as a lack of humility on my part: Because most of the Labrador retrievers people are seeing these days are poorly bred, coming from people who have no idea how to properly assess a sire/dam cross or even whether the sire or dam should be contributing to the future gene pool of the breed. The Labrador retriever is not a hyper breed, it is a gentlemen’s hunting dog that is as happy at its master’s feet while he is reading a book as it is out in the field hunting a game bird, when properly bred. The “hyper” stigma is the result of breeders who breed, not to the standard, but will breed anything they can because it breathes and has an AKC registration, or because, while the dog may look like a greyhound in physical appearance it will hunt like mad. It is those people who breed the dog despite it looking nothing like or acting nothing like the Labrador of the breed standard but simply because it hunts that perpetuate the hyper lab stigma. Heck a cocker spaniel hunts too, should I call it a Labrador retriever?

The other question I get asked all the time is “what kind of dog is that”? This question really illustrates for me the depths to which this wonderful breed, the top breed for over 20 years, has been damaged by indiscriminate breeding or breeders who don’t breed to the standard but simply because the dog hunts. The reason I get asked this question is because our pups have the hallmark “blocky” heads and thick bone, which, are all part of the Labrador retriever club standard and the AKC standard for the breed. If people have to ask what type of dog the pup is and the pup approximates the breed standard very well, and this is the most popular breed in the country for some twenty years running, what does that tell you has happened to this great breed?

It tells me it is being seen more and more in a look that does not match the Labrador retriever standard. The reason for this is very simple. Again, it is because the purchasing public does not do its homework. They purchase pups that don’t come close to what a Labrador retriever is in appearance or temperament. This perpetuates the continued breeding of dogs that minimally reflect what a Labrador should look and act like.

What is a responsible breeder? First, their dogs will definitely be AKC registered, but that is a bare minimum. They are AKC registered because the AKC is the largest breed registry in the world and the public has become familiar with the organization. However, its not the AKC registration that will tell you the quality of the dog.

Information about the quality of the dog comes from a variety of sources. Some of them include the breeders facility and how the dogs are housed and maintained, the breeders experience and knowledge of the breed, the breeders purpose for breeding and the pedigree.

The pedigree is among the most important pieces of information the breeder can provide. Why? The pedigree will reveal how many of the pup’s ancestors are champions. A champion dog is a dog that has been evaluated relative to its breed standard by professionals. At conformation shows judges, who are experts in a breed, evaluate each dog relative to the standard. They then choose the dog in the ring that most closely reflects a dog’s exactness to the breed standard. A dog that becomes a champion has to win many shows.

Some may say ” but that doesn’t tell me anything about the dog’s temperament or intelligence. Oh, no? If a complete stranger (i.e., the judge) walks up to a dog and sticks its hands underneath the dog to ascertain if both of its testicles have descended and then grabs its mouth, opens it and checks its teeth for a correct bite and the dog stands quietly while allowing this, I would say that dog is exhibiting an intuitive intelligence and great temperament.

Every breeder, even the most responsible will have pups that develop health problems. Breeders are not God. However, good breeders take measures to minimize the incident of known genetic problems that the breed may encounter. Recently one of our dams had her second litter of pups. One of the pups in the litter had a heart murmur. The owners decided that they wanted to keep the pup. Several weeks later the murmur had gotten worse. It turned out the murmur was a grade 5-6 murmur and that the pup had Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia, a heart defect that is seen more often then others in Labrador retrievers. This despite the fact that both the sire and dam had hearts that were clear by auscultation. I as the breeder was heartbroken that this family had to deal with this pain from a pup I brought into this world to bring joy to another family.

When we offer a pup for sale to a qualified home we tell the owner to take it to a vet immediately to have it examined. If there is anything wrong with the pup, as much as a sniffle, we will take it back, no questions asked and return the purchase price. That means pup’s with health problems must come back to me, the breeder. Therefore, I must have the facilities, the space and the financial wherewithal to be able to care for this pup that I brought into the world for as long as it may live with this condition. It also means I have to be able to care for any other pup that might encounter a medical problem that a family cannot handle. Does the breeder you purchased your dog from have the facilities and finances to care for sick pups he may breed or, will he pawn them off on shelters and humane societies asking taxpayers to bear the burden of his inability to do so? This is what backyard breeders do. Ask the breeder you are considering if they take back any and all pups that have medical conditions or behavioral problems that an owner cannot deal with. If they say no, run the other way.

Thankfully, the help of a great mentor, our research and breeding practices have resulted in very, very few problems over the years. We are also very “picky” about who we will sell a puppy to. This ensures that our pups are going to good homes.

Please do yourself and everyone else in society a favor if you are going to buy a purebred dog. Do not purchase a pup simply because it has AKC papers! Do not purchase a pup because it is the breed you want at the price you want. That is a problem waiting to happen. Well bred dogs cost what they do for a reason and much of it has to do with the genetic testing that the parents undergo to minimize potential health problems in a litter. For the most part it is wise to stay away from the pups advertised in newspaper ads. Be extremely wary of the internet. Its very easy to make yourself look like a great breeder on the internet. If you can’t travel to the facility or get a video of the dogs out and about at the facility do not purchase a pup from the breeder. Do not purchase a pup from a breeder that just wanted to have a litter from their girl because she was so special. Do not purchase a pup from a breeder if you cannot see the mother and if possible any other pups she may have had. You do not have to physically see the sire ( shipped semen is now common among responsible breeders) but you should be given the owner of the sire’s information so that you can make an inquiry about him if you want to do so.

The problem of canine overpopulation and unhealthy pure bred dogs is not the fault of the AKC. It is the fault of the public. No where is the old Latin adage “caveat emptor” more appropriate than in the purchasing of a pure bred dog. Be part of the solution to end canine overpopulation and indiscriminate breeding, not the problem. Do your homework, ask probing questions of the breeder, do not have a puppy shipped to you, visit the breeder. If the general public would follow this advice slowly but surely puppy mills and backyard breeders will go the way of the dinosaur.



Exercised Induced Collapse – EIC

Also know as EIC.

“This inherited disease is common in Labrador Retrievers, but is also found in other breeds, including Curly-Coated and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Boykin Spaniels, German Wirehaired Pointers, Old English Sheepdogs, Cocker Spaniels and Pembroke Welsh Corgis.”

This disease was seen in working dogs; American/Field bred Labs years ago but no one knew what it was.

It is now being seen in English/Bench bred Labs.

The dog will be working in the field or doing many retrieves and it suddenly (5-20 minutes of work) has a breakdown.  The back end collapses and the dog will try to keep moving dragging the back legs.

The dog recuperates quickly with no side effects.  Many people who don’t know about this genetic disease think their dog is suffering from heat stroke, which can exhibit similar symptoms.

We now have a genetic test for Labradors which can be done thru the U of Minnesota.

If a dog is a “carrier” it must be bred to a “clear” dog to prevent pups from being “effected” by this disease.

The test can be done by blood draw or a cheek swab (both must be done by a vet) and the samples are sent into the U of MN for results.  The cost from MN is only $65 on top of your vet charge for taking the sample by either means.

Here is the link to find out more about the testing and what breeds there is a genetic test for.




Worming A Litter Of Puppies

There are breeders who worm their litters at 2, 4, 6 and 8 weeks of age.

I feel this is overkill.

While it is true that most pups are/can be born with worms – they get them in utero – it has not been the case in my litters for many years.

It can all depend on the environment pups are born and raised in.

Out in a kennel, a barn, etc…… where wild animals are rampant you can have a better chance of wormy pups.

My litters are born in my home and I do not have a lot of wild animals in my yard.

Therefore, my worming protocol is around 5 and 7 weeks of age.

I have found 2 worming is enough for my pups.  This has been proven with my past litters when the pup buyer takes their pup for their initial 72 hour health check at their vet which includes a fecal check.

I worm my pups with Strongid at 1 ml per 10 pounds of weight.  Weigh each pup just prior to worming.  If the pup is 5 lbs use .5 ml of Strongid.  If the pup is 5 1/2 lbs than I go by the 6 lb mark and use .6 ml of Strongid.

When I do the final worming of pups at 7 weeks of age I also worm the Dam/mother with Panacur.  That also goes by weight and is done 3 days in a row.

Note never worm pups 3 days in a row.  Just the adult Dam/mother.

If you see your pups passing worms than you may consider a third worming.

I also have a fecal done when my pups have their 8 week health check by my  vet just prior to going to their new homes to rule out any worms, coccidia or giardia.



My Pup Won’t Settle Down To Sleep

First be sure there is not a medical issue such as a blockage.  A pup or dog that will not settle down at night could be a sign of a blockage or other issue.

Labrador pups do not like it hot.  When my litters won’t settle down at nap time and are crying here is what I do:

Take small towels (dish size) and run under cold water.  Wring out and store in the fridge.

Freeze plastic bottles of water and store in freezer.

Lay towels out in the whelping box or crate and the pups will flop down on their bellies and go right to sleep.

The water bottles work well for pups to lay on or sleep up against to also help them stay cool

Here is a pick :  Scroll down to Jazz/Roger litter