Archive : February

Afghan Hound

Dignified and aloof, the Afghan is an aristocrat among dogs. It is an excellent hunter, though mostly appreciated for its spectacular appearance and as a show dog.

Physical Characteristics

Covered with thick, silky hair, which comes in various colors, the Afghan Hound, in fact, resembles a greyhound in build and is known for its ability to chase fleet game and double-suspension gallop. Its high pelvis and a short back, meanwhile, allow the breed to turn easily and jump great heights, both must-have characteristics for a dog that originally chased game on rocky terrain. The Afghan Hound’s big feet also offer it protection from injuries incurred from running on rough ground, while the silken coat is effective in beating cold.

Moving with the tail and head held high, its expression is proud and dignified and its gait is bouncy and elastic.

Personality and Temperament

Although a slightly reserved and occasionally timid breed, the Afghan Hound loves to hunt and chase. However, an Afghan Hound can live happy life indoors. The breed is not rough with children (who love its clownish and happy temperament), but the dog may become moody at times and behave badly. Some might even say the Afghan Hound almost resembles a cat in its independent nature.


This perfect house dog requires careful brushing and combing of its coat. Special care should be given at the time when the dog sheds its puppy coat. The Afghan Hound also requires daily exercise such as a long walk or a short sprint. In fact, this hound loves to run at a fast pace in small areas. Afghan Hound lovers should make it a point to provide the dog outdoor access and a nice, soft bed.


The Afghan Hound, which has an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years, is not susceptible to any major health concerns. It should be noted that the breed can suffer from tail injuries and reacts to barbiturate anesthesia. Health ailments like canine hip dysplasia (CHD), cataract and necrotic myelopathy are also occasionally seen in the breed. To identify some of these issues, a veterinarian may run hip and eye exams on the dog.

History and Background

The Afghan Hound is an ancient breed. It belonged to the Middle Eastern sighthounds, and its ancestors date back to the time of the Egyptian pharaohs. Initially, the breed was used a coursing hound by nomadic tribes to hunt for meat and hare, with the help of falcons, who swooped down at the prey. Gradually, after several generations on the mountainous lands of Afghanistan, the Afghan Hound developed into a nimble, swift dog with great stamina and leaping ability.

For centuries, the breed was isolated in the Afghan Mountains and was first brought to England during the first half of the 20th century. These dogs were originally referred to as Barukhzy Hounds or Persian Greyhounds. Diverse in nature, it was the Zardin variety that eventually became the most favored.

The breed quickly became the prize of the glamor world, and soon became popular in other circles, such as dog shows. The Afghan Hound reach the apex of its popularity in the 1970s, but still well known throughout the world.


Rapid Heart Beat in Dogs

Supraventricular Tachycardia in Dogs

Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) refers to an abnormally rapid heart rate originating above the heart’s ventricles. This can occur during times of rest or low activity (i.e., at times other than exercise, illness, or stress). A heart rate that remains excessively high over the long-term (such as those seen with SVT) can lead to progressive myocardial (heart muscle) failure as well as congestive heart failure.

SVT may go unnoticed when it is periodic, but when there are repetitive supraventricular premature electrical heart depolarizations (changes in the heart’s electrical potential) that originate from a site other than the sinus node (the pacemaker of the heart), such as in the atrial muscle or atrioventricular nodal tissue, the condition can become a serious health problem.

Symptoms and Types

Slow SVT or infrequent attacks of SVTNo clinical signsFast SVT (heart rate above 300 beats per minute)WeaknessFaintingCongestive heart failure (CHF)CoughingBreathing abnormalities


There are several factors that may lead to SVT, including:

Heart diseaseDigoxin toxicitySystemic disordersElectrolyte imbalancesAbnormal automaticity in an ectopic focus (when the heart beats prematurely or outside the normal parameters)

Some dogs even develop SVT due to a genetic predisposition or because of an unknown reason.


Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical exam on your dog, taking into account the background history of symptoms that you provide. Standard laboratory tests include a biochemical profile, a complete blood count, a urinalysis and an electrolyte panel to rule out systemic disease, cancer, and electrolyte imbalances.

An electrocardiogram (EKG) recording can be used to examine the electrical currents in the heart muscles, and may reveal any abnormalities in cardiac electrical conduction (which underlies the heart’s ability to contract/beat). An EKG (with Doppler studies) can also enable your veterinarian to characterize the type and severity of any underlying heart disease, as well as assess myocardial function for dogs suffering from primary SVT.

Furthermore, long-term ambulatory (Holter) recording of the EKG may detect attacks of SVT in cases of unexplained fainting, while event (loop) recorders may detect paroxysmal (severe attacks) SVT in dogs with infrequent episodes of syncope (fainting).


Dogs with sustained SVT or signs of congestive heart failure should be hospitalized immediately. There they may undergo a variety of non-pharmacologic, emergency interventions, including vagal maneuvers, precorial thump, and/or electrical cadioversion. Delivering a precordial thump is successful in terminating an SVT more than 90 percent of the time, but may break the ryhtym for only a brief period.

To perform a precordial thump, the dog is placed on its right side and then “thumped” in the affected region with a fist while recording the EKG.

Living and Management

Your veterinarian will schedule follow-up appointments for your dog as needed for treating the SVT and/or the underlying heart disease with prescription medication and/or dietary changes. He or she will recommend that you feed your dog a low sodium diet as well as restrict its activity until further notice. Short, low impact outdoor walks are ideal during this time.

Planning for New Year’s Fireworks: Strategies to Calm Your Pet’s Anxiety

New Year’s Eve is a great night for pet parents to celebrate and ring in the new year. However, millions of pets across the country can find our brand of merrymaking pretty scary, and will spend the night cowering under a bed or barking at the door.

The good news is there are steps you can take to reduce your pet’s stress when the fireworks and revelry begin, ranging from providing an alternative source of sound to administering pet-safe calming products.

It’s also important to note that New Year’s is a high-risk time for your anxious pet to run away. It’s always a good idea to make sure your tags and microchip info are up to date and, when the big night comes, make sure there aren’t opportunities for a terrified pet to escape.

Read More on Reducing Your Pet’s Anxiety

8 Tips for Helping a Dog That’s Scared of Fireworks

Can Benadryl Help With Dog Anxiety?

Natural Ways to Calm a Nervous Dog

Why Do Certain Sounds Scare Dogs?

Can You Treat Dog Anxiety With OTC Supplements and Calming Products?

The Ultimate Guide to Cat Anxiety

Dog Anxiety Help: How to Calm Down an Anxious Dog

6 Cat Calming Products to Help Ease Cat Anxiety


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Food Allergies in Dogs

What Are Food Allergies in Dogs?

Food allergies are an immune response to ingredients in a dog’s diet—an ingredient they are allergic to. This immune response usually becomes apparent over a prolonged amount of time rather than immediately after they try a food for the first time. Most dogs with true food allergies are actually allergic to a specific protein rather than a grain, as many assume. However, dogs can also be allergic to any ingredient in the diet itself.

When a dog with food allergies encounters a specific food they are allergic to, their immune system sees that protein as a foreign substance and mounts an immune system attack. This commonly causes itching, redness, and swelling. Food allergies are less common than environmental allergies, such as seasonal allergies and flea/tick allergies. In fact, only 0.2% of dogs are actually affected by food allergies.

Symptoms of Food Allergies in Dogs

Itchy skin

Frequent ear infections/skin infections


Licking/chewing feet



Weight loss

Seizure disorders (rare) 

Causes of Food Allergies in Dogs

Food allergies are caused by an overenthusiastic immune system reaction to specific protein. The immune system mistakenly treats the protein like a foreign substance and kicks into gear. This leads to inflammation, which causes physical changes in the dog’s body, such as redness, swelling, itching, and increased tear or other fluid production, while the immune system tries to get rid of the “foreign” substance. This fluid production can be in the gastrointestinal tract as well, leading to diarrhea and/or vomiting.

There is a genetic component to all allergies. However, the exact mechanism of why allergies develop in some dogs and not in others is not fully understood.

Dogs can have allergies from an early age or they can develop them several years into life. While allergies can occur in any breed of dog at any age, some are more likely to have food allergies. Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, English Springer Spaniels, Cocker Spaniels, Collies, Miniature Schnauzers, and Shar-Pei are more prone to develop food allergies.

There are several ingredients that are often linked to food allergies in dogs. The most common allergy is to a specific protein, but many dogs are allergic to more than one food ingredient.  The following have been commonly linked to food allergies in dogs:







How Veterinarians Diagnose Food Allergies in Dogs

Dogs are most often diagnosed with food allergies based on a physical exam, clinical signs, and their response to a food trial.

Your dog’s veterinarian may recommend that you complete a food trial with your pet. Food trials last eight to 12 weeks and must be followed exactly as prescribed. Be sure not to give any treats or other diets that may disrupt the results of the trial. Talk to your veterinarian about which heartworm and flea/tick prevention products are best during this time, as many have added beef or chicken protein for flavor. There are various ways that a food trial can be approached:

A prescription hydrolyzed protein diet. These diets have broken their proteins down to small particles so that they are unable to bind to the receptor and initiate the immune response.

 An elimination diet. These diets have a single source protein/carbohydrate, and are either formulated by a veterinary nutritionist or are home-cooked diets made under the direction of a veterinarian.

Most elimination diets are not suitable for long-term feeding, and instead are used only to diagnose food allergies. If your dog’s skin/ear issues resolve, then you know that your dog has a food allergy and can move forward in finding a diet that they will thrive on long-term.

Novel “new,” protein/carbohydrate source diets. This is food that has unusual protein or carbohydrate sources and limited ingredients that may cause an allergic reaction.

Skin support diets. These are fortified with bioactives and phytonutrients to minimize the immune system’s response.

Food trials or elimination diets are the best way to diagnose food allergies. There are diagnostic tests on the market, but many questions remain regarding their accuracy.

Treatment of Food Allergies in Dogs

Most food allergies are treated with a change in diet. It is very common for dogs with food allergies to also have environmental allergies. They may be prescribed allergy medications like Apoquel®, Cytopoint®, antihistamines, or steroids, in addition to a special diet.

Several supplements may be beneficial to dogs with allergies as well. These include omega fatty acids to boost the natural barrier function of the skin, and products including:

Vetoquinol® OmegaNutramax® WelactinEicosaDermTM

Best Food Diet for Dogs with Food Allergies

Many diets on the market can help to manage your dog’s allergies. Allergies are specific to the individual dog, so there is no one “best diet.” The best diet is the food that contains ingredients that your dog is not allergic to and is balanced and formulated for optimal health. The following list includes several diets that many allergy dogs have found relief with, including:

Hill’s® Science Diet® z/dRoyal Canin® Hydrolyzed Protein HPPurina® Pro Plan® HABlue Buffalo® HFHill’s® Science Diet® Derm CompleteHill’s® Science Diet® d/d Royal Canin® Selected Protein SP

Recovery and Management of Food Allergies in Dogs

Food allergies cannot be cured, but they can be well-managed long term with appropriate diet therapy and avoidance of allergic ingredients. If your dog has a food allergy, be sure to watch dog food labels closely, especially with treats, so you don’t accidentally give them anything considered allergenic. Prescription treats EW on the market, and some pet parents find it helpful to use raw baby carrots or green beans for treats in a pinch.

If your dog has food allergies and is undergoing a diet trial, expect it to last eight to 12 weeks before you can see an improvement. Reduction in licking and chewing may be seen in the first four weeks, but other dogs may take up to 12 weeks before you see any improvement.

Food Allergies in Dogs FAQs

What is the most common food allergy in dogs?

The most common food allergy in dogs is protein.

What are the most common signs of food allergies in a dog?

The most common signs of food allergies in dogs are itching, frequent skin and ear infections, and chewing/licking of the feet.

Can you test a dog for food allergies?

Dogs are tested for food allergies by using diet trials, generally under the guidance of a veterinarian.

Can you cure a food allergy in a dog?

Food allergies cannot be cured. However, they can be well-managed with an appropriate diet and avoidance of allergic ingredients.

Featured Image:Adobe/Christian Müller


Burns, K. Few pets allergic to food; flea, environmental allergies rise. June 2018. Banfield Pet Hospital; American Veterinary Medical Association.

Mueller, R, Olivry T, Prelaud, P. Critically appraised topic on adverse food reactions of companion animals (2): common food allergen sources in dogs and cats. BMC Veterinary Research, January 2016.

Rees, C. Food allergies in the dog and cat (Proceedings). DVM 360. October 2008.

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Melissa Boldan, DVM


Dr. Melissa Boldan graduated from the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine in 2012. She initially practiced mixed animal…

Flea and Tick Medicine Poisoning in Dogs

What Is Flea and Tick Medicine Poisoning in Dogs?

While it is very important for your dog to be on flea and tick prevention to help minimize the risk of the many diseases these insects carry, there are strict guidelines to prevent toxicity when administering these medications.

Substances that are toxic to insects such as fleas and ticks can also be harmful when exposed to pets in large quantities. Some common flea and tick medications contain pyrethrins or pyrethroids. Pyrethrins are a class of drugs derived from the chrysanthemum flower/plant, and pyrethroids are synthetic derivatives of these pyrethrins.

Pyrethrins are rarely found in products used daily, but pyrethroids are commonly found in products used around the home for insect control, in addition to common preventative flea and tick medications. Dogs are often exposed to high doses in flea and tick preventives, and then to lower concentrations when these products are used inside or outside the home in the form of insect sprays, foggers, and granules.

A newer class of flea and tick prevention medications that have been linked to toxicity are isoxazolines. These medications were the first oral flea and tick products, and while they are highly effective, they can also cause toxicity if given incorrectly or an overdose occurs. These preventions are safe to use if the appropriate dose is administered. Isoxazoline-containing preventives include:

Bravecto (topical and oral)


Simparica Trio



Symptoms of Flea and Tick Medicine Poisoning in Dogs

Pyrethroid-based topical flea and tick preventives, especially “spot-on” formulas, cause symptoms that can develop from 15 minutes to several hours after application to your dog’s skin. Clinical signs include:A tingling sensation; dogs will excessively itch or scratch that spot on their skinScratching, intense itchinessAgitation or restlessnessRolling around on the back or trying to bite the backVocalization, crying, whimperingPyrethrin and pyrethroid toxicity after oral ingestion usually causes clinical signs within 1 hour of absorption or exposure. Clinical signs may include:DroolingVomitingLack of appetiteGagging or hackingAgitation

On rare occasions, bifenthrin (frequently used in liquids and granular fire ant products.) ingestion, in large concentrated amounts, can cause:




Difficulty standing or walking




Isoxazoline (commonly found in oral flea and tick preventatives) overdose can cause:

Muscle tremors

Difficulty standing or walking  


If you think your dog or cat is having toxic side effects or was exposed to pyrethrins or pyrethroids, call your veterinarian, ASPCA Poison Control, or a Pet Poison Helpline immediately for potentially life-saving treatment advice. Depending on the severity of clinical signs, seek emergency vet care immediately.

Causes of Flea and Tick Medicine Poisoning in Dogs

The formulations of pyrethrins and pyrethroids vary depending on how they will be used. Pyrethrins and pyrethroids typically come in varying concentrations. Higher concentrations can be safely used on dogs, but cats are more sensitive to these chemicals and cannot metabolize these drugs.

Intended uses of these products include:

Home and outdoor yard and garden insecticides, which typically come in liquids, sprays, granules, and foggers

Over-the-counter medicated flea shampoos

Topical flea and tick preventives

Common brands of pyrethrins/pyrethroids include:


Vectra 3D

Advantage sprays and home fogger

Seresto collars

Hartz products

Keep in mind there are many more generic and brand-name preventives that include these ingredients.

How Veterinarians Diagnose Flea and Tick Medicine Poisoning in Dogs

After a complete physical examination, your veterinarian will make a presumptive diagnosis if there is a known or possible history of exposure to a product containing a pyrethrin or pyrethroid, or ingestion of flea/tick medicine. In a presumptive diagnosis, a veterinarian has a good reason to believe that something is causing the problem but cannot prove it with a specific diagnostic test.

Treatment of Flea and Tick Medicine Poisoning in Dogs

Depending on the severity of the toxicity and the clinical signs your dog is displaying, treatment could be on an outpatient basis, or your dog might need to be hospitalized for supportive care. There is no antidote for these types of poisoning. Treatment includes quick removal of the product by bathing your dog with a liquid dish soap like Dawn, Joy, or Palmolive to get the greasy substance off and rinsing the mouth with copious amounts of water. Use a garden hose, if necessary, to help flush from the mouth any toxins ingested.

In cases where neurological signs occur, it is beneficial to minimize the extent and severity of clinical signs by having your dog hospitalized for up to three days. Supportive care might consist of repeat bathing, IV fluids, anti-nausea medications, muscle relaxation, and seizure medication. Your veterinarian might also want to monitor your dog’s temperature, blood sugar levels, and kidney function, as these can be affected by any toxicity.

Recovery and Management of Flea and Tick Medicine Poisoning in Dogs

With prompt recognition and early treatment, the prognosis is good. If your dog develops neurological signs, kidney issues, seizures, and elevated body temperature, the prognosis is generally poor.

Adverse reactions such as excessive drooling, paw flicking/scratching, and ear twitching are often mild and can go away on their own. Although drooling may recur for several days after use of a flea-control product on an animal, most mild to severe clinical signs resolve within three days.

Prevention of Flea and Tick Medicine Poisoning in Dogs

To prevent accidental exposure, follow all directions on flea and tick preventives and insecticides very carefully. The most important thing to make sure of with a preventive is that dogs are getting the correct dose for their body weight. Also, make sure that you do not give more than one drug at a time, as that can cause an accidental overdose. Do not use part of a larger-sized dose or multiple smaller doses, as this may result in an overdose and increased chance of poisoning. If in doubt, bring your dog to the veterinarian for a weigh-in.

Flea and Tick Medicine Poisoning in Dogs FAQs

Can dogs recover from flea and tick medicine poisoning?

With quick treatment, dogs can fully recover from flea and tick medication poisoning/toxicity. It is important to catch clinical symptoms early for the best prognosis.

How long does flea and tick medicine poisoning last?

Symptoms may continue for several days after the use of a product, but most clinical signs will resolve in one to three days.

Featured Image: Maximenko

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Barri J. Morrison, DVM


Barri Morrison was born and raised and currently resides in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. She went to University of Florida for her…

Korean Jindo

By Paula Fitzsimmons

With erect ears, a thick tail and an athletic build, the Korean Jindo is a wolflike dog breed originating in South Korea. Jindo dogs are excellent problem solvers, are fiercely loyal and have a strong drive to hunt, traits that have secured their position as hunters and guardians in their homeland.

They continue to serve in these roles to a certain degree in the US, but Jindo dogs have primarily become cherished family members.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) has not yet recognized the Korean Jindo as a new dog breed; it is in the organization’s Foundation Stock Service awaiting recognition.

Many American Jindo breeders rely on the breed standards set by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI).

Physical Characteristics

Like the Akita, American Eskimo Dog, Chow Chow, Siberian Husky and other dog breeds with a wolflike appearance, the Korean Jindo is a Spitz breed.

Jindo dogs are athletic, well-proportioned, medium-size pups who differ distinctly by their sex. Females tend to look slimmer with more angular features, while males tend to be stockier and more broadly built, says Nichole Royer, a founding member of the Korean Jindo Association of America.  

The FCI standard height for males is 19 ½-21 ½ inches with a weight of 40-50 pounds. Females are a couple of inches shorter and weigh 33-41 pounds, says Royer.

Like wolves, the Jindo’s ears are heavily furred and have rounded tips. “Very importantly, when alert, their ears are hooded, meaning they lean forward past the vertical when viewed from the side, and they never have ears that simply point straight up,” Royer says.

They have strong, well-feathered tails. “Jindos may carry their tail loosely curled with the tip brushing the back, or may have a sickle tail with a gentle curve carried high and not touching their back, or they may have a saber tail, pointing straight up. Their tails never curl tightly and never lay on their back or side,” says Royer.

Jindo dogs have a double coat consisting of a soft, fuzzy undercoat and stiff outercoat, which Royer says presents in six general colors: red, white, black and tan, brindle, gray, and solid black.

“They have a quick and elastic trot, which makes it easy for the Jindo to travel quickly over any terrain,” says Gina DiNardo, executive secretary of the AKC in New York City. Being able to move rapidly on any type of landscape is essential to hunting success.

Personality and Temperament

Jindos are fiercely loyal and protective, traits they tend to reserve for one person or family. “While they should be calm, confident and never aggressive without reason, they are also a reserved and careful breed that often is not particularly interested in interacting with people or dogs outside their own family and pack,” explains Royer.

 However, “a well-socialized Jindo will accept and even enjoy attention from someone who is accepted by their owner,” Royer says. 

The Jindo dog breed is highly independent and has a strong aptitude for problem-solving. “Jindos are able to make decisions on their own and are not necessarily looking to their owners for direction. While very intelligent and easily trained, they are also easily bored,” says Royer.

If you plan to get more than one Jindo, consider the dogs’ sex. “Same-sex dog aggression is the norm for the breed, and opposite-sex companions are the most successful,” says Royer. 

As a breed with a high prey drive, Jindos need daily physical exercise and mental stimulation. “Outdoors, they are very active, continually looking for prey and patrolling the property,” Royer says. “Inside the home, they are alert and like to position themselves near their owners. However, they are restful and calm indoor companions.”

They will often follow their human around the house, “not being clingy, but happy to curl up in a corner where they can simply be near and watch over their person or family,” says DiNardo.


When provided an outlet for their energy, Jindos are calm and quiet while indoors, says Royer. “As a guard dog breed, Jindos are programmed to observe and react to anything unusual or out of place in their environment. For this reason, they require socialization as puppies so that they develop a broad concept of what is normal in the world.”

Though intensely loyal to the family, Jindo dogs are also independent thinkers. “They will temper their obedience with their own judgment,” Royer says. “It is best for owners to take their dogs through one or more training classes to cement their bond and provide good basic Canine Good Citizen skills,” says Royer.

The Korean Jindo is an athletic breed that needs a reasonable amount of physical and mental stimulation, says DiNardo. “They enjoy sports like lure coursing and agility and are happy to turn their athleticism to any active task, even if it’s a nice long walk.”

Jindos typically have little body odor and will often clean themselves, similar to a cat, says Royer. “Most of the year they require weekly brushing to minimize shedding and an occasional bath. Twice a year Jindos will ‘blow’ their coat and most of their undercoat will come out in a fairly short period of time. During this time they will shed excessively and continuously, and daily brushing (and vacuuming) becomes necessary.”


Jindos are generally robust dogs who have few health issues. With optimal care, they have an average lifespan of 11 to 13 years.

Health conditions that have been identified in multiple dogs are hypothyroidism and discoid lupus erythematosus (cutaneous lupus erythematosus), a skin disease that may cause a variety of symptoms, including depigmentation of the lip and nose, lesions that can bleed, loss of tissue and scar formation, says Royer.

There have also been isolated cases of cataracts, hip dysplasia, seizures, environmental allergies and cystinuria, an inherited disease that leads to kidney, ureter and bladder stones, Royer says. “However, none of these issues have been documented with frequency.” A responsible breeder will test for these diseases.  

History and Background

The Korean Jindo originated on Jindo Island, which is located off South Korea’s southwest coast. 

“The dogs lived unrestrained on the island alongside their owners for thousands of years to develop into a natural breed with reputable hunting abilities,” DiNardo explains. “Jindos were originally used as hunting dogs in their native country due to their prey instinct and strict loyalty.”

They were expected to hunt and kill small game, then bring the prey home, says Royer. “They also hunted deer and wild boar in small packs. This hunting instinct is still very strong in the breed, and many owners still hunt with their dogs.”

Their strong hunting drive is also relied on here in the US. “There are many Jindos ridding their owners’ property of vermin such as rats, squirrels and rabbits. Jindos have also proven excellent at lure coursing and barn-hunt activities,” says Royer.

In 1962, the Republic of Korea Preservation of Cultural Assets Act No. 53 was passed, which gave Jindos the title of “Natural Monument (No. 53).” 

The Jindo is not yet on the AKC breeds list but has been in its Foundation Stock Service since 2008, says DiNardo. “It is where breeds that are in the process of becoming recognized are grouped.”

Mixed-breed Jindo dogs and rescued imports from Korea are fairly common, and there are occasionally litters from parents that are supposedly purebred but unregistered, says Royer.

“There are only around 20 AKC-registered Jindos in the US. We only have two breeders in the US who are actively involved with the breed, [who] health test their dogs and carefully screen new owners. So we are still a very small group, but always hoping to grow,” adds Royer.

English Springer Spaniel

The “springer” in English Springer Spaniel was first used in 1902. The word derives from the breed’s historical talent for “springing” game—which means they chase birds into flying for hunters to shoot.

But the breed has a long history before that. The English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association (ESSFTA) says Spaniel-type dogs have populated the civilized world for many centuries. 

Along with being a popular hunting breed, English Springer Spaniels are also now acclaimed for their show-dog ability, as well as their potential as a family pet. They are recognizable for their wavy outer coat and floppy ears, and they generally have a playful and cheerful demeanor. English Springer Spaniels can vary considerably in size and appearance, but their average height is 20 inches tall and they weigh 40–55 pounds.

Caring for an English Springer Spaniel

English Springer Spaniels were bred as working dogs, so they love having a job to do. This means they benefit greatly from training, plenty of routine exercise, and space to stretch their fast-moving legs (whether that’s a big backyard or a park). A social breed, they love to spend time with their humans and are eager to please. 

The English Springer Spaniel’s coat is medium-length, weather-proof, and could use a brushing once or twice a week.

English Springer Spaniel Health Issues

The average English Springer Spaniel lifespan is 12–14 years, which is normal for a medium-size dog. According to the ESSFTA, these spaniels lead healthy, happy lives and retain their vigor into old age.

Genetic-based disorders are not uncommon, however. Most are not life-threatening and can be managed, but some can be more serious. 

Elbow and Hip Dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia refers to abnormalities in a dog’s elbow where the joint doesn’t develop properly. Hip dysplasia is a similar condition, where the hip joint doesn’t fit together properly and becomes loose. If left untreated, both conditions can lead to arthritis.

Ask your vet for a screening if you notice symptoms such as lameness or limping, an abnormal gait, or a swollen joint. Treatment can include joint supplements, weight management, or surgery if the case is severe.

Ear Infections

English Springer Spaniels are particularly susceptible to ear infections because of their long, floppy ears that decrease air circulation and trap moisture within the ear canal. This makes it easier for bacterial and yeast infections to develop.

Common signs of an ear infection in dogs include redness, itching or scratching, having an odor, and head shaking. Dog ear infections require vet treatment and medication to restore a healthy ear canal—but they are preventable if you keep your dog’s ears clean and dry. Chronic ear infections can also be a sign of allergies in dogs.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a term for a group of degenerative eye diseases that affect the layers of the retina responsible for vision. They will eventually result in blindness. According to the ESSFTA, onset in Springers can vary but usually occurs between 2–6 years of age. Thankfully, PRA is considered rare for this breed. 

PRA isn’t a painful condition for dogs, but currently there is no effective treatment or cure. The first signs are typically night blindness and increased clumsiness (walking/bumping into things).


A seizure is caused by a sudden surge of uncontrollable electrical activity within the brain. This is another inherited (but rare!) health condition seen in English Springer Spaniels. Seizures usually begin before a Springer turns 5 years old. In many cases, seizures can be controlled with medication. 

What To Feed an English Springer Spaniel

It can be overwhelming to know which food to choose for your English Springer Spaniel. But as a general rule, pet parents should select a food approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) for your dog’s current life stage (puppy, adult, or senior). 

Because Springers are such active dogs, keep a high-quality, calorically dense diet in mind. Consult your vet on the best feeding schedule, and your pet’s specific needs when it comes to diet and nutrition.

How To Feed an English Springer Spaniel

You should typically feed English Springer Spaniel puppies at least three times a day on a consistent schedule, while adults should eat twice a day.

How Much Should You Feed an English Springer Spaniel?

The amount of food your Springer needs varies dog to dog. Factors influencing their portions include their lifestyle, age, weight, and activity level (especially if they spend a long day outside).

Dog food bags will often have a feeding guide that typically recommends the total amount of food that should be given to your pup over a 24-hour period. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, and check with your vet to confirm you’re feeding your English Springer Spaniel the right amount.

Nutritional Tips for English Springer Spaniels

For an English Springer Spaniel involved in sporting activities, you can supplement them with glucosamine and chondroitin to help keep their joints healthy. Omega-3 supplements can also aid in protecting joint health—and help keep their skin and coat lush and soft. Always talk with your vet before giving your dog nutritional supplements.

Behavior and Training Tips for English Springer Spaniels

English Springer Spaniel Personality and Temperament

As mentioned, Springers love to be put to work! Pet parents can expect a “do-it-all” and eager-to-please breed, according to the ESSFTA.

English Springer Spaniel puppies require time and patience. They can adapt to different living environments as long as time is dedicated to their exercise and enrichment. That said, a Springer might not be the best fit if you are away from home for regular, extended periods. But they are an ideal family pet and love to spend time with humans young and old.

English Springer Spaniel Behavior

Like with many breeds, regular exercise and enriching activities are key to keeping an English Springer Spaniel’s gentle and amenable temperament. They’re known to be a friendly breed, and they might bark to communicate readiness to play or to greet other dogs or humans. They’re not known for excessive barking, but like other dogs, that can develop if their exercise or socialization needs are not met.

English Springer Spaniel Training

English Springer Spaniels are intelligent, and early training and socialization are very beneficial for the breed. They respond well to patient, gentle training tactics, and treats are often a good motivator.

Fun Activities for English Springer Spaniels



Long walks




English Springer Spaniel Grooming Guide

English Springer Spaniels require moderate grooming, especially when it comes to their beautiful, wavy coat. Like many dog breeds, they tend to shed. 

Skin Care

No special skin care is required for English Springer Spaniels, but regular grooming and trimming will help keep their skin healthy.

Coat Care

A good brushing once or twice a week (plus trimming as needed) will help prevent mats and tangles in your English Springer Spaniel’s coat. Regular professional grooming  can also keep their fur lustrous and in top shape.

Eye Care

English Springer Spaniels typically don’t require special eye care, but pet parents should watch for signs of PRA if their dog hasn’t been tested. If you notice changes in your dog’s eyes, such as discharge, call your vet.

Ear Care

The English Springer Spaniel’s long ears make them prone to ear infections. Their ears also have lots of fur, so regular trimming will help improve air flow. Clean your dog’s ears often with a dog-specific ear cleaner. These have typically been formulated with effective pH ranges for dogs, and they contain drying agents.

Considerations for Pet Parents

As long as your Springer has plenty of opportunities to romp around outside, they’ll be happy in any type of home. They love to be around their humans, so any pet parent who spends long hours away from home might want to reconsider. Expect to meet a moderate level of grooming needs to keep your Springer’s unique coat healthy and beautiful. 

English Springer Spaniel FAQs

Do English Springer Spaniels bark a lot?

Springer Spaniels tend to bark when greeting strangers. They might also bark to communicate that they want to play, or to greet other dogs. They’re not known for excessive barking, but that can develop if their needs are not met when it comes to exercising and socializing. 

What are English Springer Spaniels good at?

Because they’re very trainable, English Springer Spaniels are good at a lot of things! They were bred to be hunting companions, so they can have great tracking and retrieving abilities. They are known to be excellent show dogs as well.

How long do English Springer Spaniels live?

The average English Springer Spaniel lifespan is 12–14 years.

Do English Springer Spaniels like to cuddle?

English Springer Spaniels are known as affectionate dogs who love to be around their humans. So chances are you’ll find yourself curled up on the couch with your Springer.

Featured Image: Adobe/Mindaugas Dulinskas

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Sarah Kloepple

Sarah Kloepple is a professional writer and editor living in Baltimore. She is a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism.  

Liver Inflammation (Granulomatous) in Dogs

Granulomatous Hepatitis in Dogs

Hepatitis is a condition in which the liver is inflamed, creating a diseased state. Further complicating this condition is the growth of inflamed tissue on the liver, a condition that is then referred to as hepatitis granulomatous (where a granuloma is a small area of inflamed tissue). This condition is most commonly due to fungal infection, but it can also be brought about by bacteria, viruses, parasites, or cancer.

Hepatitis granulomatous is relatively uncommon in dogs, but it is not limited by age or breed.

Symptoms and Types

Lack of appetiteVomitingDiarrheaWeight lossLethargyIncreased urination (polyuria)Increased thirst (polydipsia)Abdominal painYellowish discoloration of the skin and the whites of the eyes due to jaundiceDistended abdomenFever


Fungal infections (blastomycosis, coccidioidomycosis, histoplasmosis)Bacterial infections (brucellosis)Parasitism (liver flukes, visceral larval migrans)Neoplasia/cancer (lymphosarcoma)Immune-mediated disorders (involving the immune system of the body)Drug reactionsIdiopathic (cause unknown)



You will need to give a thorough history of your dog’s health leading up to the onset of symptoms, including any illnesses your dog has had, even if they have apparently resolved. Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical exam, including a blood chemical profile, a complete blood count, a urinalysis and an electrolyte panel. The results of the blood tests may reveal abnormalities related to the underlying disease/condition.

The biochemical tests usually reveal abnormally high liver enzymes and bilirubin levels, low glucose levels, and other such abnormalities. Similarly, the urinalysis may reveal protein, red blood cells, or white blood cells in the urine, indicative of infection. As the liver is important for blood clotting, abnormalities related to blood clotting are common in these patients. However, a coagulation check may return normal, unless your dog has reached the point of liver failure.

Abdominal X-rays will often reveal an enlarged liver, an abdominal mass, and excess fluid inside the abdominal cavity. An abdominal ultrasound will give your veterinarian further details related to the liver size and also enable your veterinarian to take a guided biopsy of liver tissue for further microscopic evaluation. The liver tissue sample will confirm abnormalities in the liver tissue, providing the means for a definitive diagnosis.

It is important to keep in mind that hepatitis granulomatous is frequently multisystemic, meaning that several systems of the body are being affected, making the diagnosis difficult to define.


Depending on the severity of the symptoms, your dog may needs to be hospitalized for initial treatment. Fluid therapy will be given to restore bodily fluid deficits, along with nutritional support if your dog is unable to eat. As the underlying cause of this disease is often difficult to diagnose, treatment can be highly variable and will depend on the underlying cause.

Because of the liver’s importance to the body whole, the prognosis for this disease is guarded to poor. Cirrhosis, liver failure, or a chronic condition may develop as the result of hepatitis granulomatous.

Living and Management

It is not always possible to diagnose the underlying cause of this disease, therefore, successful treatment is often difficult to achieve. Due to this fact, the condition often worsens and may lead to cirrhosis and liver failure. The prognosis is often poor because of involvement of multiple systems of the body, the difficulty in diagnosing the underlying cause, and the ability to provide proper treatment without a definite diagnosis.


The Schipperke is an agile, active watchdog and vermin-hunter. It is a small, tailless dog, with a fox-like face and is characterized by its silhouette, which slopes downward from head to rump. And though its origins remain a mystery, the Schipperke continues to be a unique selection for dog lovers seeking an alert watchdog or a friendly house pet.

Physical Characteristics

The square-proportioned Schipperke is a small dog that seems to slope from the shoulders to hindquarters. Its black double coat stands off like a ruff and forms culottes and cape, enhancing the dog’s appearance. The Schipperke’s fox-like face, meanwhile, has a mischievous, questioning and sometimes saucy look.

Active and agile, the Schipperke has a graceful and smooth trot, which originates from its role as a vermin hunter and watchdog.

Personality and Temperament

The Schipperke can be headstrong and independent, but it is a bold companion. Adventurous and energetic, this little dog pokes its nose everywhere. An alert watchdog, it is also reserved with strangers. If given exercise daily, however, it can become a pleasant and friendly house dog.


Although the Schipperke enjoys spending much of the day in the yard, it should not be allowed to live outdoors. Its double coat requires weekly brushing and more often when shedding.

As this breed is very active, mental and physical exercises are essential. These exercise needs can be easily met, though, because of its small stature. A moderate on-leash walk or a vigorous outdoor game is sufficient.


The Schipperke, which has an average lifespan of 13 to 15 years, may suffer from minor problems like Legg-Perthes disease, epilepsy, and hypothyroidism, or major health issues like mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) type IIIB. Occasionally this breed may be prone to canine hip dysplasia (CHD), entropion, distichiasis, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). DNA, hip, and thyroid tests are often recommend for dogs of this breed.

History and Background

There are different theories regarding the Schipperke’s origin. One credible theory states that this dog originally belonged to boatmen, who traversed from Brussels to Antwerp. In fact, a “schip” is a boat in the Flemish language and Schipperke means a small boatman. However, Belgian townspeople did not refer to the breed as Schipperke but as a spitz.

The other possible theory is that the Schipperke was a dog in middle-class households and trade guilds, where it was a ratter and small watchdog. As the breed looked like a miniature Belgian Sheepdog, the name Schipperke may have been derived from “scheper,” a word for shepherd.

There was also mention of a small, tailless black dog of intermediate size in 15th and 16th century Belgian writings, but evidence of the actual breed would not be recorded until 1690. A group of shoemakers in Brussels arranged regular competitions for Schipperkes, taking pride in decorating their dogs with beautiful brass collars. By the 1800s, the breed became so popular it was one of the few pet dogs available locally; it would later become recognized as the national dog.

Queen Marie Henriette bought a Schipperke from a dog show in 1885, instantly creating an interest for the breed. Soon its role was promoted to that of an elite companion instead of a worker’s dog. However, the breed’s numbers decreased due to extensive exports to England, where the dogs were considered a fashion statement.

As many Belgians regarded the breed as common, they sought more exotic breeds. During the late 1800s, some Belgian Schipperke fanciers tried to restore the purity of the breed by setting a standard.

The first Schipperke was imported to the United States in 1888 and the first specialty club for the breed was founded in 1905. It is no longer the popular pet it once was in Europe, but still remains a favorite among select dog fanciers.

Stomach and Intestinal Cancer (Leiomyosarcoma) in Dogs

Leiomyosarcoma of Stomach, Small and Large intestine in Dogs

Leiomyosarcoma is an uncommon cancerous tumor, which, in this case, arises from the smooth muscles of the stomach and intestines. It is an extremely dangerous and painful disease that affects mostly older dogs (more than six years old), though all breeds are equally predisposed to leimyosarcoma. Moreover, the cancer has a tendency to metastasize to other sites in the gastrointestinal tract and other body organs.

Symptoms and Types

Most symptoms are related to gastrointestinal tract, including:

Vomiting Weight loss Diarrhea Blood in stool (hematochezia) Gas (flatulence) Stomach growling, or rumbling sound (borborygmus) Feeling of incomplete defecation (fenesmus)



The exact cause for this cancer is currently unknown.


You will need to give a thorough history of your dog’s health, including the onset and nature of the symptoms. He or she will then perform a complete physical examination, as well a biochemistry profile, urinalysis, and complete blood count (CBC) — the results of which are usually within normal ranges. However, in some dogs with advanced forms of the disease, few abnormalities, including anemia, abnormally highly number of white blood cells (leukocytosis), and abnormally low glucose levels (hypoglycemia) may be noted. Other diagnostic procedures include abdominal X-rays and ultrasounds, which help to identify changes in the stomach and intestinal walls, such as thickening of the wall. Contrast radiography, meanwhile, is used to enhance visualization of tissue and improve localization of the tumor.

Endoscopy is another valuable tool for direct visualization of the affected areas. This is performed with an endoscope, a rigid or flexible tube inserted into the esophagus down to the stomach and intestines. As well as visually inspecting the region, the veterinarian will remove a sample of the affected area (stomach and/or intestine) for biopsy to confirm diagnosis.


Surgery remains the treatment of choice, which involves resection of the tumor mass along with some normal tissue. However, the extent of metastasis (such as in the liver) is a critical factor for final prognosis.

Living and Management

In cases of metastasis to other body organs, prognosis is very poor, where survival may only be a few months. Surgery may improve survival rates in some animals, but will require complete removal of the tumor mass. Following the surgery, you will have to take your dog for routine checkups, X-rays, and abdominal ultrasound every three months. Some dogs may also require special, easily digestible diets, as well as painkillers to alleviate soreness. Strictly adhere to the veterinarian’s guidelines watch for recurrence of vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal distention, and abdominal pain in the dog.