Your Dog needs You to be prepared.

Recent World Events brings to mind the peril facing domesticated pets in natural disasters.

A disaster does not need to be on the epic scale of the tsunami in Japan or Hurricane Katrina to put people and animals in dire distress.  We’ve all seen images of the dogs from Katrina and remember stories from other disasters. In the last year alone I can think of a huge number of disasters worldwide,  Floods, Hurricanes, Forest Fires, Ice-storms, Extreme heat, Extreme cold,  earthquakes, tornados whatever; having a plan and making provisions for yourself and your pet in an emergency is more than responsible it is essential.  Some things can’t be prepared for, but doing everything you can to protect yourself, your family and your pets will never be a wasted exercise. There is no better website to suggest than the Disaster Preparedness Guide from the Borzoi Club of America. No matter where you live there are tips, guides, info and suggestions that can be applied to any pet anywhere. Print out the kit list and get it put together you will be so glad you did.

Most of us hopefully won’t ever have to face a life and death emergency where evacuation is necessary. There are less serious events such as a bad storm or a tornado that can cause prolonged loss of electricity. Having food on hand that is portable and easy, requiring no refrigeration is essential for you and your animals. Whether or not your dogs are on a raw diet having an emergency supply of fresh good quality kibble on hand is a good idea. I would suggest esp. if kibble use is only occasional to buy grain free & a protein percentage of about 22-24% (it is a little difficult to find grain free that doesn’t have an extremely high protein percentage, I use a kibble that is wheat,corn & soy free but does have brown rice.) Use as a training treat or cookie treat to prevent it from going stale or bad. Kibble keeps well in the freezer and should be kept there if you are only feeding occasionally. The more variety your dog is accustomed to the easier it will be in difficult circumstances to take care of your dogs dietary needs. There are a number of good options including dehydrated food just needing water to be reconstituted and usually with a long shelf life with the added bonus of being light in weight.

Make a list, set up the  Dog’s Comprehensive First Aid Emergency Kit from an earlier post on this blog copied here and added to for your convenience. A couple of items which I think should be added  are an X-pen or soft crate with lightweight bedding and shade cloth.

  • Vet Contact information, record of dog’s immunizations (I always keep at least a copy in car’s glove box)
  • Surgical gloves non latex
  • Bandages, sterile gauze pads, gauze rolls, and hypo-allergenic adhesive tape for treating wounds.
  • Vet wrap Sticks to itself, won’t absorb water. Available in many colours. Take care not to wrap too tightly
  • Hydrogen peroxide, 3 percent USP (to induce vomiting)
  • Electrolytes eg. Pedialyte (powder or liquid) useful for humans and dogs to help prevent or treat dehydration
  • Roast baster, bulb syringe or large medicine syringe (to administer peroxide)
  • Saline eye solution does double duty, treat eyes & cleanse wounds
  • Artificial tears gel (to lubricate eyes after flushing)
  • Mild dish soap (for bathing an animal after skin contamination)
  • Hand sanitizer (can be used to clean wound in a pinch)
  • Lubricant (such as KY® Jelly) – helps hold fur away from wound
  • Tweezers (eg. to remove stingers)
  • Scissors (blunt ended if dressings need to be removed)
  • Styptic powder Styptic powder is an antiseptic clotting agent. When a dog or cats nails are trimmed they can easily be cut too close to the blood vessels.  Much like a styptic pencil which is made of alum, styptic powder stops bleeding by contracting the blood vessels. Most pet groomers and veterinarians keep styptic powder on hand. Styptic powder causes the vessels to contract further back into the claw and also clots the blood. Often sold as ‘Kwik Stop’
  • Muzzle to keep dog from biting during treatment
  • Soft Cold pack
  • Syringe liquid medicine dispenser
  • Nail clippers
  • Food- cans of your pet’s favourite  food, favourite treats
  • Charcoal capsules Activated Charcoal taken internally relieves gas and diarrhea. When given for internal poisoning, it adsorbs toxins and prevents them from entering the bloodstream
  • Pepto bismol Bismuth subsalicylate – use to treat mild vomiting and diarrhea in dogs If vomiting and/or diarrhea persists for 48 hours or more; Caution: if the dog has a fever, is listless. appears to have abdominal pain; or does not continue to be alert and active, contact your veterinarian. Dosage Pepto-Bismol reg liquid: Dogs: 0.5-1ml/pound every 6-8 hours Regular strength tablets (often preferred by dogs): 1/4 tablet/20 pounds every 6-8 hours. Treatment should only be needed for 1-2 days.
  • Analgesic (Deerhound safe) such as Rimadyl, Metacam, Tramadol (Ultram) Available from vet- use as directed
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Manuka honey has high sugar content and produces an antibacterial molecule called hydrogen peroxide, which can be used as a disinfectant. Manuka Honey in particular is especially effective in treating infected wounds and other skin conditions  (look for UMF levelof 16+)
  • Thermometer Digital much easier safer than glass (marked exclusively “Dog”) (Normal temperature range 101-102.5)
  • Slippery Elm capsules Useful for digestive upsets of all varieties as well as diarrhea and constipation, Slippery Elm soothes and tones tissues while drawing out and eliminating toxins from the body. From mouth to colon, it acts as a lubricant and protectant, making it an excellent choice for any inflammation or ulceration of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Water At least 2 litres drinking water
  • Blankets
  • Pen light
  • Paper towel & Wetwipes
  • Poop bags
  • Xpen, soft crate or like below dog sun sheltering tent

Dog Haus (Dog Tent) available from Amazon.

If you have the time and the inclination you might like to participate with the Noah’s Wish organization.

Noah’s Wish has one mission: to save animals during disasters with our rescue and recovery services and to mitigate the impact of disasters on animals through our educational outreach programs. Like the American Red Cross does for humans, Noah’s Wish shelters, feeds and heals animals who have been affected by major disasters in the USA and Canada, like hurricane Katrina, floods in the Midwest, or wildfires in the West. A not-for-profit organization, Noah’s Wish depends on donations and volunteers to do its lifesaving work. There are 2 day training sessions scheduled in many areas. Visit the website to check for future dates.

Princeton, British Columbia July 9 &10

Loveland, Ohio August 6 & 7

Stillwater, Oklahoma October 1 & 2

Fresno, California October 22 & 23


Addendum to Heat Stroke- Tips to avoid dehydration etc.

  • Deerhound crash site

    Buy an outdoor thermometer to keep in your car, I use this as a reality check for myself- do I dare make a quick stop at the store with Cailean in the car? When the temp. is already warm the odds that it will be safe diminish exponentially.

  • an early warning sign of mild dehydration is tacky gums (gums feeling a little sticky to your finger instead of moist and slippery)learn how to check  your dogs gum colour and capillary refill time.
  • If your dog is at all ill be extra cautious about heat and hydration. Dogs most at risk for dehydration are those who suffer from underlying health conditions such as cancer, kidney disorders, or infectious diseases. Pregnant or nursing dogs may be prone to dehydration, as well as diabetic and elderly dogs.
  • a rapid resting hear rate over 140 beats per min. may be an indication of dehydration.
  •  Take note of your dog’s water intake.  If you suspect your dog is not drinking enough check the urine colour it should not be dark yellow. Make sure your dog has free access to clean water at all times, change it frequently. Wash your dog’s water bowl daily to prevent the growth of bacteria.
  • Need to increase the amount of water your dog is drinking?  Add a few drops of lemon juice or put out a little chilled unsalted broth. Add ice cubes to the water bowl. Dog tempting flavoured ice cubes ideas anyone?? Maybe a little plain yogurt flavoured with vanilla or beef bouillion, I know Stroganoff flavoured frozen yogurt. mmmmm.

Dehydration occurs when fluid loss exceeds fluid intake; conditions that may precipitate fluid loss can be both the temperature of the environment, physical exertion, food consumption, illness and lactaton. There will be times when your dog will be less able to cope with the heat than at other times, ie. a dog that has recently exercised hard, a dog who has had a fever, diarrhea or vomiting, a dog that is under stress and is drooling or panting excessively.

In any case preventing dehydration is the goal.

    • provide shade
    • unlimited access to fresh water
    • cool your dogs body (use a spray bottle or hose on the under side of your dog) do not use a wet cover which traps heat next to the body.

Deerhounds (Cailean) swim if they're hot enough

Heat Exhaustion/ Stroke the potential for Disaster and Heartbreak

Deerhounds are usually quite adept at pretending to be a prone statue if the thermometer reads more than 24 degrees celsius. There are occasions however; as I have found out when common sense gets left at the door (the dogs or mine?) and your lazy somnolent deerhound gets a little overly excited and runs like a mad thing on a very hot sunny day playing with  his/her friends. All kidding aside sighthounds have been known to run themselves to death due to heatstroke on the track and in pursuit of game. I am always mindful when hiking through natural areas that Cailean might suddenly remember that she really is a sighthound and has the potential to be a formidable predator.  It might not seem like it during a record breaking rainy spring but the inevitable scorching heat of summer will soon be here. It is not a bad time to remind you of a few safety and cooling tips.

  • Like a broken record Don’t, Don’t leave any dog in the car, windows down or not. Go home drop the dog off and go back for the groceries etc. Even in cool sunny weather, the temperature in the car can climb above 48°C (120°F) in 20 minutes.

  • If you must drive any distance in warm weather with your dog (remember dogs can’t sweat to cool their bodies), consider driving after dark if your car is not air conditioned.

  • Don’t put yourself & your dog into an overheated car, ventilate for a few minutes at least & to avoid toxic fumes don’t start air conditioning with the windows rolled up.

  • Carry a water bottle while walking the dog & keep a 2nd bottle in the car in case you need to wet the dog down or more for drinking (both of you). I always keep a towel, a bowl, extra water, & first aid kits in the car. If you think the dog is panting a little harder than you would like and are at all concerned wet the towel and apply to the chest, abdomen, head, ears, and foot pads moving it around.

  • The only way to know for sure if things are not too good with your dog is by taking its temperature. Keep a rectal/ or digital thermometer in the cars first aid kit if summer walks take you further than a short drive from home.

  • Your dog might be having too much fun to stop playing, don’t wait for the dog to refuse to go any further, go and hide in the shade or lay down at your feet. Anticipate a slower pace and leash an over-excited dog on a hot day. Useful in the car or your backpack is a spray bottle to add to your arsenal of cooling tools. As to the effectiveness of cooling beds and jackets, its worth trying although I haven’t heard of too many people who swear by them. I’d love comments from readers who might speak to this.

  • If you happen to see wildlife in the area, leash your dog. Searching for a lost dog in the blazing heat of a long summer day is one disaster best avoided.

  • As with most things in dog rearing knowing your dog, its body, habits and personality are key to knowing when something is out of the ordinary. Know what your dog’s gum colour is like usually, know how quickly the colour returns if you do a capillary refill test.  This test should be done when your dog is completely well so that you know what the baseline is for your pet. firmly press on the gum above a tooth with your thumb or finger for about 3 seconds. When the thumb is removed the spot will appear paler but after 1.5 seconds the colour should return.

  •  If the dog is dehydrated, the membranes will be dry and the capillary refill time will be prolonged (>2-3 seconds).



Read more at Suite101: How to Check Your Dog’s Gums: Learn to Examine a Sick Dog for Gum Paleness or Discoloration

Heat stroke is most common in the large breeds and in dogs with short noses. Dogs mainly cool themselves by panting, or breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. The process of panting directs air over the mucous membranes (moist surface) of the tongue, throat and trachea (windpipe). The air that is flowing over these organs causes evaporation, thus cooling the animal. Another mechanisms that helps remove heat includes dilation of blood vessels in the skin of the face, ears and feet. Dilated blood vessels located on the surface of the body cause the blood to loose heat to the outside air. Breaths per minute. Puppies 15-40 breaths/ minute. Dogs 10-30 breaths/minute. Toy breeds (small dogs) 15-40 breaths/minute. Dogs that are panting – up to 200 pants/minute. If the animals abdomen is expanding instead of the chest on inhalation your pet is not breathing normally. You should seek veterinary care.

A dog’s normal body temperature ranges between 100.5 Fahrenheit (38.1°C) and 102.5 Fahrenheit (39.2°C).

Like people, dogs can become overheated. If it rises to 105 or 106 degrees, the dog is at risk for developing heat exhaustion. If the body temperature rises to 107 degrees, the dog has entered the danger zone of heat stroke. With heat stroke, damage to the body can be irreversible. Organs begin to shut down, and veterinary care is immediately needed. Death from heat stroke can occur pretty quickly. The shortest interval between exposure to high heat extremes and death is about 20 minutes & usually as a result of being left in a closed vehicle.  Dogs like people need time to adjust to the seasonal changes in weather. They are most likely to experience heat stroke as they are becoming acclimated to the heat and most likely in conjunction with exercise or excitement.  


heavy panting,

hyperventilation (deep breathing),

discoloured gums (deep brick red – mild to Moderate heat exhaustion,

pale white gums in severe heat stroke),

increased salivation early then dry gums as the heat prostration progresses,

weakness, stumbling or a lack of coordination,

confusion or inattention,

vomiting or diarrhea and sometimes bleeding. As the condition progresses towards heat prostration or heat stroke there may be obvious paleness or graying to the gums shallowing of the breathing efforts and eventually slowed or absent breathing efforts, vomiting and diarrhea that may be bloody and finally seizures or coma.

The most common clinical signs of Heat Stroke are weakness, loss of balance, excessive panting, roaring breathing sounds, excessive salivation, decrease in mental awareness, collapse and death. Any time that heat stroke is suspected it is best to get an immediate rectal temperature reading and to begin treatment immediately if the body temperature is over 106 degrees Fahrenheit or to stop all activity and move indoors if the temperature is less than this but elevated above 103.0 degrees Fahrenheit. Body temperatures over 107 degrees Fahrenheit are a critical emergency, because organ damage can occur at this temperature and at higher temperatures.

Treatment consists of cool water (not cold water) bathes or rinses. If the water is too cold, or if ice is used to cool a heat stroke victim it can cause a decrease or loss of skin circulation, which can delay cooling. This should be done immediately for a few minutes and then the dog should be taken to the veterinarian’s office or to an emergency veterinary clinic immediately. Most dogs will not drink water at this stage of heat stroke and it is not a good idea to spend time trying to get them to. Just go to the vet’s as quickly as possible.

Immediate treatment is critical to success when dealing with heat stroke, so delays are potentially harmful, or fatal.

Read the rest of this entry »

Medical Idiosyncrasies in Deerhounds Essay Mar-9-11

Forewarned is forearmed, anyone truly considering ownership of a Scottish Deerhound would do well to have a good understanding of issues that may affect the health of their future dog. Making inquiries about the genetic testing and the incidence of Health issues in the pedigree of a breeders dogs should be made a high priority when choosing a breeder and particular Kennel.

Thank you to Allyn Babitch for sharing the following Essay with us.

Scottish Deerhounds as a breed have some medical idiosyncrasies that owners and their vets should be aware of. These are not necessarily meant to indicate pathology (though some are serious conditions), but to be mostly precautionary and illuminating. Further information is available on the Scottish Deerhound Club of America website ( greyhound/sighthound information is available on

The most important issue is the sighthound’s sensitivity to Barbiturate anesthetics.  Many sighthounds have died after the use of these; probably because it is taken up in fat, and with the sighthound’s lower percentage of fat, this leaves more to go to the brain and other organs.  Most vets no longer use barbiturates for anesthesia, but double checking anesthetic protocol with the vet before any procedure is OK’d is recommended;  and a “NO BARBITURATES” alert should be on the dog’s medical record.

Deerhounds also tend to go down and wake up “hard” from many anesthetics, and should be carefully monitored until fully conscious.  They are sensitive to anesthetics in general, and using just the amount needed to attain adequate unconsciousness is recommended.  For many minor procedures a light sedative and local anesthetic are sometimes sufficient;  and this option should be explored with your vet.

Deerhounds can also be highly Sensitive to sulfa antibiotics, especially with prolonged or repeat dosings of it.  Many will develop an autoimmune thrombocytopenia (decreased platelets) or leukopenia (decreased white blood cells) from it;  In a few cases this has proved fatal, though cessation of the drug usually reverses the symptoms;  the giving of steroids  for their immunosuppressive action has sometimes been necessary.  Sulfa antibiotics are useful for a number of conditions, and most dogs handle them OK, but not many Deerhounds.  They are marketed under a variety of brand names, so always check that you are not being prescribed a sulfa;  and “NO SULFAS” should also be on the dogs’s medical record.

Rimadyl has caused sometimes fatal liver reactions in Deerhounds– adverse  reactions have also been reported with Tagamet, phenylbutazone, and  chloramphenicol.  Cephalexin type antibiotics can sometimes cause inappetence in Deerhounds, and there have been several cases of Deerhounds bleeding unusually, and one of a dog sloughing its skin seriously, after prolonged use;  also a case of anaphylactic type reaction immediately after giving the drug, has been reported.. Other better tolerated drugs might be chosen whenever possible .  Amoxicillins and Baytril are often well tolerated and provide broad spectrum protection;  though Baytril should not be given to young developing large breed dogs such as Deerhounds, before the age of eighteen months, due to published possible joint and cartilage damage ; and is not recommended for seizure prone dogs .  Owners should be aware of any reactions their dogs have to any drugs, and report this to their veterinarian, as individual responses to a variety of drugs are always possible.  Most drug’s possible side effects can usually be researched online.

Deerhound females have passed away after spays and other abdominal surgeries, due to bleeding out, more than is average for dogs in general.  Factor VII bleeding disorder has been identified in the breed,  There is a genetic test for this disorder, and many breeders are breeding so as not to produce affected puppies.  Even normal Factor VII females have died, however, after these surgeries, so this is not the full answer to the problem.  It is recommended when spaying that a long abdominal incision be made, so that there is full surgical access to the area, and ligation of severed structures can be completely and adequately done.

Deerhounds will sometimes pine while in hospital, and may not eat.  Some vets prefer to keep an animal in hospital until they start to eat;  but this may not be the best choice for sensitive Deerhounds, and sending them home to see if they start eating there sometimes works out better.

Deerhounds tend to have low normal temperatures at rest, so even what would be considered just a moderate fever in another breed might signal a more significant fever in a Deerhound.   An owner could take a dog’s temperature at home, at rest, several times to establish a baseline, to know better if the temperature is elevated.

Deerhounds and other sighthounds tend to have large hearts compared to other breeds.  These have sometimes been mistakenly identified as pathologically enlarged.  Their heartrate is typically low at rest.  If there is a question about a Deerhound’s heart condition, consultation with a veterinary cardiologist familiar with sighthound heart characteristics is recommended.

Deerhounds have marked sinus Arrhythmia, which means that their heart speeds up when they breathe in, and slows down when they’re breathing out.  This change in heart rate sometimes alarms owners.  If it is “regularly irregular” that is normal- it is the irregularly irregular heartbeat that signals a problem.  All dogs have sinus arrhythmia, but in the dogs with slower heart rates it’s more obvious.

Deerhounds tend to have low normal thyroid levels;  and without symptoms of hypothyroidism treatment with thyroid supplementation is usually not indicated.

Additionally, Deerhounds tend to have high normal to somewhat high red blood cell counts.  High RBCs in dogs in general can indicate dehydration;  symptoms, or lack of them, have to be considered when interpreting RBC levels.

Cystinuria is a genetic condition that male Deerhounds can get, (so far we haven’t found females with it, though they may be the ones to pass on the genes).  In this the dogs do not metabolize cystine properly and it is shed into the urine; occasionally causing stones which can eventually plug the urinary passageways;  though many cystinuric dogs never develop stones.   Diet has not been found to be useful as treatment for cystinuric stone prevention- corrective surgery, including cystotomy, perineal urethrostomy and often neutering, and ongoing careful monitoring of urinary output, are the current methods of management of this condition.  There is an online cystinuria list that owners of cystinuric dogs, and other interested people, can join to stay abreast of developments, including the hoped for genetic test being worked on for Mastiffs, which may wind up being useful for Deerhounds as well.  Urine testing for cystinuria is taking place at UPenn- be aware that a negative finding is not always reliable, as the shedding of cystine into the urine can be intermittent.

Vets and Deerhound owners should discuss Bloat symptoms and emergency bloat protocol, and owners should know what to do after regular vet hours with a suspected bloat;  as it often happens at night, and requires immediate veterinary, and usually surgical, intervention for the outcome to be a good one. . There are elective preventive surgeries, known as gastropexies or “stomach tacking”- at some surgical clinics these are offered laparoscopically, and this could be considered by puppy buyers..

Persistent or worsening lamenesses in middle aged and older Deerhounds, whose families have instances of bone cancer, should have bone cancer included as a possible cause when diagnosing.  Other athletic injuries Deerhounds are prone to are broken toes, cruciate ligament injuries, and sore (sometimes very persistently sore) necks, grumblingly referred to as “Deerhound neck”.

Splenic torsion, Addison’s disease, liver shunts,  “genetic’ ”  immunodeficiency respiratory illness, and Factor VII clotting deficiency happen in Deerhounds in somewhat higher percentage than the average dog population, and should be considered where appropriate.   Epileptic seizures have occasionally been reported, and may have an inheritable base.  Other conditions happen in about the same proportion as in other dogs.  Hip dysplasia and inheritable eye and ear disorders are very rare in Deerhounds, though everted nictitating membranes in eyes have been rarely reported.

Again, there is information on most of these considerations on the Scottish Deerhound Club of America website ( .

Written by:  Allyn Babitch, Sindar Scottish Deerhounds and SkyHorse Curly Horses, San Jose, California

Genetic Health Risks

Part 2  of A Cautionary Essay

(thanks to Allyn Babitch author- used with permission)

The second most important attribute in a prospective Deerhound owner is awareness and acceptance of the possible health problems that giant dogs in general, and then Deerhounds in particular, can have.  The “big three” of giant breeds are:

1) Bloat and torsion (medically known as gastric dilatation/volvulus, or GDV), a rapidly developing, potentially fatal emergency condition where the stomach fills with lots of gas (the ‘dilatation”), and the dog loses its abilities to expel that gas.  The stomach may then twist on itself (the “volvulus”)- this causes major stress on the other internal organs, including the heart, cutting off the blood supply to them, and can in a matter of hours kill a dog.  Why this happens is still not known, but there does seem to be a hereditary component to it, as it seems to follow certain bloodlines more than others.  There is elective surgery that can be done to prevent this, including at some surgical practices a laparoscopic gastropexy, which can be done on puppies; and a dog found in early stages of bloat can usually be saved with emergency surgery and appropriate drugs.  It often happens at night, so having the dog sleep reasonably close to the owner so they (the owner) can be aware if it is starting, is a good idea; and knowing the where-abouts of a good emergency clinic is a must.  Owners should know symptoms of impending bloat, and discuss all of this with their veterinarian. Deerhounds seem to have about a 10% incidence of GDV in the breed- this is lower than many other bloat prone breeds (and there are many, including some of the more popular big dogs), but is still a significant consideration.

2) Cardiomyopathy, or heart disease.  Again there seems to be heredity involved , though the specific genetics are not known, and there may be other considerations such as diet.  There is nothing to prevent its happening, though most breeders try to select against it as much as possible. Regular checkups and consultation with a cardiologist if it does seem to be developing would be recommended.

3) Osteosarcoma, or bone cancer.  Again a strong heredity component , again the genetics not yet known, though studies are underway.  This usually affects older dogs, but occasionally there is early onset, which is truly heartbreaking.

Other health considerations include:

Cystinuria, which is a genetic amino acid disorder where cystine is not metabolized properly and can be shed in the urine (hence “cystinuria”).  In a few dogs where this happens cystine stones develop which can eventually plug the dog’s urinary passageways, usually requiring immediate surgery to correct.  This only seems to happen in males in Deerhounds, though we think it may be the females who pass on the genes for it.  There is no genetic test for it so far, and the urinary test results are not always reliable- there can be false negatives in the males, and the females have always tested negative, so it’s impossible to screen which females might be carrying the gene.  This is currently one of the most frustrating challenges to breeders, and an eventual genetic test is dearly hoped for.

Factor VII clotting deficiency (for which there is a genetic test), splenic torsion, liver shunts, respiratory illness, Addison’s disease, and various kinds of cancers occasionally crop up, as do injuries such as broken toes, cruciate ligament strains, and sore (sometimes very persistently sore) necks.  Epileptic seizures have occasionally been reported, and may have an inheritable base.  Other health conditions may happen in proportions about similar to the dog population in general. There are many serious conditions which Deerhounds don’t get, happily- hip dysplasia and inheritable eye and ear disorders are very uncommon in Deerhounds, though everted nictitating membranes in eyes have been rarely reported. They are considered a relatively healthy breed for a giant, and relatively long lived as well- we hope for 8-10 years, and sometimes get 11-14, with the females having a slightly longer average life span (same as in most breeds and species.) Still, they won’t generally live as long as the smaller breeds, and a prospective owner does have to take this into consideration.

There are also some possible drug considerations with Deerhounds-  See the “Medical idiosyncracies in Scottish Deerhounds” essay for more detailed information. Talking to a breeder about what genetic risks any particular puppies might have is always a good idea.  It is virtually impossible for a breeder to avoid everything bad in a breeding, and still breed dogs with quality and great temperament- it is a true balancing act, and we can’t know everything genetic that any given dog carries, nor do we have crystal balls.  Breeders should be honest about what there might be genetically in a litter, and be willing to answer questions forthrightly.  Deerhound breeders are usually pretty good with being open about what’s happening in the breed and their own bloodlines;  it is up to a prospective puppy buyer to ask questions and make decisions based on as much information as they can get.

And again, for more information, go to the Scottish Deerhound Club of America website (  for more details about this most wonderful of dogs.

Written by:  Allyn Babitch, Sindar Scottish Deerhounds & SkyHorse Curly Horses, San Jose, CA 2/11

Echocardiogram Values for Scottish Deerhounds

Many deerhound fanciers have Google alerts for all things Deerhound related and will already have seen this. A very valuable piece of information to add to your deerhounds health file. This was published also on the deerhound L list by Dr. Mary Ann Rose. Many thanks to Mary Ann Rose and Dr. Betty Stephenson for bringing these values to light.


Below are the normal ranges for Scottish Deerhounds that you should share with your veterinarian and specialist.

These values were established by Dr. Philip Fox, from the cardiac clinic he did at the Vermont National Specialty in 2004. It is the only data extant for our breed, and it was never published by Dr. Fox (however Betty Stephenson did publish them in The Claymore).

Also, please do not think that “Scan in a Van” and the other mobile technologies one sees at dog shows are a substitute for an evaluation by a veterinary cardiologist. Those are for screening purposes only, and it’s definitely “Buyer Beware”–the variability of echo equipment and the skill of the person performing the echo need to be taken into consideration.

The following is a general clinical guide for echocardiographic examination based upon normal Scottish Deerhounds (avg wt, 45kg) :

Left atrium (mm) should be no larger than 50-55 mm Aorta (mm) should be no wider than 30-33 mm LA:Ao ratio should be <1.5:1 Left ventricle end diastolic dimension should be no greater than 55-60 mm Left ventricle end systolic dimension should be no greater than 40-45 mm LV Wall end- diastolic thickness should be > 8-9mm

LV Shortening fraction should generally be > 20 %, and more comonly, >25% Heart Rhythm should be sinus or sinus arrhythmia


The echocardiogram is one part of the data base that includes medical history , physical examination, ECG, and chest radiograph. Optimal diagnosis is based upon consideration of these variables.

These should be used as GENERAL guidelines and a particular normal dog, particularly a large or small animal, could fall outside of this range.

Open hearted

As I know that most deerhound owners I’ve met are extraordinarily open hearted and compassionate people, many of whom include one or more “rescue” dogs in their packs, I want to tell you about a rescue organization you might not have heard about. Save a Mexican Mutt or SAMM is a dog rescue and adoption organization in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico “dedicated to the countless who never felt a gentle touch or whispered affection.” Kelly & Jim Karger have opened their hearts and home to give life to this organization and the dogs so in need.

As I sit here writing I have one little rescue dog curled as close as he can get to my side, while another is lying on the floor at my feet. (OK she’s no longer at my feet she is against my other side.) These two Paco and Zara were lucky enough to be adopted by our dear friend John, a Canadian expat who chose to retire in San Miguel Allende, he and his partner Sonia have made a welcome home for Zara & Paco. There are so many others not so lucky. I don’t need to upset you with horrific stories about the lives of these poor creatures in need of love and support.

There is an unusual quality to the mexican street dogs, as you would expect only the strong survive and being car savvy is one characteristic I wish deerhounds would emulate.  Gentle temperaments seem inherent also, you can imagine what would happen if they were in any way threatening.

The dogs available for adoption are fostered until a home is found for them. As stated on the SAMM website all of their dogs are highly adoptable, socialized and certified healthy. Prior to adoption all dogs are sterilized, temperament tested and vaccines are up to date. Paperwork to facilitate American adoptions will be provided.  SAMM dogs are for all practical purposes only suitable for someone in the southwest U.S. Please visit their website for a story that will inspire you. Donations, volunteers needed.

Rosita after and Before