Distichiasis disease (dogs)

Distichiasis is a condition where extra eyelashes (cilia) grow from the glands of the upper or lower eyelid. Hair follicles develop from deep within the glands rather than from the skin surface of the eyelids. As these hairs grow, they follow the ducts of the gland and exit from the gland’s opening along the smooth surface of the eyelid. These eyelashes called distichia, rub against the cornea and cause irritation or tearing, and sometimes corneal abrasions.

Distichiasis is an inherited disorder and are seen in many breeds, including the American Cocker Spaniel, Miniature and Toy Poodles, Golden Retriever, Miniature long-haired Dachshund, Shetland Sheepdog, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, English Bulldog, Lhasa Apso and Shih Tzu.

Look for: corneal vascularization (blood vessel accumulation), dark coloring of the cornea, corneal ulceration, scarring (which will appear as white areas) on the cornea, conjunctival redness, squinting and excessive tearing from the eyes.

Your vet will diagnose your dog from a thorough visual eye examination to identify the lashes emerging and from where. He may also administer a Schirmer test which will assess tear production from both eyes. He might order a fluorescein staining of the cornea in order to detect any corneal abrasions or ulcers.

Treatments will vary. Some dogs will require no treatment at all, as some dogs have short, fine distichia or if the symptoms presented are mild enough to barely require attention. American Cocker Spaniels are often very tolerant of the extra eyelashes. The next least invasive treatment will be ophthalmic lubricant ointments that will protect the cornea and coat the eyelashes in an oily film. Expect to use this method if your dog is experiencing mild tearing or if he has a few distichia that are short and fine in texture. If your dog isn’t a good candidate for surgery, you’ll be asked to partake of this method.

However, if your dog is extremely bothered by the extra eyelashes or is experiencing corneal damage, your dog will have to undergo surgical correction to remove the distichia and try to kill the hair follicles responsible. Unfortunately, these follicles are difficult to kill. Sometimes portions of the eyelid need to be removed. Other times, the meibomian glands need to be cauterized or frozen with cryotherapy. The obvious worry here is for excessive scarring to occur on the eyelids. Still, regrowth is often common and your dog may need multiple surgeries. It isn’t uncommon for new hairs to spring up in different locations either.

Worse still, there is no preventative care for distichiasis.

Krabbe Disease (dogs)

Krabbe disease (also known as globoid cell leukedystrophy or galactosylceramide lipidosis) is a congenital disease, said to be a recessive hereditary defect. This degenerative disorder affects the nervous system. Symptoms first appear between 2 and six months of age and include muscle weakness and ataxia (a lack of coordination). It often starts with pelvic limbs: legs are stiff or puppies simply fall over onto their sides. Other symptoms include head tremors, blindness, weakened or complete loss of spinal reflexes, muscle atrophy and behavior changes. As a degenerative disorder, the disease progressively worsens and dogs are usually euthanized between 10 months to 2 years of age. Krabbe disease is diagnosed by a clinical evaluation, neurological testing or MRI.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for Krabbe disease. The breeds affected are Cairn Terriers, West Highland White Terriers, Miniature Poodles, Irish Setter, Bluetick Coonhounds and Australian Kelpies. The interesting thing is each breed has a different mutation that causes the disease, but all breeds have the same result.

Cooper’s Snake’s Operation

Cooper's snake

Cooper loves his squeaky snake toy. His Mommy noticed some of the seams were starting to go so she decided to stitch it back together. Ever the “helper,” Cooper put his head on Mom’s lap to watch the “operation.” When finished, she told him, “Okay, he’s all better now.” Ever so gently, Cooper pulled the 2 foot snake toy off her lap. He sniffed it all over — to ensure his squeaker friend was alright? — and resumed play. Such a sensitive boy!

An Iowa Miniature Schnauzer Proves the Power of Love

This week, Sissy, a miniature schnauzer in Iowa proved just how strong the bonds of love are.

Her human mom Nancy had to go into a Cedar Rapids hospital for some medical treatment and Sissy was missing her. She made the four hour journey to the hospital and walked right in the double doors of the lobby. How Sissy had known how to get there or where she even was is a complete mystery. When Nancy was dropped off at the hospital, Sissy wasn’t in the car. Sissy had never run away before.  The closest possible explanation could be that Nancy works next to the hospital.

What an amazing story! Click the link below for more information and videos.

Iowa dog walks to hospital to find owner.

Bluetick Coonhound

AKC Group: Hound

Bluetick Coonhounds are an American breed several centuries years old. European hounds (namely the Grand Bleu de Gascogne and English Foxhounds) were crossed with American hounds. The result was the Bluetick: combining the scenting instincts of the Old World with the quickness of American dogs. The Bluetick Coonhound is the state dog of Tennessee where it originated to hunt raccoons and small animals.

Size: 21 to 27 inches, 45 to 80 pounds.

Color: Tri-colored and heavily speckled with black over a white body (this gives the coat a “bluish” look).

Life span: 11 to 12 years.

Health problems: Relatively healthy, they are prone to cataracts, hip dysplasia and Krabbes disease (a fatal disease that causes the nervous system to degenerate).

Bluetick Coonhounds have a compact looking body, a glossy coat and keen eyes. His head and tail are always up. A Bluetick is gentle with children and a loyal, loving pet. As a small game hunter, bring home a Bluetick if you have a cat, rabbit or other small pets; a Bluetick can NEVER be trusted. Like a true hound, Blueticks are intelligent and have an ability to problem solve. This will not be a good match for you if you have too small a home or yard for a Bluetick’s liking. Blueticks tend to drool. Blueticks are a challenge to train, howl loudly (they are hounds) and frequently bark. When a Bluetick is trained properly, he will listen to your every command. Blueticks are one of the least aggressive breeds of dog. A final word of warning: Never leave your garbage unsecured or food unattended. The nose of your Bluetick is how he earns his bread and butter.

A weekly brushing will collect his loose hairs. Bathing should be avoided and dry shampooing should be attempted only when necessary. Ears (since his are long and hang down) should be checked regularly and cleaned often. Training should be firm, positive and consistent. Independent thinkers, a Bluetick should never be off leash in the community. Squirrels and cats will instantly be chased up trees. Obedience training and early socialization should be the first items on your Bluetick’s To Do List when he comes home with you.


AKC Group: Hound

Bloodhounds are an ancient breed that first appeared in Europe thousands of years ago. They descended from the black St. Hubert and white Southern Hound. Bloodhounds were bred to be durable hunters and make excellent police dogs.

Size: 23 to 27 inches, 80 to 110 pounds.

Color: Black and tan, liver and tan or solid red.

Life span: 10 to 12 years.

Health problems: Gastrointestinal ailments, bloat is common (and a leading cause of death!). Eye, skin and ear problems are frequent. The thick Bloodhound coat helps them to overheat quickly.

Bloodhounds are an easily identifiable breed — just look for loose skin around their head and neck, large hanging down ears and prominent jowls. Bloodhounds have deep sunken eyes, muscular necks and strong shoulders and powerful legs. The Bloodhound tail curls upward. The Bloodhound dog is a profile in dignity.

Bloodhounds get their name from their ability to track wounded prey from the trail of blood they leave behind. Police forces caught on and began using the dogs to track criminals. TRIVIA: the Bloodhound is the only animal whose evidence is admissible in American courtrooms. (Their ability to follow the blood trail is THAT good!)

These dignified dogs are easygoing and mellow, not to mention endlessly patient. They love nothing more than stretching out and being cuddled, scratched and loved by their family. A Bloodhound will be your child’s constant companion. They will play and goof around together for hours! Nothing is more important to a Bloodhound pet than their loving family.

Outside, your Bloodhound will have endless energy. They love to run and explore. They can be shy at first, but they possess the ability to overcome their natural fears and become a friend to all — other pets included. Though they are protective of their home and family, a Bloodhound’s strength is not guarding. A Bloodhound howls in the face of danger instead of barking.

The smooth, short coat of a Bloodhound is easy to groom. Grooming should be done with a hound glove. A rub with a rough towel or chamois will leave the coat gleaming. Bathing should be kept to the bare minimum. Cleaning of the ears is essential (as are frequent checks of their eyes). Bloodhounds do retain the “dog smell” naturally (there’s very little you can do to get rid of it). Consistency, gentle handling and speech will keep the Bloodhound’s stubbornness out of way while training. Bloodhounds take to training slowly, so you will have to have patience. The great news (or silver lining) is Bloodhounds are intelligent dogs and are eager to please you.