Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Time Has Finally Come

Tonight we start Mason and Smarty Pants in obedience school.

We cannot put it off any longer.

It has to happen before they end up loving some small child to death! 

You don't very often get to see good pictures of Smarty. Being a black dog, your lighting has to be perfect.  My mom sent me some of him as a 2 year old. I will share them with you now.

A perfect "English" head. 
Look how handsome he is!

He actually is in better shape now than in the pic.
He now weighs 100lbs, but is solid muscle.
In this pic he probably weighs about 108
This was Mason as a 2 year old.
He was in better shape then., than he is now.

Since both are set up in a conformation stance, I will give you all a short lesson on Labrador conformation.  Not because you asked for it, or even really need it,  but because I have nothing better to do right now.

Both dogs have fantastic heads, but Masons is slightly better. It is a little broader, but Smarty's is still very very nice.  If you look at their stifles, you can see that Mason is pretty "straight in the rear" where as Smarty has a little more "angulation".  That rear angulation also gives Smarty a better top line with a nice slope to it, where as Mason is pretty flat. I could have stacked his rear out a little farther to slope his top line but doing so would also emphasize his lack of curve in the stifle.  Both dogs have nice thick bone and well set tails.  Yellow labs are prone to having pink noses, but Masons is a nice dark color as is the skin around his eyes. Dark pigmentation is correct, light is not. Both dogs have dark colored eyes Both dogs have nice deep chests and all over balance.  The real clincher that would place Smarty over Mason in a show ring is the movement.  Mason moves decently, but when Smarty moves around a ring at a trot, he really drives. It is the angles of his front and rear that do that for him.  Both of these dogs could have easily finished their championships had they been shown.

Notice how Mason sort of has a little bit of a gut?  Well it is much worse than that now. I am constantly researching about him, and his issues. I have read that it is a sign of Insulinoma.  I have been in contact with one of the top veterinary internal medicine specialists in the country.  She has spoken at length with my Mom about Mason and she is convinced that he actually has a small tumor in his brain in the hypothalamic-pituitary area.  I had another vet from the University of Columbia who also specializes in this area, tell me the same thing.  Of course these are guesses made without testing or even seeing the dog in person. But his sagging gut, his inability to lose weight, his constant need to gorge himself,  his intermittent loss of control of his urine (yes it happens), and his partial deafness, all point towards that tumor and abnormal levels of insulin.  Hopefully once I get past all my Equine lameness issues I can start on testing for Mason. There is medicine that could help him some, and hopefully help him live a happier healthier life. Although if he has the tumor, his predicted life span is a bit shorter than most dogs his size.

Smarty on the other hand, doesn't seem to have any health issues.  He was retired from a show dog career due to a very minor congenital heart defect. But it is so minor it will never be an issue for him. We almost lost him once though.  It was Christmas Morning a year ago and he started vomiting a little. By 6 am I could tell that he was a little bloated but the main thing I saw was that he could not get comfortable. We rushed him to the vet who took xrays but all she saw was gas.  We followed up with our regular vet 2 days later because he still was not eating or pooping.  He took more xrays but could not see anything. He prescribed different medicines to give him some comfort and to hopefully get things moving again. A week later we took him back, he was not any better. This time they did a barium xray and saw a blockage. Surgery followed and they removed a baby pacifier from his upper intestine.  Toms grandchildren had been there 2 days before Christmas, and  Smarty obviously found what he thought was a new toy on the floor. I'm sure, smelling all babyish, it was irresistible.   We are lucky we were so persistent, another day or so and he would have died.  What I learned from this experience, is that when a dog has stomach issues, ALWAYS start with a barium xray.   Even now we have to watch him constantly...he is the thief in the night, stealing everything from gloves, to dog beds and my favorite bras.

So there they are, my retired show dogs, my pain in the butts, my bulls in the china shop, my 2 bad dogs.
I am anxious to see how the night goes.  I have never tried to obedience train a deaf dog, so this should be interesting!

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