|Have you ever wanted to
get someone else's opinion or ideas regarding a Sheltie
question or problem? If so, then this is for you!
We have launched "Sheltie Roundtable" here on our website to give you an opportunity to raise questions, explore ideas and share solutions with others. We'll present questions that readers have sent us, and we invite you to respond to those questions. We'll post the responses as well as new questions. We invite you to join in this discussion group. Feel free to touch on any topic involving Shelties. Whether you have tips or questions, your participation is welcome. (While we would like to be able to give credit where credit is due, we will withhold your name if requested.)
33. All my Shelties have died of cancer. [updated 7/12/01]
sheltie is 11 and never had any problems, but about a month ago he
lost his entire undercoat over the course of a few weeks. I
had him tested for thyroid abnormalities, which was negative, but it
seems odd that he should lose his undercoat like this. The vet
George B., email@example.com
Responses: My 8-year old sheltie was just diagnosed
with "immune mediated poly arthropathy." Can you or anyone
provide more information on this, possible treatment, what to expect as
she gets older, etc.? I'd appreciate your help. [added
7/12/01] Gail C., firstname.lastname@example.org Responses: Responses: I have a Sheltie. She
came to us as a stray 4 days after the death of our
14-year-old Doberman. She
wont quit eating. After feeding she cries and cries
for more. I try not to feed her more, but shes up
to 30 pounds and she is 15" tall. What can I do?
[Submitted by Debbie] Responses: I have a blue merle
Sheltie who is very shy. He is okay with animals, but
people youd think he was a cat. When people come to visit or meet him on the
street, he runs away. How is this possible that he can be
so shy? Our other Sheltie is totally the opposite. We
have him enrolled in puppy classes for people contact,
and he shies away from them but visits with the other
pups. It is kind of annoying, especially when people want
to touch him, as he is very beautifully coated. His coat
is about 6-8 inches in length, and he is only about
15" at the shoulder. Otherwise, he is an okay dog.
Any suggestions? [Submitted by M. Thompson at email@example.com] Responses: All my Shelties have died
of cancer. I have been a
long-time owner of Shetland Sheepdogs. I do not show
them; I just love them and enjoy them as companions. My
first Sheltie was a little tri male I purchased in a pet
store. He was an outdoors farm dog. I bought him in the
70s. He developed skin cancer and eventually died
of it in the early 80s. In December 1980 my husband gave
me a little sable bitch, Chris, as a present. Chris was
my constant companion and a wonderful dog. At age 12 she
developed bone cancer and died about 14 months later. We
had two daughters of hers from the only litter she
whelped. Cody died about 2 years after Chris from bladder
cancer. Now the last of the litter, Sonny, has developed
cancerous tumors. Im getting paranoid about cancer
rates in Shelties. Is it just bad luck? We dont
spray the house with chemicals (much to the delight of
the local insect population), we feed the dogs good
nutritious meals, keep regular vet appointments, etc. Has
anyone else experienced a high rate of cancer in
Shelties? [Submitted by Pam C.] Responses: Submitted by Sandra M.: I too have had a high percentage of my shelties die
of cancer. Most of them were older dogs. I have read of a study done
at a veterinary college that autopsied a large number of elderly dogs.
The study showed that almost all of the old dogs had cancer in one
form or another. This was a random group of dogs, mixed breeds,
purebreds, etc. I also asked my vet if I didn't have an unsually large
cancer rate in my sheltie population. She responded that most old dogs
did die of cancer in one form or another. Its discouraging, but maybe
that is the way it goes. Caradocs@aol.com
[added 7/12/01] I
have invented a dog phone.
Shelby, my pet Sheltie, presses down on a large
bone-shaped button when the phone is ringing. This turns
on the speakerphone (which works just like a telephone).
Shelby loves to answer the phone. I would like to market
and sell this phone but do not know how. Does anyone have
any suggestions? [Submitted by Robert L.] Responses: Ive noticed in
shows lately that the tip of Shelties ears are not
folded down as much as in the past. Is this a new trend? The ears seemed to barely
tip over. Also, the dogs winning seem to almost have a
gay tail. These two traits are said to be a
disqualification in the standard but the judges are
borderline on their judgment of how much is too much.
Anyone else out there noticing the same thing? [Submitted
by Bob H.] Responses: My Sheltie has recently
whitish patches on both of her eyes (one spot on each
eye). The spots are not evenly
shaped, and the spot on one eye is larger than on the
other eye. The spots are whiter around the edges and
almost transparent in the centers. My dogs vision
does not seem to be affected, but Im concerned that
this may be the onset of CPRA or another eye disease. Can
anyone give me some advice about this? Has anyone
elses dog had this same problem? Was it treatable?
Additionally, if anyone can recommend an excellent canine
opthalmologist, I would really appreciate it. I can
travel anywhere in NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD, and CT (I will
travel farther if necessary I love my dog!) Thanks
to anyone who can help. [Submitted by Susan F. firstname.lastname@example.org] Responses: Can a small Sheltie, 12
lbs., be trained to keep wild Canadian geese off the
grass and in ponds, or better
yet, out of the area completely? I live about 40 miles
south of Seattle, WA. I would very much like to hear of a
trainer in this area. [Submitted by Jack B. at email@example.com] Responses: Submitted Anonymously: My pup keeps the geese in the pond in our backyard.
It didn't take any expensive training either. We just chased the geese
together for a while, and I praised him, and now he does it by
himself. Good luck! [added 7/18/01] My female Sheltie, whom I
want to breed, has only gone into heat every 10-11
months. She is almost 3 years
old and has only had two heats. Have any of you heard of
a female dog successfully breeding with such a late heat
cycle? [Submitted anonymously] Responses: I have an 11-year-old
female Sheltie. The vet is currently treating her for
collitis due to blood in her stool. The vet said this is a common problem with
Shelties, but it may be more serious. We have had x-rays
taken. No signs of cancer, but still bloody stools with
no signs of being sick. She is full of energy and appears
healthy any ideas? Should we be concerned about
cancer? [Submitted by Lynn S.] Responses: I have a 16-year-old
Sheltie. She will only eat certain food and has had
behavior changes in the past 6 months. She likes to sleep a lot in the bedroom on her
blanket and will not join us when we are in another room.
She comes to check on us and then goes back into her
favorite spot. She shakes a lot like she is nervous
(maybe circulation problems?). Her last checkup she was
doing well for 16 years old. She is pretty much deaf and
has partial cataracts. She does eat, but is finicky about
her food. She is supposed to have KD but she will not eat
it alone. I have to mix it with Science Diet Senior
Turkey. How can I tell if she is in pain or maybe
depressed? She doesnt like to go out much and walk
either. [Submitted by Leslie] Responses: Raising a litter, at what
age do breeders start taping ears to ensure correct ear
set throughout teething? Is ear
taping best done with or without mole skin? [Submitted by
Nancy H.] Responses: Submitted by Amy V: I am not an "expert", but I have 4 shelties and have been
working closely with a breeder to correctly set one of our puppies
ears. We started at about 8-9 weeks old and used tape that you can
only order on the internet. It comes from Japan and works really well.
All I know about mole skin is it is more "heavy duty" than
the other tape. We've kept the tape on until it starts to get old and
then replace it. According to the breeder (who comes and helps us!) it
can take up to a year to get the ears to stay. Good luck!
My 8-year old sheltie was just diagnosed with "immune mediated poly arthropathy." Can you or anyone provide more information on this, possible treatment, what to expect as she gets older, etc.? I'd appreciate your help. [added 7/12/01]
Gail C., firstname.lastname@example.org
I have a Sheltie. She came to us as a stray 4 days after the death of our 14-year-old Doberman. She wont quit eating. After feeding she cries and cries for more. I try not to feed her more, but shes up to 30 pounds and she is 15" tall. What can I do? [Submitted by Debbie]
I have a blue merle Sheltie who is very shy. He is okay with animals, but people youd think he was a cat. When people come to visit or meet him on the street, he runs away. How is this possible that he can be so shy? Our other Sheltie is totally the opposite. We have him enrolled in puppy classes for people contact, and he shies away from them but visits with the other pups. It is kind of annoying, especially when people want to touch him, as he is very beautifully coated. His coat is about 6-8 inches in length, and he is only about 15" at the shoulder. Otherwise, he is an okay dog. Any suggestions? [Submitted by M. Thompson at email@example.com]
All my Shelties have died of cancer. I have been a long-time owner of Shetland Sheepdogs. I do not show them; I just love them and enjoy them as companions. My first Sheltie was a little tri male I purchased in a pet store. He was an outdoors farm dog. I bought him in the 70s. He developed skin cancer and eventually died of it in the early 80s. In December 1980 my husband gave me a little sable bitch, Chris, as a present. Chris was my constant companion and a wonderful dog. At age 12 she developed bone cancer and died about 14 months later. We had two daughters of hers from the only litter she whelped. Cody died about 2 years after Chris from bladder cancer. Now the last of the litter, Sonny, has developed cancerous tumors.
Im getting paranoid about cancer rates in Shelties. Is it just bad luck? We dont spray the house with chemicals (much to the delight of the local insect population), we feed the dogs good nutritious meals, keep regular vet appointments, etc. Has anyone else experienced a high rate of cancer in Shelties? [Submitted by Pam C.]
Submitted by Sandra M.:
I too have had a high percentage of my shelties die of cancer. Most of them were older dogs. I have read of a study done at a veterinary college that autopsied a large number of elderly dogs. The study showed that almost all of the old dogs had cancer in one form or another. This was a random group of dogs, mixed breeds, purebreds, etc. I also asked my vet if I didn't have an unsually large cancer rate in my sheltie population. She responded that most old dogs did die of cancer in one form or another. Its discouraging, but maybe that is the way it goes.
Caradocs@aol.com [added 7/12/01]
I have invented a dog phone. Shelby, my pet Sheltie, presses down on a large bone-shaped button when the phone is ringing. This turns on the speakerphone (which works just like a telephone). Shelby loves to answer the phone. I would like to market and sell this phone but do not know how. Does anyone have any suggestions? [Submitted by Robert L.]
Ive noticed in shows lately that the tip of Shelties ears are not folded down as much as in the past. Is this a new trend? The ears seemed to barely tip over. Also, the dogs winning seem to almost have a gay tail. These two traits are said to be a disqualification in the standard but the judges are borderline on their judgment of how much is too much. Anyone else out there noticing the same thing? [Submitted by Bob H.]
My Sheltie has recently whitish patches on both of her eyes (one spot on each eye). The spots are not evenly shaped, and the spot on one eye is larger than on the other eye. The spots are whiter around the edges and almost transparent in the centers. My dogs vision does not seem to be affected, but Im concerned that this may be the onset of CPRA or another eye disease. Can anyone give me some advice about this? Has anyone elses dog had this same problem? Was it treatable? Additionally, if anyone can recommend an excellent canine opthalmologist, I would really appreciate it. I can travel anywhere in NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD, and CT (I will travel farther if necessary I love my dog!) Thanks to anyone who can help. [Submitted by Susan F. firstname.lastname@example.org]
Can a small Sheltie, 12 lbs., be trained to keep wild Canadian geese off the grass and in ponds, or better yet, out of the area completely? I live about 40 miles south of Seattle, WA. I would very much like to hear of a trainer in this area. [Submitted by Jack B. at email@example.com]
My pup keeps the geese in the pond in our backyard. It didn't take any expensive training either. We just chased the geese together for a while, and I praised him, and now he does it by himself. Good luck! [added 7/18/01]
My female Sheltie, whom I want to breed, has only gone into heat every 10-11 months. She is almost 3 years old and has only had two heats. Have any of you heard of a female dog successfully breeding with such a late heat cycle? [Submitted anonymously]
I have an 11-year-old female Sheltie. The vet is currently treating her for collitis due to blood in her stool. The vet said this is a common problem with Shelties, but it may be more serious. We have had x-rays taken. No signs of cancer, but still bloody stools with no signs of being sick. She is full of energy and appears healthy any ideas? Should we be concerned about cancer? [Submitted by Lynn S.]
I have a 16-year-old Sheltie. She will only eat certain food and has had behavior changes in the past 6 months. She likes to sleep a lot in the bedroom on her blanket and will not join us when we are in another room. She comes to check on us and then goes back into her favorite spot. She shakes a lot like she is nervous (maybe circulation problems?). Her last checkup she was doing well for 16 years old. She is pretty much deaf and has partial cataracts. She does eat, but is finicky about her food. She is supposed to have KD but she will not eat it alone. I have to mix it with Science Diet Senior Turkey. How can I tell if she is in pain or maybe depressed? She doesnt like to go out much and walk either. [Submitted by Leslie]
Raising a litter, at what age do breeders start taping ears to ensure correct ear set throughout teething? Is ear taping best done with or without mole skin? [Submitted by Nancy H.]
Submitted by Amy V:
I am not an "expert", but I have 4 shelties and have been working closely with a breeder to correctly set one of our puppies ears. We started at about 8-9 weeks old and used tape that you can only order on the internet. It comes from Japan and works really well. All I know about mole skin is it is more "heavy duty" than the other tape. We've kept the tape on until it starts to get old and then replace it. According to the breeder (who comes and helps us!) it can take up to a year to get the ears to stay. Good luck![added 7/12/01]
I have a male Sheltie I got from Sheltie Rescue a couple of years ago. He was in awful shape from abuse. He had no hair on his tail or back and a scar on his nose. We cleared up the hair loss, but he has an awful skin problem on his belly that will not clear up. The odor is bad too. The vet has done all kinds of tests; we tried every diet known; antibiotics do no good; bathing him doesnt help; topical treatment has done no good either. He is on thyroid meds also. I was hoping someone out there has dealt with this problem also. The irritation is confined to his belly, and we have even tried different bedding materials no luck! We use Advantage on all our animals, so fleas arent the problem either. It is so frustrating to pay these high vet bills and still not have solved the problem. Any ideas would be welcome. He is such a sweet dog, and I hate to see him suffer. He has been through so much already. Thanks. [Submitted by Bobbie D.]
I have a male Sheltie approximately 10 years old. He has skin allergies and has been treated for this problem with the following: steroid shots and Science Diet D/D dog food. Both of the treatments were administered by our veterinarian.
When he receives the shots, he will develop a problem with urinating, and we were told to administer Vitamin C; this seems to correct the problem. With feeding him the special dog food, my dog started losing weight, and his behavior changed. He lost so much weight you could see his ribs. I could not stand this, so I started feeding him lamb and rice dog food (of course this dog food has beef and chicken by-products in it, and this is the problem. He gained his weight back, and now he scratches constantly.
Have you heard of this problem before and can you suggest a way to help my dog? [Submitted by Marla J.]
I have a male Sheltie named Chester (Chet). I have a question on keeping him still to pose for a picture. Hes one-year-old. He listens to commands but he likes to keep moving. What can I do? [Submitted by R.J. S.]
My Sheltie named Shelly does not socialize with other dogs. He is 8 months old. He barks continuously and is clearly afraid when in the presence of another dog. Once the other dog turns and walks away, he then pursues. He is fine around people. Is there anything we can do to assist him with developing his doggy social skills?
I have a 17-month-old neutered sable who eats everything. When we go for walks, he eats every piece of vegetation he can grab. He eats grass, shrubs, trees, bushes, etc. I worry because he might get into something that is harmful. He is fed ½ cup Innova per day (only because he gains weight with more) and canned squash, pumpkin, carrots, green beans, peas, etc. He is 16" and 26.6 lbs., and he is not real active. I have tried Sea Kelp to reduce his "grazing" but it did nothing to curb his need for vegetation.
Ive read about vitamins and minerals and a thing called Blue-Green Algae, and Im even thinking about starting him on a raw diet. I need help. My nerves are at an end because I dont want him to ingest something that may poison him. (We have many mushrooms here, and that is another thing Im afraid he might take a liking to.) Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. [Submitted by Dawn O.]
I have a Sheltie that jumps the fence every morning, and the dog pound has been trying to catch him. What should I do about my problem? [Submitted by Sarah C.]
Submitted by Beverly B:
I am so glad you are responsible and have a fence in the first place! However, it sounds like it is not doing the job for you. What kind of fencing are you using now? Have you tried a higher fence? How about an area with an enclosed top? These are available in pet supply catalogs such as Cherrybrook, Drs. Foster & Smith, etc. Even Agway has options with tops. Without knowing the layout of your yard area, its hard to know the logistics of whats where and what you might change. However, I definitely do not recommend electric fencing or shock collars for Shelties. It sounds like your Sheltie would be great at agility and obedience trials!
How high is your fence? How long is your Sheltie left out alone? Why is he escapingcan he see children leaving for school, your car leaving for work, etc.? One way to try to eliminate the jumping problem is to try a mild electric shock, e.g., an underground fence just inside your own, or possibly an electric wire just above the top of your own fence. A more humane approach may be to try to understand why he does what he does. The shelter folks wont take kindly to chasing him every day, after all. Is keeping him indoors or going out with him while he potties an option? I cant help but feel that we dont have enough details to give any truly useful advice.
I have a 20-month-old Sheltie with serious epilepsy problems. They started after getting into some diluted rat poison. Seizures have been going on for 3 months now. Each occurrence it appears his recovery is much slower. He is currently on 45mgs of phenobarbital 2x/day. Would like to know if any other medications seem to work better for epilepsy. [Submitted anonymously]
Submitted by Joan G:
I am a proud owner of a pure-bred Sheltie. He is 6 years old and just had his first seizure in August, then one in November, and one more 2 weeks ago. The vet seems to think Beauregard has epilepsy, but he is not currently on medication. The doctor feels that if the seizures run 1 per month, then we should consider it. How is your dog now and has this tranquilizer helped? I am hoping and praying that the next seizure is a long way down the road or never again. This past time, he tumbled all the way down the stairs (maybe 10 carpeted ones). Please let me know if you this worked. Jgross@epix.net
Submitted by Dr. Robert J. Marshall:
Lecithin will help and is a must. Two tablespoons of lecithin granules in the food daily for life is needed. Additionally, recent research suggests that seizures may be prevented through the use of a free-form amino acid, taurine. Five hundred to 750 milligrams of taurine as a powder should be given daily. After 28 days of this treatment, the dog should be seizure-free if it is going to work. If your dog is old and has had these seizures for many years, chances are not as good as they would be for a young dog who may recover and then be symptom-free for life without any need for medication. More can be done, but it should be carefully supervised. Check with a nutritional expert.
In recent years the problem of epileptic seizures in dogs may well have increased and entered many lines that have had no such history before. This may have occurred simply because egg protein lactoalbumin) has become expensive and therefore is no longer being used even in the best-quality dog foods. Eggs are the only rich source of taurine which might be used in dog food. A good preventative measure would be to give your Sheltie an egg three or four times per week. (Be sure to cook the egg white. The raw egg white contains avidin which destroys biotin in the bowels and could trigger loss of coat. Cooking destroys the avidin.)
Submitted by Cynthia & Shawn in Maine:
There is a companion drug for Phenobarbitol: Potassium Bromide (KBr) which is in solution form and is taken orally on food. It is available by prescription from Kayes Pharmacy, Baltimore, MD. Have your veterinarian check into this to see if it would be applicable in your case. FMI contact Animal Neurological Clinic, 352 Warren Avenue, Portland, ME 04274.
I have a Sheltie that began having ideopathic focal epilepsy seizures at the age of 10 weeks. It was later determined that epilepsy existed on both sides of his pedigree. His seizures progressed as he aged from 10-15 minute episodes to status epilepticus (focal) seizures. He was getting 2x the recommended dose of Phenobarbitol for his weight at that time, and it took injections of Valium IM or IV to bring him out of the continuous seizure state.
After putting him on KBr (there is a loading dose period for 2-3 days, then maintenance level dose SID w/ food), Shawn stopped having status epilepticus seizures, and now at age 12 has about two seizures a year lasting from 8-15 minutes. Shawn is 12 years old and weighs 35 pounds. He receives 1/2 grain Phenobarb pill BID and gets 1 ml KBr (solution 500 mg/ml) SID w/ food.
Please note: it is highly recommended that you have your dog tested annually for liver function as Phenobarb can affect the liver. A full blood panel done once a year is even better as the dog ages. The level of KBr should also be monitored periodically. Ask your vet for details.
Good luck! Contact me any time at satsweater.ime.com.
We recently purchased a blue merle Sheltie puppy who insists on eating his and our other Sheltie's poop. I have tried a produt called "Deter" with no success. It has not done anything, and it has been about a month. I have treated both dogs in hope to curb his appetite for this little "hobby." It is most annoying. Please - any help will do. He is a very good dog and gets along with the older dog - they have become inseparable. [Submitted by Lavonne]
Submitted by Denise M:
What about eating a cats poop? We have a 4-month-old Sheltie puppy, and he loves to get into our cats litter box. What can I do about that? I dont think my cat will eat spinach! Please help!
Submitted by Sandra M:
We had the same problem with our crew getting into the litter box. We put the litter box inside a 200 vari-kennel. My husband fastened a small chain to the door of the crate and then to the side of the crate, leaving enough slack for the kitty to get in, and keeping the shelties out. They would push the crate all over the room trying to get in to the poop, but were never successful. Of course this meant my 19 years old blind and deaf kitty had to hunt for his litter box everytime he needed to use it, however, he always found it!. This is the only thing we ever found that worked.
Submitted by Gloria B:
One dog is my household has always had a hankering for eating his own and other dogs "brownies." I added a product called "Prozyme" which is a digestive enzyme product to his food, and he stopped thinking that his own stools were something to eat, but he still insisted on eating his kennel mates. So, I added "Prozyme" to all my dogs food, and the "brownie munching" stopped.
The reason that our best friends eat their own and other dogs stools is because they can smell the undigested food in there. By adding a digestive enzyme, the dog is able to digest and better assimilate the food and its nutrients. Not only will the dog being fed Prozyme have better nutrition, but his/her stools will have no undigested food remaining in there, so will not be attracted to munch.
I have had the same problem with one of my dogs and found that by adding the digestive enzyme to everyones food, the problem has ceased. So, this really works!
This will not deter your dog from dining on a dogs stool that has not been fed a digestive enzyme, so be on guard at the park. I hope this info helps. It has been a relief for my Sheltie friend and I to find a product that virtually stops this disgusting (only to humans) habit.
Submitted by Diane W:
I too have Shelties who are poop hunters. They have done this from day one and are not discriminating. This has been a health problem as one contracted whipworm from eating a strange dogs droppings. So I am not convinced that this is uncommon among Shelties. We have added supplements to their diet, changed diets, picked up droppings as quickly as possible . . . nothing has worked. We scold them when we catch them, and they "hurry" to accomplish the task when they see us coming.
I will try the spinach suggestion. I fear they are just plain "hooked."
We have a 9-year-old Sheltie who has eaten his poop off and on all his life. We tried many things the vets recommended when he was little, and NONE of them helped. Let me know if you find anything that really works. D.firstname.lastname@example.org
Submitted by Patricia D:
A veterinarian who does a local talk show in San Diego is of the opinion that when a younger animal eats the poop of an older animal, it is related to the younger dog's protective instincts--the puppy believes that something in the older dog's stool would signal either weakness or age to a predator who came upon the stool, so to protect the older dog, the puppy eats it. I'm not sure I totally accept that rationale, but it's an interesting interpretation. This doctor's suggestion was to add spinach to the food. It apparently makes the stools less palatable. I usually use frozen chopped spinach (defrosted slightly in the microwave) added to their usual mix of canned and dry food, but I'm sure fresh or canned spinach would work as well. The dogs seem to think it tastes okay, and it did seem to deter the behavior. Good luck!
Submitted by Debi H:
This is usually uncommon in Shelties, and there are other types of ingestive products to help you. You could try a few more brands. But I would immediately suspect a lack of some specific nutrient--I don't know which--unfortunately. I would change BOTH dogs' diets (try a different brand food, etc.), put a muzzle on the feces eater or separate him from the feces so his habits can change AND reprimand him. I think it's a combination of lack of nutrient(s) that just becomes a habit. Just start out with adding a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement. If you already do that, try another brand or type. Make sure it has minerals in it. Or try a yeast supplement. I have also heard they outgrow it, but meanwhile it's pretty disgusting. If you try a muzzle, you'll need to get the kind that has a cover of some type over the front of the mouth to prevent them from nibbling or using their tongue anyway.
There's one other weird train of thought on this: that he's eating it because you remove it too quickly from his "territory" and he's trying to hang onto it? Or that you don't remove it fast enough? Try the opposite of what you were doing--but if he's a puppy, I doubt this is it. He will probably outgrow it, but you still want to try to train him not to do this--change the diet and re-supplement. Of course, one should always consult the vet first! Good luck!
I have a 2-1/2-year-old male that has always tried to chase cars while we walked on the leash. Being a new Sheltie owner and not knowing what to do, I let it get out of control. It was a nightmare to walk my dog. I finally called a good dog trainer who came to my home. He used a method whereby when the dog would lunge at a car, he would quickly turn the opposite direction, thereby surprising the dog enough the he immediately realized that he needed to pay close attention to me and not to the cars. This worked well for a while, and I've been very strict with the method I was taught. But he wants desperately to revert to his old ways of pulling and barking at cars. I'm getting dizzy turning in the opposite direction when he gets the urge to herd a car. HELP! P.S.: Incidentally, my 1-1/2-year-old female is scared to death of cars! [Submitted by Diane U.]
Submitted by Melissa Lynn V:
I also have a Sheltie that liked to chase cars. His behavior started as a puppy and progressed into chasing bicycles and anything else with wheels. We have deterred his behavior by making him sit every time a car is approaching, he will occasionally jump up and bark, but is quickly corrected. This method will add time to your walk and not work very well if you are walking along very busy roads, but for less busy roads may help solve your problem. He has actually progressed to sitting every time he sees a car, even before we tell him to sit. Good luck!
Submitted by Vicky:
I have solved the chasing-cars problem by giving a "Sit" command as the car approaches. My Shelties now automatically sit when they hear a car, sometimes before I even hear it.
Submitted by Vogue Shelties:
Carry a "monster can" with you. Take an empty soda can, fill it with some coins, seal it good. When your Sheltie starts to lunge at a car, shake the can at him and say NO real loud. The noise may distract/scare him from chasing cars as he associates the loud noise with bad behavior.
Submitted by Debi H;
Have you also tried food as a reward when he does what you want? I know a lot of folks are against food treats, but the darn things work. You can immediately cut out the food once his new behavior has been sufficiently reinforced and use praise alone. Don't be afraid to let him know you are upset with him. I don't mean you need to 'spank' him or anything - but a good old-fashioned overreaction might do wonders. He'll be so surprised, like the trainer stated, that he'll focus even more. But mostly you probably need to consistently continue with what the trainer showed you. This is a huge instinct for the Sheltie and hard to overcome. How about having someone drive by and spray the Sheltie with some safe water-diluted product (I can't think of anything off-hand) or merely throwing plain water at the dog from the passing car might do the trick. Or those electrical shock collars? If you're desperate and since his life depends on it, it might be worth it. Some places allow you to rent these types of collars, and you can now get different 'stimulation' levels. I know these aren't politically correct, and I'll probably be arrested for mentioning it - but you would oly be using it when you're around him. Trying to chase or herd a car is life-threatening.
You must remain consistent and not let him get away with it at any time ever and hopefully he'll catch on. Consistency and praise. Shelties were bred for quick response to external stimuli, either negative or positive - as we all know - and this trait is just manifesting itself in your particular dog more than most. Next time you get a puppy, you can be prepared and know not to let any "cute" puppy behavior get out of hand! Good luck!
My sweetie, Trixie, is a chronic licker (she loves to give us kisses but it gets old after a while). Telling her "no" just doesn't work. I love my Sheltie, and I want her to be loved back, but everyone gets annoyed with her licking and barking. Do you have any advice? [Submitted by Dyanne M.]
I had a sheltie once who had the exact same behavior. She was rather nervous in temperament and also naturally very submissive. I have not had any Shelties before or since with this problem, but as a groomer, I occasionally saw others like this. It seems to go hand- in - hand with this personality type and is more common in Toy breeds. I would compare it to submissive urination in that the dog seems to have only a limited control over the impulse. I would be willing to bet that the behavior gets worse when she's nervous or insecure. ( Sitting at the vet's office etc.) I would recommend doing anything that might build this dog's confidence, like agility, teaching her fun tricks, anything interactive that is fun. Avoid harsh corrections- this is not a discipline problem and getting after her for it will just make her more insecure and lead to more licking. My dog would to lick my hand constantly when I petted her, so when she started licking, I would withdraw my hand and stop petting her for a second, and QUIETLY say "don't lick". Then I went back to petting her and as long as she didn't lick, I kept petting her. If she started again, I repeated the process. It took months of constant repetition, but she did get a whole lot better about it. Be patient and expect this to take a long time. If you can turn your dog onto a toy or rawhide to keep her mouth busy when you sit with her it helps, but my dog wasn't much of a chewer. Don't be surprised if the behavior never completely goes away, your goal should be just to make her aware of it and modify it. Read up on Submissive urination behavior. The way you should react as a human is similar. If you seek out professional help, look for a good canine behavior expert as opposed to a trainer, because as I said, this is about behavior modification, not discipline.
The fact that you refer to her as your sweetie and have made the effort to seek out advice tells me that you care about this dog. Focus on her endearing traits. My annoying little licker died this year and I would give the world to have her back, bad habits and all.[Added 7/17/01]
Submitted by Beth K:
I have the same problem with my blue merle Sheltie. If you get any good answers, let me know. People say its an insecurity problem and that the dog needs socializing. Were going to start another round of obedience training to see if that helps.
Submitted by Carolyn B:
Try this: when she begins doing this (or has done it enough to suit you and yours), give her the cold shoulder, or leg or body slam and turn away and give no eye contact at all and no voice at all, not even a no. Using your voice and hand in reprimand (I dont mean to suggest you hit her or anything) but any attention, even negative, some dogs just eat up. So the trick here is to let her know enough is enough or none at all is preferred and in doggy language by ignoring her. It may take a few times or more to have her get the hint and you must harden your heart! It will be tough to do this the first few times because you will feel sorry for her. She may even decide to paw at you or jumpkeep ignoring with no eye contact or voice. Do not give in and dont turn around and make eye contact until she stops the undesirable behavior, even then dont make a big deal out of it, just a little good girl or whatever you normally say. If youre on the couch or chair with her and you want her to sit quietly after kissing, give her the elbow or shoulder nudge and look away. Eventually shell pick up on it (or rather she should pick up on it!). It is a natural body language for dogs showing dominance (from you), and she should eventually figure out what you mean. Assuming shes not being dominant or aggressive or anything.
Remember, any hand or voice use, even negative, makes some dogs just as excited as if you were doing or saying something positive to them. So dont use your voice or hands, use your elbows and legs or shoulders and rib cage to push her away and discontinue looking at her at the same time. While my male Sheltie never went overboard, I did manage to then begin teaching him to do it on command instead. Theyre big on licking ears, and when I ask for a kiss, this is what he does for me.
Im sure what happened at first, inadvertently, was that it was fun behavior for both of you, but now it has gotten out of hand. Hope this helps. Let me know at email@example.com if you want.
I have a 3-year-old spayed purebred Sheltie who does not seem to have developed a very full coat. Both of her parents had full coats, and I groom her frequently to remove the shedded hair. Do you have any suggestions as to why her coat is not very full? [Submitted by Kate C - we have received several inquiries regarding poor coats in Shelties - this is a representative question.]
Submitted by Carolyn B:
Regarding the lack of a full coat in your Sheltie, obviously females have lesser coats than males. Is she indoors a lot? Some say length of dayor shortening of daycauses coat to come in fuller in winter, but I still say it has to do with temperatures dropping or rising gradually over the months of the year. Or perhaps a change in food or diet supplement especially for hair/coat? My male comes from some nice bloodlines but he is indoors (apartment living) and has a shiny outer coat but thin undercoat, so I know hes healthy at least, which is all just fine with me. He does shed about twice a year; other times I just do the usual once or twice a week line brushing with a spritzer bottle of distilled water, and he fluffs right up. So I dont know if its genetic, environmental, or whatbut for me its just fine. My first Sheltie had a hugely profuse coat, but its hard to compare as I lived in a house with a yard in those days, and I was in Oregon.
You mentioned grooming. If this consists of bathing often, then this could be your problem. Bathing tends to make a Sheltie "blow coat" as the water and shampoo loosen the undercoat, making it shed. If you are frequently bathing your Sheltie, try to cut down. For shampooing you should have a texturizing shampoo for harsh coats. It may also be a late bloomer; some Shelties dont achieve a mature coat until age three or four. Good luck!
Submitted by Connie & Cody W:
The lack of coat is a genetic problem. It can skip one or more generations. The reason one should do a complete research on the lines that they are interested in is to limit the chances of any genetic problems in the dogs one buys. The dog described with the less full coat must have an ancestor that carries the same coat.
Our 4-year-old Sheltie had a stroke (FCE) as a result of a spinal chord injury she suffered when catching a frisbee. We were told by 2 different veterinarians that they have been seeing more of these in the Sheltie breed lately. Our Sheltie's rear right leg is paralyzed, and although it has only been 5 days since her accident, she is getting some function back to it; however, it is very slow. She still had deep pain, and a myleogram detected no herniated disk, thus the diagnosis of FCE or stroke. Have you heard of this in Shelties, and do you have any information as to the prognosis for this condition? Please advise. [Submitted by Brad]
Submitted by the Lucias:
I was just reading your letter in the Pacesetter about your Shelties stroke. Our Sheltie had a stroke four years ago--as to the reason why, we dont know. She had gone for a walk with my husband, and as they were coming back into the house, she had a stroke. We immediately took her to the vet where he said it had affected most of her body, and we should think about putting her down. Of course, this wasnt an option for us until we had done all that we could. The paralysis had affected all four legs so she ahd no movement. We went and bought a 100-gallon farm tub, filled it, and gave her swimming therapy three times a day. After about two months we were able to bring back everything except her left front leg, which we wrap each day with pipe insulation to keep it from dragging. That was four years ago, she is now 15, and up until now, the quality of her life has been great. So I would highly recommend the swimming therapy. Good luck!
I just purchased a dog house for Shelby, my 5-month-old Sheltie. She is very hesitant about going inside it. Is there anything I can do to encourage her? [Submitted by Robert L]
Submitted by Gerry B:
If you want to put your dog in a dog house outside, you have the wrong kind of dog. Shelties want and need human contact. They need someone to protect. In their normal habitat, they protect their flock. It is part of their herding instinct. Our Sheltie sleeps beside our bed and frequently on it against our legs.
If the following statement does not apply to you, please accept my apology in advance. If the following statement does not apply to you, please help me to understand why someone would do such a thing?
I see too many people getting dog houses because they dont want the dog in their house overnight. I dont understand why people like this would want a dog at all under these conditions. I mean, would you put your childs teddy bear outside every night? Lets get down to the bottom line: if your Sheltie had a choice in this, he/she would want to be inside with your family. You are the one that wants the dog out there. Having said that, there are some good reasons that dog shelters outdoors are used. Mostly these are used by registered breeders who just have far too many dogs to keep them indoors, and many of those shelters are heated. Then again, perhaps I just dont understand why you would buy a dog that is very people-centered and then put it outdoors overnight. Incidentally, in my neighborhood we would not appreciate your putting your barking dog outside where it will undoubtedly bark out of loneliness or at all the other outside stimulations.
Once again, there may be a good reason you are looking at this option. If this is so, then I apologize. On the other hand, if this applies to you, then you should trade in your Sheltie for a Husky, as they prefer being outdoors in isolation.
Our Sheltie, Millie (now 3 years old), had the same problem when we bought the dog house for her first winter. I put a couple of her favorite treats in the back of it. She cautiously went in at first, then found it was a pretty comfortable place to be! Good luck!
My question is this: How do you teach an old dog new tricks? We are now the proud owners of three beautiful Shelties aged 1 year, 2 years, and 6 years. Our 2-year-old has been mentioned in "Sheltie International" as his mother is a herding champion, and he shows strong promise to follow suit. Our 6-year-old (very recently added to the family) is Ch. Primo Infrared. He has come to us because he has tested sterile for the past year and thus is "retired." We have promised his breeder to get his CD. We have started obedience class, and it is going very slowly. Any tips would be appreciated. [Submitted by Debra Lee ]
Submitted by Nancy H, Exclamation Shelties:
One of the beauties of our breed is that most Shelties LOVE to please, are very intelligent and trainable. At any age. We bought our first Sheltie when she was 6 years old. A retired brood bitch, she had been kept in a kennel all her life. Star lived a long and happy life once I got her into obedience training. She and I didnt want to work towards an obedience title at the time; however, we enjoyed pet therapy, obedience team demonstrations (kind of like square dancing with other dogs and handlers, obedience routines set to music).
As long as you keep it fun for the dog and remember not to give your dog too harsh of a correction, you can teach your dog almost anything. Check out some of the obedience web sites or reading materials: Monks of New Skete . . . Anne-Marie Silverton method of dog training . . . Keep it positive and loving.
DO NOT use any harsh training methods. If your Sheltie starts cowering, quivering or backing away, its too harsh for your Sheltie. Know your dog and learn from your dog. Its quite a journey! Enjoy!
I am deeply concerned over the health of my 4-year-old female Sheltie. I have brought her to 2 vets over the past 3 weeks. She is lethargic, losing her appetite, has lost interest in playing, is losing hair around her face and ears, has some twitching on her right side (near face, ears, and front leg), and appears to be in some pain. Both vets told me there is nothing wrong with my dog other than a minor ear infection. If anyone has experienced similar problems or has some ideas regarding a diagnosis, it would be greatly appreciated. Also, my dog has been spayed (as a pup), is up-to-date on all her shots, and takes a heartworm preventative. [Submitted anonymously]
After many tests and trips to the vet, a friend suggested that our Sheltie could have Lyme disease. Her health was rapidly deteriorating, and the vets still could not come up with a diagnosis. At our request the vet tested for Lyme. The result was positive. By this point our dog was in so much pain that she could not use her back legs. She was given cortisone and antibiotics. We are happy to report that she is energetic and healthy today. I would stress that vets do not always have all the answers. Our Sheltie did not have all the classic Lyme symptoms nor did she contract it at the usual time of year. Many times we need to push our vets to think out of the box.
Submitted by Gerry B:
Inner ear infections can cause this kind of problem too. In humans it can also make people sick to the point of vomiting. Hopefully, your vet offered more detail, such as duration of infection, and if necessary antibiotics and exercises to help clear up the infection.
Sometimes inner ear blockages can also cause this type of symptom. Again, in humans the suggested cure is exercises to move the fluids around the inner ear, thereby flushing the whole ear. I have no idea how you can do this to a dog. However, I know someone who had this type of infection, and they were told to do somersaults. How is your Sheltie doing now? Let me know. Gbullock@capitalnet.com
I had the same problem with my dog (a Sheltie mix that I rescued). It started just after Christmas 1997 when she came down with all the symptoms you mentioned. I tried everything to save her, to no avail. After she passed, my vet wanted me to bring her in so he could perform an autopsy to try to figure out exactly what was wrong (to this point he had tried every test he could think of to find out exactly what was wrong). It ended up being a gall bladder blockage keeping bile from getting to her stomach, hence the loss in appetite. I lost her Jan. 21st of last year and now have a pure-bred Sheltie that is the love of my life. Best of luck.
Submitted by Vogue Shelties:
Have they checked her liver? I went through the lethargy and loss of appetite with a pet two years ago. He was running a very low-grade fever and had no interest in food, etc. There's some enzyme released through the liver that gives animals an appetite. If there's blockage in the liver or the ducts and those enzymes can't be released, there's no appetite. The vet found the blockage in an ultrasound and some blood work. Sheldon's okay now, but he was in the hospital 12 days, and when I got him home, it took almost 6 weeks to get him really eating normally again. The vet warned me it would be like trying to feed an anorexic, and she wasn't exaggerating! I don't know about the hair loss and twitching, but I would seek more thorough tests through a qualified vet, if you haven't already. Good luck!
Submitted by Angela:
I would just like to respond to your post by telling you that I had a dear Sheltie with the same problems at about the same age as your dog. We couldn't pinpoint it to anything he consumed, however. I just want to give you emotional support and let you know that I have been there. It was quite a lonely experience for me personally . . . not to mention frustrating.
I took my beloved "Buddy" to three different vets . . . I was "desperate," I guess you could say. In my case, they suggested "laying him down" permanently because his seizures were getting progressively worse and more severe. I witnessed my beloved companion age in almost a fashion that was something you might see on an episode of "Star Trek." I refused to take the easy way out and called every source I could utilize (wasn't on the "Web" at that time, unfortunately).
There is definitely a lack of information available to the average public (at least that was my experience). I did every thing I could, and I'm sorry I can't give you any clinical information as I had so many conflicting vet opinions. The only thing I can recommend (and I'm sure you're already doing it) is unconditional love to the end . . . don't give up. I never did. It was a very trying and painful experience seeing my "Buddy" fall to the floor and get gray from the stress. I gave him my love to the end.
I give you and your Sheltie my support and love. The wonderful thing about the computer is the access to all the information out there. Wish I would have had it in my case.
Just to let you know, I have another "baby" now (she's 2) - a Sheltie named "Lacey." This time I thoroughly checked out the breeder and asked for a health guarantee. She can't take the place of "Buddy," but she's wonderful in her own right. Here's a little sidenote - on her AKC paperwork, turns out she was born on the day Buddy gave up his fight.
I could write novels about Sheltie love, but I'm sure you can relate and are living it. Please hang in there, and I truly hope you can find some help. Best wishes and good luck!
Is there a way to get our Sheltie to stop barking so much? She's about 3 years old and lived with a different family for the first year and a half of her life. They had to get rid of her due to her barking. Everytime she goes outside, she barks constantly at any and everything that moves or makes a noise. Sometimes she goes to the back fence and just barks nonstop at the kids who are playing basketball across the alley. Our neighbors are sick of it, and so are we. Can anyone help? [This is a compilation of several inquiries we've received on this problem.]
Submitted by Mike W.:
We use a citronella collar that sprays a mist of citronella whenever Angel barks. It worked so well that now all we have to do is show her the collar, and she stops barking.
Submitted by L. Sisulak:
This is a cureable problem. We have a Keeshond that was rescued at 1-year of age and was totally raw (feral) when we got him. Now he is mostly quiet at age 4. Our first (and only) dog that spends the day outdoors in a kennel with next-door neighbors that will not tolerate his barking. We started with a dog that would start neighboring dogs to barking, and the result was very noisy. While he still occasionally barks, the chronic barking has ceased. How did we do it?
Submitted by Mark H-M:
You will hate this response. I know I did at first. But the only thing that worked for us was an electronic collar which zaps them when they bark. I refused to get the surgery, and the electric thing really worked for us. You just put in on "sometimes" (when you are home to monitor). I cant tell you how yucky it was to see my Sheltie zapped, but he had already barked his way out of one home. Also, we developed a "zero tolerance" for barking on leash using a pinch collar. I know these sound drastic, but I couldnt have kept him if I couldnt have fixed this problem. Also, let him bark when it is the right time to bark. Good luck.
Submitted by Gerry B:
Many veterinarian clinics offer a tool which sprays citric odor in front of the dog when he or she barks. It is triggered by the barking noise. I have not tried it as we trained this out of our new 5-month-old Sheltie puppy using the new motivational training. First we taught the dog to bark on command (speak). Any time she barked indoors, we commanded her "quiet." Then we caught her in the act of barking uncommanded and acted disappointed. It probably wont work the first time, but it eventually worked over a 2-3 week period. If your pet barks to get your attention and you give it, then you are rewarding the bark. Try to figure out why the dog is barking and do not accidentally find yourself rewarding that behavior. Good luck.
I have the same problem with a Sheltie I am fostering through a Sheltie rescue group. Makayla is 14-months old and was kept in a kennel for over 7 weeks with very little stimulation. I am trying to deal with the problem by obedience training, with the use of a crate, and with a lot of exercise to calm her down. This is starting to work. I think it takes a lot of patience.
Submitted by Donna G:
I stopped my 7-month-old male Sheltie from barking at everything. I bought a choke collar and showed him how to walk by my side. Every time he walked faster or slower or started barking, I tugged on the leash and said, "Heal." I did that for a few days and every now and then to keep him in line. Then one day I got tired of him barking at my blow dryer every morning. I yelled out, "Heal," and he automatically stopped and sat down. To this day, he does not bark when I tell him that one word. Good luck.
Submitted by Connie T:
I too have a very barky Sheltie (actually 2 of them). I have used shake cans (pepsi cans with 10-15 pennies inside; tape up the opening), and this helps at times. I will put them on a sit-stay and expect them to sit there quietly. This seems to give them something else to think about other than barking at cars, bicycles, joggers get the picture? They are also obedience-trained, and for the one, I did need to resort to an electronic collar this one can take a well-timed correction and not meltdown! It is hard work and must be consistent in order for it to work. I also repeat over and over "quiet" or "no bark." Thanks for the opportunity to respond.
Submitted by P. Schneider:
Wonderful dogs though they are, Shelties tend to be chronic barkers. Our Sheltie has always barked and howled wildly when we leave the house. This is especially a problem in the morning because my husband leaves for work at 6 a.m.! My husband heard a solution that may sound odd, but seems to work. A dog psychologist speaking on a radio program suggested sitting down with the animal, visualizing what you want him to do, and then talking to him about it. My husband did just that he sat down and had a "confab" with the Sheltie before he left for work in the morning. Believe it or not, our dog seemed to get the picture, and it worked! Its not a permanent solution you have to keep on doing it. However, when youre faced with the frustrating situation of continual barking, anything is worth a try!
Submitted by Gail D, Winterlace Shelties:
Having had quite a few Shelties with quite a few personalities, I realized early on they ALL like the sound of their own voice!
I tried unsuccessfully to break or train or whatever many of them from barking so much. It is my opinion that it cannot be done not without breaking their spirit and I am not willing to do that. With my very first Sheltie, 28 years ago, it became a test of wills. She won. Her mindset was you can either kill me or let me bark short of that, nothing was going to stop her.
Since then, most of the others were not of that particular mindset, just inherently noisy! It was with great serious thought and hesitation that I entered into the realm of "de-barking." I do NOT recommend it for any and every dog indiscriminately. I did it for my dogs well-being and happiness. Thats right THEIR happiness! My dogs loved to run the 3 fenced acres I have and bark at every leaf that fell in anyones yard. My belief is that it was more harmful and detrimental to all involved to be constantly reprimanding them, screaming at them, restricting their outside activity, etc., all because they wanted to enjoy "talking."
Perhaps my best example of "doing it for them" is Drifter. Drifter was not a problem barker. He actually behaved most of the time and only barked if there was a real reason for it. However, he loved to run the fence and bark at any passing car and only at a passing car. He would wear his little butt out doing this tongue hanging out from overuse practically dragging the ground! He would have the biggest smile on his face while doing this he loved it! But, I didnt love the sound of it and neither did the neighbors. It was truly with the greatest dismay that I decided to have him debarked, but I was keeping him in the house rather than letting him enjoy his life outside as he wanted. Once debarked, he was allowed out any time he wanted for as long as he wanted. I can honestly say Drifter was exhilarated. He was totally happy! He had no idea we could no longer hear his loud bark and barked just exactly as he always had. You have never seen a happier dog than when he was running up and down the fence barking his head off with the biggest smile Ive ever seen on a dog.
I dont enter into elective surgery lightly. Just ask my vet! I have also been in the surgery room with every single surgery every one of my Shelties had. In each case, I came to the conclusion that the risk of anesthesia for surgery was so small that the benefit outweighed not doing it. Granted, if anything had ever happened to any of them because of it, I would not have forgiven myself, as their life is more precious and valuable than anything. But, the quality of their life was so much better after they were debarked that I believe, given the choice, they would have chosen the debarking. And for those of you who may not have ever been around a debarked dog you can hear them. They each still have a distinct sound all their own. Its just not annoying!
Sometimes loving your Sheltie means making a choice. In mind, prevention was worth a pound of cure. Eliminate the need for all the unpleasant things that one usually has to do to try to stop a dog from barking. Think what youre trying to do! Stop the dog from the most basic root instinct. Its not meant to be not in Shelties anyway! Yes, of course there are some polite Shelties who can be trained to not bark so much. But it is in their nature to accept that kind of restraint you didnt put it there trust me! So, if you have a Sheltie whose very being cries out to be heard let it. Just muffle it. You will both be much happier.
NOTE: Make sure you use a veterinarian experienced with all the methods of debarking. There are at least 3 that I know of. It is a very simple procedure and does not have to be traumatic if the vet knows what he is doing.
We have a three-year-old male that has not been neutered. When left alone, he "attacks" my wife's sofa, ripping the pillow and cushion apart. Outside of crating him when we leave, is there a recommended method to correct this behavior? Is it too late at age three to try? [Submitted by Rick B.]
Submitted by Nancy H, Exclamation Shelties:
I have a Sheltie that is 3 years old. Just recently she underwent surgery for repair of slipped superficial digital flexor tendon (right rear). I was told this was quite common in Shelties. Well, she has again damaged the same leg, and we were told she would have to have the leg operated on again. Surgery for my dog was very traumatic, not to mention expensive. Surgery at this point is not an option. It didn't seem to work the first time, so why should it work the second time? We now tape her leg at the joint everyday so that she can go out and play. I want to know if this is common. There seems to be only one orthopedic surgeon on the East Coast that does this surgery. Surely there is another option for the problem? Do they make a leg brace for dogs like the one that is used on human's knees, etc.? What am I to do? My dog is still very young. She has now put on extra weight because of the confinement, and I am sure this is not good for the tendon. I don't know what to do. Any recommendations? Please Help! [Submitted by Robert R.]
Submitted by Louis T:
I can sympathize with you. Our 6-year-old Sheltie has had three operations in the same leg due to another dogs attacking her. I can suggest to you a surgeon, Dr. Weinstein, in Shrewsbury, NJ, who operated on our dog. I realize surgery is very expensive, but maybe if youre not too far away, she can suggest other options for you. She is a great orthopedic surgeon. Her phone number is 732-542-0007. Good luck to both you and your Sheltie.
I have a one-year-old Sheltie (neutered) who is familiar with all the neighborhood pets. Last night, for the first time, he decided to get on his back and roll around in another dog's *#$*. He has never done this before and is used to the scent of other dogs. Why would he do this? How do I get him to stop? I have had other dogs of various breeds all my life and have never witnessed such behavior. Please enlighten me. [Submitted anonymously]
Submitted by Debi H:
I had a dog that just up and did this once, only it was in human excrement! (Believe me, you can tell the difference!) He was just getting near a year old and neutered (we were out in the woods off-leash), and I freaked out so badly with him that he never did it again and even when sniffing various excreta after that he would always keep one eye on me--it was pretty funny--you could tell he knew. The worst part was that I had to drag him home in my car. Luckily, I had a gallon or so of water to wash him down with. I don't know what I would have done otherwise--mostly, at that moment, I felt like leaving him to his own fate!
In this situation I didn't "spank" him (a lab/dobie mix) or anything, but mostly because I did NOT want to touch him I'll admit, but I did go on and on about what a bad dog he was, etc., and luckily I had caught him in the act. As to a dog doing this type of thing--it is perfectly normal - just extremely undesirable to us humans. Dogs tend to roll in something to hide their own scent or maybe to put their scent on it? I've heard either way. I don't know what training method you use with your dog - i.e., shake-can, choke-collar jerk, "No" etc. But maybe set him/her up a few times and be ready and really freak out! Of course Shelties are more sensitive than a lab/dobie mix, and overreacting may not be desirable, but maybe it will work. Good luck!
My 3-year old dog is suddenly very low in viable sperm. He has attained his American championship and has sired some beautiful litters. Do you have any suggestions on what could be done in order to help him produce more viable sperm? [Submitted anonymously]
Several factors can influence sperm count: temperature and over-use are two of the easiest to control. In those times of year when the temperatures are high, do your breedings in the early morning. Perhaps not breeding any oftener than every three days will help.
Low thyroid is another possibility. Have a full panel run. Shelties should be on the higher end of normal. Another possibility is an infection. Have a culture done - and I would personally include a test for mycoplasia.
Nutrition can play a part in lower sperm count as well. Zinc and magnesium are needed by males.
Lastly, there is one very popular line of Shelties that seems to have more than its share of males slowly going sterile at an early age.
Submitted by Carolyn B:
Has he been overused as a stud? Overstressed by showing too often? Did you have a bad hot spell? Higher temperatures can lower sperm count temporarily. Maybe the sperm count "test" was bad; try testing him again. Sometimes as they get older (although 3 is not that old), the count can go down. Change in food? Past or present illness? If you've ruled out any of those possibilities, then I know of a product that is supposed to increase sperm count, along with some other benefits. It's a plant "sterol" called Gamma-Oryzanol (GO), and it's sold through Equi-Aide Products Company, Inc., out of Merrick, New York, 800-413-3702. I found the product advertised in Dog World Magazine.
According to their brochure, it's a body-builder formula originally used by humans, then horses, and finally dogs. They say it's a food supplement derived from rice bran oil and was discovered over 30 years ago by a Japanese researcher. It claims to increase lean-to-fat body mass ratio and activity level and also sperm levels. When I used it on my young sheltie, his activity level did increase and his fat did decrease (so much so that I took him off it as the vet and I were getting worried). I never had his sperm tested, but if it did all the other things, maybe the claim of sperm enhancement works too!
Sometimes we all need a little nutritional boost or some other help in this stressful, polluted, micro-nutrient-depleted environment we live in.
I also had a champion who had previously sired who suddenly went sterile. After changing to an entirely different dog kibble, his sperm count returned--he never became sterile again.
Submitted by Nancy Lee (Marshall) Cathcart:
Other suggested and proven remedies, providing your dog is low in these nutrients, would be to add excellent-quality zinc, manganese and MSM. Suggested amount of the MSM powder would e approximately 1/4 teaspoon in the morning and 1/4 teaspoon at night along with 1/2 capsule of calcium abscorbate (with 500 mg Vitamin C in each capsule).
Also important would be Essential Minerals (100% plant source ionic minerals from naturally occurring organic plant sources)--approximately 1/2 capful morning and evening. Be sure to choose a non-sugar colloidal form of these essential minerals.
I think my Sheltie is overweight. Can you tell me what a good weight for an adult Sheltie is and the best way to take weight off a Sheltie? I've tried the "less active" foods, but they don't seem to work. [This is a composite of more than a dozen requests we've gotten in the last few months.]
Submitted by Carolyn B:
I've had both an overweight sheltie and an in-weight sheltie, and there really is no "right" weight for a sheltie because of the extreme height range in the breed. Generally you can check the weight by feeling for the ribs--they should be easily felt from above by placing both hands along the ribcage and stroking backward (or forward). They should also have a "waist" (a narrowing after the ribcage). It's always hard to tell with a sheltie except when you feel them!
My first sheltie was about 14 pounds at 13 inches tall--he later reached 27 pounds by the age of 6-7. He was altered at the age of 1 year, and I don't care what they say, altering makes a heck of a difference. My current sheltie is 16-1/2" and weighs in at about 23-1/2 pounds. He's 2 years old, unaltered, and in fine fettle. My first sheltie did manage to lose the weight at about 8 years of age when we got a large-breed puppy. The two of them bonded so well that the sheltie tried to keep up with and do everything the other dog did, and his weight dropped dramatically. They constantly ran side-by-side from the backyard to the gate. In this case, he lost weight strictly from exercise--we didn't have to cut back on his food, which never seems to work anyway!
About a year or so ago, I discovered a product called Gamma-Oryzanol (GO), a plant "sterol" derivative of rice bran oil--a more concentrated form than what one would get in a normal diet. According to the brochure, it increases lean body mass, decreases fatty tissue, and increases testoserone or estrogen. I was putting my current sheltie on food supplements intending to breed and show. Anyway, this stuff caused him to become so lean and seemed to up his activity level so that the vet was concerned he was becoming too thin. I immediately took him off it but made a mental note that it seemed to cause him to lose weight. Maybe it would work for an overweight dog. Anyway, it was advertised in Dog World Magazine and is available from Equi-Aide Products Co., Inc., 1944 Julian Lane, Merrick, NY 11566, 800-413-3702; fax number 516-378-0237.
I first noticed my current sheltie was overweight when my husband commented that he was developing a very aerodynamic shape--in other words, narrow at the head and getting larger to the rear--sort of a triangle. He weighs 30 pounds and is just about 15-1/2" tall. I tried restricting food, but that just made him want to eat everything in sight--the cats' food, the kids' food, he even started chewing on socks and toys!! So now I'm giving him very small meals 3 times a day, and he and I take a walk around the block each evening after dinner. As he gets to the point where he can make it home without huffing and puffing, we'll walk further or walk twice a day. I just started this regimen so it's too early yet to tell if it will work, but it's the way I lose weight when I need to so I'm hoping it will have an effect on him as well.
Submitted by Jackie K, Weownah Kennels, Australia:
Hi! My name is Jackie, and I am from Australia. When I first got my male, he was 16 kilos (a little over 35 pounds)--nearly double what he should be. I was told by a breeder to put him on a small amount of meat (canned food) and pumpkin. This worked, and within 4-6 months his weight went down to 9 kilos (just under 20 pounds). You can add some supplements if you wish, but no kibble. Hope this helps.
Submitted by Lori U
Hi there. I don't have overweight Shelties at this point--all 4 of my girls are lean with no extra body mass. I've been told by several breeders that substituting canned green beans or canned pumpkin (no additives or preservatives) instead of a full serving of dog food will help in weight reduction. I did try this method on one of my girls and saw the improvement I was looking for in about 2 weeks. Instead of a full cup of Iams, I fed her 1/2 cup green beans and 1/2 cup Iams. The vegetable acts as a healthy filler. Cut down on daily treats (give half a Milkbone instead of a whole one). Someone told me that dogs don't burn calories the way humans do and all the exercise in the world won't change their weight, but I prefer to think that nice long walks with my Shelties are good for all of us!
Submitted via Sheltie Shenanigans, via Fit, via Wag-N-Tails:
Excess weight can cause many canine health conditions such as: respiratory problems, blood sugar level problems, heart problems, gastrointestinal disorders, and skeletal stress. You can help your adult dog by monitoring his diet, perhaps by feeding him a dog food with higher fiber. The extra fiber may help keep your dog from feeling hungry while he is trimming down. When altering your dog's intake, you should regularly monitor his weight by putting your thumbs on his backbone and feeling the dog's ribs with both hands. You should be able to feel his ribs and backbone under a small healthy layer of fatty tissue. If you cannot easily feel his ribs, your dog probably needs to shed a few pounds. Besides weighing your pet and feeling for his backbone and ribs, you should also consult your veterinarian regularly about the health of your dog. Remember, heavy is not healthy.
Exercise for Fido should be as routine as it is for you. Take your dog walking or running with you if the animal is in good shape. Start out with short 5- to 10-minute workouts and increase the length slowly over time.
How do you tell if one of your dogs is a "bleeder"? The vet has suggested the von Willebrand's test, but that's not always accurate. Another breeder suggested I take the bitch to the vet and have the gums scraped and then see how long it takes to clot. I would like to know how other breeders handle this problem. [Submitted by Joyce H.]
Submitted by George J. Brewer, Professor at University of Michigan Medical School and Patrick J. Venta, Assistant Professor at Michigan State University, Co-founders of VetGen LLC:
Von Willebrand's disease (vWD) is an inherited bleeding disorder that usually comes in two types--Type I and Type III. Type III is a severe bleeding disorder with a high risk of spontaneous bleeding as well as a risk of serious bleeding from trauma and surgery. A little over 11 percent of Shelties are carriers of the Type III vWD mutation. DNA tests have been developed for Shelties. They can be done at any age from mouth swabs collected by the breeder/owner (the swabs pick up cells from inside the mouth which provide the DNA), and they unambiguously classify dogs for the rest of their lives into affected, carrier, and clear animals. VetGen markets the DNA tests to breeders and veterinarians.
vWD is not the only factor to consider when it comes to whether or not your dog is a bleeder. Thyroid levels and various hemophilia types should also be considered. I have dealt personally with several bleeding puppies, both with "high," "borderline normal," "low," and "very low" vWD test results, all with "normal" clotting tests, and all from various bloodlines. So, without doing official tests on every puppy when born, I observe every puppy (the few that I do have) at birth. Does the puppy bleed excessively from the umbilical cord or does the cord clot and seal soon after being cut, never to bleed again? Also, I watch while removing the dew claws. Does the bleeding clot and stop or does it keep bleeding off and on?
As the pups grow, I watch for excessive bleeding when cutting toenails. I don't deliberately cut into the quick on a young pup, but even if I just nick the quick and the nail bleeds, after using quick stop the nail will just start bleeding again and again. Also, if a puppy has bloody stools for no apparent reason off and on and all the other pups seem fine, that can be a clue. Some will begin bleeding when they lose their baby teeth or when chewing results in a sore to the mouth. The bleeding doesn't stop and can go on for days. If you can see where the bleeding is coming from, cauterizing the spot usually will stop the bleeding. The bleeding can go on for days, though, causing the pup to become anemic. You must watch the color of the gums. Anything less than red indicates severe anemia.
Careful observation at birth and during the early stages seem to be the best indicators as to a potential "bleeder." Continued, lifetime thyroid medication seems to slow down the incidences of bleeding episodes. As they get older, bleeding episodes also seem to be less frequent. If you do have a "bleeder," then you must decide whether to put it down or deal responsibly with it by giving Managed Care throughout its life. A severe bleeder that is managed carefully can live many years without excessive cost to the owner.
Help! My 9-month-old male Sheltie "nips" at the legs and feet of small children he is playing with. An older child or adult can correct him, but smaller children are afraid. He is a wonderfully friendly dog who loves everyone...he just is herding a little too aggressively. I'm afraid my neighbors will think he is mean. I understand that this is a common Sheltie concern, but has anyone successfully trained a Sheltie not to nip while "herding"???
Submitted by Cathy and Kaylee:
Yes, this is a herding "thing," and most herding breeds have this problem. This kind of dog needs to be kept busy, thats what they were bred forto always keep the herd in place. KIDS=SHEEP! Find things to teach the dog to do, keep it busy. I noticed a lot of people offered "negative" corrections. In this day and age, "negative" corrections arent the proven way to go. Does your dog play ball? Maybe give the kids a ball and tell them that when the dog starts to "nip" (make sure it happens before the dog does the "nipping" behavior), throw the ball, and give the cue to fetch (or whatever you use). Make it a very happy thing. In this way, you are giving the dog another behavior to do. But make sure that the dog doesnt start the "nip." For if this happens, youll be re-enforcing the wrong thing. If the dog does "nip," have them yell out loud in a high-pitched voice, "Ouch," and then throw the ball, "Good boy." The dog should be startled at the loud high-pitched voice, stop what he is doing, and then chase the ball (meanwhile, stop thinking about nipping). If your dog doesnt play chase, substitute something else it just totally loves to do. Also, seek out a trainer that is a positive-motivator type. The dog ends up learning to have the right kind of fun without even knowing it. Hope this works.
Submitted by Jane Y:
Although I am sadly Sheltieless right now, when my first Sheltie, a neutered red sable male, was growing up, we had the same problem. I got Cody when I was 12, in the summer, and one of his favorite "tricks" was to run up behind people and claw and nip at their bare legs. Naturally, this had to stop before our legs were torn to shreds. I would scold him, then ignore him for a few minutes to teach him the consequences. Since he always wanted to be the center of attention, within a few weeks he was back to his old sweet self. I hope that this helps.
Submitted by Michelle C:
I'm glad someone else has the same problem! Recently, we've gotten a female Sheltie. We've had her for almost 10 months. She's a great dog - don't get me wrong - but lately she's become very temperamental. She is housetrained, and she's great with kids, she eats great, she sleeps well, and she's a great guard dog. But lately she's been biting kids. Usually very early in the morning or late at night, but when she does it, it's for absolutely no reason at all! We figured that maybe she just gets tired easily, and she doesn't want to be messed with so early (or late, whichever time of day it is), but it really scares the children, and we can't deal with it much longer. Getting rid of her is the last thing we want to do, but what other choice do we have if kids are scared to come to our house because of the dog? Any ideas? Thanks.
Submitted by "Tanzanite":
One method I have used with my dogs is a water pistol. It produces immediate response to the annoying action. The dog is surprised, and it changes his focus. Each time he nips, squirt him with the water pistol. He'll finally get tired of getting squirted and will stop the nipping. It doesn't hurt them, and it really works.
Submitted by Julie L:
We had a Sheltie that used to do the same thing. He would even go so far as to bite at the clothes of the child or adult whose attention he was trying to get. He grew out of it quickly, and after a year of age he stopped doing it altogether. The only discipline we ever did was to "pop" his nose while he was doing it.
Submitted by Noreen M:
I currently have a 2-year-old Sheltie and a 10-month-old Border Collie that I am raising with my 2-year-old twins. I have dealt with the problem of heel nipping. Correct it immediately and always supervise the kids and the dogs. I correct my dog ONCE, and if he does it again, he goes inside a crate for a half hour or so - this usually gets through to the dog pretty quick! No matter how much herding instinct your dog has - and my two both have tremendous instinct - this has to be stopped early, with no excuses made since it can get out of hand very fast. Shelties (and other dogs) can be taught to control their instincts; it just takes consistency on your part.
My blue Sheltie boy (Blake) chews in between the pads of his feet until they bleed. He has done it since he was 3-1/2 months old! We tried keeping him off the grass, being careful what I wash the floors with, no scraps from off our dinner plate or tidbits. We have seen a dermatologist and has the skin test to no avail. The conclusion (at the moment) was internal allergy. I tried the dermatologist's diet of Roo meat and Eukanuba F&P biscuits but hestarted having other problems such as an upset stomach. The next vet suggested Eukanuba Vet Diet Low-Residue Formula for Puppies to cure his stomach, and it slowed his chewing but he lost interest in eating and became too thin. The latest try is Scotty's Premium Nutra-Vite Lamb & Rice Hypoallergenic Canine Diet, but he is still not 100%. Blake is 8 months old now, and we are still trying to stop the suffering for him and the rest of the family. He is such a spunky little chappy at 14-1/2". He is still waiting to get into the show ring due to his coat being shaved for the allergy test. Please HELP--any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. [Submitted by Paula & Blake]
Submitted by Gerry B:
Our last Sheltie started biting her front paws and eventually started biting the front of her legs near the top.
We started flushing our dogs paws after each outing, then putting a light coat of vaseline inside the paw. Vaseline was recommended to us because it did not present much taste or smell which can cause the dog to want to lick the area covered by any other ointment. We felt that the flushing was needed as we suspected she was either walking on some chemically-treated grass or road salt (used in our area during the winter). This cured the paw problem after about 2 weeks (the time it took for the skin to heal).
As for our dog biting the top of her legs raw, we cleaned them with a non-stinging child-safe antiseptic; then we wrapped the wound with a really neat new kind of banaid material from 3M called "Coban-Action Wrap," UPC Code 0 51131 56652 1. DO NOT put any ointment on the raw area, as this wall cause your dog to want to lick it off. This bandaid material is absolutely the best thing for wrapping wounds on pets. It sticks only to itself, but it really sticks good to itself. Also, it is possible to unstick it and adjust the bandage, resticking it in the new position. It is medium elastic and passes air for healing easily. It looks like crinkle cloth and comes in various colors, including fluorescent red, orange, and green. We found that we could safely leave a bandage on for 3-4 days at a time.
Submitted by Sonia T:
I personally believe that a lot of these problems stem from our depleted foodstuffsdepleted soils feeding the chickens and lambs and beef, etc. I purchase dog foods NOT from the pet stores, etc. I use Flint River Ranch dog food (see them at http://www.flintriverranch.com) and have not had any problems to begin with, so I cant say for sure, but I feel that all of the preservatives used in common dog foodsyes, even the big ones like IAMs and Science Dietadd to the problem. I avoid these like the plague. These unnatural substances have to leave the body in some way, and some dogs are more sensitive to them and develop allergies. I also believe in a dog food that includes ocean kelp/bladderwrack in it. The oceans are not yet depleted in the micro-nutrients which farmers do not necessarily replace in their soilsthey only replace what the plant needs to grownot what the consumer needs for optimum health. I dont blame them, but it does make a difference: cost is a big factor. Iodine was added to salt generations ago because we depleted the soils so quickly. Ive also used products like "Rollover" or Dick Van Pattens Natural Dog Food with what I believe is "preventative" success, but it didnt keep the teeth as clean naturally as the harder kibbles. These are the dog foods in the sausage-shaped rollsdont pass them byread their labels and see what I mean. Remember, too, when you see the animals in the wild bringing down prey (on PBS and Discovery Channels), the first thing they go for are the "insides": the liver, kidney, heart and lungs, so dont be put off by these types of ingredients as long as they are labelled as "whole" and not a mishmash of by-products. Heart, lung, kidney, and liver are wonderful meats for the doghe didnt evolve on corn or rice or grain. Even though the dog is considered omniverous, he needs meat, I believe, for optimum health. My vet even admitted, even as she sold the stuff, that if there are allergies and the dog is on Science Diet Lamb and Rice, get them off of it!
"Solid Gold" or "Robert Abady" dog foods, like Flint River Ranch, are purchased (mail order) fresheryour typical dry dog food like IAMs or Science Diet remains in warehouses and pet stores for 6-8 months or more before it might finally be purchased (I dont have stock in any of these mail-order dog food companies!!). "Solid Gold" has a sea kelp supplement that I recommended to a friend (I hadnt tried it but had read about it on their website) for her toy poodle who had the same problem chewing her paws; it gradually worked. Each is an individual, and what works for one dog may not work for another. I have tried Abady Dog Food for my Sheltie and the Solid Gold "Hund-n-flocken" (German for dog food flakes) but will stick with Flint River Ranch. These types of foodstuffs are usually processed less as well and with a minimum of preservative. For my FFR dog food, they claim it is only processed once rather than several times to get those attractively-shaped, perfectly-formed nuggets we humans like to see so much. Theirs is a "kibble," broken into odd-shaped pieces; they dont care about shape, only quality. Abady dog food is a type of "wet-meal" and quite different than anything youve ever seen. Solid Golds dog food wasnt a flake, but a flat nugget shape. You might try some of these. They are expensivea dollar a pound and more plus shippingbut Shelties dont require much food, thankfully. And with these type of premium foods, the old adage "a little goes a long way" is quite true.
I would suspect the food first, and of course visit your vet or other health-care provider for your dog and go from there. Youll just have to keep trying to find the right combination of what might work.
Submitted by Gail D, Winterlace:
I had a Sheltie who tore the hair out of his feet and left them bald from the chewing. There were 3 alternate reasons that my vet and I could discover:
Submitted by Adina S:
Have you ruled out behavioral problems? Sometimes licking or chewing can start because of too little stimulation and then become a chronic problem. If this has not yet been ruled out, it is worth exploring. If it turns out to be the problem, one might try treatment with a psychoactive drug, as is used in humans with OCD.
Submitted by Tricia H:
Try taking him to a naturopathic vet if there is one in your area. I did this once with one of my allergic dogs, and he worked wonders with her. He wasn't any more expensive - in fact, I think a little less expensive - than my regular vet. He/She can recommend ways to get at the root of the problem rather than treating symptoms. Best of luck!
Submitted by Jill B:
My dog suffers from a similar affliction, but her entire paw is affected. She is also a Blue Merle, but she is three years old, and she began getting noticeably sick when she was two. She suffers from contact dermatitis due to acorns and pollen on the ground. I've tried many, many things to help her. These are what has worked best: (1) bathing her feet in a shampoo that contains coal tar as its main ingredient - it helps the itching, and (2) Neosporin on the wounds covered by Tea Tree Spray by Pet Botanics to help relieve the itching. After I apply whichever, I hold my girl for a while so the medication has a chance to work before being licked off. These things may or may not work for Blake. Like I said, it took a while for me to find a good combination for my dog. On the bright side, however, if Blake does have this contact dermatitis, it will disappear when the first snow flies. Good luck to all of you!
Submitted by Natalie:
Both my Shelties had the same problem. Their feet would bleed from chewing them. My vet said it was allergies also, yet they did not respond to normal treatment, and I found it odd they would itch in only one area - and that both my (unrelated) dogs had the same allergy??? It made sense to me that they were chewing because it itched! They were flea bites!!
Since my dogs take the flea "pill," I did not have a flea problem in the house and didn't even think to suspect fleas. Acting on my flea hunch, I sprayed my dogs' feet before they went outside on the grass. Once I got the fleas to stop biting them, they quit chewing. It took about one month of spraying their feet to get it totally cleared up.
Submitted by Lynda G:
Hi. I know everyone absolutely swears by their "favorite" dog food, so I won't say anything except I've been feeding multiple dogs for 30 years. I discovered Abady dog food about 6 months ago. There's nothing like it. They advertise in Dog World and are located in New York. Ask for their info - read it carefully - give it a try. It's amazing! Your dog's worth it! :-)
The company is The Robert Abady Dog Food Co., 201 Smith Street, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601, 914-473-1900.
I can maybe help a little. I have a 9-1/2 year old Sheltie that has every problem you have and more that are common to Shelties that start out like yours. I have spent over $9,000 (at one of the best known and most highly regarded vet hospitals in the US) trying to solve her problems and would be happy to share what I have learned and been through. I have found that this is a genetic thing in some Shelties, and there is no real "cure" - just ways to keep it under control. I have also found some things that work only work for a while and then seem to stop helping. I am now also trying nonconventional things as well, although I am afraid with very little results so far.
My girl's problems started with her hind paws and progressed to her front paws, ears, and muzzle. She looses hair on the affected areas, and then they become infected from the constant chewing and licking. The infection causes an odor problem as well as flaking and itching, so it becomes a vicious cycle.
The treatment I have found most effective is:
1. Diet of 1/2 Hills Science Diet W/D and 1/2 Hills Science Diet W/D (as submitted)
2. meds of triple doses of Batril, 10mg Prednisone every other day, double doses of Ketoconizal (sp?), Genocin otic solution, resihist leave-on conditioner for the itch, and resicort leave-on conditioner for the swelling and flaking skin
3. LOTS AND LOTS OF LOVE AND ATTENTION!!
WARNING: Our Sheltie now has liver problems and had a near-fatal bout of pancreatitis from all the experimentation with numerous different drugs to try to "solve" her problem. Don't overdo the drugs - it's costly, and in the long run, it doesn't cure. The above #2 is not to be used for extended periods of time without a let-up (4 weeks on Batril, Prednisone, and Ketoconizal and 4-6 weeks off is what I use.)
Our Sheltie is not a show dog, though she is much more special to me, but facts are facts. She is getting older, and I have been told there is no real "cure" so I have now taken a less aggressive (and less costly) stance on her treatment. I will do everything possible to keep her as comfortable as possible with as little itching as possible. I am trying not to use as many oral drugs.
[Ed. Note: Sheltie Pacesetter recommends that any advice of a medical nature be checked with your vet before trying it on your Sheltie.]
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