Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Water Intoxication; a story about a Cavalier but a warning for anyone with water loving dogs

This is a serious post but please if possible take the time to read it, especially if you have a dog who loves the water.  It may save their life.  

Embee puppy owners know that the puppies born here have a certain joie de vivre about them.  They are athletic and smart, fun loving, have no fear, and their whole goal in life is to please you; no matter the task or adventure.  This happens to be the temperament that I personally love and will always aim to keep in my breeding program, however it also comes with some challenges.

My fun loving Cavaliers tend to have have trouble with self control, knowing when to stop, and self regulating.  They will fetch and hike until they drop, they don't think twice about jumping off of bridges into water or running across the road, and chasing bunnies will almost always be more exciting than coming when called.

A Saturday afternoon started no different than any other for one of my puppy owners.  Her boys really have the best doggy life and are truly looked after to perfection. High quality food, a work at home "mom", regular trips to the groomer for nail clipping, a few days a week at doggy daycare, and daily walks and adventures.  On this day they decided to go to one of their favourite conservation areas and spend the afternoon hiking and swimming.

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Like a typical Embee Cavalier her boy adores to fetch and swim, and if you can combine the two.. even better!  What was different was they ended up staying longer than usual.  A couple good friends had joined her and she wanted to make sure that they knew where the best spots were to take their Cavalier.  Instead of going to one or two spots to swim, they went to all of them.  An hour outing turned into well over 3 hours.


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The boys were having a fabulous time running, swimming, and fetching from the water.  They were dirty, wet, tired, and it was time to head back to the car to go home.  She said goodbye to her friends and went to leave when she noticed her boy was acting a bit strange.

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His eyes looked a bit glazed over and he seemed disoriented.  He then threw up a ton of water, foam, and some grass and lost control of his bladder.  She quickly loaded in the car to take him home, thinking he had just ate something and would feel better by the time she got there.  On the drive things quickly progressed from bad to worse.  He was becoming more and more disoriented and unresponsive, instead of heading home she made the life saving choice to take him to the closest Veterinary emergency clinic.

By the time he arrived he was very lethargic.  His heart rate had bottomed out and what had been a very fun afternoon was now a life threatening emergency.  The clinic was able to stabilize him and give him medication to up his heart rate.  They ran some blood work and could tell that his electrolytes were very low, but they did not know what the cause could be.  Due to how severe his symptoms were they felt it was best he be transferred to the Ontario Veterinary College(OVC) in Guelph where he could receive better diagnostics and care in their ICU.

His loving owners transferred him to OVC, a 35 minute drive from the emergency clinic.  Along the way they gave me a phone call to let me know what was happening and wondered if I could offer any advice or ideas about what was going on with their boy.  Thankfully I was home to take their call and offered to go and meet them at OVC. 

By the time we reached OVC his heart rate had dropped low again and he had begun having seizures.  His brain was swelling and he was completely unresponsive.

Several years ago I belonged to a online Cavalier community and Suzie a member at the time lost a dog to delayed drowning.  Following the heartbreak of losing her girl there had been several discussions about delayed drowning and water intoxication and I became very well versed on the subject.  There was no doubt in my mind that we were dealing with one or the other, and it was very possible that the outcome was not going to be positive one.  Over half of these dogs do not make it, even with early treatment and intervention.

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While we were waiting for news I messaged Suzie on Facebook for some suggestions and support.  Because of her courage to share the story about losing her girl Pixie, she saved this boy's life.   

By 11pm, OVC was able to get our boy stabilized but he was still unresponsive and showing signs of brain swelling and severe neurological damage.  On my insistence they finally administered diuretics and he was on IV to slowly raise his electrolyte values.  OVC did not believe this was a water intoxication case, they were insistent on trying to rule out every possible Cavalier issue under the sun rather than looking and listening about what the owners were telling them.  They didn't seem to believe that this was a healthy dog not even a few hours before.  At last we were allowed in to see him and the reality of how sick he was quickly set in.  I took a few moments and said my good-byes to this sweet life loving boy, I did not believe he was going to survive until morning. 

Over night a true miracle happened.  All the excess water was making his way out of his system and things were retuning to normal.  His electrolytes were up, his heart rate  normal, he stopped having seizures and he awoke responsive and looking for his owners.  He was discharged home later that afternoon. I fully credit miracles and the true resilience of this special little breed for saving his life.

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After only a few weeks this little man is almost 100% back to his normal self and his owners are enjoying every moment possible with him.  Life is truly fragile and can change in an instant.

This boy's day to day life will not change much.  He will still enjoy playing fetch, going for lots of walks and adventures, and swimming every opportunity he can.  What will change is the amount he is allowed to swim at one time and how much fetch he is allowed to play in the water.  He can't regulate or make smart choices about water for himself, but fortunately for him he has very loving owners who will always be able to watch and manage him carefully.
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How can water be toxic?
Hyponatremia occurs when more water enters the body than it can process. The presence of so much water dilutes bodily fluids, creating a potentially dangerous shift in electrolyte balance. The excess water depletes sodium levels in extracellular fluid (fluid outside of cells). Sodium maintains blood pressure and nerve and muscle function.
When the sodium concentration in extracellular fluid drops, the cells start filling with water as the body attempts to balance the sodium levels inside the cells with falling levels outside the cells. This inflow of water causes the cells – including those in the brain – to swell. The central nervous system can also be affected. - Written by Dr. Becker, DVM
  Symptoms of Water Intoxication
  • Staggering/loss of coordination
  • Lethargy
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Vomitting
  • Dilated Pupils
  • Glazed Eyes
  • Light gum colour
  • Excessive salvation
and at later stages
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Abnormal heart rate
  •  Collapse
  • Coma
  • Death
For more reading on water intoxication and how to prevent it visit the links below
Water Intoxication: Too much of a Good Thing
The Danger of Water Intoxication 
Beware of Water Intoxication
Pixie's Story about Delayed Drowning

To a happy and safe rest of summer for everyone. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Queen Molly turned 6, puppies, shows, and training classes

Under the official ruling of Queen Molly, the month of June has been officially declared as birthday month. Every day must be entirely dedicated to the Queen and her wishes, lots of treats, bones(dental chew), and unlimited hugs and kisses....oh wait, I think that is everyday!  Happy Birthday Molly. 

It's hard to believe that our Molly turned 6.  It doesn't seem like very long ago that we were working on her Championship and delivering her first litter.  My breeding program owes so much to Karen at Mysticmoon Cavaliers for the foundation she entrusted me with.  Molly is a big part of that and she never fails to remind us that she really is that special.

Some of my favourite photos of our Queen

Molly and her son Calvin
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Her first time being a momma
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Goofy happy smiles, Loki and Molly. 
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Not long after my Mom brought her home on a "trial".  Skinny, immature and just a year old.
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Season's Greetings!
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Modelling new winter outerwear at a show for a friend
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Queen's of course have to cross their paws when they sleep!
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Besides celebrating a birthday we've been attending lots of classes.  Ruffi and Loki learned about Rally O and we hope to continue with it in the summer.  I'd really like to have one of them ready for their first trial at the CKCSCC National Specialty.  We'll see, they rock at it.. me I can't keep the signs straight!

We've also been busy attending conformation classes and getting ready for some shows.  Ruffi and Zac are working on their Championships and our annual CFSO specialty show is at the end of June.   (Notice that the CFSO website has undergone a redesign? Yep, I've been busy)

Ruffi at handling class wondering why I'm taking her picture and not holding her lead!
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Glamour boy Zac picked up a few points last weekend by going Winners Dog at one show and then Winners Dog and Best of Winners at another. 
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See any resemblance?  Fenton looks like his Daddy Loki and is slow maturing like him too.  This smart little man has been busy taking classes for foundation agility, rally, and obedience work.
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CH Woodmere's Princess Tara, Sadie's Grandma, getting ready for the Specialty show.  At 13.5 she has the longest record of winning the old timer's fun match in a row.  Both Zo and Mylee are sporting summer trims, so we'll sit this one out and cheer for Tara instead!
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Ebby welcomed her first litter, she was bred to Loki and had a beautiful litter of five.  We're co-owning a black and tan girl now known as Chai with Jewelcroft Cavaliers. 
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Cute little red trouble
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My puppies love to garden!
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Molly's little boys lounging in the shade.  They were known here as Rocky and Rusty but now have the names of Tucker and Ramsey
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Molly's daughter Raven, hoping she'll make her way into the show ring some day
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That's it for now, if you are coming to the specialty show in June, make sure you stop by our tent and say hi!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Feeling like Spring

If you've been following my Instagram feed lately (embee_cavaliers) you'll know that we've been busy with some new additions.  I'm still a bad blogger but I've really been enjoying the quick and convenience of Instagram.  If you have a smart phone with a camera,  I encourage you to join and follow us!

Molly would like to introduce her four beautiful puppies, born at the end of Feb.  In typical Molly fashion they were all black and tan, the only colour that exists in her world. :)   It wasn't an easy delivery for her, but she's feeling 100% back to normal.  We have 3 boys and 1 girl, all doing well.  Two of the boys were born extremely little but never had any trouble gaining weight or eating.  They are still playing catch up in terms of growth, but they are chubby and sweet just like they should be.

This is an extra special litter for us as it will be her last.  She's given us some incredible puppies and has been a fantastic mother to them all.  Although some would say to breed her again based on those reasons, we feel it's best for her to be done with motherhood.  She'll continue to have duties as chief farm dog.   Chasing bugs,  mice, and squirrel's,  vising the cows,  making sure my niece and nephew know all about being adored by a dog, and of course being the ultimate potato inspector.

In typical Embee fashion all of her puppies were given call names within 24 hours to distinguish them.  Some breeders use colours and numbers, we prefer names, even though we know and encourage them to change when they leave here on new adventures.  We have Raina, Rudy, Rusty, and Rocky!

Molly, only a few hours after they all arrived
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Size difference?  What size difference?
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Feeling more like herself and loving those babies!
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We're just at the stage where everyone is opening their eyes.  Still waiting on little Rocky to get his fully open.  This is the big boy, Rudy!
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Raina, she's going to have those brothers of hers running circles around her
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Little Rusty, eyes not quite fully open yet.  He's so cute.
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Molly doing what Molly does, feeding them!  I was attempting to clean out their box and she felt they couldn't go 5 minutes without food.
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Clean bed, waiting for Molly to finish nursing!
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Upside down girlie again!  With her purple monkey.
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Since I stole both Molly and Ebby, Zoey and Ruffi have been filling in for farm duties.  My Mom is so good to send pictures of them, but I can't help but notice a common theme...
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Cupboards open, empty food dish, and poor starving Zo.  She's so hungry that she taught herself to open the kitchen cupboards and help herself.  Obviously no one feeds her there.  (Too bad everyone knows that Zo is my naughty dog!)
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Anxiously wanting to share news about these two.  No news to share yet, it's why I've had time to blog this afternoon!
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Lastly, note that we've updated our puppies page.  We're hoping to have a litter in the summer from Sadie.  If you are interested in a ruby or a blenheim, now would be the time to get in touch, not when they arrive or are a few weeks old.

To spring, puppies, and some nicer weather.  

Friday, December 5, 2014

A bit of everything

We've been neglecting our blog again but I figured it was time for an update. Below is just some of what has been going on around here.

I've been to a couple dog shows with Ebby, Ruffi, and one with Zac.  We're going to do one more show before the end of the year and then look at some for February.   While at our shows we coordinated and participated in two meet the breed booths.  Breed education is so important.  It made for some really long show weekends but Ruffi is turning into a booth pro.

Working at our meet the breed booth at the Caledon dog show last weekend after winning Reserve Winners Bitch and Best Puppy in Breed with her good friend Jen.  
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Ruffi - Our little lady is growing up!
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At the end of October the Cavalier Fanciers of Southern Ontario held their annual heart and eye certification clinic.  It's an event that I feel is very important and make sure that I am around to help all day if needed. We completed close to 100 exams for both heart and eyes and I was at the clinic from 8:30 to around 5pm.  This is a clinic that any owner can attend, breeder or not.

Most of the Embee crew attended and had their heart and eyes updated. As we all know, Mitral Valve Disease is very prevalent in our breed.  It's not a question of IF it's going to occur, it's almost always a question of WHEN. Our goal is to eliminate early onset cases of MVD from breeding programs, breed knowing the inside and outs of their familial history, and to monitor all Cavaliers closely so that treatment can be started immediately if symptoms start occurring.

An old picture of Mylee helping with an echocardiogram
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The problem with MVD is that it doesn't have a consistent pattern.  Cavaliers can be diagnosed with murmurs early in life and have them never progress.  They can also get murmurs when they are older and have them progress quickly.  There can be many variants and you never know what path it is going to take.  That is why having an annual auscultation by a cardiologist once a Cavalier reaches 5 years old is extremely important for both breeding dogs and family pets.  If you are still in contact with your breeder (and I very much hope that you are!) let them know the results.   Monitoring heart health, feeding a high quality diet and keeping your Cavalier fit  are the best defences against the disease. 

Our news on the day was mostly good.  Molly at 5 1/2 years was heart clear, along with her sons Loki and Bucky.  Ebby and her brother Hansel also had clear exams.  Both Sadie and Zac need to be updated in the next few months, and Nika isn't due until April.  Zoey's murmur (originally diagnosed when she was 6, has progressed but only slightly. It hasn't progressed very much in two years.  My downer of the day was my little red dog.  She just turned 7 and had a clear heart on her previous exam.  She now has a moderate murmur that we will be watching carefully. No matter how prepared you are to hear the news that your Cavalier has a heart murmur, it still completely sucks. Everyone had uneventful eye exams. 

Mylee says if you are over 5 consider having your heart checked by a Cardiologist!
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After getting his health clearances all up to date, Loki received the news that his painting was done.  He's now convinced that he is famous!  Talented artist Charlene Elliott fell in love with one of Loki's photos (taken in our magic photo bathroom!) and approached me about painting him for her collection.  It certainly wasn't a hard  decision for me, of course she could paint him if she wanted to!  I believe that prints of Loki's sweet face will be available to purchase. I will let you know when I know more.

Charz is so incredibly talented, LOOK at this gorgeous piece
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Mr. Famous himself has adorable puppies in Kansas.  I've been very much enjoying watching them grow up from afar.  Every time their breeder/owner sends me cute pictures, its taking all of power to not jump in the car to go for a visit and snuggle.

Can't.handle.the.cute
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I've also been having some fun with my camera again.  I took this beautiful photo of Lolly, now 15 months old at the Caledon dog show.  She's officially known as Brinklow Embee Lollipop and I co-own her with Norma Moffat (Brinklow Cavaliers).  Some may recognize her as Dottie! 

People are usually surprised to learn that both of her parents are black and tans.  She's just my type!
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While Zac was visiting for his show he had to put up with my photo taking as well.  I'm so thrilled with how this boy is turning out.  He is such a sweetheart and completely gorgeous.  He's just the right combination from his parents.

So handsome - Embee's Burning Bright "Zac"
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Poor Riff-Raff and Zo had to visit the Vet to have teeth pulled.  Zoey cracked a tooth right along the gumline and it was starting to abscess underneath.  I of course was freaking out about having her put under anesthesia due to her heart.  Ruffi had retained puppy canine teeth that needed to come out at some point, so I decided they both could go together and keep each other company.  They did just fine, despite my worry and anxiety over Zo especially!

What do you mean I have to go get teeth out?!
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Zo is feeling much better and is back to chewing with both sides of her mouth.
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That's it for now!  As a bad blogger I won't promise anything but I do have more to write.... at some point, ;)  Happy Friday!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Party of Parties - Embee Fam Jam 2014

We held a party at the end of August.......and it was awesome. 

The Embee Fam Jam is a time to get together and celebrate, connect with other Embee Cavalier owners, and visit with family.  For me, there aren't enough words to describe the feelings of pride, love, and admiration that is seeing our puppies being adored by their owners.  It just means the world and makes it all worth it.

A very special thank you to Debbie at beyondthedogdish.com and her husband David for their always beautiful photos.  We had a fun photo booth this year and without their help it wouldn't have been possible.  Also thank you to Jen who coordinated and kept the photo booth running smoothly, and to my sister Julie who snapped many of the pictures below when I was otherwise occupied.  We'll do it again next year!

Getting the party started!  Everyone ate well including the doggies. Handmade cookies courtesy of Madison's owners and dehydrated sweet potato treats.
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Mylee always loves a good party
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Pretty baby Tess, taking it all in and having a blast
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Remy looking adorable
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Bingley checking out the photo-booth!
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Booster, can you tell that this is his favourite spot and person?
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There may have been some brother tail pulling antics.  Fenton pulling his sister Tess' tail! Photo courtesy of David Souch
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Jetta, enjoying the BBQ
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Calvin came to visit all the way from Utah, I haven't seen him since I kissed him goodbye at the airport over 2 years ago.  I was spoiled and got to visit with them for several days, more photos of our adventures soon
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Zoey's sweet Charlie Bear.  Charlie hasn't been feeling well over the past several months. Between Mitral Valve Disease and a incredibly nasty ear infection we've been very worried about him.  His Mom was worried about bringing him but he had so much fun and he even played ball for the first time in months! Love his happy smile in this photo
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Meshayla with her wagging tail, what a happy party girl!
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Madison's sweet little face, she came decked out in bows and stole a few of the boys hearts, one in particular.  Poor tricolour Charlie was head over heels in looove. 
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Max and Jax, the definition of bromance.  These two spent the entire time playing together. Photo courtesy of David Souch
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Molly made sure that everyone had a good snuggle and a visit with her.   She is the Queen after all and everyone needs her cuddles.
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A beautiful photo of Charlie waiting for the ball!  One of the photos I did manage to take
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Visiting with family, what it's all about.  Molly and her son Charlie
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Ball crazy black and tans, Guinness (with the ball) and Bucky in front, Loki and Ruffi behind.  Party girl Ruffi played and played and played.  Photo courtesy of David Souch
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Zoey, Fam Jammed out!
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Annnd last but not least, the Photo-booth  slideshow!   I'm also going to put it up on Our Family page.
Eludemb's Embee Fam Jam 2014 album on Photobucket