HappyDogLast spring, I had first noticed that Moses had a mass on his elbow. Fearing another case of osteosarcoma, I took him to the vet right away to diagnose it. My vet said that bone cancer rarely shows up in the elbow, it’s almost always lower on the limb. And sure enough, x-ray and biopsy confirmed it was just a fatty tumor, like a lot of dogs get. Those are benign as far as risk of metastasis goes. But, this was an “infiltrative” lipoma, meaning it was entangling around the joint.

The picture to the left is from last May when we shaved him, it was pretty large at that point. You can see how it was pushing his whole elbow joint out away from his body. It continued to grow over the summer. It altered his gait some, but didn’t seem to be bothering him much. Until all of a sudden, when it did. I think it must have grown such that it started pressing on a nerve, causing significant pain. Within a matter of a couple of weeks, he went from mildly lame to basically refusing to walk. I hustled to make plans for surgery and got him into the barn since he could not walk well enough to shelter and drink in the pasture.

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MosesWithCoat

Having grown up in the dog show world, I’ve always objected to coated breeds being shaved down. It’s kind of a pet peeve of mine. Why buy a coated breed if you are not going to care for the coat, and are just going to brutally buzz-cut it into a miserable-looking hack job? IMO, shaved dogs look terrible, no matter how skilled the groomer. Not to mention, there is a lot of theorizing about whether shaving coated dogs is bad for them. That it’s stressful for them to go from coated to nearly bald and feeling vulnerable. That they are vulnerable to sunburn, and overheating, since coat can actually insulate them from the sun. That the blunted hair coat ends will grow back matted and harder to groom.

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GeneIn December, our thirteen year old border collie, Gene, was diagnosed with cancer. I had noticed an egg-sized lump on the back of her left thigh a while earlier, and decided to ask the vet to look at it. It was almost like a typical fatty lump seen in older dogs, and she already has some fatty lumps. But this one did feel a bit more “rooted” and it had grown faster than I’m used to seeing in benign fatty tumors. A biopsy identified it as a mast cell tumor, which is common in dogs. So, it was removed after Christmas.

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BronteAndHershey

This pup was an emergency procurement. We’d only had sheep for a matter of months, and had started with a llama to protect them. Plan B was going to be to get a dog if the llama didn’t prove effective. Plan B was invoked quicker than anticipated, as we had coyote kills, right as the llama stood in the pasture with the sheep. We needed better protection, stat!

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I have been sorely remiss in blogging; but my excuse is, I’m just busy! Somehow, blogging is falling down, and off, the priority list; but I’ll try to do better!

Still the biggest focus of my farming efforts is growing this silly pup into a good guardian dog. Bronte, sadly, passed already (I’ll save that topic for another post), so this “li’l” pup is needing to grow up fast and fill big shoes. But, growing she is; as you can see, she’s nearly as big as Moses already, and he’s a 100 lb dog. She is now eight months old. I’ve officially named her Brinsa. Though, often I find myself calling her “Woojee Toodle,” and my husband refers to her as “Dum Dum”; so I imagine one of those two dumb names will stick.

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Worried

Our new pup is a Maremma. She was born on a 2,000 acre ranch. And I don’t mean “the breeder who produced her owns a 2,000 acre ranch.” I mean, this pup was born and reared in an environment where she and the group of dogs into which she was born ranged over 2,000 acres. Naturally, the dams of the litters stick close to home when whelping and rearing young pups. The breeder described that at sixteen weeks, the pups still weren’t ranging far from the safety of the homestead. But, they were indeed ranging, and acclimating to the lifestyle of learning to protect a large span of territory from predators. She hails from Eastern WA, where wolf packs are now a force to be reckoned with, and most ranchers are needing to run large groups of LPDs to protect their livelihoods.

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BronteKneeA few weeks ago, we got some bad news. It started with Bronte showing some lameness on her front leg around the first of July. I wasn’t initially alarmed, since the dogs do injure themselves sometimes with all the running they do on uneven ground. There was a little bit of swelling in her knee, but not much, and she was still getting around just fine and was cheerful. I gave her some NSAIDs I had left over from her spay, and it seemed to improve.

Once the meds were gone, it got worse, however. The swelling increased, as did her lameness, and her demeanor started to change, as if she was in more discomfort. I worried that perhaps it was a bigger injury, like a tendon that needed surgical intervention. I called to make an appointment to have it x-rayed. My description to the vet that it was a strange, “hard” swelling made her instantly say “bone cancer” on the phone, even without seeing it.

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