Okay, so we have to admit it… our clinic mascot, Cody, is an imposter. Dr. Hansen searched and searched for the perfect hunting companion and after much contemplation, an 8 week old Cody, a British chocolate with champion lines, found himself in the passenger seat of Dr. Hansen’s pick up. Yet, despite his best efforts and training, Cody will not wade past his elbows, stares passively as a dummy is thrown, and cowers at the sound of a gun. Come visit him… he is a great pet, but apparently, hunting just is not part of his constitution. Instead, Dr. Hansen’s rescued (and free!) Coonhound lab mix, Ellie Mae Clampett, is a better birder and prefers the great outdoors over cozy her dog bed!
Still, these sporting breeds hold a soft spot in our hearts. Their drive, enthusiasm, and utter determination is admirable… and sometimes, unbelievable! Who else would go out in the field with shotguns ringing in their ears and retrieve a bird despite a stick lodged into their shoulder… and still return for more? At Rice Creek Animal Hospital, we understand the unique bond and relationship that forms between the working breeds and their human counterparts.
Just like human athletes, sporting breeds have some distinctive maladies simply due to the stresses they put on their bodies. Although equally important, a limp in an active field trial German Shorthair may warrant different treatment than a lame Goldendoodle. Furthermore, there are some conditions seen in the sporting breeds that we simply do not see in other breeds. Exercise Induced Collapse in Labradors and Infraspinatus Contracture in Spaniels are two conditions that you may have heard of as a sporting breed owner. These types of concerns are things that we have to keep a high index of suspicion for when considering hunting dogs. Other conditions that may occur more frequently in the sporting breeds include:
- Fungal disease (ie blastomycosis)
- Toe and foot pad injuries
- Fractured teeth
- Foreign body migrations (ie grass awns trapped under the skin)
- Pyothorax (infection around the lungs due to the above)
- Ruptured cruciate ligaments (knee injuries)
- Tick borne diseases
Dr. Hansen is a respectful hunter and outdoorsman who sincerely enjoys these wonderful breeds. Come on in and swap stories while discussing heartworm prevention and tick control! Want to know just how passionate Dr. Hansen is about this way of life? Ask him what hangs over his two year old son’s bed!