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Reader’s comments on the “no warnings given” and Winston the Behaviourist.

Following on from article 77 regarding the “no warning notices given” I have recived a considerable amount of feedback ranging from there are no remedies for Leishmaniosis and so there is nothing they can do, to where can owners obtain the Scalibor collars. There also seems some confusion as to what collars or medications are attributable to which problem. When you are bringing your pets to Spain do consult with a Spanish vet about all the various protections your pets will need here. Forewarned is forearmed.

Of the most obvious problems that you normally immunise you pet against these are similar to the UK and the pet’s passport but add to these Kennel cough, feline leukaemia (feline aids). Follow these up regularly with the annual boosters but for Leishmaniasis obtain products containing Deltamethrin. This not only makes the dogs unpalatable but it also kills the Sand fly.

For those of you who have access to the Internet you will find two web sites of interest. The first is www.leishmaniasis.info and the second is www.felineleukemia.org/felvfaq.html. Vetstream write the Leishmaniasis site and it exists in order to inform Vets about this and other various diseases along with the information relating to up to date methods of treatment. This I hope will provide the pet owners of the future the warning notices from UK vets that we need so much.

For Leishmaniosis you will see details of many tests results and of one carried out in the Mediterranean area. In all the tests recorded here they show that under a controlled environment over 90% of Sand flies either died or they would not feed from dogs wearing the Scalibor collar impregnated with Deltamethrin.

On this web site, you can read the test results for the Scalibor collar and it gives the following conclusion.

It is concluded that, at least in the Mediterranean sub region, this insecticidal collar would protect a dog from the majority of sandfly bites and retain a killing effect for a complete sandfly season. Moreover, it seems likely that the use of collars on all dogs in a focus of Leishmania infantum would reduce contact between sandfly vectors and canine reservoir hosts sufficiently to diminish the risk of infection for humans as well as dogs.

This is certainly an impressive result and shows that the Scalibor is an important method of protecting your dog.

Speaking to the vets, they confirm that there is only the white Scalibor collar currently available to help protect your dog. There is however, an alternative of using liquid drops placed on the back of the dog’s neck called ExSpot. Both of these do not give 100% protection but going by the results, they are certainly much better than doing nothing. Advantix is another but more expensive method of drops but is supposed to stop all mosquitoes.

There also seems some confusion regarding the use of other collars and liquid drops like Frontline etc. These are only to control ticks and fleas. These do not contain Deltamethrin and will not protect your dog against the Sand fly.

The Spanish vets do recommend to all owners that you have your dogs have a blood test every 6 months or at least once a year. If they can detect the disease at an early stage then they can control it with modern drugs so that a dog can live a relatively normal life. It will never be free from it but it is controllable.

Another caller said he did not believe in the blood tests and as there is no cure there was nothing dogs owners could do other than keep dogs inside their houses during May to October because the Sand fly rarely ventures inside property as it has poor flying ability. This too is true but it is a little risky.

Another owner said that taking blood was far too stressful for dogs and probably worse than the disease. I must agree it is stressful and know what happened last time I took Winston; we needed to sedate him. For his protection, I would still prefer to pay the 30 euros for the sedative and antidote rather than see him stressed but he must have the test. If you were ever to see the symptoms, they are appalling.

One caller said that their 5-year-old dog had never had any collars, drops, or blood tests and had never showed any signs of any symptoms so they were not going to start now. All I could say is they are lucky but maybe there are no Sand flies in their area. If the dog does contract the disease, the dog ultimately pays the price.

An owner telephoned me to say he had taken the article to his vet but told there is no cure for Leishmaniosis and the Scalibor collar offered little or no protection. The vet is correct that once your dog contracts this disease it will always remain a carrier and even though drugs can suppress the symptoms it can flair up at any time.

As to the Scalibor, offering little protection the results above seem to show that it does offer considerable protection.

Leishmaniosis is a terrible disease. I for one do not wish to watch Winston waste away. It is for this reason I will have Winston tested every 6 months and will always have him wearing the Scalibor collar.

The second site relates to cats and Feline Leukemia. Again, this is an information site detailing the disease and the most up to date methods for immunisation. If your cat has already has the disease, like ours have, then it details the most up to day methods of controlling it.

Let’s be careful out there.

Winston the behaviourist

No matter how much I write to say that denying a dog from being sociable only makes many dogs become territorially aggressive. The vast majority of owners will think that they know their dog better than I do. Because they fear their dog is aggressive, they feel they need to keep it under tight control.

I do realise it is very difficult for owners to take that giant leap of faith and totally change direction so instead of protecting their dogs they take their dogs out to socialise. Well I now can now show owners that they no longer need to have faith they can see for them selves with Winston.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, well now owners can now see a picture of their dog playing happily with Winston. This is something many owners would never or could never have believed possible.

Last week we had two such cases where the owners had taken to protecting their dogs, as they feared their dogs were aggressive. Once both dogs had met Winston, the owners could not believe what they saw with their own eyes.

The first case was a large heavily built dog restrained by the owner’s daughter holding its collar when a 10-year-old girl came and knocked on the door. When the dog pulled to meet the girl, it pulled its self out of the daughter’s hand. Obviously, the girl ran out of the gate pursed by the dog and it appeared to have nipped her. Though most people understood the dog might not have meant to harm the child never the less the dog now had the reputation of being an aggressive dog and was then heavily restricted in its movements.

We went along to see it and when I entered the house, I acknowledge the dog’s existence rather than totally ignore it. This is my usual method of protection against aggressive dogs.

The dog greeted me but not with aggression but by boisterous and intimidating play. These dogs do not know their own strength so he pushed me in my crutch and rear trying to make me play. It even jumped up at me in an attempt to gain attention. I went back to the car a brought in a can of compressed air. This calmed the situation immediately. I showed the owner how to stop any further similar actions and not to hold the dog back at the door when visitors came but to allow it freedom but any sign of lunging forward or jumping up it should be met with compressed air.

The next problem is the dog was not let out to play with other dogs, as it appeared aggressive towards them. Consequently, it had little socialisation with any dogs. Friends of the owner had suggested they take their dog to meet theirs and let them play in their garden. Because the owners feared what their dog could do, this offer was never accepted.

Certainly there was no aggression toward humans but with this breed, they never have understood how to be gentle and do not appreciate their own strength. I asked the owner to put the Halti on and the muzzle and we took the dog out to meet Winston waiting in the car.

With both dogs on their leads, we introduce them to one another. Because of the lack of socialisation the actual meeting ritual where dogs sniff one another to learn, all about each other took almost 20 minuets. Though the dog pushed Winston quite hard with his muzzle, there was no sign of aggression.

I then took them over the road for a walk and clipped him to 30 feet of rope allowing it greater freedom. All it wished to do was follow Winston everywhere. I then took off the muzzle and the safety rope and let them play freely. The owner could not believe that she was watching her dog playing with another dog.

Some time later, a lady walked up with her dog and again there was still no sign of aggression. Without going for walks, because it might meet other dogs, it lacked exercise so it was soon lying down as Winston wore it out.

Once we returned to the house, it just laid down for a rest but after a few moments jumped over the wall and went to see Winston again. As he was back in the car, it started to wander off to enjoy freedom. The owner was then worried he would not come back but I simply let Winston out of the car and told him to fetch. Sure enough, he met up with dog and when I called him back the owner’s dog dutifully followed Winston back home again. Even when Winston entered this dogs own home there was no sign of any aggression.

The owner asked could she rent Winston for a week in order to socialise her dog. Not possible but at least they had friends with dogs and now the owner was prepared to accept their offers to take her dog along to them to let it play with their dogs.

I could have spent all day explaining that their dog was fine and only needed socialising with dogs and people but the owner would still have been reluctant to take that step. Yet, in an hour Winston had proved it.

The following day we went to see a medium sized dog that had lived in a country where all the dogs were aggressive guard dogs and when they walked their dog, these dogs had shown major aggression towards their dog. It quiet naturally retaliated in similar fashion creating a learned response. Now when any dog came near their house it would appear very aggressive towards them. It also would jump up on humans entering the property.

Certainly as I entered the gate, the dog was all for jumping up at me then it started charging up and down the perimeter barking aggressively at Winston who was sat in the car.

Again, compressed air calmed the dog but when we introduce it to Winston, it was confused, as Winston did not show aggression so it did not know what to do. It thought is should attack first as this was its learned response yet it desperately wanted to sniff at Winston and follow the proper meeting ritual but it was so uncertain. I could see there was no aggression so I simply let him off the line and though it initially charged at Winston, it stopped short and then followed him round everywhere.

Winston loves any dog that will play chase. We walked the dogs in the area and came across four other dogs and still no aggression. Later as we returned towards the house, these four dogs were now near his home so he did show territorial aggressive towards one of the dogs but compressed air calmed that situation to the amazement of the other dog’s owner.

Yet again, could I rent Winston out for a week? Fortunately, they too have friends with dogs where they can now go and take their dog to meet for socialisation and then move on to taking the dog out in more places that are public.

No longer are both these owners and their dog’s prisoners in their own homes thanks to Winston the behaviourist.

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