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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

March 17, 2019, will soon be upon us. This is the day of St Patrick’s Day, a celebration of the Saint that brought Christianity to Ireland. It gained popularity for many reasons, however, giving revellers a 1-day reprieve from lent certainly has helped!

Why am I talking about Saint Patrick’s Day? I’m not really. I am, however, talking about the many breeds of dogs that I see that have originated in Ireland. For example, the Wheaton Terrier, Kerry Blue, Irish setter are just a few examples. Ireland does not have a national dog, but if it did, and I risk criticism here, it would have to be the Irish Wolfhound.

The Irish Wolfhound is an ancient breed, arriving in Ireland as early as 7000 BC. It was initially used as a war hound, fighting battles alongside warriors. Its name is derived from its purpose as a wolf hunting dog. As fierce as a war hound and wolf hunting dog must sound, today’s wolfhound is far from the tough dog its name and history imply.

The Wolfhound is one of the tallest breeds (30-34 inches), on average taller than even Great Danes, and tend to be more slight/lean (100-140lbs). They are considered a sighthound, based on its ability to visualize its landscape and perceive unlike scent hounds for example (such as Beagles). The Irish Wolfhounds that I see tend to be easygoing, introverted, intelligent thinkers that are generally quiet. They really can be quite gentle giants.

Unfortunately, this is a breed that does not have a long life expectancy. The average lifespan is only seven years. Dilated cardiomyopathy aka heart disease and osteosarcoma aka bone cancer are the leading causes of death. Also, like most deep-chested dogs, gastric torsion (bloat) is a common health issue.

If you are looking for a large, purebred dog, and have done your homework to ensure that they are the right fit for your family and lifestyle, consider an Irish Wolfhound. They truly are wonderful dogs.

Written by: Rob Doucette, DVM

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The Importance of Microchipping Your Pet

Pets can get lost which can be a traumatic and possibly tragic event.  It’s important to have a collar and ID tag, but these are not foolproof.  Collars can break or fall off leaving your pet unidentifiable. This can be prevented with the use of a microchip. As noted in the Dartmouth Tribune in April 2017: A pet is lost every seven seconds One in three pets will go missing in their lifetime Only 2 percent of lost cats and 17 percent of lost dogs with ID return home When a pet gets lost, they are 20 times more likely to make their way back home when they have a microchip A microchip is a small chip that is encoded with a unique identification number.  It is no bigger than a grain of rice and implanted just under the surface of your pet’s skin.  The process is similar to receiving a vaccination through a needle and is virtually painless to pets.  Once implanted, the microchip remains between the shoulder blades just beneath the skin for the rest of the animal’s lifetime, becoming a permanent form of identification. Since it’s under your pets’ skin it can’t break or fall off like a collar or tag. The chip is powered by a scanner which sends a signal to the chip and receives the identification number stored on it.  A vet or shelter can use the scanner to read your pet’s chip.  With the identification number, your pet’s information is a phone call away. When your pet is microchipped, it is linked to a database with your contact info.  It is essential that you register the microchip and ensure your contact information is kept up to date.  If you move or change phone numbers be sure to update your information.  Microchips are reliable and use nationwide registries, but they depend on the information you provide. If you want to improve your chances of getting your pet back home quickly and safely microchipping is highly recommended.   Written by Tracy LeFler, Site Coordinator Edited by Janis Wall, RVT

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