Is desexing a cult?

There are two definitions of ‘cult’ (according to Google):

  • A usually nonscientific method or regimen claimed by its originator to have exclusive or exceptional power in curing a particular disease, or
  • Obsessive, especially faddish, devotion to or veneration for a person, principle, or thing.

The community’s perception of desexing fits well into both of these categories.


Border terrier bitch on a table at a dog show, being examined by a judge.

The weird dog show culture.


How is desexing a cult?

There is relatively little data on desexing. You may be surprised to hear this, considering how the procedure is so loudly advocated, but there are few long-term controlled studies on gonadectomanies (i.e. removal of ovaries or testicles) in the dog. By this I mean that desexing is quite ‘nonscientific’ in that there is little research on what it actually does (or doesn’t) do for dogs.

Despite this, desexing is claimed to have “exceptional power in curing a particular disease”.  For example, desex your dog to fix humping, aggression, to ‘calm your dog down’, to stop testicular cancer, stop mammary cancer, and so on and so on. In this way, the desexing mantra clearly fits into the first definition of ‘cult’. Desexing is a nonscientific method that has exceptional power in preventing and curing particular diseases and behaviours.

The way that the community embraces desexing could be described as obsessive devotion. The RSPCA, PETA, and even the (government run) Dog and Cat Management Board all promote desexing. The community follows suit. There is a devotion to desexing – it is loved, embraced enthusiastically, has a committed following. The community loves desexing, despite little evidence.  This obsession towards desexing can also be described as cult-like.

In this way, desexing is a cult as it is:

  • a nonscientific method claimed to have exclusive power, and
  • obsessively followed by individuals and the community.


Logical Fallacies

Logical fallacies allow individuals to avoid a fundamental lack of evidence. The Glossary of Logical Fallacies explains:

… some individuals will attempt to derail the [scientific, evidence-based] process by diverting the progression of the debate with fallacious arguments.  Such efforts have the intent of masking the indefensibility of a flawed theory by muddying the waters with emotive rhetoric and fractured logic, with the ultimate goal being to convince someone to believe some idea that is not scientifically valid or that they might not otherwise accept.

Logical fallacies are inherent in both definitions of the desexing cult: a disregard of evidence underlined by a devotion to desexing.  In all things desexing, there is a fundamental lack of critical thinking. Any attempt to debate desexing often descends into a sphere of logical fallacies, like those described in the graphic below.

Rational Thinking

I frequently make arguments against mandatory and default desexing.  I say things like, “but breeding causes more dogs, not just gonads” and “there is no overpopulation problem, so it doesn’t even matter if people breed their dogs” and “desexing is correlated with some types of cancer“.

These arguments are met with responses like “Rescues desex their pets, so it’s obviously good for pets” (bandwagon) and “The Dog and Cat Management Board says desexing is good” (appeal to authority).  They make strawman arguments like, “So you’re saying that no dog should ever be desexed?” and even just deny the claims all together, “It really doesn’t make sense that desexing would cause an increase in lymphosarcoma” (personal incredulity).

People make black and white arguments like “We can either have mandatory desexing or we can let everyone have a several litters in their backyard every year”, that then extend to slippery slope arguments, “If we don’t encourage people to desex, then people will breed more puppies”.

One of my big pet hate is anecdotal evidence.  “I had a dog that was desexed at 12 weeks and it lived to 15 years old and died of a stroke” and “I knew an entire dog that used to bite everyone, and it was desexed and then it stopped biting”.

The false cause, “But so many dogs are dying in pounds because people don’t desex!” and “Entire dogs bite more, so testicles clearly cause dogs to bite.”

They ask loaded questions like, “So you are okay with the number of dogs dying in pounds?” or “So backyard breeders are okay by you?”.

In all these claims there is a lack of logic, validity and reasoning. Logical fallacies are a flaw in logic. These logical flaws are overwhelming in discussions on desexing. Debates should be argued and won on factual evidence and sound reasoning – and logical fallacies are neither.


What to do?

Unfortunately, the very nature of a cult is that it is difficult to break one. The devotion of to the thing itself is in the very definition of cult. Indeed, there also seems to be a veneration of gonads itself within the desexing cult.

I guess the only thing to possibly do is to logically state our claims for entire dogs, not use logical fallacies, and hope that people are willing to be wrong about that. We need to demand evidence that desexing has exceptional power – evidence in the way of articles in peer-reviewed papers. At the same time, we can supply our own evidence that desexing isn’t all it seems to be.

At the same time, we need to support dog science that allows us to make more solid conclusions on desexing. When evidence becomes available, we need to embrace it – even if that potentially means changing our view on desexing. I am not prepared to personally commit logical fallacies, just as I reject those exclaimed by others.


Further reading:

5 Logical Fallacies That Make You More Wrong Than You Think

The Great Spay-Neuter Fallacy

Understanding Science – Logical Fallacies

Border-Wars Comment Policy (or the Disagreement Hierarchy)


Public Misconceptions

I was struck while reading the Companion Animal Taskforce report and that of the Select Committee on Companion Animal Welfare in SA (click ‘Final Report’) on the feedback that was provided by the public. Submissions to both of these committees were making the same uninformed recommendations, and the similarities between public opinions expressed are extensive.

I thought it was time to address some of these misconceptions held by the general public concerning animal welfare.


ACTIVIST AVOWAL: Desexing everything!

The public seems to believe that there is an overpopulation of animals, and that desexed animals are healthier, and therefore argue for mandatory desexing.

In reality, there is no ‘overpopulation problem‘ and it is debatable whether desexing is in the best interest of animal health.


ACTIVIST AVOWAL: Ban pet sales in pet shops!

Most puppies in pet shops come from puppy mills. I like puppy mills as little as the next person, and in no way want to support the practices of puppy farmers.

However, the problem here is puppy mills. Not pet shops.

Pet shops are on public display, and have a pretty strict codes of conduct which are often better/higher than your average backyard breeder. Are they really who we should be targeting?

Furthermore, many pet shops routinely work with rescues to sell/market animals. Do we really want to ban that?


ACTIVIST AVOWAL: Get breeders registered!

There seems to be a logic that if breeders had to be registered there would be less unscrupulous breeding.

As most of these schemes require breeders to pay in order to be registered, what breeder registration effectively does is limit (legal) breeding to those who are making money from the practice. What I mean is: breeders who don’t make money are are probably the ‘ethical ones’, and are probably less likely to be able to afford registration. Are these the individuals we want to perturb from breeding?

Meanwhile, individuals making profits from dog breeding (i.e. the puppy farms) easily purchase their registrations. Some argue that registering breeders would mean that there would be ‘policing’ of legislation surrounding their care. It is already illegal to be cruel to and not ensure the welfare of dogs. If this legislation isn’t being policed, then that’s the matter for the police.  Furthermore, is it truly likely that the bad guys are going to sign up to such legislation? “Well, my animals have lived in faeces for years, but now that I have to be registered, I really want to undergo the scrutiny of a policing body.” Yeah, nah.


This is Dulcie's litter - a bitch that was rescued from a pound when she was 8 weeks pregnant. As a rescue, we whelped and raised this litter. If breeders had to be registered, would rescues have to be registered as breeders, too?

This is Dulcie’s litter – a bitch that was rescued from a pound when she was 8 weeks pregnant. As a rescue, we whelped and raised this litter. If breeders had to be registered, would rescues have to be registered as breeders, too?


ACTIVIST AVOWAL: Mandatory cooling off periods are cool.

There seems to be a belief that animals are surrendered to rescue because owners ‘didn’t think about their purchase’, or otherwise acquired their pet impulsively. In reality, relinquishment statistics don’t support this, and there is evidence that impulsive adoptions are as successful as planned ones. In this way, there is not evidence that supports mandatory cooling off periods as desirable.

However, there are obvious implications for other animal-selling institutions regarding a mandatory cooling off period. Do we really want to see animals held in pounds even longer? Do we really want to see puppies held in pet shops longer? We know both of these scenarios have negative welfare implications on dogs, so why would we mandate compulsory confinement under the guise of a cooling off period with unsubstantiated positive benefits?

Mandatory cooling off periods restrict adoptions! Bad!


ACTIVIST AVOWAL: Puppy mills should be banned. Backyard breeders should be banned.

While I would also like to see puppy mills and backyard breeders cease to exist, it’s unlikely that a legislative ‘ban’ would be effective. Those who are unscrupulously producing puppies are unlikely to heed new legislation.  Furthermore, I am concerned that a ban on backyard breeders or puppy mills may see ethical registered breeders disadvantaged.


ACTIVIST AVOWAL: Online puppy sales should be banned.

Presumably, puppy millers use the internet to make sales of their puppies and avoid scrutiny of their premises. While this is likely the case, many ethical puppy sales are made online too – such as DogzOnline (for purebred breeders) and PetResuce (for rescue pets). It seems folly to restrict sales of all animals online due to the malpractice of a few.


ACTIVIST AVOWAL: Animals should be desexed before sale.

This is a mandatory desexing claim. The Saving Pets blog does a good job of describing how mandatory desexing has never worked. Furthermore, I’ve blogged before about how mandatory desexing is hard to define (unless we desex everything and eradicate the species). Mandatory desexing is also often associated with early age desexing, which has its own welfare implications. And there’s evidence that making desexing mandatory increases surrenders, as people aren’t able to pay for the surgery and so are left with no other choice. And, on top of that, desexing is a medical procedure, which should be implemented by medical professionals based on the individual animal at hand – not policy makers.


ACTIVIST AVOWAL: Bitches should only have a particular number of litters in her life. Bitches should wait a certain time in between litters.

There seems to be a belief that bitches will ‘wear out’ if bred every season, or allowed to have ‘too many’ litters.  However, there is little evidence to substantiate this claim.  It seems surprising, but there is really no evidence on when it becomes a welfare issue for a bitch to have so many litters or a time between litters.  (Despite what the Victorian code tried to suggest.)

You may be surprised to hear that when bitches don’t fall pregnant after estrus, they are more likely to develop the sometimes-lethal condition pyometra. In that way, there is actually evidence to the contrary - not breeding a bitch every season could be detrimental to their welfare.

Basically, though, it is up to breeders to determine how many litters a bitch may have, and over what time period, if any at all. They may have good reason for allowing a bitch to have several litters – perhaps the bitch is a Supreme Show Champion, or maybe she is an exceptional free-whelping bitch in a breed that often has whelping difficulty. There might also be good reason to have several back to back litters – maybe there is a stud visiting the country for a ‘limited time only’, or maybe the bitch has a pet home to go to so the breeder wants her to finish her breeding career sooner. These are all individualistic things for the breeder to address.

Basically, there is no evidence confirming this avowal, and it seems like a limit to puppies bred (probably on the basis of the overpopulation myth) is based on good intentions instead of good science.  Meanwhile, until we have more evidence, breeders are in the best position to use their own discretion in determining their own breeding practices based on their specific conditions.


ACTIVIST AVOWAL: Breeders should only have n dogs on their property (where n is a certain number of dogs).

Often, the public seems to believe that at a certain point – be it 10, 20, 30, 50, or more – breeders suddenly become ‘unethical’.  In reality, numbers has nothing to do with ethics.  Through my rescue work, I have seen plenty of dogs who have lived singularly that have been treated poorly, and seen litters of puppies surrendered by people with just ‘a dog and a bitch’ who happen to breed.  People can be unethical with just 1 or 2 dogs, but they can also be highly ethical with 50 or more dogs.  So far, I haven’t been to a facility with 30 or more dogs that didn’t have good welfare standards.

While it may be easy to apply a blanket limit on dog numbers, again, there is no evidence that this truly matters. If animals on the property are being treated in ethical ways, then it’s folly to deny owners the privilege of having that many dogs.  Likewise, if individuals only have a small number of dogs, but are handling them in ways that are inappropriate, then this should not be permitted, either.


ACTIVIST AVOWAL: When advertising, breeders should have to provide a microchip or breeder number.

The logic here is that this would mean that only legitimate breeders would be able to advertise.

While this suggestion is not as detrimental as some of the other proposals here, it still is not a gold star suggestion.  Chiefly, this proposal is only as good as the policing that is implemented.  Considering the failure to police the Animal Welfare Act and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, what faith do we have that advertising controls would be enforced?

Recently, the microchip number in advertisement rule was introduced in Victoria. What the dodgy breeders did is copy and paste the microchip numbers for legitimate ads onto their own, to avoid detection. Without adequate policing, policies like this will never work.


ACTIVIST AVOWAL: Anyone with an entire animal should be considered a breeder.

Presumably, activists believe that if an animal is entire, it will breed. They don’t believe in legitimate reasons that people keep animals entire.

For the last few years, I have had 3 ‘permanent resident’ entire dogs, of different sexes, living in my house, plus almost always one rescue dog (adding up to about 30 dogs in all) come through my house, most entire when they enter (and all desexed when they leave). I have never had an accidental mating or litter.

In reality, it is very possible to own entire animals without breeding. It is just a simple matter of management.


ACTIVIST AVOWAL: Support for codes of practice/restrictions on breeders is the way to better animal welfare.

There seems to be a logic that if breeders and their practices are restricted, the welfare of breeding animals will be improved.  In reality, we already have a pretty good legislation, like the Animal Welfare Act.

If breeders are choosing to disregard current legislation, then it’s very likely they’ll continue to disregard new legislation. Legislation is only effective when it goes along with enforcement.


ACTIVIST AVOWAL: We could have a pet license scheme.

At least this idea leaves the poor breeders alone! This one concentrates on pet owning public and goes with the logic: ‘If someone had to get a license before adopting a pet, then they wouldn’t impulsively purchase a pet and they’d be better owners who don’t dump their pets at shelters’.

Firstly, how wildly expensive and impractical is this proposal? There’s about 3.4 million dogs in Australia.  Introducing a retrospective ownership scheme will be hard work!  And expensive!  And impossible!

We’ve already addressed the impulsivity thing with the mandatory cooling off period segment. Most people aren’t impulsive in their pet choices. (And even if they are impulsive, that doesn’t make them bad pet owners.)

And there are a range of reasons for people to relinquish pets, most of them to do with accommodation issues.

And, I’m willing to bet, if you made pet licenses compulsory, there would be one more reason to relinquish a pet.  (That is, “I can’t afford or find time to acquire my pet license, therefore I am surrendering this pet because I am not legally able to own it.”)


So what should we do, then?

I’ve been a bit of a negative nancy all through this post, so it’s important to note that I try to come up with workable suggestions for improving animal welfare.

Firstly, I’d like to see microchips as compulsory (and policed!) and then I’d like to see these microchips linked to the breeder’s details, and have the breeder required to provide some level of care to their pups for life.  I wrote more about this in my post ‘What is the Answer (to Puppy Mills)?‘.

Also, I made a bunch of recommendations to the Select Committee on Companion Animal Welfare in SA. At the beginning of this post, they’re summarised as ‘key points’.  Click through to read all the recommendations I made, with the primary purpose of reducing euthanasia in shelters.


The Week In Tweets – 19th September 2013

This is our (almost) weekly segment where we review the content posted on our Twitter over the course of the week. It’s a long post! So make sure you grab a coffee and prepare yourself for some serious reading.

Kate, our current foster dog, is looking for a new home.

Kate, our current foster dog, is looking for a new home.


Tweet of the Week

This week, there was a clear favourite. A post from Heading For Home (a rescue group) entitled: “Passionate statistics: pie charts and companion animal rescue“. Wow! A well written and powerful post that, while not discrediting the work of rescues who ‘chip chip chip’ away on the front lines, illustrates how there are greater systematic issues that need to be addressed. If you read nothing else this week, read this! It is well worth it. Excellent reading.


Sheltering and Rescue

No secret: I have been a long-time fan of the Saving Pets blog. This week, I tweeted a bunch of content from them and some of them did come close to making Tweet of the Week. I loved “Microchips are like seatbelts, not gold stars” and “What could a local council spend $90,000 on?“, but also was  saddened to hear about “Thomas” and “How a shell game is killing our pets“.

From ThatMutt: the Pet overpopulation myth.

I really loved watching this video on how to maximise the sheltering process in the first 60 minutes – “The first 60 minutes: Animal Sheltering’s Critical Hour“.

As always, I like to share stories about the ‘irresponsible public’ that are clearly responsible for the killing of pets in shelters. This week, I tweeted about a Hyde County woman who opened a private shelter after the county cut the budget for their own facility.


Dog Training

Generally, I try to space out content so I don’t blog a lot of stuff by one author in a short period of time. However, somehow, Eileen’s fabulous content got promoted a bunch on my Twitter this week. Her posts include “Welcome!” (her first blog post), “Dog Faming” (in contrast to dog shaming), “Yes, you may comfort your [fearful] dog!“, and “The look of fear“. Eileen runs a fabulous blog that dissects many of the myths surrounding ‘force free’ trainers (or whatever you want to call them).

From Susan Garrett: The ‘It’s Yer Choice‘ game.

A video illustrating 5 Calming Signals.

From Denise Fenzi: Preparing for competition: Squishing!

Your dog isn’t being friendly. He’s an asshole. And so are you.

Dogs imitate novel human actions and store them in memory.

Finding the right dog trainer – harder than you think.

Myth: Anxiety Medication Should Only be used as a Last Resort.

Approval seeking or attention seeking?

Spay/Neuter and Breeders

From Dogs Naturally: Spay, Neuter and Joint Disease.

The plot thickens: Spay neuter effects and the health of our dogs.

How young is too young to neuter?

The Backyard Breeder Fallacy.


Just Dog Stuff

The amazing world of dogs in photography.

Wedding Dogs.

Children and pet loss.

Shave my newfoundland dog?

Things to do after your dog has died.

Terrier Firma Rain Boots.

Dogs 101: Greyhound.

The Amazing Skidboot (Texas Country Reporter).



Adelaide Royal is better than your royal!

Yesterday the the Royal Show – Rue, Digger, Breaker, and Rue with a business card.

Rue looking intellectual at the Royal.

Myrtle – 1 week to go… Really?



The hidden disorder in staffies

Have you heard of the neurometabolic in stafforshire bull terriers, commonly called L2-Hga (L-2-Hydroxyglutaric aciduria)?

I didn’t either, until I read Jazz’s story.  This disorder sees elevated levels of hydroxyglutaric acid in urine, plasma, and cerbrospinal fluid.  L2-Hga has affects on the central nervous system, and symptoms ususally occur 6-12 months old.  The symptoms normally include uncoordinated movement and epilepsy like behaviours.

This disease is found on one gene that is autosomal recessive, so easy to breed out if breeders DNA test and breed only carriers to clear dogs, and aim to produce clear dogs long term. Unfortunately, not all breeders are committed to this cause.

Wildbunch Knight in Amor ("Joker") is not L2-Hga affected - but boy is he cute!

Wildbunch Knight in Amor (“Joker”) is not L2-Hga affected – but boy is he cute!

This is Jazz’s story, written by a staffy owner in South Australia.

My husband, John, had always wanted a female, brindle staffy.  In December 2008, John drove a distance and returned to surprise our boys with our staffy puppy who was born in October, 2008.  We named her Jazz.  Staffies hadn’t excited me greatly – I had never known a staffy and I already had my beautiful cocker spaniel, Merlin who was three at the time.

Before John bought Jazz, I did some research about Staffies and understood that they should be L2HGA and HC clear by parentage.  I explored this a bit further and advised John.  John enquired about the condition with our local vet (also a staffy lover) and with the registered breeder who sold us our puppy.  Neither the vet nor the breeder was aware of L2HGA.  Our boys, Flynn and Archie, fell in love with Jazz immediately.  She became their best friend.  We had lots of fun times with two boys and two dogs in our large backyard.  Merlin and Jazz became great friends and Jazz soon learnt that Merlin was a great play mate.

One morning, at the end of January, Jazz freaked out and we couldn’t understand why.  She was racing around, barking and panicking and seemed quite disturbed about something.  It was like she was trying to get away from herself.  We didn’t know what the problem was.  We took Jazz to the vet; he described her as lethargic with possible abdominal pain.  She was admitted for observation and remained lethargic.  We brought her home in the afternoon and she seemed like her normal self.

Jazz seemed to have a problem with one of her legs.  Sometimes she didn’t put her weight on it.  She also seemed to run a bit strange – she’d run forwards and in a wonky kind of way.

In the middle of March, Jazz had another episode similar to what had occurred at the end of January.  We took her to the vet again and he recorded that she had “sudden onset of barking and apprehension which continued for about 20 minutes, all systems normal on examination, no apparent cause”.

I took both dogs on a walk on 11th April, 2009.  Jazz was five and a half months old.  It was a brisk walk and, despite some short walks around the block this was Jazz’ first real brisk walk.  Jazz seemed very excited when she was on the walk.  So much so that someone commented “the dogs love their walk don’t they?”.  This was Jazz’ first and last ‘normal dog walk’.  We had been walking for 15 minutes and Jazz, while still on her lead, looked around and then ran off the footpath into a shaded area under trees.  Jazz raced around in circles on her lead, she wet herself, was panting and barking and had diahorrea.  It took me 15 minutes to move both dogs around the corner into a quieter area where there was a tap.  Jazz continued to race around on her lead in a circle in a mad panic, diahorrea was shooting out, she lay down and then stretched out, she was yelping and wouldn’t move.  As a mother of two young children, this was a rare occasion that I had gone out without my mobile phone.  Jazz wouldn’t move on, I thought she was at risk of a heart attack or something and that she may die.  I tied her to a gate and raced to a nearby shop with Merlin.  I tied Merlin to a heavy chair and raced into the TAB (John liked to have a bet or two).  I raced to the counter, quickly explained I was John’s wife (John who likes to have a bet), advised that John’s dog was in trouble and asked if I could use the phone.  The TAB owner was more than happy to help.  John turned up in the car shortly after and picked Jazz up and drove her home.  John spent some time calming Jazz down and she eventually seemed fine.

On 14th April relatives called past with a small fluffy dog.  Proudly, we brought Jazz out the front to show them how much she had grown.  Jazz lost balance a couple of times and fell over.  It was at this time that my mind wandered back to L2HGA as I had remembered the reference to ‘wobbly gait’.  I checked the internet, read the description of L2GHA and I remember that night suggesting to John that Jazz may have L2HGA.

The husband of a friend is a vet and I mentioned Jazz, our experience and my thoughts, to him.  He wasn’t aware of L2HGA and he advised that it could be any of a number of things.  I agreed with him, his response was appropriate, I wasn’t qualified to make a diagnosis and he had not met or assessed Jazz.

There were further incidents in May, June and July, (an open fire, a loud noise outside and another open fire) all resulting in arching of the back, wobbly gait, constant barking and panic usually later followed by further wobbly gait.

Our family and friends were concerned about Jazz’s behaviour – generally they commented that something is not right.  Flynn and Archie understood that Jazz had special needs and that her immediate family needed to provide her with extra help at times to make her feel OK.

I had a lengthy conversation with a vet whose name was on the internet on the L2HGA page and a member of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club. He explained that there is no treatment or cure for L2HGA, of all the dogs tested he had only had one ‘affected’ result.

Jazz was tested for L2HGA in September 2009 with the results confirming that she was “affected”.  We expected this would be the test result and it provided some explanation of the occasional behaviour that we found difficult to observe but had come to expect.

This diagnosis gave us an opportunity to accept that Jazz had a genetic disorder.  We understood that positive or negative excitement often caused Jazz a problem.  This had never stopped her racing around the back yard with so much energy and having so much fun with Merlin.  They raced around and played until Jazz was too exhausted to play any more.  Merlin had always tired earlier but seemed to enjoy the energy of his heavy set young friend.

John advised the breeder of Jazz’ condition.  The breeder was apologetic and offered to provide us with another puppy.  We felt the breeder needed to accept responsibility for selling a L2HGA puppy.  John drove the distance again and collected what we briefly owned and knew as ‘Little Jazz’.  We sold Little Jazz to a lovely home.  We had not intended to replace Jazz.  Jazz was still our special dog.  We were lucky to spend the time we had with Jazz and we were also glad that, despite seeking an adventurous, go anywhere pet, we had a very gentle, loyal pet and we were prepared to assist her with her special needs.  We were pleased that she hadn’t been bought by someone seeking a show dog because, despite her willingness to please, Jazz would not have been able to deliver.

Jazz was happy, always loving, a great play mate for Merlin, Flynn and Archie and she was quite normal at least 95% of the time.

As a family, we had learnt how to calm her down after one of her episodes and how to help her recover.  That was our objective and, from our observation, we think that is what we achieved.  Flynn and Archie learnt how to help Jazz recover.   She would sometimes have a little barking episode around my bedtime or just before I was due to wake up in the morning.  I would heat some milk for her and reassure her and she was generally OK.

We were somewhat proud of our ability to ‘manage’ Jazz’ condition.  One day we took Jazz and Merlin to the local dog park for a play.  They were the only two dogs there the whole time and they had a great time.  We were happy that we had taken Jazz out and it seemed to have been a success.  A few hours later, Jazz stood still in the back yard and then did back flips like an uncontrolled wind up dog.  We have a great, large backyard that is enjoyed by the whole family.  Jazz no longer left her backyard.

We had many more random episodes and we dealt with them as they arose.  Jazz recovered and life went on as normal.

We booked a dog friendly holiday in January 2011.  At the last minute we decided to leave the dogs at home so that they were in a familiar environment.  This was our only holiday for the year and we decided that there was too great a risk in taking Jazz with us.  We knew she was most comfortable in her own familiar backyard.

Flynn, Archie and I had given John a hammock for Christmas.  When John was lying there, Jazz decided that this was a good place to be and she decided that a rest alongside John in the hammock was a good way to end the day.  When I saw Jazz do this I thought about taking a photo.  As an obsessive hobby photographer, it was a bit unusual that, on this occasion, I decided not to race in and grab the camera. I’d do it next time.  There was no next time.  Jazz had an episode in the morning on 14 January, she couldn’t stand up.  She couldn’t stand up that evening and she couldn’t stand up the next morning.  John took Jazz to the vet and Jazz went to Heaven on 15 January 2011 – aged 2 years and 2.5 months.

We hope that by telling Jazz’ story, this will help to eliminate L2HGA.  We also hope that the owners of every staffy puppy will not have the worry associated with living with a dog with such a significant genetic disorder.  The opportunity to share a lifetime with a staffy should not be cut dramatically short by the effects of L2HGA.

Read more about L2-Hga from the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of Western Australia or the Swansea SBT Ring Craft Club.


Parasite Treatment Comparisons

For a long time, I have been very confused about the various products available to treat our pets for parasites – internal and external.

I’m also someone who learns well when I see tables. Information in tables really help me solidify my knowledge.

So you can imagine my disappointment when I couldn’t find a table to help clarify my confusion on parasite control products.

So, I made my own. And now I’m sharing it for all of you guys, too. Definitely not the most fun post on this blog, but hopefully helpful.

A list of parasite control products (including fleas and worms) and the specific parasites they treat.

A table showing parasite control products in cats and the parasites (e.g. fleas, worms) they act on.