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Hydrocephalus literally means “water on the brain.” Chihuahuas and some other toy breeds are predisposed to this serious condition in which “water,” or actually cerebro­spinal fluid, builds up pressure in the brain causing brain damage and often early death. The drug omeprazole is now being used successfully in dogs to improve this condition by reducing fluid production. 

“This is a special dog,” says Fred Kampo of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, referring to the black Labrador Retriever he calls “Stinger.”

While everyone likes to think his or her Lab is special, Kampo’s perspective is broader than most. A member of the Retriever Field Trial Hall of Fame, inducted in 2012, Kampo is president of The Labrador Retriever Club, the American Kennel Club parent club of the Labrador Retriever.

For the past three decades, there has been a trend toward early spaying and neutering of dogs for reasons such as avoiding unwanted breeding and reducing some diseases such as mammary and prostate cancers. Some people believe that spaying and neutering helps to avoid behavioral problems. The impact has been dramatic, with an estimated 85 percent of dogs in the U.S.1 currently being spayed or neutered.

A 1-year-old Rottweiler puppy, "Kaiser," was playing rambunctiously in the backyard with another dog. Owner Janice Deojay vividly recalls Kaiser's painful cry.

"I heard him yelp," says Deojay, who breeds under the Von Janger prefix in Thompson, Pa. "I went out to the yard, and he came limping toward me."

An avid participant and judge of hunting tests, Noel Cacchio knows a great deal about training Cocker Spaniels to find, flush and retrieve game. She does not know a lot about lumps on dogs, especially if the dog appears healthy.

When Cacchio felt a lump on the throat of her Senior Hunter Cocker Spaniel, Dungarvan Harmony's Spirit, WDX, JH, SH, CD ("Spirit"), she wasted no time getting the dog into the veterinarian. The 5-year-old bitch wasn't acting sick, so Cacchio thought the lump was a reaction from a bee sting. Still, she wanted to know for certain that Spirit was OK.

Angie Johnson, D.V.M., of Kodiak, Alaska, knew immediately when she felt a bulge on her 8-year-old fawn Great Dane's lower right foreleg last May that it could be bone cancer. As a veterinarian at the Kodiak Veterinary Clinic, Johnson was aware that the bump warranted having a radiograph taken.

Just like clockwork, exactly one year and a day after tearing his left cruciate ligament, “Reggie,” a 7-year-old fast-moving male Rottweiler, whose namesake is NFL Hall of Famer Reggie White, tore his right cruciate ligament.

The injury happened as Reggie (CH Esmonds Yield No Yards) made a sharp turn while chasing his buddy, 8-year-old “Coach” (Select AM/ CAN CH Esmonds V T Lombardi Vanstone RE RL2 TT HIC RTD). As Coach trotted on, Reggie limped in pain, while his owners winced in pain, knowing what lies ahead. 

Chris and Renee Coney are Chihuahua lovers.

 “Dexter,” who turns 14 in July, is their second pet Chihuahua. When the smooth coat Chihuahua was diagnosed with a heart murmur three years ago, the couple, who live in Turner Falls, Mass., did not know what to expect. Their spunky Dexter couldn’t have heart disease, they thought.  

A search for a quality Golden Retriever to handle in junior showmanship led Liz Bultman to breeder Rhonda Hovan. As they got acquainted by e-mails, Hovan was impressed that Bultman wanted to be sure that Hovan would not require her to neuter or spay the dog at an early age.

Toy-breed dogs are not only at risk for hypoglycemia, they can die from the low blood sugar disorder if they do not receive prompt treatment. 

When a dog’s blood sugar, or glucose, level drops, it can affect neurological function. Disorientation, tremors and coma may occur. Normally, hormones stimulate the breakdown of stored glycogen to supply the brain and other tissues with fuel. In toy breeds, this process may not happen fast enough, and hypoglycemia results. 

Debby Handler knew something was wrong when "Will," her 10-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever, began breathing heavily and his bark became hoarse. "He was not gasping for breath, but it was obvious his airway was starting to close down a bit," says Handler of Ann Arbor, Mich.

Imagine what it would be like if your Golden Retriever could not open his mouth to eat and drink. That is often what happens with an autoimmune disorder called masticatory muscle myositis (MMM) that affects the jaw muscles, causing pain and dysfunction.