Nimloth Bernice

17 mei 2012      Nimloth Bernice      4 december 2021


On Sunday December 5th we received the in and in sad message from Sonja that Bernice passed away as a result of (probably) acute pneumonia in the night of December 4th.

This is an unbelievably hard blow for Sonja as she had to say goodbye to Vision 8 weeks earlier. Losing two beloved Deerhounds in such a short time….there are no words for that.







It was a sad year, too much sadness and too little fun with our hounds. Hopefully it will get better next year.


Liver shunt and health news from America





Recently I spoke to an Dutch Irish Wolfhound breeder who had imported a puppy from Germany. It turned out that this puppy had just been tested for liver shunt. Since I was told at the time that this test was not available in Germany, I inquired further.

The German Irish breeder had just had blood drawn from his puppies at his own vet and he did sent it to Laboklin. The next day the breeder had the results.

So if you want to get a puppy from Germany, the breeder can have it tested for liver shunt via Laboklin, insist on this, it can save you a lot of misery!




In the Claymore, the club magazine of the Scottish Deerhound Club of America, the Health and Genetics chapter appears in every issue. Always very interesting! In the latest edition (September/October 2021), Dr. Michael H. Court, researcher at the Pharmacogenomics Laboratory in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University, updates on the progress of studies on slow anesthesia recovery, perianesthetic stress hyperthermia (a stress-induced, life-threatening temperature elevation) and delayed postoperative bleeding. Below is an abbreviated version of his presentation at the National Specialty.



Slow anesthesia recovery

“The slow recovery of anesthesia after surgery or examination is a well-known phenomenon in Greyhounds and also occurs in other greyhounds. Usually it is after injected anesthetics such as thiopental and propofol (the latter to a lesser extent). This is related. with the low body fat content that greyhounds have.Normally the injected anesthetic passes out of the blood and into the body fat fairly quickly, allowing the dog to recover quickly, but due to the little body fat a greyhound has, a lot of anesthetic remains in the blood. , if first this blood is purified by the liver and that takes several hours. But there seems to be another factor involved and that is that the liver of greyhounds metabolize anesthetics more slowly than in other (non greyhound) breeds. There are two different mutations found in two different genes encoding enzymes crucial for the metabolism of pr opofol (CYP2B11-H3 and POR-H3). These mutations are most often found in Greyhounds and Deerhounds. Lab studies have shown that these mutations drastically reduce the metabolizing of propofol. The result of the latest study comparing Greyhounds with these mutations and Greyhounds without these mutations is still pending.


Perianesthetic stress hyperthermia

Another condition that has been studied is ‘stress hyperthermia’ which occurs in both Deerhounds and Greyhounds. Usually this is seen in conjunction with the anesthesia procedure before surgery. Signs are a very rapid temperature increase to above 41 C°, panting and deep red mucous membranes. Treatment consists of rapid cooling and the administration of sedatives and fluids. Stress hyperthermia can be prevented by judicious use of sedatives before an exhilarating experience (e.g. a vet visit) as well as taking steps to reduce stress.

Although stress hyperthermia is very serious and life-threatening, there have been no reports of fatal cases in the Deerhound. This is different from the malignant hyperthermia which is invariably fatal.

Since not all Greyhounds and Deerhounds are sensitive to stress hyperthermia, it is thought to be a genetic predisposition. With the support of the SDCA, we identified a mutation in the RYR1 gene in dogs with a history of stress hyperthermia. This mutation appears to be a milder form than the mutation of the gene that causes malignant hyperthermia. Since we have only studied 8 Deerhounds and 1 Greyhound, the usefulness of the clinical trial for this mutation is unclear. Therefore, we continue to recruit cases to see if the RYR1 mutation can explain all cases. Please contact courtlab@vetmed.wsu.edu if you have a dog that has suffered from hyperthermia and would like to donate DNA.



Delayed postoperative bleeding

Finally, we worked on a problem initially identified in Greyhounds, delayed post-operative bleeding. The clinical picture of this condition concerns dogs that have undergone major orthopedic or abdominal surgery (castration/sterilisation). Although no bleeding occurred during surgery, bleeding was noted within the next 24 to 48 hours. Symptoms range from bruising around the surgical site to overt bleeding from the wound. For abdominal surgery, internal bleeding may go undetected until the dog is seriously ill. Treatment consists of blood transfusions and intravenous administration of anti-fibrinolytic medication (Amicar). These bleedings can also be prevented by administering these agents before the operation and for 5 days after the operation.

We have conducted several studies (funded in part by the SDCA) implying that a mutation of the SERPINF2 gene is the cause of the delayed bleeding. SERPINF2 stands for alpha-2 antiplasmin, which is essential for protecting against the premature breakdown of blood clots (hyperfibrinolysis).

A case-control study was conducted using information gathered from the SDCA health survey and DNA samples from bleeding and dead dogs. We found 7 dogs that had postoperative bleeding after surgery and 55 dogs that had surgery without postoperative bleeding. All dogs were genotyped for the SERPINF2 mutation. The result indicates that the risk for delayed bleeding is 40 times higher in dogs that have at least one copy of the mutation and 500 times higher in dogs that have two copies, compared to dogs without a mutation. Important; all affected dogs had this mutation while none of the dogs that did not have the mutation had delayed bleeding.

In another study in healthy Greyhounds, we showed that dogs with two copies of the SERPINF2 mutation had significantly lower levels of antiplasmin in their blood than dogs with one or no copies of the mutation.

Taken together, it shows that testing for the SERPINF2 mutation can be useful to identify dogs that may have an interest in prophylactically administering anti-fibrinolytic drugs (Amicar). And just as important; the test can also identify dogs that will not benefit from this medication.

The SERPINF2 test is available now (free of charge) by contacting courtlab@vertmed.wsu.edu and requesting a DNA sample pack.

Like all genetic testing, we realize that the post-operative bleeding test can and will be used by Deerhound breeders to inform themselves about breeding plans. The SDCA Health & Genetics Committee is preparing guidelines for breeders on how or how not to use the test .

In this regard, it is important to emphasize that breeders should not attempt to eliminate the SERPINF2 mutation from the breed or a particular breeding line, as the disease causing the mutation can be effectively prevented in dogs at risk.”


Holiday in England



Given the Corona vicissitudes, it was a very exciting adventure, our trip to England. We postponed booking the tests, campsites and the crossing in advance as long as possible, as there was of course the chance that we would turn ‘red’ on the English ‘Government site’ and then we would not enter England. We had already pushed our departure date forward in the hopes that the site update wouldn’t come before Monday 20th September, but the British government held a press conference on Wednesday the 15th and the chance of an update became earlier. We had to do the corona test on Thursday the 16th, otherwise we didn’t fall within the deadlines. I also had the hounds dewormed on Thursday and made sure that their passports were filled in correctly. This on the way to Werkendam where the Dutch Coursing Championship was held. On Friday I would drive back and forth home to do a few things, including putting the garbage on the road. But when I arrived, the garbage had already been collected and I could go up and down on Saturday to take it to the recycling center! Well, there was still plenty to do at home and the hounds were not bothered by the coursing noises. After I was back in Werkendam on Friday afternoon, the hounds were able to have a nice run. In the evening we would eat in the restaurant of the riding school and while we were waiting for our ‘dinner’, an update came from England…….luckily the Netherlands remained orange!! This is of course a purely commercial affair because they already have enough problems in England so putting the Netherlands on red would be very stupid but still, we were very relieved! More on this later.



Saturday at the end of the afternoon back home quickly, well that ‘quickly’ did not go, the mover of the caravan did not work! Fortunately Maarten is handy enough and managed to remove the rollers from the tires so that we could at least go home. We hoped that the mover would work again at home otherwise we would have a real problem getting off the site on Sunday morning. In the evening I put another few things in the caravan, Simon filled in all the papers and printed them (which of course was terribly disappointing and took several hours), I filled the freezers with meat for the hounds (I got about 45 kilos in it !) and we went to bed early.


Up early on Sunday morning, the last things in the caravan fridge and off. Fortunately, the mover did and we were able to start the journey without any further problems. This went very well and earlier than hoped we were in Calais and through the “Pet Control”. After this it went a little less smoothly because of the strict control of the passports, but we were still able to get on a train earlier than we had booked. Mid afternoon we arrived at the first campground, Tanner Farm Park. A campsite where Sonja and I had already been twice before and where you stay wonderfully quiet with good walking opportunities. Only we didn’t bring oversized Cranston with us then! It was impossible to pass under the gate that was part of a fence that you can go over as a human and go under as a small to medium-sized dog. Brandir and the girls crawled under it neatly but Crumbaugh and Cranston refused it absolutely. So because of this the walking possibilities were limited. But there was ‘excitement’ enough because it was bursting with squirrels and they just walked right past our hideout. Once there was one just below the open window of the caravan and I could just grab Crumbaugh’s hind legs before he started to jump out of the window! Furthermore, the hounds fortunately stayed neatly behind the fence when the squirrels jumped around. So good!!

According to the rules, we should do a COVID test on Tuesday. We also had ordered and paid for it, but the test never arrived at the campsite. Even after several emails and phone calls, we didn’t get any response. Then not, we’ll see.


On Wednesday we went to Scotney Castle. A ruin on a small island and a newer castle set in beautiful gardens many acres of sheep pastures and woodlands. We first made a big walk, between the sheep and especially Crumbaugh and Charlaigne could not resist the sheep poo. Afterwards we went to the old castle ruins to shoot a few pictures, a really nice ruin.


One of the problems that England now faces is that there are too few truck drivers to transport fuel, among other things! We experienced this when we wanted to fill up and there was no diesel (nor petrol) available at various filling stations. Fortunately we found another gas station in a small village where we could fill the tank.


On Thursday we left for a campsite near Telford where the Breed Show would take place and I would judge the Deerhounds on Sunday. Friday afternoon we went to the hotel to say hello to everyone and to give Liza and Sarah the chance to see Uther’s puppies. Unfortunately I was not allowed to attend on Saturday so we decided to go to Ironbridge. We first walked a bit with the hounds, then had lunch at a pub and then walked back towards ‘The Iron Bridge’. Well, when you walk across the bridge there isn’t much to it, it’s just impressive from a distance, especially when you consider the history.

But what we actually went for was of course ‘The Deerhound Table’ which is in the Coalbrook Museum of Iron. I didn’t think it would be this big! The Deerhounds that carry the table on their necks were really life-size. Very nice to see it in real life.






Here too, around Telford, we saw long lines of cars at gas stations waiting to fill up, only to see the next day that everything was sold out and there was no car left. After some searching on the internet Simon found a gas station where you could still fill up, but for no more than 25 pounds. Well that doesn’t work with a 90 liter tank! So after first having refueled for 25 Pounds, he drove around and filled the tank at the truck pump. In a normal passenger car, the nozzle does not fit in the tank opening, but fortunately that is no problem with us! There was no one to say anything about it and no comment at the checkout either. At a next gas station it was also said that it was allowed to refuel at such a pump. Good to know! Hopefully we can still fill up on the way back, otherwise we won’t make it to Folkestone and we won’t come home!

We also heard in the evening during dinner in the hotel (which we were fortunate to be able to attend) that various products were no longer available in the shops because they simply could not be delivered. What such a stupid virus can cause!


Sunday morning, up early and heading to the hotel. Fortunately the weather was great all week and also on this day it was great weather for a show. In total there were 83 Deerhounds entered for the show with 90 entries on the Saturday of which 30 were absent and 53 entries for the Sunday with 16 absent. Not as many entries as usual but that was to be expected in the current situation. It is a miracle in itself that a Breed Show took place with the enormous numbers of corona infections that are reported daily in England.


Anyway, I was very satisfied with my numbers and loved to get so many Deerhounds in my hands again. The quality was very different but I had a couple of very nice hounds including a young male of 23 months who made it very difficult by either not wanting to trot or to go at a pace but…..when he trotted, he showed the best movement whatever you could imagine, dancing beautifully with a long, flowing stride, low to the ground and at a good pace. The best gait of the day. Furthermore, he was a male who was really ‘Fit for function’ and could really do his job. Also a male and female, brother and sister, 20 months young, stood out in type, movement, beautiful small ears and very dark eyes. Yes, and then those adorable hounds; who really want to cuddle with you intensely or that old bitch of 11.5 years who was still so fit and trotted active through the ring, they touch you in the depths of your soul and it always brings tears to my eyes.


On Monday morning we left for Dartmoor. We had booked a ‘dog friendly’ campsite but when we arrived and were directed to our spot, it turned out that it was not allowed to put up our fence, which would mean that the hounds only had to stay in the caravan and awning. No way! So we turned around and looked for another campsite – easier said than done as it turned out that many were not allowed more than 2 dogs or that the place was flooded due to the enormous amount of rain that had fallen last night. Via, via we ended up at a campsite along a moderately busy road but with direct access to the Moors and a very cozy pub! Tuesday it came pouring out of the sky again and at one point a soaked robin flew through the awning. Fortunately we had all the hounds in the caravan and I let the bird rest for a while before opening the tent door. It stayed on the ground for a while and after about ten minutes it flew away again….. or not? More on this later.


Parody of “Wishful Thinking”.


When it would remain ‘dry’ in the afternoon, we quickly set out with the hounds. Through the gigantic meadows, where the sheep and ponies graze, ‘Public Footpaths’ ran in all directions. So plenty of walking options, you had to close the gates behind you of course. When we walked a few hundred meters on one of those fields, suddenly about 10 ponies came running towards us from very far away. Simon said jokingly; “They’re going to surround us.” Well, they did and one of them didn’t look very friendly. This mare was clearly the leader and didn’t think it was good that we were walking here with five Deerhounds. She became more and more threatening and on a few occasions she turned to us and at one point she slammed backwards. Against Brandir! Fortunately, he is no longer very stable on his legs and he immediately fell over which probably saved his life. When he got up, he squeaked and stood on three legs for a while, but that soon got better. As I was struggling with Crumbaugh and Charlaigne to contain them (they wanted to chase those ponies away!), I couldn’t do anything, just try to keep things as calm as possible and try to get off the field as quickly as possible. For the first part we were still chased by the herd of ponies but the closer we got to the fence the more they kept their distance before finally turning around and galloping away. What a terribly bad experience this was and especially for poor Brandir, that he in his old age has to go through such a thing. Fortunately it turned out to be not too bad with him, I couldn’t discover anything about him and he just walked with us for the rest of the walk. In the meantime it had started to rain again so we didn’t have much fun and after the hounds had done everything we turned back towards the caravan to drown the fright. We preferred to have a very large pony steak on our plate in the evening in the pub!! But unfortunately they didn’t have it.



We were fed up with Dartmoor right away and on Wednesday we packed up all the wet stuff again and drove to The New Forest where we had booked a very quiet campsite, The Red Shoot, in the middle of the nature reserve. Fortunately, we were also able to arrive earlier than agreed. In The New Forest the ponies, cows, pigs, donkeys and deer just run loose throughout the area and a confrontation with them is not inconceivable but we were well warned by the bad incident in Dartmoor and left the cattle behind. The weather was beautiful here and in a radiant sun we set things up again and drank a beer in the sun.


Thursday – rain – we had decided to go to Stonehenge but when we got there we could either walk 2 kilometers or take a shuttle bus. Well with 5 Deerhounds in a shuttle bus we didn’t like it so we just walk. Of course, to get a little closer to the stones you had to buy a ticket – 21 Pounds per person!! Now we are real culture barbarians and are not willing to pay for a look at old stones up close, so taking some pictures from a slightly greater distance was okay. Simon also said; “They’re probably saving up for new bricks.” Well, with such amounts that is easily saved!

Fortunately, it was dry during the walk there, but there was a strong wind. At one point a hare crossed the road right in front of us. The only one who saw him was Crumbaugh and he is the worst thing to get back in line! Only when we were far past the ‘hare pass point’ on the way back, he was able to walk a bit normally again.



We drove to Burley on Friday. This should be a nice old village but it was not what I expected. The walk that was plotted in the area and we walked, was also a bit disappointing. Large stretches on tarmac roads. There weren’t many cars driving, but if possible Brandir runs loose so he can set his own pace. That didn’t work here and then it’s a lot more tiring for him. The surroundings were beautiful and the ponies would occasionally let us go round as they were in the middle of the road or grazing next to it. We now look out for them and don’t trust them at all! When we drove back to the campsite, we ended up in a ‘traffic jam’ because of a herd of donkeys walking across the road. Yes, and then you really have to be patient.





Saturday it rained all day, and not just a little! In the afternoon we agreed with Gill and Toby to show Brandir. As one of their bitches was in season we couldn’t take him inside so all five of them stayed neatly in the car. Well neat…. when we came back to get Brandir out, it turned out that the puppies had retouched the mattress cover. The whole car was covered with foam flakes!


Sunday was a rest day, just a nice walk in the area which was already strenuous enough by meeting a lame deer that did not disappear so quickly in the forest. At the end of the afternoon, when it had cooled down quite a bit, there was a heavy downpour of rain and we had closed the awning, suddenly a robin was flying around in the awning again! Accidentally rolled up in the awning? Those animals crawl through the smallest cracks and into the tent under the caravan. That is really guts!


On Monday we took another beautiful, strenuous walk in the northwest of the New Forest. At the start of the walk there were a few cows along the path but luckily they had little interest in us. Steep, slippery slopes, overgrown with ferns, up and down in the pouring rain. Luckily we didn’t encounter any ponies or cows there!



Tuesday morning we packed up again and drove to Tanner Farm Park where we would spend the night before traveling back home. We never did our second corona test and we had already prepared ourselves for a hefty fine for this, but when we arrived in Folkestone, nothing was said or asked and after all the checks regarding the hounds we could get on the train. Once on the train we were sure that no angry Englishman with a fine would come after us and we could breathe a sigh of relief.





Unfortunately, we also received bad news from Sonja that day. In the week before, she had already reported that Vision was not doing well after she was neutered, but there was no improvement at all, on the contrary, she had to decide to put Vision to sleep. In and in sad, still so young and completely fit again after her fake pregnancy, she couldn’t get up after the operation and eventually her kidneys gave out. An unbelievably hard blow for everyone involved. But especially for Sonja of course.


Pyefleet Vision, mother of Cranston Argyll and Gallaghan Argyll, was only allowed to live to be 5 years, 9 months and 5 days.



On the road again!


On Wednesday, August 25, we left for Göhlsdorf near Berlin, where Simon would take care of the International coursing for the sighthound racing club Phoenix. It was the first time for Crumbaugh and Charlaigne to make such a long trip with the caravan, but they adapted well and found it very exciting to arrive and walk in a different, unknown location each time.

After we had set up everything on Thursday and had a nice walk with the hounds, we found a beer stand opposite us when we returned. They were still working on some things but as soon as they were done we could come and get a beer. Well don’t let that tell you twice! On Friday Simon built up the course and Cytaugh, Crumbaugh and Charlaigne were able to stretch their legs. The three of them thundered across the field, beautiful to watch. Cytaugh is still the fastest but Crumbaugh was nearly as fast as his mother!

A total of about 100 sighthounds were entered for the coursing on Saturday, but because it didn’t go very smooth in the morning, it was around six o’clock before all courses were run! I hadn’t entered Cytaugh for the official coursing, but luckily she was allowed to do a round of coursing with Crumbaugh and Charlaigne afterwards. They enjoyed it again! Crumbaugh in particular was so fanatical and wanted to get on the field every time so badly that he couldn’t get past the field during normal walks, very difficult!

On Sunday was the CAC show and I had entered Charlaigne for this. It had been nice weather every day before, on Sunday the rain came pouring down from the sky. There was 1 veteran bitch, 3 youth bitches (of which Charlaigne was the youngest) and 1 open class bitch entered by judge Hanna Wozna-Gil from Poland. The moment I entered the ring it was dry and Charlaigne showed exemplary. She walked along nicely without acting crazy and also stood still reasonably well, amazing! She finished first!! But when she had to come back to compete for BOB, it came crashing down again and she wanted nothing more than to go back to the caravan! Initially we were supposed to leave again on Monday, but as the weather forecast did not predict better weather, we decided to pack up and leave during an hour when it was dry.

No sooner said than done, but against expectations it was very busy on the road and we did not arrive at our overnight place until late in the afternoon. Monday afternoon we were back home.

The following weekend, Simon should have judged a coursing in France, but it was canceled due to a too low number of entered hounds. Too bad, it would be nice to do some coursing in France again. Then again next year. But this canceled weekend gave us some more air to prepare for the trip to England.

To be continued!

And that is why the Dutch breeders test their Deerhound puppies for liver shunt!


In the meantime, all Deerhound breeders worldwide know that liver shunt is a condition that occurs in Deerhounds. A responsible breeder therefore tests his puppies when they are about 7 weeks old to make sure he is not selling a puppy that has liver shunt. About 2 to 3% of the puppies born can have this abnormality. But in Germany they are convinced that this deviation does not occur with them!

Unfortunately: recently a Deerhound puppy came to the Netherlands from Germany who became ill after a few days and she also showed deviant behavior such as walking in circles and along the walls. At first it turned out that there were stones in her stomach and after these were removed, the puppy recovered. But that was short-lived; after three days the bitch again showed the deviant behavior, she was very sick and she was taken to the vet again. After taking a blood sample, he found that the ammonia level in the blood was almost 5 times higher than that of another healthy dog. This combination of behavior and ammonia levels confirmed the great fear: liver shunt.

Since the puppy was so very sick, it could take weeks before she could possibly be operated on (while first she had to be diagnosed with what kind of shunt it was and whether it could be operated or not) and the amount requested for this was more than abnormal high, the owners decided on euthanasia.

Can you imagine how terribly sad this is? Have a puppy in the house for two weeks but after the first few days dive into misery with euthanasia as the end result? And in this case, the owners had also taken a brother so that they could grow up so nicely together. Any idea how much the remaining puppy missed his playmate?? It is very sad to have to experience all of this!


You would expect that the breeders would assist the owners in this matter, but after the first bump (whereby they had assisted with advice and action because they know that their puppies eat stones) and when it turned out that it was a liver shunt, the breeders gave up. “Liver shunt does not occur with us, we have never had it, the whole litter is otherwise healthy, it must be stones again” was all the owners were initially told. After this, the breeders stopped answering the phone and did not respond to messages left behind.

After a week there was some contact again and eventually the owners were able to pick up a new puppy. They could choose from three males, there were two more from the litter that was born a week earlier and a brother of the deceased female from the last litter. They chose the brother. However, they had to sign a paper that they would not declare any (future) costs, for any puppy. The owners also had to pay for the autopsy to prove what caused the bitch’s death. Were the breeders not interested in the results?

When the autopsy report was sent after three weeks, it turned out that the bitch didn’t just have a liver shunt. She was really very, very  ill with everything wrong, including a number of chronic conditions that had been going on for much longer. Surgery could not have saved her.

It is of course very strange that the breeders themselves did not see that the bitch was not well. She must have shown the deviant behaviour there too because the ammonia level in her blood was so incredibly high that she must have been quite poisoned already. But then again, if you have to grow up outdoors in a shed, and the breeders only come a few times a day…….

I find it in and in sad that Deerhound puppies (anyway all puppies) are bred and kept in such a way, I really couldn’t do it like this. When I see how often they, even at night, need contact for a while and after a hug they go back to sleep, play or scratch around, I don’t have to think about keeping them in a shed or outdoor kennel. Research has also been done into the difference in behaviour between puppies that are raised in the house and that are kept outside in kennels. A small piece of text: “Puppies raised outdoors showed an elevated tendency for submissive behaviour, a greater risk of aggression through fear, and a lowered capacity for coping with novel conditions”.

The latter was clearly noticeable in all three puppies; they were not socialized at all, they were even afraid to come in the house! They were not toilet trained, they were startled and afraid of everything and they couldn’t walk on a leash either. In terms of growing up, the owners might as well have gotten a puppy from a Hungarian puppyfarm.


I would therefore strongly advise, if you are interested in a Deerhound puppy, born in Germany or anywhere else, to insist that the puppy is tested for liver shunt and that you also receive the result in black and white, before you purchase is about. A good purchase agreement, in which the rights and obligations of both parties are stated, can also protect you against a lot of financial misery and last but not least; look for a breeder who largely raises the puppies in the house, gives the parents a good health check (including heart examination) before breeding with them and who socializes the puppies well (even in a non-home environment!). It can save you a lot of grief and misery.

And isn’t it that too what distinguishes us responsible, purebred dog breeders from puppyfarms???



Very interesting articles


From Barb Heidenreich, of the famous “Fernhill Scottish Deerhounds”, I received the following very interesting articles. You have to take the time for it, but they are pieces that are definitely worth reading.
The first article is about nutrition and cardiomyopathy and the second about the long-term health risks of neutering.




The wonders are not over yet!


From 1979 to 1981 we had Irish Wolfhounds. I don’t remember how I got to it, but they got Taurine and L-Carnitine every day through their food. That should be good for the heart.

In 1996, when some of our Deerhounds developed heart problems and were treated by Dr. Andrea Vollmar, they were able to participate in Vetmedin’s development project. This drug is said to counteract the weakening of the heart muscle. Luckily my hounds got the real Pimobendan (the active substance) and no placebos and lived on it very well for a number of years. Vetmedin is now THE medicine for DCM.

In 2018, a mild form of DCM was diagnosed at Brandir and as my experience with Vetmedin (Pimobendan) was very positive, I had no hesitation in giving him this as standard. His heart did not deteriorate further.


Two years ago Sonja had Bernice, Brandir’s sister, checked on her heart and she was diagnosed with a very slight abnormality but she did not need any medication. After checking last year, Dr. Tobias (the cardiologist in Hannover) advised to add Taurine to Bernice’s diet. After half a year, Sonja had Bernice checked again and her heart had improved!

I also started adding Taurine to my hounds’ meals last year. After a few months another heart check took place at Brandir and it turned out ….. his heart had improved! A few months ago I also started adding Acetyl L-Carnitine and Omega 3 to the diet after reading some articles about this. Very interesting! Here are the links to the articles;

Nutritional therapy in the treatment of heart disease in dogs – https://www.o-cockaigne.eu/?page_id=19621&preview=true

Taurine, dog food, and heart disease in dogs – https://www.o-cockaigne.eu/?page_id=19619


Last Friday it was time again for a check of Brandir’s heart and it turned out ….. Brandir’s heart had improved even further !!! This trend continues despite Brandir’s fairly advanced age, he will turn 9 years old on May 17! The combination of Vetmedin, Taurine and Acetyl L-Carnitine really works wonders. Brandir is still very active, just like Bernice, doesn’t skip any walk and occasionally plays with his daughter or grandchildren.

I therefore urgently recommend adding Taurine and Carnitine to the diet not only in case of existing heart defects, but also preventively. 1 gram per day of both is sufficient. But … it is of course also very important that you regularly check the heart and/or have it checked to prevent (more) serious problems !!!

Finally …..


Finally I can manage to write something again. The lust and inspiration simply lacked after the death of Cearrean and because of the bustle of the puppies.

It was a busy couple but what fun they had together! They grew well, ate well and everything, were neatly on the leash, driving was no problem and they learned a lot from the older hounds. It all went very well.

But to be honest, I was also looking forward to see three out of six going to their new owners around February 9 (Holly would not leave for Germany until the beginning of March) but it was not to be. After the puppies had their last vaccination on February 9, they all got sick in the evening. At first I thought it was a reaction to the vaccination but because they all were not feeling well and later also vomited and got diarrhea, I soon came to the conclusion that it must be something more serious. I had brought Calum to Annelies in the afternoon and he also turned out to be unwell later on. This is of course the worst thing that can happen to you as a new owner and we had more than regular contact.

It turned out to be a gastrointestinal virus that was all around and because the puppies regularly went along for socialization, they had picked it up somewhere. After a week with ups and downs, high fever, not eating and drinking and therefore losing more than a kilo, after stool research showed that Giardia now also played a role! What a drama!!


It is of course very easy if you keep your dogs in kennels; a few times a day empty the high-pressure cleaner with disinfectant and you’re done, but that’s not how it works when you have them all in your house and they run over your entire 5000 square meter site. So the only thing that helped was cleaning & disinfecting and constant poopcleaning & disinfection every day. Liters of Dettol went through and the washing machine was running day and night. I can tell you that this was really not fun and it took away my fun. No more puppies at O’Cockaigne for the time being!




But in the meantime we are several weeks further and the puppies are doing well. The owners are all very happy with them and what I see in the photos and the videos and read in the emails, the puppies also with their servants. Crumbaugh and Charlaigne are very happy with each other and are shaking things up here, digging holes in which they can disappear and especially during the news in the evening on TV. they can argue wonderfully on the couch. They look good and have wonderful characters!

Cearrean Argyll

19-12-2018     Cearrean Argyll O’Cockaigne     7-1-2021



Thursday, January 7, 2021, a pitch black day for O’Cockaigne. This day we put Cearrean Argyll to sleep.


Since the beginning of August we have known, after a visit to the naturopath Judith Adriaansens, that Cearrean had terrible headaches. After several acupuncture sessions, osteopathic treatments, natural remedies, regular medicines, the MRI scan that showed that there is a cyst in his head, special medication including Gabapentin, Tramadol and prednisolone, all of which helped little or nothing, we had to make the incredibly tough decision to give Cearrean his rest.


The past few days it went downhill very fast. You could see in Cearrean’s eyes that he had constantly terrible headaches and he was no longer enjoying life. He growled all day and night at everything that came close, didn’t want to play with Cranston anymore, often lay out on a bed until late at night and ate badly the last few days. He regularly act ugly to one of the other hounds and he didn’t like the puppies anymore. In the house we had to keep him separate from the puppies to avoid annoyance, but the days before it went well outside and he still liked them.


After consulting again with the people who were treating Cearrean, we made the decision on Wednesday and I asked Victoire Weijers-Koperberg, the acupuncturist who is also a regular vet, if she was willing to come here and to free Cearrean from his headache. Fortunately she wanted to do this and we agreed for Thursday afternoon.


It became clear that it was the right decision when we walked the puppies through the garden on Thursday afternoon and Cearrean followed. The puppies of course walked to him but Cearrean did not like it and grabbed a puppy. Loudly screaming all the puppies ran back home and Cranston also was totally upset. Fortunately, the puppy had no injuries and recovered very quickly.


But we no longer had to doubt.


The grief is immense but we are also relieved; there is peace and tranquility in the house again. We also notice it immediately with Brandir, Cytaugh and Cranston, they are much more relaxed and free; they don’t have to fear getting caught anymore. I am glad we are leaving this horrible time behind us, it is in and in sad that this had to happen to Cearrean and that there was no other solution available. He was such a bon vivant!