The Border Patrol (News and Information for Border Collie Rescuers, Support Staff, and Adopting Families)

South Florida Border Collie Rescue

"Where Every Dog Has His Day"

MAY 1996

Frisbee Rescue Dogs

If you missed the recent local canine Frisbee competitions, including the Regional Finals, you missed lots of great dog and Border Collie companions and their owners along with several of our past rescues competing in the competition. If you are looking for a new outlet for your dog's energy, canine Frisbee may be the way to go. (Border Collies seems particularly adept at it). Even our own rescue dogs have been known to enter the contests, beating the pants off of some those other "one-owner" dogs. Minimally, you get to hang out and relax, talking about dogs and enjoying a sunny spring day with other folks. Free dog food samples, Frisbees, and T-shirts are given to all those that enter the contests. The next local contest will be held in Deerfield Beach on June 8th. Call 305-480-4494 for details. We'd like to thank the Dade Parks Department for donating all the leftover dog food and treats to SFBCR after the local competition in Miami. If you'd like to find out more about canine Frisbee, call SFBCR at 383-0137.

Rescue Dogs and Sheep Herding

Thanks to the very generous support of Mr. Jerry Fickle of Select Sires and Ms. Tammi Dykes, SFBCR now has daily herding training sessions for BC rescues and their packmates. Mr. Fickel has graciously loaned us the sheep to work and Ms. Dykes has allowed us to use her training facilities and farm to house and work the sheep. If you'd like a free herding lesson (for every rescue dog) or would just like to see what Border Collies are really all about, feel free to join us out in the Redlands. Training sessions are held in the early morning or late afternoon hours each day and are conducted by Nick Carter. The training facility is located west of Miami, about 2 minutes south of the Homestead General Airport. We could always use a helping hand at the farm. Care and feeding of the sheep is certainly appreciated, as well as general work around the farm. It would also be great if people could send thank-you letters to Mr. Fickle. For information on any of the above and training session times, call SFBCR at 383-0137.

Border Collie Rescue News and "Thank You" s

We would like to apologize for the month delay in this edition of the newsletter. Several things led to its tardiness - a rush of seven rescue dogs coming in all at once and the normal end of the semester crunch at the University. We hope to be back on schedule from now on.

Important Notice

Until now, we have offered this newsletter free of charge. However, it has expanded greatly and now costs us quite a bit of money to produce and mail out. Therefore, we need your help in offsetting these charges by asking for a voluntary subscription membership. A five or ten dollar yearly membership donation to help pay for printing and mailing of the newsletter will allow us to continue providing you with important Border Collie Rescue news and information. Those of you that have already paid their membership for this year will not have to worry about subscribing until next year. We do not wish to eliminate folks from the mailing list, as we think it is important to provide everyone with as much information as possible, but we will be forced to cut back if people don't voluntarily send in subscription memberships. If you appreciate the service we are providing, please show us by sending in your contribution to SFBCR. Your contribution not only ensures that you will continue to receive our newsletter, but also guarantees that Border Collie rescuers and adopters around the country will too.

Herding Clinic

Quinn and Sandy Tindall recently held a herding clinic at their farm in Davie. Several Border Collies and their owners were in attendance. We'd like to thank the Tindalls for allowing us to attend and to tip our hat to Quinn and the Gold Coast club for putting on a well-run event. As a reminder, if you'd like to try your hand at herding, give SFBCR a call to set up a time to come out and join us at our facilities.

New Members and Volunteers

We would like to welcome two new members to our volunteer family - Tony Lavigne and Mary Jo Weirick. We would also like to thank the following people for their new membership into SFBCR - Kate McManus (family - annual), Eva Rodriguez (annual), Alfred Smith (annual), and Robert Bogle (lifetime). Welcome aboard.

Rescue Vet

Again, we can't stress enough the overwhelming generosity of our rescue vet, Dr. Mitsie Morales and her vet tech, Carlos, of Gerson Animal Clinic. Without their wonderful support and low cost rescue billing, we would not be able to maintain our rescue efforts in such an efficient manner. Please show your appreciation by taking your newly acquired rescue dog for care at their clinic, along with all your other pets. They provide first-class treatment at very reasonable rates. For an appointment, call 382-2000 -- and tell them SFBCR sent you.


We would like to thank the following people for those extra special donations that make our work so much easier - Doris Seitz ($20), Joshua Lerner ($120), and Sam Ford ($70). And thanks to Cindy Carson for her donation of a magazine subscription. It will come in handy.

Border Kollie Kids

A special thank you goes out to two young Border Collie Rescue fans - Eva Rodriguez and Jaquie Bachay. On their own, these two went door to door, person to person, asking everyone they met for donations to help out Border Collie Rescue. In nickels, quarters and dollar bills, Jacquie raised $39.40 and Eva raised $68.00. Wow! Not bad for two young people who donated a little of their time and effort. Maybe we she put them in charge of our fundraising efforts. Congratulations girls and thank you from all the dogs at SFBCR.

Current Rescues Available

We currently have several dogs in rescue, most of them are pictured in this edition: Rowdy, Sam, Blitzkrieg, and Quake. If you are interested in adopting one of them or would like more info, give us a call.

Our Vote For Good Samaritan

We would like to specially recognize the rescue efforts of Carla Cuddeback, who took in two Border Collie strays (a pup and its mom) wandering the streets of Gainesville and then contacted Border Collie Rescue to help place them. She drove 4 hours to drop them off with us and on top of that, donated leashes, collars, dog food, and $250 dollars to help with the medical expenses and care of the dogs. She even wanted to donate her crate but it just wouldn't fit in my car! Thanks to their new guardian angel (Carla), one of them already has a new home.

The Rainbow Bridge - Chaos

Our condolences go out to the Mitchell family for the loss of their rescue dog, Chaos. Chaos was hit by a car after leaving the children's side while playing down by the water near their home. Chaos was a young female Border Collie/Shepherd mix adopted from SFBCR last November. Let her untimely death serve as a noted reminder to keep our rescue dogs on lead at all times, no matter how confident we are, unless there is absolutely no means of escape. All it takes is a split-second while your attention is turned to something else and the dog's to something on the other side of the street, to lose a friend for life. Don't let Chaos's death be in vain - please let us all remember this simple lesson. Chaos had a wonderfully “bouncy” character and was the most friendly dog - she will be sorely missed.

Border Collie Rescue T-Shirts Still Available

We still have T-Shirts for sale to help raise funds for Border Collie Rescue. The price of the shirts are $15. All proceeds go directly to helping place or rescue Border Collies. The following sizes are available:
Small (Adult 34-36)
Medium (38-40)
Large (42-44)
X-Large (46-48)
The shirts are preshrunk Hanes heavyweight 50/50 with ash-colored fabric (light grey) and black lettering. The print is from Barbara Walker and is of a Border Collie in a working stance. To order, send check or money order to our address listed on the last page.

From the Editor

Food Allergies - Nothing To Sneeze At

Food allergies in dogs are quite complex and not so common as other allergies (like contact allergies or FAD - flea allergy dermatitis). The exact immunological mechanism behind food allergies in dogs is unclear but by in large, the majority of cases are seen with immune responses to proteins (particularly meat proteins). Before explaining the reasons behind this tendency, it may help to review some basics and go back and look at the immune system and how it plays a role in an allergic reaction.

All allergic reactions are a result of an abnormal immune overresponse to an antigen (or allergen) by the white blood cells. The dog is basically hypersensitive to whatever substance produces the response, causing several possible unwanted reactions in the body. Immune responses of the body are important (it's what keeps us and our dogs healthy by fighting off unwanted invaders). , With allergies however, the dog's immune system is doing what it does best, but in this case, it is trying to fight off something that doesn't really need to be confronted. Everyday things like pollen, wool fibers, dog dander (for us - imagine a dog being allergic to dog dander!), or even proteins in foods can stimulate the immune system to react and fight off the foreign invader - where it should be ignoring it. This is often termed hypersensitivity and can come in 2 forms - immediate or delayed hypersensitivity.

With immediate hypersensitivity, antibodies (chemical compounds produced by the dog's body to ward off an invading antigen) are produced in response to an initial exposure to some substance and then are stored in the bloodstream, connected to particular white blood cells. When the dog is exposed to the substance again, the white blood cell (with its attached antibodies) bonds to the allergen. This causes the white blood cell to secrete several chemicals - the most noteworthy being histamine. Histamine is what causes the traditional symptoms of allergies - like sneezing, itching, bloodshot eyes, runny nose, etc. Administering antihistamines combats this reaction, relieving the symptoms.

Food allergies are also almost exclusively immediate hypersensitivity allergies, however they are responded to primarily by prostaglandins (a fatty acid) and cause symptoms like diarrhea and colic, as well as some itching and scratching. This allergic response is mediated by the white blood cell reacting to the food source (remember - the dog has to have eaten the food once before) and almost always, it recognizes and reacts to the surface structure of the protein in the food. Treatment is with aspirin, which inhibits prostaglandin production.

Delayed hypersensitivity is responsible for allergic reactions such as contact dermatitis and the like, which can cause reactions several hours to days later (eg. FAD in dogs or poison ivy in humans). The immune response is through the release of chemicals called lymphokines, not histamines. Giving antihistamines in these cases does little for relief of the symptoms. Corticosteroids (like cortisone) are the only effective treatment we have at this time for delayed hypersensitivities.

The object however, in treatment of allergies, is not to reduce the symptoms but to avoid them altogether. (Though desensitization is also possible). This means that the body must not be exposed to further introductions of the offending allergen. For food allergies, this generally means switching to another form of meat protein. Meat allergies are common in dogs for two reasons: 1) dogs' immune systems seem to react particularly to meat proteins (probably due to their evolutionary history) and 2) most dog foods contain some form of meat. If your dog has never been exposed to some particular substance, there can obviously be no allergic reaction. If you are feeding your dog a beef-based dog food, the first thing to do is switch to another form of meat, such as lamb - so that the surface structure of the meat protein is different and the dog's body will not react.

Many dog foods are termed "hypoallergenic" - but there is nothing inherently less allergic about these foods - rather they use meat proteins that your dog is less likely to have been exposed to before, such as venison, fish, turkey, or lamb. There is no guarantee that your dog will not become allergic to these foods over time but they can help to eliminate the problem if your dog's immune responses are rather selective. Secondarily, your dog may be reacting to the vegetable bases in these foods, like wheat, corn, or soybean - and these hypoallergenic foods usually employ other forms of vegetable bases such as potato or rice.

Allergies are strange things, in both humans and dogs, as they can appear one day from out of nowhere or go away after several months or years. Allergies can also shift with puberty, being spayed or neutered, or pregnancy. Just because your dog is allergic to beef today does not mean it will be allergic to beef forever - it is possible but not a certainty. Many of us can remember being allergic to things as kids that we no longer have a problem with today as adults. Figuring out which substance your dog is allergic to, particularly with food allergies, can be a tricky affair. With contact dermatitis, there are skin tests that can be performed to see if the reactions can be reproduced using a known allergen. The same can be done with food allergies but since foods are normally such complex combinations of ingredients, isolating the particular protein can be a difficult task. The easiest way is to switch food sources and see if the symptoms disappear. Trial and error, with the basic assumption that it is the meat protein causing the reaction, is the standard procedure. Whatever the case, just because a particular brand of dog food uses X as its main ingredient, it doesn't mean that it is necessarily better or worse when it comes to allergic sensitivity. If your puppy was raised on venison and potato dog food, it may become allergic to the venison protein and necessitate a switch to a more unrecognizable protein (for it) such as beef or chicken. As it happens however, most dogs are raised on beef-based foods and hence, the numbers of beef allergies are correspondingly high.

Getting With The Program

If you're curious about the new flea pill, "Program" (aka lufenuron), here is what the research says. The drug is put out by Ciba-Geigy and it only affects flea eggs and no other part of the flea life cycle. It is an egg inhibitor that prevents the eggs from developing (it interferes with chitin synthesis, polymerization, and deposition if you really want to know). It will not kill preexisting adult fleas, preexisting eggs, or new arrivals. You must employ other means to get rid of those. The drug however, looks promising. The drug is given to your dog, which maintains it in its blood. When a flea bites your dog, it gets a blood meal with lufenuron, which migrates to her reproductive system, and is transferred to her eggs. There is a time-delayed effect because of this action. The drug lasts a month in your dog and the flea life cycle is approx. 3 weeks. Therefore it will take a few weeks to see the results.

As far as long-term effects go - well, we just don't know. The studies done on the drug were only done for a 10 month period. Only 151 dogs were studied, forty breeds tested, and all dogs were over 8 weeks of age. No dogs showed any negative or toxic effects from the drug. But this was only for 10 months.

Four studies were done on pregnant beagles - two lab studies and two clinical. 8 out of 8 untreated dams got pregnant. Only 6 out of 9 (67 percent) taking the drug became pregnant. The mean birth weight of the treated pups was lower than the untreated pups. They all grew at similar rates after that. There was a higher incidence of the following four symptoms in the treated pups:

1) nasal discharge
2) pulmonary congestion
3) diarrhea/dehydration and
4) sluggishness.
All of these signs were gone at the end of lactation.

Letters To The Editor

By Dr. Nicholas B. Carter

Broken Spirit writes:

"I recently acquired a BC/Spaniel mix that I have named Sam. I got him from the Humane Society. He was found roaming the streets. His age is estimated to be 10 months. He is very mellow and sensitive to correction no matter how mild. If you even look at him without smiling, you can see him looking around to see if he has done something wrong. At first when I got him he would flinch if you approached him too quickly. He has gotten over that."

"Now to the reason that I am writing."

"I can't help but notice a sadness in his eyes. He plays great with Jake but doesn't know how to play with a ball or anything. He is always looking at me to make sure he isn't doing anything wrong. He doesn't show initiative to do anything without permission. I feel his spirit has been broken. I don't want him to live in fear of doing anything. He doesn't need my permission to be a happy puppy. I am seeking people who know of this situation and any experiences and/or advice about this."

"Some people might say why worry, he is not a problem dog. Yes, he is absolutely great and well behaved, but I am really bothered by that sadness deep within him. Perhaps, I expect too much too soon?"

Broken Spirit:

We see this in rescue dogs a lot, as well as abused children. In either case - time, patience, and continued love and security are all that can solve this situation. The dog has possibly come from a situation where it has been beaten, mentally and/or psychologically abused, or completely neglected. You're right -- his spirit has been broken. I would say that you might be expecting too much too soon, since it can take a long time to rebuild a dog's confidence in humanity. Some never quite recover.

Many of our rescue dogs have no idea how to play, how to deal with humans, or even other dogs. The reason is quite obvious - they have never had to or gotten the opportunity to interact. They need to learn, just like puppies do, how to play, socialize, and abide by rules of human and dog societies. In fact, it will often take much longer for them to learn, as they have to not only learn but also overcome their fears and insecurities. Puppies lack confidence in situations because they think something could possibly go wrong and they will suffer. Once they see that nothing bad will happen, they can overcome their fears quite readily. Abused rescue dogs, on the other hand, lack confidence in situations because they know something could possibly go wrong and they will suffer. It takes quite a bit of time to get them over their fear of retribution - because they have learned from history that humans dole out punishment and pain if displeased.

Abused rescue dogs need to be reassured that their human masters will not come down on them for every little indiscretion or slipup. This is why your dog looks to you every move it makes, as it is checking to see whether you approve of that action or not. Allowing the dog to push its boundaries and encouraging (with great positive reinforcement) exploration and new activities will help it build its confidence slowly. You also need to balance this "coddling" with times of complete indifference - demonstrating to the dog that you need not approve or disapprove of every move the dog will make. This is a long road to walk - filled with fits and starts of positive gains and periods of regression. It may happen all at once one day - suddenly the little light turns on and the dog sees that this is a wonderful place to be - or it may gradually evolve into a more positive relationship little by little as the months pass.

I think more importantly, (not at first but once the dog has settled in a bit), the abused rescue dog needs to also see that its human master can and will come down on them for severe infractions, but the human can do it in a fair and dignified manner. Rescue dogs don't need to get away with bloody murder. There is a fine line one walks in the rehabilitation of an abused dog - between overwhelming encouragement of all actions and complete discouragement of any action. I would analogize your role to one of a teacher on the playground during recess. You are there in support but not in control of every little movement, allowing them to play and explore on their own, encouraging positive encounters and fostering relationships with others, ready to take action if a crisis erupts - either as a source of security in time of need or as a source of judicious regulation in those times that they overstep their bounds. Broken spirits can be mended, like other broken items, with time and bonding.

Good luck and don't worry about it too much. The sadness in their eyes can go away.

The following question and answer will appear in this month's American Border Collie magazine

Nancy writes:

I am currently having a problem with my dogs, and perhaps you could help. I have had Border Collies since 1971, and I currently have 4 resident BCs (2 "working girls" and 2 "semi-retireds"). I have always fed premium quality dry dog food, and 6 years ago I made the switch to a premium, all natural product. My semi-retired pair (45 lbs) have been eating a lamb and rice maintenance diet (22% protein and 10% fat). They each consumed 2 cups daily, split into AM and PM feedings. My working pair (35 lbs) have been eating a lamb and rice performance diet (28% protein and 20% fat). They each consumed 1 3/4 cups daily, split into AM and PM feedings. All dogs have been kept lean and fit, and they receive very few treats. All dogs have abundant energy, super coats, and enjoy excellent health.

Recently, my dog food supplier went out of business and the performance diet became difficult to obtain locally. Also, I had been giving thought to switching the working girls to a diet with lower protein and fat (as many people are doing with their working dogs). The simplicity of feeding all pack members the same type of food was quite appealing, and I have several friends who feed a maintenance diet to all resident canines (young, old, working, retired, etc.). I made the decision to switch all my dogs to a new, all natural premium diet with 21% protein and 12 % fat. I switched foods by gradually mixing old and new over the course of two weeks.

Now, for the problem. All four of my dogs vomit a lovely yellow, frothy liquid approximately 1 to 2 hours before their next feeding - or as I've been told it is called, "acid reflux". I contacted the dog food manufacturer, and after describing the problem, I was told that my dogs weren't getting enough to eat, and to feed them more at each feeding. I decided to increase their portions by 1/4 cup per dog, per feeding, and awaited relief (for them and for me). Another week goes by with little or no improvement, so I called the company again. This time, a different representative told me the same thing, that I needed to feed them more. So, once again, I increased their portions by 1/4 cup per dog, per feeding. Another week or so passes, and there is some improvement in all the dogs. But, two dogs were still vomiting most days, and the other two once or twice a week. Another call to the company, and the advice? Feed more! Well, by this time my semi-retired pair were each eating 3 1/2 cups daily and my working pair were each eating 3 cups daily. The quantities have almost doubled, and still the dogs are vomiting! Most of us have had to deal with dogs who vomit occasionally, and its not usually a big problem. But, I've been cleaning this up for six weeks now, and it's really getting old. Also, the dogs don't enjoy their new "hobby" either. What is causing this continual vomiting?

Dear Nancy,

What you describe is a condition known as gastritis, which in turn may be causing a further condition called reflux esophagitis. Though there may be many causes of gastritis, it is often caused by consumption of something that irritates the lining of the stomach or gastrointestinal (GI) tract as it passes over it. It can be a one time thing by ingestion of something nasty, or it can be a continual condition, generally caused by the ingestion of the dog's food or other regularly consumed item (e.g. grass or gravel that is eaten daily). Dogs vomit quite easily and the behavior is caused by stimulation of the vomiting center in the brain. This can either be as a result of direct irritation of the lining of the stomach or as a result of emetic (vomit-causing) chemicals being absorbed into the bloodstream. The irritation causes the stomach to backflow or reflux and empty the acidic stomach contents back out of the dog, hence your term. From the history you describe, it sounds as if the cause of your problem is the new food itself, rather than something abnormal the dogs have swallowed. For all four dogs to begin vomiting around the same time and for it to have coincided with your switch to a new brand of food seems too much to be a mere coincidence.

The problems associated with gastritis have most likely compounded the situation even further, resulting in a condition termed reflux esophagitis. After vomiting several times over a period of days, the acidic contents of the regurgitated stomach fluids will damage the mucus lining of the esophagus, causing further irritation, inflammation, and possibly scarring of the mucosal tissue. You describe the exact clinical signs of this condition, as most dogs with reflux esophagitis will vomit a couple of hours before their next feeding. They will then generally eat what is given to them and vomit once again the next day. As you can see, the problem is self-perpetuating, as the acidic contents of each vomitus irritate the lining of the esophagus even further.

Treatments of the condition are several:

1) switch food (which I would do in this case - would you eat something that irritated your stomach every time you consumed it, no matter how good it was for you?). There are many equally viable foods out there that would not produce the same reaction. Generally, it is recommended to switch to dog foods that are low in fat and high in protein for dogs with this condition. Unless your dogs are overweight, this shouldn't be a major problem - though some people like to lower the protein content for aged dogs. The high protein content is utilized to make up for the reduced calories of the decreased fat content, so whether your dogs actually need the increased protein level to maintain their fitness is going to be up to you to observe.

2) give antacids to the dog the evening prior to the next feeding or several hours ahead of time if feeding at night. It reduces the acid content of the stomach and helps prevent severe irritation of the GI tract. See your vet for the proper antacids.

3) administer drugs that will inhibit stomach secretions, keeping the acidic level down and hopefully preventing the reflux. See your vet for a prescription.

4) administer drugs that will inhibit the vomiting reflex (antiemetics). Again, see your vet for a prescription.

In very severe cases of reflux esophagitis, a feeding tube may have to be used in order to prevent any further irritation and give the esophagus a "rest".

Contrary to the advice given to you by the dog food manufacturer, feeding your dogs more food under these circumstances is actually detrimental and exacerbates the problem. Since it is most likely the food that is causing the reaction, you are just increasing the amount of irritant passing into the stomach and increasing the likelihood that the dogs will vomit. Your vet can determine whether or not your dogs actually have reflux esophagitis caused by the gastritis through analysis of the clinical signs and can see the irritation through the use of an endoscope. The vet can also take a sample of the mucosal lining at the same time to confirm the diagnosis.

So... the first thing I would do is stop feeding your dogs that particular food. I wouldn't even worry about switching over gradually. Do it now! If the vomiting continues past a week, you need to go see your vet, as the condition may require some of the other measures I described.

Dig Those Border Collies

By April Quist

Border collies are very often diggers. Helen Phillips (who has a bunch of Border Collies) used to say something to the effect of "Border Collies are okay if you don't mind a yard that looks like the Grand Canyon."

I imagine that, if you're consistent and want to break them of it bad enough, you can do it. But I prefer a different approach. I figure digging is something they really enjoy doing (you should see the "grin" my dog Levi gets on his face when he gets into it), and it's good exercise. So if my dogs were digging in areas I didn't want them to (like under fences, in gardens, etc.), I'd find a spot to "donate" to them, and teach them to dig there, and only there. It's easier than trying to teach them to stop altogether.

First of all, decide where it's okay for them to dig. It should be a spot with some soft soil or sand - something that's "fun" to dig. It doesn't have to be too big - maybe 4'x4' (although the bigger, the better - within reason). Now hide a couple of your dog's favorite toys, along with a few dog biscuits, in the spot (buried). Then take your dog there and start digging yourself, talking excitedly, and get the dog interested in what you're doing. "Discover" one of the things you've buried, and show the dog. Then find another. And another. It shouldn't take long for the dog to start digging for "treasure," too.

Hide things in that spot for a week or so, until you've really got the dog interested in digging there. Make sure you go out with him whenever he goes out, and if he digs in an inappropriate place, tell him "No!" and then take him to "his" spot and help him find a biscuit there. It's pretty much like how you'd housebreak a pup - don't let him do it where he's not supposed to, and encourage him to do it where you want him to. Before long, you'll have your dog "dig-broken."

Just to make sure he stays interested in his spot, occasionally hide a few dog biscuits to make him think there really might be something there.

Just another way to keep 'em busy and occupy those devious little minds!

How To Contact Us

South Florida Border Collie Rescue
14811 SW 110 Terrace
Miami, FL. 33196
Phone: (305) 383-0137
FAX: (305) 383-0137 (call first)

We welcome any comments on this newsletter or contributions for future editions. Please spread the word about Border Collie Rescue.