Juvenile Cataracts

DSC_0460If you didn’t get to read my previous post about how I learned Preacher had Juvenile Cataracts and the decision I made about them you can read it here. I am now going to talk a bit about Juvenile Cataracts and hopefully will have answered some questions you may have about them. I am going to share with you the email conversation I had with my ophthalmologist and the references he gave me regarding genetic ocular diseases in the Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

Taken from Ocular Disorders presumed to be inherited in purebred dogs, Seventh Edition 2014 – Genetics committee of the American College Of Veterinary Ophthalmologist.



Cataract: A partial or complete opacity of the lens and/or its capsule. In cases where cataracts are complete and affect both eyes, blindness results. The prudent approach is to assume cataracts to be hereditary except in cases known to be associated with trauma, other causes of ocular inflammation, specific metabolic diseases, persistent papillary membrane, persistent hyaloid or nutritional deficiencies. Cataracts may involve the lens completely (diffuse) or in a localized region.

Hereditary cataracts have been described in the Chesapeake Bay Retriever and affect the young adult dog. They appear as posterior cortical, axial, triangular opacities and the Y suture tips can be affected in both the anterior and posterior cortices. Extension of the cataract into the posterior cortex and progression to impair vision can occur. An autosomal dominant inheritance with incomplete penetrance  has been proposed; however, the genetics have not been completely defined and additional studies will be required.


When I heard Preacher had Juvenile Cataracts at her eye appointment I was in shock that I couldn’t even ask Dr. Collins any questions. I pretty much knew any questions I would have I would know the answers to since I myself am a Veterinary Technician but I needed to ask in case I was missing something and wanted to make sure I had all the information I could gather so I knew what I needed to do when decision time came. Here is one of the email’s I got from Dr. Collins after I wrote him and asked him a bunch of questions. I didn’t save my original email and he didn’t send it back with his reply so all you get to see is his response which you can pretty much figure out my questions.

Dear Ms. Stancer:

All good questions, and my answers are in no specific order.  The age of onset for this type of cataract is variable.  I have seen this type of cataract in dogs as early as 6 months of age, though not necessarily in this breed.  Can these cataracts be detected in non-dilated eyes?  That depends on the examiner and the stage of development of the cataracts.  Your dog’s cataracts are relatively small and would be hard to detect early in a non-dilated eye.

As per your request, I have attached a copy of current breeding guidelines for ocular disorders in the Chesapeake Bay retriever and circled the relevant areas.  Your second question relates to what percentage of affected dogs might progress to blindness, and we do not have this data.  The estimate I provided was based on my experience with Golden retrievers that develop a cataract in the same location; it was not a specific estimate for the Chesapeake, though they might be expected to have a similar incidence.

Your remaining questions about incomplete dominant inheritance are difficult to answer because the mode of inheritance for cataracts in this breed has not been proven.  It is merely suspected to be incomplete dominant.  Disorders that are inherited as autosomal dominant with incomplete penetrance means that not all genetically affected dogs show clinical symptoms (in this instance the cataract).  It is possible for clinically affected dogs to skip generations, so one can only assume that either the sire or the dam is a genetic carrier.  I am unaware of a genetic test available for early detection of the cataract in this breed, and that makes it difficult to control.

I regret that I cannot provide more definitive information, but I am unaware of anyone that can.

Dr. Collins

Here is a couple links that are on the American Chesapeake Club’s website, it is a write up that Wendy Shepard Chisholm, DVM did, you can view part 1 & part 2.

So what does this all mean for Preacher?

DSC_0458First off we spayed Preacher so there is no risk of her becoming pregnant and passing this condition on. You can read about that procedure here. Her cataracts are assumed hereditary since we ruled out the other causes that might cause cataracts. Second thing we need to do is watch her eyes closely for any conditions that might come up with them, mostly watch for Uveitis which is inflammation of the part of the eye that supplies blood to the eye. Cataract formation is one cause of Uveitis. Preacher should have her eyes CERF’ed once a year from here on out to monitor the progression or non progression of the cataracts. If they progress (mature) and cause vision loss then surgery to remove the cataract will be considered. If we’re lucky she will have the type of cataract that remains the same and doesn’t cause a problem.

If surgery is warranted here is a video:

DSC_0440Preacher’s spay surgery is healing up nicely and she is non the wiser that there is something wrong with her. She is living life to the fullest and will continue to do so!

I hope this post answered some questions you may have had. If it didn’t please ask and I will get the answers for you.






The Eyes Tell All

DSC_0462 “Juvenile Cataracts”  were the devastating words I heard during Preacher’s CERF exam. Actually what I really heard from the ophthalmologist right after he held his lens up to Preacher’s dilated eye was “Oh Shit!” I knew at that time her eye exam wasn’t going to end well. I’ve known Dr. Collins from Eye Care For Animals in Pewaukee, WI for as long as I have been a Veterinary Technician, he is a board certified Ophthalmologist that can be a jokster but this time he wasn’t joking around.There was a spring heath clinic at Veterinary Village in March, I was planning on taking Gambler and Glory as they were being bred and needed their yearly CERF exam. Since the price was reduced I thought what the heck I might as well take Preacher and have her eyes looked at too. I normally don’t CERF my dogs until it is closer to them being bred. I usually start with the other health clearances first like hips and elbows at 2 years of age. If those pass and I have a breeding lined up I will then check their eyes. After this exam I have a whole other respect for doing testing if you can earlier. As hard as it was to hear she has a genetic disease and that she shouldn’t be bred it is much easier to absorb now verses later after we would have put 2 years of training and hunt test titles on her then to find out she can’t be bred. DSC_0437 We now have a different plan for Preacher which starts with continued training but not hunt test training she will be trained to be a hunting dog. As you know Preacher was spayed last week, it was one of the steps taken to ensure this genetic disease isn’t passed on. With a intact male in the household I couldn’t take a chance of a accident happening. She is recovering nicely and in another week she will be back in training. DSC_0466Hearing that one of our dogs from a breeding we did has a genetic disease is definitely a blow to the stomach. We are just sick about this. We choose our breeding’s very closely, research the lines to make sure we are going to produce sound dogs. We make sure the health clearances are all in order, talk with other breeders to find out if they “heard” of anything cropping up in the lines and there was no red flags that went up so the breeding was done. When we breed we breed knowing most likely we will be keeping a dog for our future breeding program. Before any decisions were made I did take Preacher for a second opinion, I also took her grandma Nellie since she hasn’t had a CERF in a few years just to make sure nothing cropped up in her. The second board certified ophthalmologist gave me the same results. She had Cataracts and they were there to stay.DSC_0445 A decision had to be made on where we go from here.  The first business we had to decide on was if we were going to submit the failed CERF results to OFA. This was a no brainier, of course we were going to submit the results that is what a good breeder does. They submit the good the bad and the ugly. If you don’t submit you aren’t doing the breeding pool any favors. 

A person can only make decisions on what they know and what they are told. If diseases are swept under the rug how can you improve the gene pool? With submitting the results and writing about it on my blog comes the potential talk behind my back. We will be known as the breeder that has cataracts in their lines, if we didn’t submit the results we would be known as the breeder’s that tried to hide something. Either way it is a no win situation for us. We are taking the high road and dealing with this head on! We have nothing to hide and will continue to do the best that we can for the breed. I leave you with Shit Happens and if you breed long enough stuff will come out and you deal with it at that time. I won’t be the first breeder that has skeleton’s in my closet and I for sure won’t be the last one but mark my words I will be the breeder that won’t keep things a secret and will move on to the best of our ability.

Nothing But Norman #141

Happy Saturday All!

Nothing But Norman

Today I wanted to show you the new garden flag I had made with Angel Norman’s picture on it. I put it in my flower garden where I put some of Norman’s ashes and where I buried his 2 great grandkids. He is always with me!


I got this flag from Flagology it was really easy to make, nice price and fast service.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

No Splish Splash For P

PicMonkey Collage

Last weekend while at the hunt test we got Preacher out and had her do a bit of swimming in the pond as I knew it would be another two weeks before she got to have some water fun due to her spay surgery that she was going to have. She did have her spay surgery this past Tuesday you can read about it here and now we have to keep her out of the water! Try and tell her that!!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Canine Ovariohysterectomy – Preacher’s Procedure

Canine Ovariohysterectomy – Preacher’s Procedure

Canine Ovariohysterectomy otherwise known to the lay person as canine spay, known to us in the Veterinary field as OHE. This is a surgical sterilization process done on a female dog when they aren’t going to be used for breeding, the female dog’s ovaries and uterus are removed.
I won’t be using Preacher for my breeding program so I made the decision to spay her. When she was eight months old she was diagnosed with an assumed hereditary condition, that being said after a second opinion, talking with my doctors and much research I chose to do the right thing as a breeder and spay her. Living with an intact male and not wanting an unwanted pregnancy made my decision to spay Preacher just shy of one year old before she came into heat.

Follow along with her procedure that was done at my place of work Harmony Pet Clinic.
The night before surgery Preacher was fed her supper and then was held off food the next morning so she had an empty stomach for surgery. You want them to be fasted in case they vomit while under anesthesia as it will reduce the chance of aspiration causing aspiration pneumonia.

The morning of surgery she was weighted in so the medications administered could be calculated.IMG_0341

Blood was drawn for her pre-anesthetic bloodwork which was run on the clinics in house chemistry machine. The bloodwork is a 12 panel test that will include checking kidney and liver function which are the vital organs that will be removing the anesthetic given to her. It will also test for diabetes and other organ functions.


A hemaocrit was done to make sure she wasn’t anemic. The level of pre-anesthetic bloodwork done is based on the age of the animal.


A pre-surgical examination was done while the bloodwork was being analyzed. She needed to be healthy for this procedure so a general “check over” was done which included a head to toe exam, checking her color, listening to her heart, palpating her stomach, temperature taken and counting her respiration’s.IMG_0354

Once the results were in on her bloodwork and all was normal as well as a normal exam she was given a premedication to “take the edge off” so we could place a IV catheter. A IV catheter was placed for giving the induction anesthesia and for administrating IV fluids during the procedure.IMG_0360IMG_0358

Once the catheter was in place she was induced, a endotracheal tube was placed in her trachea so gas anesthetic could be administered during the procedure. IMG_0361 IMG_0362

Her abdomen was shaved to remove all the fur, it was then scrubbed with surgical soap to create a sterile surgical field. This was all being done while the surgeon scrubbed in herself for the surgery.


She was hooked up to the surgical monitors which monitored her heart rate, blood pressure and pulse O2. IV fluids were started also. Donning a hat, mask and sterile gloves Dr. Johansen was ready to spay Preacher while I assisted in surgery doing a visual and hands on monitoring as well as getting any supplies needed during the procedure.

A laser surgical unit was used instead of a scalpel blade for cutting into the abdomen and doing the procedure. The laser cuts and cauterizes so there is very minimal bleeding. Surgeries heal up much faster with this way of doing surgeries.


Once into the abdominal cavity the uterine horns were located, the ovaries were removed at this time along with the uterine horns and the uterine body. Once everything is removed, sutured and no bleeding the abdominal wall is then closed and then the skin layer. Surgical glue is then applied to the incision.

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Preacher was then taken to recovery where she was monitored again while waking up. Once she started swallowing the endotracheal tube was removed and she was kept warm while she recovered from her surgery. When she was fully recovered her IV catheter was removed, more pain medications were administrated and she waited until I was done with work and we both headed home.

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The discharge instructions were to feed small amount of food and water after I took her home since she would still be a bit groggy she shouldn’t have her full meal. She would be back to normal the following morning where her normal amount of food can be given. I am to look at her incision throughout the day and make sure there is no swelling, redness or discharge. She is to be kept from licking at her incision. If she licks she will need to wear a cone collar. She is not to have any bathes while recovering from her surgery. Recovery time is 10-14 days. She will need to be leashed walked and no playing with the other dogs. She will be given a pain medication twice a day for 5 days. There are no surgical sutures that will need to be removed but a surgery recheck will be done in 10-14 days. Once healed she will be able to go back to training.

13501862_10154023515914724_5670085782066398989_nPreacher is doing great after surgery. She gets to hang out on the bed for the next 10-14 days.

HRCH – Hunting Retriever Champion

Gambler became a  Hunting Retriever Champion this past weekend. He now adds HRCH to his registered name. The second highest level a dog can reach running UKC – HRC hunt tests.

Here are the titles a dog can earn while running UKC – HRC hunt tests.

GRHRCH – Grand Hunting Retriever Champion
HRCH – Hunting Retriever Champion
HR – Hunting Retriever
SHR – Started Hunting Retriever
UH – Upland Hunter

Gambler has not run any Upland Hunter tests nor has he been eligible before this weekend to run the Grand. Now that he has reached his 100pts needed to receive his HRCH he can now run the Grand  hunting event if we so choose to. Right at this time we will not be running the fall Grand. The Grand is run twice a year, once in the spring and again in the fall.

The Hunting Retrieving Club for those who don’t know what it is: Taken from the UKC website

“Conceived by Hunters for Hunters”. This is both the founding philosophy and the reality of the Hunting Retriever Club. Probably only a few people know the history behind the motto, but all people affiliated with the United Kennel Club and the Hunting Retriever Club should be aware of it because of HRC’s and UKC’s contributions to the world of the hunting retriever.

You can read the rest HERE.


Gambler started out on June 23 and 24, 2012 by passing 2 started tests, he then pasted 2 more tests on June 30 and July 1st to receive his SHR title. On June 23, 30 and August 3rd 2013 he passed 3 seasoned tests to receive his HR title. On August 9, 10 and 22nd 2015 then on June 18th 2016 he passed 4 finished tests to receive his HRCH title. Thanks go out to Gambler’s judges Dennis Maas and Pat Gysbers for putting on a nice finished test and for Horicon Marsh HRC for hosting the event.


This as you can see has been a work in progress. Along with running UKC-HRC hunt tests we have also been running AKC hunt tests as well as other performance and conformation events. All of Gambler’s foundation training has been done by me. John has run marks and blinds with Gambler on the day’s that I was out of town. I handled Gambler to his started and seasoned title while John handled him to his finished title. It was a combined effort that we couldn’t be prouder doing together. For anyone that has trained for and run hunt tests know that this is quite the accomplishment to be a amateur and have a dog compete and title to this caliber. Gambler is my first Chesapeake that I trained to this level. There were many times I wanted to give up and throw in the towel but I didn’t through all the failed tests I just picked myself up and trained harder, had more talks with Gambler and set out to win no matter how long it took us. I’ve learned there is no race to receive the titles what counts is what happens along the way, what you teach your dog, what your dog teaches you and the fun you have with your best friend. Gambler has humbled me in so many ways and I believe I am a better owner/trainer/handler because of it!

I’ll be honest and can’t say that I am sad he is now done running hunt tests. I am overjoyed that he is done and now we can move on to the white jackets (field trials).

A new adventure awaits us.


Without further ado let me introduce you to:

USJ HRCH U-GRCH Sand Spring Ev’ry Paw’s A Winner MH CGCA THDN TT

USJ – United Senior Jumper (UKC), HRCH – Hunting Retriever Champion (UKC) U-GRCH – Grand Champion (UKC), MH – Master Hunter (AKC), CGCA – Community Canine (AKC) THDN – Therapy Dog Novice (AKC) and TT – Temperament Test


Guilty And The Pheasant

We started introducing Guilty to birds. We started out with Pheasants as they are lighter and smaller than ducks.PicMonkey Collage At first she didn’t know what to think of this bird. She was a little apprehensive. PicMonkey Collage2 But once she figured out it wasn’t going to hurt her she was on it like no tomorrow.PicMonkey Collage3 She pranced around with her trophy.PicMonkey Collage4And pranced some more after a few more retrieves.

She is at a fun age right now, curious and doing what she was bred to do when she realizes it is alright.

Happy Father’s Day Gambler

Gambler being a new father this year to 10 little burr heads he would like to say Happy Father’s Day to all the human and fur dads!

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Did you see Gambler’s very special tie? This tie was sent to him by a online pal who follows Gamblers adventures, another chessie owner! The note that came with the tie says “I bought this tie for my husband 20 years ago and he never wore it. Not a very handsome depiction of our beloved chessie beasts. Hope to see a photo of Gambler J Sporting this tie for Father’s day. Keep on doing what you do best. Your joy, love, appreciation and humor is admirable and priceless…Kate

I can’t thank Kate enough for this tie. I am so honored that she wanted to Gambler to have it. I think the picture on it is fabulous and Gambler looks quite handsome in it. Thanks for being a great online friend! Happy Father’s Day!

black and white

We are joining Dachshund Nola & Sugar The Golden Retriever for the Black and White Sunday Blog Hop.