Check Your Vet-Pyrs

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Bountiful Farm - Great Pyrenees Livestock Guardian Dogs

If you've owned a Great Pyr for a while, hopefully you have a veterinarian who is familiar with your dog and knows the special needs of Great Pyrenees.  If you don't have a vet familiar with Great Pyrenees, you need to get one before an emergency arises.  If you are about to acquire your first Great Pyrenees, it only makes sense to select a vet that knows the breed.  We have read some really strange statements on various lists that have been credited to various veterinarians so we thought we'd develop a list of questions that would give you some material to help you decide if this vet was the one for you and your Pyr or if you'd better keep looking.

      1.   Is it OK to leave on these double dew claws or should we have them removed for safety's sake?

Desired response: No, you need to leave them on.  Click on  Double Dew Claws  to see all the reasons they need to be left on.

     2.   Does our Great Pyrenees need any special  consideration when being given a general anesthetic.

Desired Response:  Yes, the administration of general anesthetic appropriate to dogs of the size and weight of your Pyr can be lethal to Great Pyrenees.  If your vet is unfamiliar with this aspect of Great Pyrenees, or large/giant breeds of dogs in general, ensure s/he is willing to do some homework before he/she works on your dog. 

     3.  Are you familiar with working Livestock Guardian Dogs?

Desired Response:  Yes, Livestock Guardians lead a very different life from companion or sporting dogs.  This can affect their health in a variety of different ways.  If your vet is not familiar with what Livestock Guardians are or how they live, check to see if he or she is open minded or  suggests your concern is irrelevant.

     4.   Do I need to know anything special to use a castrating band on my dog (if you have a female dog, you may wish to rephrase this question so as to appear somewhat more knowledgeable).  

Desired Response:  You certainly can band your own dog and here are a few points you need to pay attention to.  (Click on Banding Your Dog)  It is true that dogs have a different anatomy than do goats (or sheep) and require more careful attention when banding,  but a vet that tells you you cannot band is either ignorant or greedy.

      5.   Do you practice early spay and neuter?

Desired Response:  Yes.  There is an overwhelming and scientific amount of data showing that early spay and neuter has no negative effects on the dog.  Vets who claim that it retards their growth or development simply have not kept up with current studies. Click on  

 for a wealth of information.  By the way, as an extra benefit veterinarians usually charge to spay or neuter by the weight of the dog, earlier is cheaper.

       6.   What kind of shelter do I need to get for my working Pyr?

Desired Answer:  Your Pyrenees will shelter with the stock it is guarding.  Your Pyr needs no special additional shelter.  

       7.   Is heartworm a threat in this area?  If it is, what do you recommend as a preventative?

Desired Answer:  The vet will either recommend high dollar pills to prevent heartworm or will tell you that Ivermectin Injectable given orally at the rate of 1 cc/100 pounds is an effective Heartworm preventative for Pyrenees.  Both choices are effective;  the difference is $9.73 a month for Interceptor versus $ 00.45 a month for Ivomec for a 75 pound dog   

Once again, we remind you that we are not veterinarians and, therefore, cannot dispense medical advice.  Specific items mentioned in these questions and answers are for comparison purposes only.  Do not administer medications without first consulting your veterinarian.  

Dan & Paula Lane
Copyright 2005 [Bountiful Farm]. All rights reserved.

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