Welcome to Shiba-Nunu

There is no real English word such as "Nunu", though privately, Nunu is a silly term of endearment my husband coined for our shiba inu, Mya, and all her shiba antics.

She is, then, our very own Shiba Nunu!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Manila's Atopic Shibas

I have read a number of times that one shouldn't let emotions rule when purchasing a puppy, and also, not to buy from a petshop because most likely, you will end up patronizing a puppymill and with your hands full, your emotions drained, and your wallet empty.

Breaking the Rules
I broke rule #1 because getting Mya was an emotional decision for me.  But then again, opening up your family to a new member requires one's heart's involvement too. 

I broke rule #2 because when I got Mya from a petshop, I knew the petshop was the breeder as well. I thought that there was a difference.  I didn't know any better.

The most responsible thing I did before deciding to get her was had her checked by a veterinarian.  The vets said that she had a cough and they found a dead ear mite on her.  When I asked if it was a cause for alarm, she said the cough can be treated with antibiotics (I had no idea what kennel cough was)  and the ear mite was already dead and so it's not a cause for alarm.

I brought Mya home that day with medications I just purchased- my first purchase after getting her.  I didn't know that was the first of countless vet visits and medications for numerous conditions she would have.

The Cost of Breaking the Rules

Kennel Cough- She did not get well from her kennel cough until more than a month from the time she came home.  We had to use 3 different antibiotics on her, and then a bacterial sensitivity test to find the right antibiotics

Reverse Sneezing- A puppy who is reverse sneezing is not a pretty sight.  Check it out on youtube.

Demodex- Upon turning 6 months of age, Mya got demodectic mange.  A hereditary immune system inability to resolve the exposure to demodex mites on its own.  Most dogs already have demodex mites living in their skin even as a puppy, but will not show signs of demodex, unless it is genetically incapable of resisting it.

Hyper-Thyroid-  Mya's Thyroid only normalized when she turned 1 1/2 years old. Apparently, this condition is exteremely rare among dogs- hypo-thyroid being common. 

High Creatinin and BUN-  In blood tests, these are good indications to the overall health of the kidneys. Incidentally, this organ's cells do not regenerate.  So any damage to the kidneys are permanent.  Common in older dogs who are nearing their time, but for a puppy?

Hyper-active, Acidic Stomach- This is not uncommon to dogs who go hungry for prolonged hours, but for a dog to vomit bile and stomach acid every morning, and now needing 4 small meals a day to keep vomiting at bay?  That's special.  (Edit: Oct 15, 2010 Vet suspects Mya to have stomach ulcer from too much acidity.  She vomited acid and blood after refusing to eat breakfast)

Truth in Kibbles
Before bringing her home I asked the care-taker at the shop what they fed Mya, so I could buy her the same type of food and have an easy transition.  He said she ate Eukanuba Lamb and Rice.  They also sent some re-packed kibbles with her which should be good for a few days.  When I bought Eukanuba Lamb and Rice for puppies and compared it with what they sent, it was totally different.  Maybe they were actually feeding her something even cheaper, or they were feeding the 12 week old puppy adult food. 

Reporting Demodex
Upon getting Mya's demodex daignosis, I immediately, and in good faith sent text messages to the care-taker of the shop to tell him that he should inform the breeder that Mya has demodex. This info should have been appreciated because then this would help them identify which sire and dam are not appropriate for their breeding program.  I did not get any response.  Not even "thank you for letting us know". 

Asking About Allergies
When Mya turned one, I tried to contact them again to ask what possible allergies Mya could have based on the allergies of the dam and sire, but I got no answer.  I wasn't surprised anymore.  Because as soon as I brought Mya home, they never answered any of my messages. 

Now that she has Atopic Dermatitis, I have no one to blame but her breeder, and am helpless to know that they are continuing to breed shibas with atopy because they couldn't care less or can not understand the magnitude of this genetic predisposition.  Soon, the Philippines will have many shibas with atopy in their bloodline. Soon many dog owners who love their shibas as much as I love Mya will be going through this predicament.  It's easy to be a breeder, but difficult to be a responsible one.  Don't get me wrong-  I love my furkid, and I have nothing but praise about her temperament, but why did she have to come with so many health problems?

The shiba inu is a Japanese National Treasure and it is sad that people who got their hands on them don't quite give justice to the breed.  Breeding is not simply about conformation or temperament. Health is a major consideration.

How can a dog exhibit these traits when she's so itchy that her tail can't even curl up anymore?
  • "spirited boldness" (悍威 kan'i?)
  • "good nature" (良性 ryōsei?)
  • "artlessness" (素朴 soboku?)

So many people have asked me where I got Mya.  Complete strangers have even found me online to ask where I got her, but I never told them because I don't want them to be supporting a puppymill disguised as a responsible, award-winning breeder.  Let me just leave this long and "angstful" entry with the name of her Sire and Dam.  Before you get a shiba, it's up to you to check and steer clear.

Sire:  Zippy of Ming Dog House FCI (ROC)
Dam:  Jerboa of Ming Dog House FCI (ROC)
Mya:  Lombija's Forest Bright (AKC)

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