Our Canaan Dogs

Joshua

Josh

Born: 21st May 2003
Colour: Black
Sex: Dog

Health
Hydrocephalus

Joshua, unlike all our other puppies, has not been tattooed or registered with The Kennel Club, but he is a very special boy and stayed with us.

Joshua suffered from a condition called Hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain). This condition can be either congenital (born with it) or acquired any time after birth. Whilst it can be an inherited problem in some toy breeds, such as the Chihuahua, as far as we can find out, there has been no other recorded case in Canaan Dogs, and we believe it was just one of those sad glitches that Mother Nature throws on us from time to time.

We first noticed that something was “different” when Josh was about a week old, so we do not know if it was congenital or acquired. It was when Josh was 2½ weeks old that we realised he had hydrocephalus. With intensive research on hydrocephalus in dogs, we knew the prognosis was not good, and everything we learned about it was bad news. So it was with very heavy hearts that we called our vet, Jim, out.

Jim duly called round that afternoon and confirmed our diagnosis. But he shocked us by saying we should give the puppy a chance. Everything I had researched said this was not a good idea, but if Jim thought he should have a chance then we would give him just that. So we gave him another two weeks, really believing that we would still have to have him put to sleep at the end of that time. In the meantime, we had to make a dreaded telephone call to tell somebody that, although we had said they could have a puppy, there wasn’t one available now. It was a terrible call to make and I felt awful letting somebody down.

Less than one week later we knew that we wouldn’t be making that dreaded phone call to Jim. It was obvious that Joshua loved life and he was so full of determination! His only problem was balance and co-ordination. It was then that Pam hit on the brilliant idea of hydrotherapy! So once a day we filled the bath and plonked poor Joshua into it. We could definitely see an improvement.

Joshua grew into a very handsome Canaan Dog, and would have done well in the showring if he hadn’t kept falling over, ha ha ha. When he stood still he would wobble and, if not supported, would fall over. He learned to deal with this simply by leaning against walls. He loved to trot and run in the fields, with the centrifugal force keeping him upright, and was always such a happy boy. We know that some people criticised us for trying, but it was because of us that he came into this world, and it is our responsibility that we care for him for as long as he is happy and loves life.

Josh lived until he was 10 years old, when his balance finally became so poor that he could no longer get up. We never felt sorry for Josh. He had a good life and he was so happy.

One thing that did strike us is that when his dam, Stella, was in whelp carrying him and his litter, they happened to be crop-spraying in the field next door and the air was thick with chemicals. Whilst there is no scientific proof that crop-spraying does cause problems, there has been enough circumstantial evidence to suggest it does. We understand that certainly in humans hydrocaephalus has indeed been seen in babies born after their mother has been near crop-spraying whilst carrying.

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