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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bloat, the Mother of All Emergencies

Bloat, the Mother of All Emergencies
What you need to know about this life-threatening condition
Shea Cox, DVM | November 30, 2011

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There is no quicker way to jump to the front of the ER line
than if you walk into the hospital with a distended dog. Bloat is a
life-threatening condition that I treat frequently, and a good outcome is
time-dependent.

Last week, JoAnna Lou wrote about recognizing the signs
of bloat
and included an educational video of an Akita experiencing GDV (don’t worry, he
survived!). This topic elicited excellent comments and questions, prompting
me to want to expand upon it further. I hope to answer some of the questions
put forth by readers as well as dispel misconceptions that could potentially
harm your pet.

First, some vocabulary: Bloat is a condition when
the stomach fills with air and/or fluid (dilatation). This can progress to a
twisting of the stomach upon itself, called
GDV (gastric dilatation
volvulus). Bloat is often used to describe GDV, but there is a vast medical
difference. We’ll get to the details of GDV in a moment, but let’s start with
the most important take-home message:

If you even remotely suspect bloat or
GDV, take your dog to a veterinary hospital IMMEDIATELY!
What NOT to do:
            Do not give anything by mouth.

       Do not attempt to relieve gas
           from the stomach with medications or by other means.


A note about the use of Gas X: This medication may help to
reduce the amount of stomach gas in the case of “simple” bloat, but it will
do nothing to help your pet in the case of GDV. The problem with GDV is not
the gas, but the actual twisting of the stomach (think of a balloon being
twisted in half, like when a clown makes an animal figure). It is the twist
that kills, and a medication will not undo the deadly rotation of the
stomach. Please do not waste valuable life-saving moments waiting to see if
the medication helps! Taking an x-ray of your pet’s abdomen is the only way
to tell the difference between bloat and GDV, allowing for appropriate
intervention.
What is GDV and why is it so serious?
The twisted and bloated stomach presses on the major blood
vessels that carry blood back to the heart, stopping normal circulation and
sending the dog into shock. Making matters worse, the stomach tissue is
literally dying because it is stretched tightly and blood cannot circulate
through it. Intense pain is associated with this disease, causing the heart
to race at such a high rate that heart failure will result.

There can be no recovery until the stomach is surgically
untwisted and the gas is released. A dog with GDV will die in a matter of
hours unless surgery is performed. For each hour that goes by, there is a
greater risk for complications during surgery as well as during the recovery
period.


What are the signs of GDV or bloat?
The biggest clue is the vomiting: A dog with GDV appears highly nauseated and retches but little
comes up.

  • Drooling.
  • There is usually an obviously
    distended stomach, especially near the ribs, but this is not always
    evident depending on body configuration.
  • Anxiousness, agitation,
    restlessness and pacing.
  • Depressed attitude.
View some of these symptoms in the video we posted last week.

What dogs are at risk?
Classically, this condition affects deep-chested breeds, and dogs with deep chests that weigh more than 99 pounds have a 20 percent risk of bloat. Although a rare occurrence, I have also treated three
small-breed dogs for this condition in my ten-year career.

There are many theories regarding what triggers GDV, but
truly, no one really knows—it remains a veterinary medical mystery. Risk
factors, lifestyle and personality profiles that may
increase a dog’s potential for developing GDV have been identified
over the years and include:


        Feeding only one meal a day.
  • Having closely related family
    members with a history of GDV.
  • Eating rapidly.
  • Being thin or underweight.
  • Moistening dry foods
    (particularly if citric acid is listed as a preservative in the dry
    food).
  • Feeding from an elevated bowl.
  • Restricting water before and
    after meals.
  • Feeding a dry diet with animal
    fat listed in the first four ingredients. (Contrary to popular belief,
    cereal ingredients such as soy, wheat or corn, in the first four
    ingredients do not increase the risk.)
  • Fearful or anxious
    temperament.
  • History of aggression toward
    people or other dogs.
  • Male dogs are more likely to
    bloat than females.
  • Older dogs (7–12 years) are
    the highest risk group.
On the flip side, the following factors may decrease the risk of GDV:

         Inclusion of canned dog food
             in the diet.

  • Inclusion of table scraps in
    the diet.
  • Happy or easygoing temperament.
  • Feeding a dry food containing
    a calcium-rich meat meal listed in the first four ingredients.
  • Eating two or more meals per
    day as well as feeding a smaller kibble size.
  • Not breeding animals with a
    history of GDV in their lineage.
What else can I do?

For breeds with a high risk of bloat, a preventive surgery
called prophylactic gastropexy can be performed at the time of spay or
neuter. Gastropexy involves surgically “tacking down” the stomach to the
inside of the abdomen to prevent rotation. If your dog has already been
spayed or neutered, the same procedure can be done laparoscopically, and is
minimally invasive. I had this procedure performed on my own Dobie, Bauer. I
saw him bloat (and thankfully not twist!) one day at the park, and treated him
at work. The next day, I scheduled the laparoscopic procedure.
This is a same-day surgery with a quick and comfortable
recovery. In the Bay Area, the cost is generally $1,500–$2,000, which is far
cheaper than emergency surgery, and worth its weight in gold for peace of
mind. One of my biggest fears was to have Bauer bloat while I was away for
the day, only to return home to find I was too late.
It should be noted that gastropexy does not prevent future
bloat, but it does prevent future twisting, which is the deadly component of
the condition.


What is the prognosis?
Decades ago, a diagnosis of bloat was almost always a death
sentence, and only 25 percent of pets with bloat survived. Today, the
survival rate is better than 80 percent! Part of the reason for this is
increased owner awareness (go, pet parents!) leading to rapid intervention
and treatment. The earlier the veterinarian gets started with treatment, the
better chance for survival. Extremely aggressive medical and surgical
intervention early in the course of the disease has the most dramatic impact
on overall success.

This is a condition I see much too frequently, but I have to
say from personal experience, nearly all dogs return home (95 percent or
greater) with early and appropriate treatment.

Being the doting mom of two Dobies, this is a subject that
hits close to home, and one I have experienced personally. Thank you to
JoAnna for helping raise awareness of this all-too-common condition in our
large-breed babies. Feel free to ask questions; I am happy to further
elaborate on any area. For now, I’m off to hug my boy, being especially
thankful that he is with me today.


Article courtesy of BARK magazine and Dr. Shea Cox
http://thebark.com/content/bloat-mother-all-emergencies





Monday, November 28, 2011

Raising Indiana: Thanksgiving Edition

This is a very special podcast in that I talk to four new puppy parents, all of whom I'm deeply grateful for who helped Hudson and Murphy and I on our cross country trek for canine cancer and comparative oncology. It was a particularly tough podcast since this is my first Thanksgiving without Murphy and why it was late. Damn I just miss him and although we had a blessed weekend, damn I just miss him. I have Indiana now and isn't that the spirit of Thanksgiving to bow our heads in silence for the ones we've lost but be grateful for the ones in our lives?

While I'm still trying to understand it all, listen to Kerry, Buddy, Patty, and Nicole talk about how their new puppies have changed their lives...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

4 Puppies in a Tent-Buddy's Story

Sabrina
Fonto
Buddy & Sabrina



Author, Buddy Brock



In April my Great Pyrenees female, Drea, passed suddenly
from twisted intestines just before her 5th birthday. I was devastated and mourned her
passing. My male, Fonto, who was a year
older than Drea went into a depression too.






Six weeks later a wonderful Facebook friend, Robbin Sneddon, and her husband
Kerry from New Jersey posted a picture of a 12 week old Pyr puppy in a Texas rescue
that a friend, Pamela Pyle, was fostering after the Texas Great Pyrenees Rescue
had rescued 3 sister pups from a dog pound.







I saw the picture and fell in love but then saw it was $350 to adopt her and
$200 to fly her to my home in Washington
State
, plus the cost of a
kennel. And the logistics to get her
from the Texas-Oklahoma border to the Dallas
airport. My hopes were soon dashed as I
couldn't afford her.




I posted to Robbin that she
was darling but I couldn't afford her...then the Magic started!



Robbin put out a plea for help
between facebook friends. Within minutes
people were chiming in that they were willing to send money, arrange transportation,
do vet checks, and anything else that it would take to get my Sabrina to
me! Kerry Sneddon contacted the people
at the Texas
rescue and sent them the full amount of the adoption to put a hold on Sabrina till
I could go through the adoption screening. Jay Revees form Arkansas fronted the $200 for the
flight. Jo Anna Perkins of Dallas arranged to pick
her up, buy her a kennel and take her to the airport. And special people from around the country
and Canada
started sending money to Kerry to help the cause! I would like to thank Vicki, Bonnie, Jay , Robbin
and Kerry, Jo Anna, Joyce, Erika, Marcia, Maureen, Deborah, Sherry, Jacquie and
Janet and others that contributed time and money for making this fairytale come
true!!! And a special thanks to Becky and Pamela of the Texas Great Pyrenees
Rescue for saving Sabrina and her 2 sisters that were scheduled to be put to
sleep.



Thank all of the rescues across country for saving lives!!



Buddy is a board member of http://www.2milliondogs.org/
and organizer of the 2 Million Dogs’ Puppy Up!
Walk in Washington
State
.



To learn more about Texas
Great Pyrenees Rescue visit http://www.txpyrs.org/TGPRescue/index.jsp.






4 Puppies in a Tent-Nicole's Story

Thatcher, his friend Olive and Dakota
Nicole with Thatcher & Dakota, courtesy Dan Rapoza Photography
Cooper & Dempsey



Author, Nicole Fernandes






Lesson I learned from my puppy: "How to save a
Life"






Losing your pup is one of the hardest things, but when your pup loses both of her brothers in 14 months
then what? How do you explain it to her and help her through it?






My sweet chocolate Lab Dakota had spent her life with her
big brother Cooper (Bull mastiff) and her baby brother Dempsey (Frenchie). The
3 of them were absolutely inseparable. When we lost Cooper to cancer in April
of 2010, Dakota was devastated and it took weeks for her to become herself
again. Then this past June we suddenly lost Dempsey and Dakota's heart was
completely broken. Her pack was gone and she was alone.






I own a doggie daycare which Dakota has many friends at, but
they were not "Hers". People who think “come on, it's just a dog",
they have no idea the heartbreak to watch your dog stop playing, stop eating
and the saddest thing of all stop living.






So what do you do? How do you help her?






I tired different flower essence for grief it did nothing. Dakota
was going down fast, she had lost 9lbs in 1 month. In speaking with her
veterinarian I did not have many options I was losing her. Her vet and I had
discussed putting her on an anti- depressant, which neither of us wanted to do.






My vet then said I know you may not be ready, but I think
the only thing that will help her is to get her a puppy. You can never replace
what she's lost BUT you can bring a little piece of love back into her world!






Baby Thatcher walked into our home and saved my Dakota's life.
As much as our hearts are breaking for the loss, our pups grieve just as deeply
and sometimes as I learned even deeper.






An Unconditional Love is not only felt between people, it's
felt between souls.






Nicole began http://www.anunconditionallove.com/ in 2010
when Cooper was diagnosed with cancer.
She is also the owner of http://pawzdoggiedaycare.com/ and a board
member of http://www.2milliondogs.org/.





Welcoming An Adopted Dog into Your Home?







Welcoming an Adopted Dog into
Your Home?



Love Has No
Age
Limit the latest from Patricia McConnell
and Karen London should be attached to the collar of every newly adopted dog,
five months and older!



ATTENTION RESCUES & SHELTERS; Deeply
discounted for shelters and rescue organizations, Love Has No
Age Limit
is affordable, accessible and destined to help
more dogs find and stay in their forever homes.



Read
an excerpt from the book:



Meeka is our 1 year old Border Collie. She was found in southern Illinois as a stray when
she was only 3 months old. She was rescued by
Midwest
Border Collie Rescue
where she stayed with a foster family for a little
over a month. A friend told me about her, so I looked her up online. When my
husband and I saw her and read about her online, we just had to meet her. We
loved her from the first time we met her. She did come with a small handful of
issues, including resource guarding, some fear issues, & car chasing/motion
sensitivity. We've worked through almost everything now. Most people we meet
can’t believe she’s a rescue dog. She enjoys playing with her little brother,
Ralphie the Papillon, even though it took about a month to convince him it
might be fun to play. She also loves walks, hiking, running in the fields,
swimming, learning new tricks, training for agility & obedience, and is
always up for a good cuddle. She is a blast and we couldn't have found a better
pup! -Shannon Baade

This post is courtesy of Dr. McConnells' website theotherendoftheleash.com. Please visit for more information on animal behavior and training.




Miko





Miko




Great Pyrenees/Husky Mix: An adoptable dog
in Utica, NY




Please
come visit me at the Stevens-Swan Humane Society or call to find out about me
at 738-4357.



More
about Miko



Spayed/Neutered
• Up-to-date with routine shots



Miko's
Contact Info



Stevens-Swan Humane
Society of Oneida County
, Utica,
NY








Amie





Amie




Great Pyrenees: An adoptable dog in Lee, MA




Amie is a pretty 10 year old
lady. She absolutely loves people and is a real sweet heart. She loves it when
you tell her how pretty she is and give her good ear rubs, and just shower her
with your love. We have found that Amie does NOT like other dogs or cats, so
she will need to be an only pet in your home. She walks well on a leash and
knows basic obedience. She will need a caring home where she can be your
companion and the center of your attention! The beauty of a Great Pyrenees can
take your breath away, but they are unique dogs which require dedicated owners
who have thoroughly researched the traits of the breed. Feel free to visit our
website at www.nepyresq.org for information to start your journey!

Northeast Pyrenees Rescue only sponsors dogs from New England and New York for placement
in homes in our region. If you are interested in meeting Amie, please complete
our application at http://www.nepyresq.org/adopapp.htm. Please include any
questions in the comments field of the application. Keep in mind that we are a
volunteer organization and encourage serious inquiries only.



More
about Amie



Spayed/Neutered
• Up-to-date with routine shots • House trained • Prefers a home without: cats,
dogs, young children



Amie's
Contact Info



Northeast Pyr Rescue
(NEPR)
,
Lee, MA








Maximus





Maximus




Great Pyrenees: An adoptable dog in Aurora,
CO




Maximus is a 9 year old,
White, male Great Pyrenees. He is a great big, furry teddy bear and he will be
getting groomed soon so we'll update pics after his trip to the barber. He does
have a Thyroid condition but it is easily managed with inexpensive medication
given daily. Maximus and his brother, Paylar, were the victims of the economy
and have been well loved most of their lives until their owners fell on hard
times. He will be getting a refresher course on house training because he has
mostly been an outside dog but he is very smart and knows sit, stay, down,
wait, and let's go. He is a typical Pyr barker when outside and would be
happiest with a big yard to patrol, but he is quiet and a couch potato and well
behaved when inside the house. Maximus has a wonderful temperament and gets
along well with other dogs, cats, and kids. Maximus and Paylar are both seniors
and have been together their entire lives so we would love to keep them
together if possible and are willing to offer a reduced adoption fee. To see
the most up to date adoption status of this dog please visit
www.bigdogshugepaws.com






More
about Maximus



Spayed/Neutered
• Up-to-date with routine shots • Primary color: White or Cream • Coat length:
Long



Maximus's
Contact Info



Big Dogs Huge Paws, inc, Aurora, CO








Paylar





Paylar




Great Pyrenees: An adoptable dog in Aurora,
CO




Paylar is a 9 year old,
White, male Great Pyrenees. He is a great big, furry teddy bear and he will be
getting groomed soon so we'll update pics after his trip to the barber. He has
a very submissive personality. Paylar and his brother, Maximus, were the victims
of the economy and have been well loved most of their lives until their owners
fell on hard times. He will be getting a refresher course on house training
because he has mostly been an outside dog but he is very smart and knows sit,
stay, down, wait, and let's go. He is a typical Pyr barker when outside and
would be happiest with a big yard to patrol, but he is quiet and a couch potato
and well behaved when inside the house. Paylar has a wonderful temperament and
gets along well with other dogs, cats, and kids. Paylar and Maximus are both
seniors and have been together their entire lives so we would love to keep them
together if possible and are willing to offer a reduced adoption fee. To see
the most up to date adoption status of this dog please visit
www.bigdogshugepaws.com






More
about Paylar



Spayed/Neutered
• Up-to-date with routine shots • Primary color: White or Cream • Coat length:
Long



Paylar's
Contact Info



Big Dogs Huge Paws, inc, Aurora, CO









Sophie




Sophie




Great Pyrenees: An adoptable dog in Aurora,
CO




Sophie is a beautiful, 9 year
old, White, female Great Pyrenees. She is house trained and cratetrained, and
she can be trusted with free roam. She is a perfect angel when alone who is not
a chewer and does not jump up on furniture. Sophie loves bones and bully sticks
and will do anything to get a cookie treat! You might not be able to find her
when there is thunder, but eventually shell come back out from hiding! She has
a submissive personality and is great with other dogs, despite her past
fur-friends aggression toward her. She doesnt have a mean bone in her body and
with her love of children and adults alike, shed make a wonderful family pet.
Her foster parents will be testing her with cats but we can't imagine she would
have any issues given her gentle, sweet, loving nature. To see the most up to
date adoption status of this dog please visit www.bigdogshugepaws.com This is
just one of hundreds of gentle giants available for adoption at BDHPI! It is
best not to get your heart set on any one particular dog upfront because there
is no guarantee they will still be available once you are approved or that they
are even the right match for your family. Purebred puppies are only eligible
for adoption to giant breed experienced homes.






More
about Sophie



Spayed/Neutered
• Up-to-date with routine shots • House trained • Primary color: White or Cream



Sophie's
Contact Info



Big Dogs Huge Paws, inc, Aurora, CO









Hilary




HILARY




Great Pyrenees: An adoptable dog in New
Bothwell, MB




HILARY was found as a stray
along the busy Trans Canada
Highway
. Approximately 6-8 yrs old, extremely laid
back quiet girl. Does well with the other dogs and cats. She does enjoy the
company of people and seems to be more settled in an outdoor enclosed area/dog
run than inside the home when left alone. Fencing is extremely important for
Great Pyrenees. No invisible fencing, only secure visible fencing.






More
about HILARY



Spayed/Neutered
• Up-to-date with routine shots • House trained • Primary color: White or Cream
• Coat length: Long



HILARY's
Contact Info



Manitoba Great Pyrenees Rescue, New Bothwell, MB









A Dog's Christmas




A
Dog’s Christmas



Author, Jan Casey



According to the
American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, 44.8% of households in the U.S.
owned a dog in 2006. From their survey, that equates to approximately 73.9
million dogs. They report “The overall majority of pet owners buy their pet a
gift, usually for Christmas or often for no occasion at all, spending an
average of almost $20.00 per pet gift.” Now that you see you are in good
company, what will you buy for your dog?



An article sent to me by
Bob McMillan of the Herald-Citizen prompted the topic for this column. The AP
wire service published a story about the latest offerings for the doggie
in-crowd. Included were puppooses (crocheted slings in which to carry your dog
across your chest), non-alcoholic dog beer, and wigs for dogs. Wigs for dogs?
As if they didn’t already leave enough hair behind. Rather than send you on a
search for these people-pleasing as opposed to dog- pleasing gifts, I have some
suggestions to make.



Most dogs like toys.
There are the usual toys – balls, stuffed plush animals, Frisbees, to name a
few. Better than those, look at toys that not only exercise the body, but also
the canine mind. Buster cubes, Kongs which can be stuffed with food, and treat
dispensing balls are great. For owners and dogs who know the rules of tugging
(a must before you play tug), a new tuggy toy or combination tug/leash is
great. For dogs that are well-socialized with both people and other dogs, a
gift of doggie day care would be wonderful. How about a sandbox for digging?



Food gifts are also high
on the list as dog gift favorites. Due to recent and ongoing scares within the
pet food industry, my first suggestion is to get online and research some
homemade doggie treats. There is such a wide variety of treats available with
just about every conceivable ingredient. Of course, if you think the smell of
baking liver or tuna might not add much to the wonderful smells of Christmas in
your house, check out some of the wholesome treats available through some of
the local retailers here. A few retailers subscribe to the Whole Dog Journal
which tracks the quality of pet foods and stock only the best suggested foods.
As the Journal does not accept advertisements, it can report in a completely
unbiased way.



While I doubt I would
find equipment on your dog’s wish list, it is something many folks give to
their pets at Christmas. You could make your selection more appealing to your
pet if you replace any aversive equipment (choke collars, prong collars, shock
collars) with more dog friendly equipment. There are wonderful new anti-pull
harnesses out there such as the Easy Walk and Sensi if you have a dedicated
puller. Many of the smaller dogs in my classes have arrived sporting very
flashy material harnesses, a great alternative to collars that can easily
damage tender throats and tracheas.



Of all my
recommendations, I most strongly suggest you give your dog the gift of more
time, not just during the holidays, but all year long. Dogs are social
creatures who want to be a part of the family. Buy yourself a book on games to
play with your dog. Enroll in a class with your dog – take something fun like
agility, flyball, or Rally-O. If your dog is lacking manners, take a basic
manners class that emphasizes building your relationship with your dog as well
as learning behaviors which make them more welcome companions. Commit to
walking a little more with your dog. It will do you both good. When the weather
is nasty, have some good inside games. Hide the dog’s toys. Make it easy at
first by showing the dog where you are hiding the toy, then ask him to find it.
As the dog gets good at this, make it harder. There is a game called 100 things
to do with a box. Set out an ordinary cardboard box and shape your dog into doing
different things with that box. Teach your old (or new) dog some tricks.
Nothing makes clients more tickled than to see their pups learning to hit the
Staples Easy button for a treat or learning a simple shake hands. There are
plenty of books available on trick training.



Christmas is a season
for giving. If you have the available funds, please remember the animal
organizations in the area that need donations – both money and goods – for the
many animals that will not be a part of someone’s Christmas celebration at
home. If you don’t have a dog or any other pet with which to share your life,
give yourself one of the best gifts ever – adopt a pet in need of a home.
You’ll get more back than you can ever imagine.



Jan Casey is a
reward-based trainer in Florida
at Courteous Canine, Inc. www.courteouscanine.com
and owner of Smiles and Wags Pet Services
www.smilesandwags.com. Mrs.
Casey is a member of the Association of Animal
Behavior Professionals.
Mrs.
Casey is a columnist for the Cookeville,
Tennessee
Herald-Citizen Pet
Pages
and Kid's Korner .
This column was originally written for the Herald-Citizen www.herald-citizen.com.










Dakota





Dakota




Great Pyrenees: An adoptable dog in
Stockbridge, MI




Great
Pyrenees are confident, gentle and
affectionate family companions. Originally bred for guarding flocks and family.
While territorial and protective of his flock and family when necessary, his
general demeanor is one of quiet composure, both patient and tolerant. The Pyrenees is strong willed, independent and somewhat
reserved, yet attentive, fearless, and loyal to his charges both human and
animal. Dakota, 9 yr great pyrenees. Excellent house dog, good with kids and
other dogs and cats. Very healthy and sound, up to date with all vet work.
Housbroken and crate trained. Would make a great therapy dog prospect.



More
about Dakota



Spayed/Neutered
• Up-to-date with routine shots • House trained



Dakota's
Contact Info



Michigan Great Pyrenees Rescue, Stockbridge, MI








Bailey Bear




Bailey Bear




Great Pyrenees: An adoptable dog in Houston,
TX




Texas
Great Pyrenees Rescue, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to Great Pyrs.
We have the best selection of pyrs in Texas
and we do home checks and vet checks before placement. We start with adoption
applications (no cost/obligation) and we make placements on a first
submitted-first approved basis.

If you are interested in giving this dog a new home, please complete an
adoption form found at http://www.txpyrs.org



More
about Bailey Bear



Spayed/Neutered
• Up-to-date with routine shots • House trained • Primary color: White or Cream
• Coat length: Long



Bailey
Bear's Contact Info



Texas Great Pyrenees
Rescue, Inc.
,
Houston, TX









Zena




Zena




Great Pyrenees: An adoptable dog in Houston,
TX




Zena is an older girl about 7
years old whose family had to give her up due to health concerns with her
owner. She is loving and rarely barks. She will make a lovely addition to a
quiet and caring home.



Texas Great Pyrenees Rescue, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to
Great Pyrs. We have the best selection of pyrs in Texas and we do home checks and vet checks
before placement. We start with adoption applications (no cost/obligation) and
we make placements on a first submitted-first approved basis.

If you are interested in giving this dog a new home, please complete an
adoption form found at
http://www.txpyrs.org






More
about Zena



Spayed/Neutered
• Up-to-date with routine shots • House trained • Primary color: White or Cream
• Coat length: Long



Zena's
Contact Info



Texas Great Pyrenees
Rescue, Inc.
,
Houston, TX