Monday, November 16, 2009


As you know we attended a Chris Zink DVM, Ph.D seminar in Huntsville Alabama. It was about performance dog structure, gaiting, fitness, and soundness. I learned a few interesting things:

  • Spay/Neuter - Spaying and neutering should not take place until the dog is at least 14 months old. Estrogen and testosterone are needed to close growth plates. If the dog is "fixed" early there are no hormones to tell the bones to stop growing. Therefore, the dog may continue to grow over an extended period of time causing bones to grow out of proportion making the dog prone to hip dysplasia and knee injuries. I am glad I waited until Reagan was 26 months old. Those of us that rescue greyhounds are lucky because they are generally not "fixed" before 18 months.

  • Cross cantering - Dogs mostly cross canter. Dr. Zink called it a rotary canter. When horses canter, they lead with the inside front and hind legs. For example, if the horse is circling left, the left front leg and the left hind leg will lead the others. Here is a picture of Travis doing a traditional canter on the dog walk on his left lead. However, dogs will often canter on one lead in front and the opposite lead in the rear. This has always driven me crazy since I have a horse background and cross cantering does not seem correct. This was the best photo I could find of cross cantering. Reagan is clearly on the right lead in the rear. In front, the right front will land next and the left front leg will extend further out before landing and is thus the lead leg. Dr. Zink assures us that cross cantering is normal for dogs. Thank goodness for that!