AKC Canine Health Foundation Launches Educational Series on Field and Hunting Dog Health Awareness


The AKC Canine Foundation (CHF) today kicks off a public awareness campaign focused on Field and Hunting Dog Health Awareness. This six week series will highlight three main health issues of particular concern to field trial and hunting dog owners: Grass Awn Migration Disease, Leptospirosis, and Ehrlichiosis. Grass Awn Migration Disease, or “Mean Seed” disease as it is commonly called, is caused when barbed grass seeds (or the bacteria they carry) enter a dog’s airway or skin and damage healthy tissue. Leptospirosis is a contagious disease of humans and animals caused by the bacterium Leptospira and is transmitted through contaminated water. Finally, Ehrlichiosis occurs after tick-borne transmission of the bacteria Ehrlichia and causes symptoms similar to Lyme’s disease. All three infectious diseases are life-threatening when not diagnosed and treated rapidly.

“While any dog may be diagnosed with these health issues, sporting dogs that are out in fields and other natural areas are more likely to be at risk,” said Dr. Shila Nordone, CHF Chief Scientific Officer. “Our goal during this series is to educate dog owners about the research being done in the field to help address these health concerns, and to educate all dog owners about the signs and symptoms associated with these diseases.”

Since 1995 CHF has funded research in a variety of areas that affect active dogs such as cruciate ligament disease, osteoarthritis, and infectious disease.  Last year the Foundation reaffirmed its commitment to the active dog by launching the Canine Athlete Initiative (CAI) which will provide grants for cutting-edge research into orthopedic concerns, proper nutrition and conditioning to achieve maximum performance while preventing injury, and innovative rehabilitation techniques. The CAI also strives to educate the public on the joys of participating in canine athletic events, as well as the value of preventive examinations and optimal nutrition to keep all dogs at the top of their game.

The Field and Hunting Dog Health Awareness campaign runs August 7 – September 13 and uses social media and online outreach, podcasts and website features to promote information on each of these health concerns. The podcasts to be released during this campaign include:

  • August 8 - Dr. William Lauenroth discusses his CHF-funded research on “mean seeds” and the role they play in Grass Awn Migration Disease.
  • August 22 - Dr. Janet Foley discusses her CHF-funded research which looks at the risk factors for and clinical characteristics of Leptospirosis.
  • September 5 – Dr. Rebecca Trout Fryxell discusses her new CHF grant which involves the tick-borne disease, Ehrlichiosis.
  • September 12 – Dr. Joe Spoo discusses health concerns specific to gun dogs, dangers to be aware of when in the woods or field, and ways that dog owners can be prepared to prevent and treat injury.

To keep up-to-date on podcast releases, articles, and facts during CHF’s Field and Hunting Dog Health Awareness campaign, like CHF on Facebook, follow CHF on Twitter at @CanineHealthFnd, or connect with CHF on LinkedIn.

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