Pledge for Pippa – Stop Alabama Rot

Jessica Worthington recently got in touch with this pledge, which we felt we should share with our pack. Grab a coffee and take a minute to learn a little more about Alabama Rot.

What is CRGV?
Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV or ‘Alabama rot’) is a serious disease which has only recently been recognised in dogs in the UK. It causes lesions on the skin and occasionally in the mouth, which can look like bites, sores, wounds or stings. Some dogs go on to develop life-threatening kidney failure. Any age, sex, or breed of dog can be affected. The disease has been under investigation by Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists (working closely with a number of other organisations) for as long as the disease has been in the UK. Many possible causes, such as common bacterial infections and exposure to toxins, have been ruled out.

CRGV is a disease caused by damage to blood vessels of the skin and kidney. It causes tiny blood clots to form in the blood vessels which blocks them and can ultimately lead to damage of the affected tissue. In the skin, this causes ulceration; however, in the kidney it can lead to severe organ dysfunction (kidney failure). CRGV has not been seen in animals other than dogs. Owners of dogs affected by CRGV have not been affected by this illness in these cases.

CRGV- The facts
CRGV has been known since the late 1980’s in the USA. Since 2012 there have been 94 confirmed cases across the UK including in the New Forest area where the disease first became apparent. Unfortunately the disease cannot be confirmed unless a fatality occurs. The definitive diagnosis of CRGV is made by histopathological assessment of the kidneys at post mortem.

The cause at this time remains unknown but investigations are ongoing, an environmental cause for this disease is considered possible but it has not been proven with testing to date. Recent work by the senior curator of herbology, from the Natural History Museum, suggests that plants are an unlikely trigger for CRGV. Since 2012, more CRGV cases have been seen between November and May than between June and October, suggesting a possible Winter / Spring seasonality.

Treatment Options
CRGV is treated symptomatically. Skin lesions are usually managed with antibiotics to stop secondary infection and daily blood testing is indicated to check kidney function. Patients usually undergo intravenous fluid therapy to help support the kidneys during their hospital stay. Urine output is monitored and urine is tested to check protein levels. If evidence of kidney injury becomes apparent then there are various treatment options, many of which are very invasive and high risk. Treatments include
• Plasma Exchange- A process in which the patient’s blood is removed from the body, separated and plasma removed and replaced for donor plasma.
• Plasma transfusions- In which donor plasma is infused into the circulatory system.
• Dialysis- Which uses an artificial device to clean the blood of waste products.
Unfortunately despite numerous treatment options prognosis is still very grave. If a patient with CRGV develops kidney injury there is a ninety percent fatality rate.

Pippa’s story
I lost my beautiful dog Pippa to this cruel disease on the 15th December 2015 after an innocent, fun walk in the woods with my other dog Molly. They both developed skin lesions but 4 days later Pippa started to show signs of kidney damage.

Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists referred her to the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals (RVC) for Plasma Exchange, plasma transfusion and Dialysis treatment. Despite intensive and aggressive treatment, the disease had taken over and she could not be saved. My dogs are my absolute world and this disease has left me truly, truly heartbroken. I am without my baby girl and Molly is without her sister.

Fundraising
A few weeks at home living without Pippa urged me to start fundraising to help develop research into this relatively unknown disease. I do not want any other dog owners to feel the heartache that I am living with.

All money raised will be donated to The Alabama Rot Research Fund. Research into new diseases requires a lot of funding. This pays for the development of new diagnostic tests, investigation of the causes of the disease and ultimately the development of more effective treatments which could help numerous dogs in the future.

Pippa’s charity facebook page is ‘Pledge for Pippa. Stop Alabama Rot’
For information regarding the charity and disease www.arrf.co.uk is that best place to go.

Clash of the K9s -An Intro to this Worldwide Sporting Dog Event

Recently some of our sponsored pack members entered “Clash of the K9s”, a fantastic event where borders and breed are no boundary. Keeley, one of the Sporting Dogs England team tells us about the event:

“Clash of the K9s is a large organised event spread across several countries where any breed can compete, there are 5 disciplines the dogs have to complete.

Track mill; track mill is a very basic discipline, it’s a continuous string held high from the ground attached to 2 wheels on poles and a bag tied to the string, the handler uses a peddle or remote to move the bag around in the air so the dog runs back and forth, the distance of each run is 100 ft or about 30 mtrs, they do this for 7 mins and each run counted, your score is how many runs the dog gets in 7 mins.

A-Frame
A-Frame
A-Frame and long jump are disciplines that more people are familiar with as they are common at agility events although the way we score a-Frame is how many overs in 60 seconds and the dog has to complete 3 rounds. The dogs score is all 3 A-Frames together. Long jump is how far the dog jumps in 7 mins divided by the dogs body height and then X 10,

High Jump Canine Athletics
High Jump
Then we have high jump where the dogs have to jump up and grab a toy, they get 7 mins to get the best height they can, the distance jumped is then divided by the dogs body height and then X by 10.

Lastly we do tug of war where dogs are paired with dogs of similar ability and weight, each dog gets a toy and they hold on for a max of 20 mins, points are scored for how long (up to a max of 20 mins) a dog will hold on for.

The competition isn’t generally for your average pet dog; all the dogs that compete are trained to a high standard of fitness and ability.
Sporting dogs England who are sponsored by Akela took part in the event and placed well worldwide against 168.
We are hoping this competition gets bigger every year, all breed events are rare and it is even rarer to have a competition in several countries on the same weekend with live results.”

For more info on the competition visit: http://www.clashofthek9.com

Yet More Akela Fuelled Agility Stars Join Our Sponsored Pack

After feeding Akela and seeing the benefits for her agility dogs, Blyth approached us for sponsorship for her and her dogs. With such a great record at just 19 it was hard to say no. We will let Blyth introduce herself…

“My name is Blyth Fox, I am currently 19 years old and studying at Solihull College. Studying Animal Welfare and Behaviour foundation degree through Oxford Brookes.

Akela Sponsored Member Blyth Fox
Akela Sponsored Member Blyth Fox

Akela Sponsored Member Blyth FoxI currently own two dogs. My first dog is Rosie a five-year-old Jack Russell Terrier. Rosie is my first agility dog. We started training when she was 15 months and after a year we competed at our first show. In one season, we went from grade 1 to grade 7! We have now been competing for three years. Within these three years we have made the YKC agility at Crufts three years running and in 2017 we gained second place in the senior jumping. Last season we came third in the Adams show off jumping cup final. We have also attended the UKA finals for two years.

Akela Sponsored Member Blyth FoxMy second dog is Roo who is a 20-month-old Working Cocker Spaniel. He had his first show in January and won up to grade four. He is still very young and has a lot still to come! “

We look forward to seeing Blyth’s future developments and wish her all the best for 2017.

New Sponsored Pack Member – Gilli Sayer

We are pleased to announce our latest sponsored pack member – Gilli

“I’ve had dogs for 28 years and got involved in agility, like many others as a result of having horses and running the dogs over the horses show-jumping courses. At first I only had the two dogs, a collie cross and a lurcher but soon progressed into more competitive agility and got my first full collie, Jago who was the love of my life and my soulmate. Jago adored agility and won me out of Starters in 2002 but sadly had to retire from competitive agility at 8 due to arthritis caused by hip dysplasia.

Ludo, one of my current oldies became my first grade 7 dog in 2010 and nursed me through my first few champ classes. Ludo is now largely retired but with the aid of good nutrition still enjoys his agility in Veteran classes and his beach and park runs with the other dogs.

Tico at Crufts
Tico at Crufts – photo with kind permission from Yulia Titovets
About the same time, Tico arrived from Morgans Rescue in Cumbria and showed that she had already read the agility book from cover to cover and was way ahead of me. She reached Grade 7 within her first 6 months of competition and very soon proceeded to qualify me for Olympia and Crufts amongst other finals, including winning the Darleague. She took the electric atmosphere of Olympia and Crufts in her stride, quite obviously playing to her public and won the British Open at her first Crufts outing, beating the times of both the large and small dogs with such experienced handlers as Greg Derrett. She took second place to Natasha Wise and the amazing Dizzy at her first Olympia outing and thoroughly enjoyed her time on the KC stand, meeting and greeting the public. From thereon in we have had further Crufts and Olympia visits, each time coming away with at least a top three rosette. She really is a dog in a million.

My household currently consists of ten dogs with another 2 regular visitors. Of those, 3 currently do competitive agility with another 2 who love to run but are retired competitively due to age so just do veteran classes so that they don’t feel left out. The other 5 are what I call sofa surfers who have run at some point in their lives but for various reasons I don’t feel it is in their best interests to compete anymore. However each and every one of them deserve the best in nutrition to enable them to keep an active and healthy life.
My oldest Bob, who apparently has been 14 for the past few years, lost a hind leg at 18 months due to a road accident. Due to the inevitable arthritis onset caused by the wear and tear on his remaining legs I didn’t expect him to even still be with me by the age of ten but he still insists on his daily walk with the youngsters, duly taking on his puppy sitting duties with a big beaming grin when Sprout, Jana’s beardie x border collie puppy comes round to play. I believe that giving him the best nutrition possible has contributed greatly to his longevity and hope that it will continue to allow him to have a good quality of life for many more years to come. I also hope that my other dogs will have a similarly good quality of life and longevity due to good nutrition and with that in mind, my dogs are all fed on Akela.”

Morgans rescue are part of the Akela Rescues Club.

Gilli's Pack
Gilli’s Pack

Akela “Highly Commended” by Your Dog Magazine readers

It can be hard swimming against the flow, which is how it has sometimes felt here at Akela. We believe in our food, independent nutritionists believe in our food and dog owners are joining our pack by the hour. With money going into ingredients rather than an expensive marketing allowance it can be hard to get noticed.

So when our pack members rallied together and voted for us in the Your Dog Magazine Award we were absolutely over the moon. We really feel this is a sign of things to come; an award that has always been dominated by a grain-based diet finally recognising the benefits of grain-free and high meat diets.

At time of writing we are still the number 1 dog food on eDogAdvisor (based on customer reviews) and we have the 5/5 from AllAboutDogFood (based on nutritional content of the food). We have also just come back from a fantastic Crufts following the launch of more products in our range – what will the rest of 2017 hold – we cannot wait to find out!

Akela Dog Food Award

Alncroft Parson Russell Terriers & Miniature Wire-haired Dachshunds

Kate Smith, our latest sponsored member from the show world, tells us a little bit about her dogs and hopes for 2017.

Alncroft Parson Russell Terriers
“Alncroft Parson Russell Terriers are owned by myself, Kate Smith, my husband Matt and my mum Michaela Moon but also very much enjoyed by our three daughter’s Jessica, Amelie & Ava!

I started handling, showing and training dogs in the late 80’s with various breeds but started focussing on Parson Russell Terriers in the mid nineties. Our Parson Russell Terriers descend from the Alne PRT’s which achieved notable fame including successes such as crowning the first ever PRT champion in the country. We only breed very occasionally and only when we would like a new puppy to bring into the show ring, despite this, we have achieved the honour of being awarded the Our Dogs Top Breeder award (in the UK) on a number of occasions including 2015 and 2013.

Our main interest is showing but our two eldest girls are very keen on agility, obedience and flyball too, both of them training weekly at our local club. They also compete successfully in junior handling competitions with our PRT’s and Dachshunds.

Akela_Dog_food_blog_Alncroft_3

We have found Akela particularly beneficial and well suited to our dogs. One of them is intolerant of certain grains in food and they have thrived on the Suffolk Duck 80/20. One of our PRT’s fed on Akela since the beginning of 2016 is Ch Alncroft I Spy, Top PRT 2013 & 2015 and Top PRT bitch 2014 & 2016. She holds the record number of CC’s won by any PRT and broke the record in Autumn 2016 handled by our eldest, Jessica!

We rear all our puppies from the age of 6 weeks on Akela and find they thrive on it and absolutely love it! We look forward to 2017, seeing our our new puppies, reared on Akela, make their debut in the UK showring.”

Alncroft Parson Russell Terriers

If you feed Akela and have any achievements to tell us about then we would love to hear from you. Who knows, you could be the next sponsored Akela pack member!

Kirsty – a Pawsitive Touch

Most dog owners would love the chance to work with dogs and other animals all day every day – and that is just what our latest sponsored pack member Kirsty is doing with her business – Pawsitive Touch. Here is her story…

I’ve been animal daft for as long as I can remember so it was no real surprise to anyone when I went on to work with animals.

I studied Animal Biology at university then went on to work as a zookeeper which I loved but I was always keen to work with dogs as they’ve always been my true passion. Following this I went on to work in animal rescue, and gained quite a few animals in the process, then went onto work in the veterinary sector as an animal care assistant. I currently still work in the veterinary sector but only part time.

I had always dreamed of running my own business so when I got my part time job in May 2016 I thought that there was no time like the present! So that’s when Pawsitive Touch was launched! Pawsitive Touch offers professional pet care services, including dog walking, home visits and small animal boarding, in Central Scotland. We are still running on quite a small scale but I am loving every minute of it and looking forward to further evolving and offering more services to my clients in the future.

Echo

I currently own four dogs, one cat and several rats. My dogs are Skye, Jazz, Midge and Rookie who are three border collies and one American bulldog cross Staffordshire bull terrier type. My dogs range from 18 months old right up to 13 years old and all are fed Akela. Two of my dogs came from the rescue I worked in with their fair share of behavioural issues but have come on leaps and bounds. I have dabbled in obedience, agility and trick training with all my dogs and love keeping them both physically and mentally active so Akela fits in perfectly with our lifestyle. My cat, Echo, is also fed on Akela and in great condition because of that. Believe it or not, the rats also enjoy a few kibbles of Akela as a treat every now and then!

I was honoured when I was asked to join the Akela family as a sponsored pack member! I have fed Akela to my dogs and cat since early 2015 and they all love it. My animals are my world so it makes sense to feed them only the best quality food. I feel so passionately about Akela and their ethics, they are such a fantastic company and I am so excited to be joining the team. I look forward to growing with them!

Kirsty came to our attention because she has been feeding Akela almost since the start and gets involved with us a lot on social media as well as regularly recommending Akela to clients. She works with positive training methods and is respected and trusted by her clients. If this sounds like you or someone you know then we would love to hear your story – just get in touch via email and mark for attention of Jackie.

Free Akela – Competition Now Open

Throughout July Akela are inviting you to send them videos of your dog (or cat!) enjoying their Akela food or treats. This is your chance to get your dog featured on our website and social media AND the best videos will get a freebie!

Categories are:
Akela treats – send in a picture / video of your dog munching on his or her favourite Akela treat. There will be a winner for EVERY treat we offer.*
Akela dry – send in a pic of your dog by their bag of Akela or enjoying eating it. There will be a winner for each kibble size, any flavour.**
Akela wet – send in a pic of your dog enjoying their Akela wet food. One winner.***
Akela Cat – send in a pic of your cat enjoying any Akela product. One winner.****

* winners will receive a free fish or meat based treat with their next order
** winners will receive a 1.5kg bag of their choice with their next order or £6 off their next 10kg purchase
***winner will receive a free 6 pack of tins in their choice with their next order
****winner will receive 6 cat tins or a 1.5kg cat dry bag with their next order

Ts & Cs
Entries open 5th July 2016 – 3rd October 2016 (NEW EXTENDED CLOSING DATE)
Videos must be of your own dog(s)/cat(s) only
The product in the video must be an Akela product
Please only submit videos that you are happy for us to share and use on our website, social media channels and print material (from still shots) in relation to Akela promotions.
Videos should be posted on our Facebook wall AND on the relevant product page within the Akela website if we ask you to.
Entries limited to 5 per household
Winners will be selected by Suffolk Group staff on the 3rd October 2016 and posted on our facebook page
Remember videos with a cleaner background and less background noise are always more appealing
Free goods will be supplied with next order
Good luck

Free Akela Competition

Agility Champion Borderpaws Secret Surprise

Our sponsored handler Martin Reid has finally found a moment between his runs to tell us more about his dogs and his current successful streak;

Akela dog food
Martin with Spring & Flash and their favorite fuel, Akela.

“I started agility around 11 years ago with my first agility dog Moss, he wasn’t the easiest dog to train he was rescued from Ireland as a puppy. He took me from grades one to six, he is now retired but still likes doing bits of time to time!

I currently compete with my two dogs Flash and Spring, Flash is a 7 year old border collie and Spring is a 3.5 year old Border collie. Over the past couple of years since being on Akela Flash has won two championship tickets, competed at Crufts on three different occasions with his best result a 3rd place in the Singles Final, competed at Olympia twice in the senior finals and competed internationally in Belgium and Luxembourg picking up some podium positions.

Spring flying

Spring in his short time of competing has won up to grade 7 within a year, competed at Crufts in 2016, won the novice agility Olympia stakes final, won three championship tickets giving him the title of Agility Champion and has been selected to represent Great Britain at the European Opens 2016.

Successful Spring & Martin

We have many more competitions coming up in the rest of 2016, these include Championship classes, more qualifiers for Crufts 2017 and the Olympia Stakes quarter finals. In July Spring and I are also off to France to compete at the European opens 2016 to represent GB.”

We wish Martin all the best for this year and the future!

Walking with Wolves

Somewhere near the England-Wales border sits a very unique and special place; blending in so well with its surroundings you would have no idea it was there. Amongst the natural beauty and wildlife of the valley a few long lost apex predators have a place to call home.
Currently home to a handful of wolves, Wolf Watch UK is a small and friendly organisation run by just a few dedicated individuals with a passion for Wolves, conservation and education. In return for the safe haven provided by the centre the wolves act as ambassadors for the species, to help teach interested individuals not only about wolves and their plight but also to allow those interested in canine behaviour to observe it in its most authentic form.

akela meeting wolfThese wolves have come from other parks where they did not fit into their previous pack, perhaps due to disagreements with other pack members or breeding leading to too many individuals for their enclosure. Despite this relocation these wolves certainly seem to have landed on their paws, now living in large enclosures with lots of natural cover and features making it a great home from home. For more on the history of the centre take a look at http://www.wwuk.org/history.htm.

I was lucky enough to meet these wonderful animals up close, an encounter that I will never forget. Visits are limited, which in my opinion makes this experience even more special. People who are interested in learning about the centre and interested in visiting for themselves should take a look at the membership option on their website: http://www.wwuk.org/adoptawolf.htm.

I would like to extend a personal thank you to Tony for his efforts with these animals and for allowing me to meet them.