Posted by: arcticpacksiberians | June 8, 2015

Glaucoma is a bitch.

Yes, indeed it is.  A horrible, sight stealing, pain causing, traumatic, bitch of a disease.

Last week was a very shitty week.

One of our beautiful, innocent, trusting, loving, wonderful dogs developed this disease last Sunday.  She showed no outward signs she was in any discomfort until it was too late to save the sight in her eye.  The only sign something was up was a pupil slightly larger than the other and even then it was still reacting to light.  Not as much as it should, but still reacting nonetheless.  We had her at the emergency vet within an hour but by that point the eye had already started to enlarge a little.  At this point we were still pretty sure she could see out of it.

Betty was immediately started on glaucoma medication which consisted of two sets of eye drops geared at lowering the eye pressure. She also had Loxicom to help with the pain. (although she wasn’t showing any whatsoever!)  The Tonometer our vets have is shared between two practices and unfortunately it was at the other branch 45 – 50 minutes away,  so we couldn’t test her eye pressure on the Sunday.  (we were willing to travel to the other branch, but the treatment wouldn’t have been any different had we known her pressure was high on the sunday.  It would have been more undue stress to the dog so we took her home to keep her calm and quiet and hopefully give the drops the best chance to work.  We would take her back on the Monday  to check pressure then,  once they got the equipment they needed. )  Despite the quick action of both us and our excellent vets at getting her on the drops, we think she went blind sometime on Monday.   Her eye pressure on the Monday was at 48 in that eye.  Normal range for dogs (and humans) is between 10 – 20.   Her good eye was at 12.  On the Monday afternoon her eye had started to cloud over which is really not a good sign.  I made an appointment to see our ‘local’ eye specialist Tony Wall for the Thursday.  We needed to know for absolute certainty she had lost the sight in that eye and for him to give us a prognosis for the ‘good’ eye.

Overnight on the Monday into Tuesday was the only time she showed any signs of being in discomfort.  She wasn’t screaming, or crying or pawing at her eye or anything, but she was incredibly restless and couldn’t settle to sleep.  She would groan a little and change position and was generally not all that happy.   In the morning the eye looked pretty awful.  It was weeping and red and she mostly had it shut.  I phoned the vets in the morning first thing and we started her on Tramadol to help with the pain/discomfort.  From the first dose she was opening the eye and seemed neither up nor down with it from then on.   Three cheers for Tramadol!

Thursday couldn’t come quick enough, although Betty was carrying on as normal, eating, telling off her brother and I’m fairly certain if we had put her in harness she would have ran.  These dogs never cease to amaze me with their ability to cope with things that would have us in a darkened room screaming, doped up with every drug known to man.  Unfortunately Tony did not deliver good news.  She had lost the sight in her eye, despite being on the drops as quickly as we could possibly get her on them.  Her pressure had come down to 33 in the bad eye and remained low in the good eye at 11.  An eye pressure of 33 is extremely uncomfortable and would be like a constant migraine.  (i can only imagine what 48 must have been like for her.)

Unfortunately we do know a few people who have been in this position and they were invaluable in helping us decide how to proceed from here.  Cam and I were very glad we had a conversation long ago about ‘what if’ and ‘what we would we do if’.  From experience and seeing friends dogs first hand with the disease, coupled with reading up about the disease previously, we had made a decision that if we were ever in this position we would remove the eye.

The general consensus from people who have had dogs with glaucoma is that they wished they hadn’t persevered with drops and that they had the eye removed sooner.  The eye is blind with no hope of regaining sight.  The drops were only bringing the pressure down to the 30’s, which is still very uncomfortable.  She couldn’t run (Betty LOVES to run) with an eye like that as every time she did the pressure would be sky-high again with the raised blood pressure and excitement.  She would likely need to be on pain meds for as long as she had the eye.  So, with all that in mind and after discussion about it with the specialist, we booked her in at our own vets for the next day for enucleation surgery on her left eye.

We felt, and still feel physically sick about doing this to her.  It does feel very like we have mutilated her and she does look like something out a Frankenstein movie at the moment.  But day 3 after the surgery it is rapidly becoming apparent this was indeed, the right thing to do for Betty.  Already she isn’t needing the full dose of her Tramadol and even on the Friday night when she came home she lay with her head flat on her bed on the side she had the op on.  She hadn’t lay on her left side at all last week.  She must have felt some immediate relief with the eye gone.

Today one week after she developed glaucoma and 3 days after she had her left eye removed, she is bright, happy and very, very bored with being indoors and in a crate.  She will have to stay quiet another couple of days (wish me luck with that!) and as our dogs are not known for being particularly gentle (read they are a bunch of louts!) she will have to stay separate from the others a while longer too.  She has been out eating her breakfast and dinner with the two old boys Kifa and Kai as they are too old now to run about daft like the youngsters.

We have to thank those involved in helping me get where I needed to be with Betty during last week, Tony for his  expertise and never ending patience and our super vets for carrying out the op so quickly.  Her wound looks excellent and the swelling and bruising is starting to look much better too.    As far as Betty is concerned she says, ‘No eye… No problem!’


Outside enjoying some sunshine post surgery

Business as usual relaxing belly up on the couch

Business as usual relaxing belly up on the couch


Posted by: arcticpacksiberians | November 11, 2014

Langfaulds Xera of Arcticpack.

Last night we had to say a sad goodbye to one of our best friends.   My only comfort is that we could be with her when she left us.   It’s an inevitable fact that dogs get old but sometimes it sneaks up on you so fast you really aren’t that aware of it.   I am very guilty of believing  our dogs are always going to be there and I just wish we could have longer with them.  Much longer.

Caileag or Witchy as she became known, was a wonderful big dog.  She was our third dog and our first GSD.  She grew up with Siberians and every time we added more of them she just accepted it and took the puppies under her wing.   Her favourite Siberian puppy was Norris and she was very protective of him.   She took on the roll of keeping an eye on the on lead Siberians when we were out for walks.  If one managed to escape (which happened on a couple of occasions) she would go get them and bring them back.  It was like she knew they weren’t supposed to loose and boy would they get a row from her for it!  Witchy also loved to work in harness and was actually pretty good at it.   She would often free run with the team on training runs.  She loved to play fetch with you and absolutely loved carrying around and chewing sticks.
















As all GSD puppies are, she was adorable as a youngster and grew to be a very beautiful girl.   She did try a bit of showing, but she got so excited she couldn’t keep quiet and barked the whole time she was in the ring, wagging her tail and generally finding the whole experience way too much fun.   That was how she looked at life in general.   Everything she did she did with enthusiasm.   She had a fantastic temperament with people and would regularly attend fundraising events with us when we used to do working displays etc with the Siberians.


It is very sad and quiet here without you Witchy.   Hexie is looking for you.  We are so sorry you had to leave us but I hope you are now at peace.

Sleep tight my beautiful girl, we will miss you forever  xx





Posted by: arcticpacksiberians | August 19, 2014

Only a year late…..

Well, the puppies are now 15 months old and I have finally got around to adding them to the website.   Lewis and Hudson’s pages are still a work in progress, but will be added very soon.


If you are interested in reading about the dogs then follow the link to   The Dogs.

Also, our super vets and team at Bellevue Veterinary Centre have a new website.  Find it here at Bellevue Vets .  

If you are in the Banff area we would highly recommend them.  They are now also running acupuncture clinics. 


Posted by: arcticpacksiberians | July 21, 2014

Is it winter yet?

We are now well into summer and it’s been lovely and dry (mostly) with warm temperatures.  We are regularly getting days up at 20 degrees.  ( i can hear our friends in the states or even down south in Englandshire laughing at 20 degrees being ‘hot’) Great for sunbathing but not so great for running dogs.  That said, we are still managing out maybe once  a week either very early morning or later on at night on the cooler days.   The main problem has been that it has been very humid for weeks on end.   The dogs can cope with running shorter distances around 12 – 14 degrees but if it’s humid then they would really struggle to cool down and it becomes dangerous, so we don’t tend to run when humidity is very high with warmer temps.

Back in April we went to the Scottish Siberian Husky Club show with Squeaky, Neeta, Lester and Ginger Joe.   It was a lovely day spent catching up with friends and even better with Lester and Neeta winning their classes.  Joe came second behind his brother.  Squeaky came second in her class and little Naughty, Noisy Neeta won Best Puppy in Show!

The end of may was SKC show.  This time we took three puppies as we assumed Squeaky would be in season by then we didn’t enter her….  She has only just come into season now so we should have entered her!   Joe was in puppy dog and won his class with his brother Lewis 3rd. .  Lester was in junior dog and won his class and  Best Puppy Dog.   Neeta was in puppy bitch and came 3rd.  She seemed to be a bit spooked by the hall compared to her greedy brothers who will do pretty much anything for food.

June was Border Union show where we had Squeaky and Lester entered.  Unfortunately Lester dropped his coat and some condition with it and coupled with him hitting the gangly yearling stage , we felt he was just the wrong side of lean to be going to a show so he stayed at home.  Very pleased to say Squeaky won her open bitch class.  Thanks to all the judges at the above shows.

The puppies turned 1 back in May and are now huge with masses of yearling energy and mischief.   Big Norris who is now 10 and usually keeps an eye on the proceedings has pretty much given up trying to teach them any manners and just prefers to relax in the sunshine with his buddy Pirate.   The puppies are slowly  learning from the adults that sunshine = relax and chill time, but it only lasts about half and hour before Lester gets bored and starts randomly barking at dogs until someone gives in and chases him.  Then all the puppies get up for a riot running about and Vixen and Betty feel they have to join in to act as the riot police.  Norris, Wilson and Pirate make a sharp exit and retreat to the reasonable safety of a dog box (unless a puppy decides to try to dive in it.  This usually ends in tears) while Arko just watches from higher up.    Game over is when Arko decides he has had enough and gets involved.  (Arko has obviously forgotten that yes, he absolutely used to be this annoying too) Everyone settles down again either chewing some kongs or sleeping.  Every so often they live in different groups to get a break from each other.  Mainly the adults getting a break from the over enthusiastic puppies. The youngsters can then run about to their hearts content without fear of getting told  to calm it and the adults can snooze peacefully without fear of getting ran over the top of.   Sometimes the puppies are separated so they are not totally reliant on each other or manic screaming mentalcases when one leaves the group to come indoors or go to a show etc.  The majority of the time though our running dogs all live together as a group.  Our 4 older dogs live together as a separate group.

Lester on the lookout for mischief to get involved in.

Lester on the lookout for mischief to get involved in.


relaxing in the sunshine

relaxing in the sunshine

Old man Kifa finds a sunny spot after his breakfast and pretty much doesn’t move from it all day until it’s time for his walk or his dinner.  Kai does similar but gets up now again to check the girls are still in the pen next to him.  Old Witchy spends her days sticking her feet in the water buckets and Hexie LOVES the summer as there are far more people/cats/birds/rabbits/shadows to bark at and protect us all from.

Hope everyone is having a good summer and fingers crossed the rest of it stays dry and sunny.  As much as I do love the light nights and warm weather, I am wishing for cold, snowy days running dogs.  Looking forward to when the weather starts to turn and there is a chill in the air.


Posted by: arcticpacksiberians | March 25, 2014

What happened to winter?

It is now the end of March and spring is well on its way.   The spring flowers are all out and the dogs are all moulting heavily.  I can’t say we have actually had ‘winter’ yet.   Looking back through our training log for this ‘winter’ the coldest we have ran dogs was around 1 – 2 degrees C.  No runs below freezing at all.    This is quite strange, even for Scottish weather standards!    During December temps got up to 12 degrees at one point!  Another couple of degrees and that is Scottish summer temperatures.    We have had no snow here at all on the coast but have had plenty rain and lots and lots of windy weather.   Reading friends blogs it seems the weather has been weird all over the world.  

As usual we did only one race this season. 

The last weekend in November saw us go to the only race we planned to do this season.  The British Siberian Husky Racing Association (BSHRA) put on an event in north Scotland this season in Darnaway forest.   It was great to see BSHRA so far north again and the organisers Steven and Emma Studley put on a cracking event.  Thanks guys.   We really enjoyed the weekend.  Saturdays run saw temps of around 4 – 5 degrees for the 6 dog teams.   The trail was 3.7 miles of twists, turns and ‘hills’.   The dogs love these trails and so do most mushers.  Day one saw us nearly late for our start time.  I thought we had loads of time, (mainly because i didn’t actually know what the time was….) and Cam kept shouting and getting stressed that we didn’t have enough time.  We got to the start with about a minute to get the dogs hooked in, which turned out to be plenty as they were all reasonably co-operative and we had great help from lovely people willing to take the nutters to the start (thanks everyone!).  Dancer led the team with Wilson.  They missed a couple of turns as they were different to the last time we ran there.  Both junctions were straight aheads the last time so the dogs thought that’s where they should go.  The dogs had a good run and we were very pleased with our 3rd place. 

Sunday was slightly warmer by a degree or so and we swapped Dancer for Betty B in lead.   We are so proud of how far Betty has come in her two years with us.  When she first came she was quite unsure about running in harness and what was expected of her, so to see her happily leading the team with Wilson at a race was just fantastic.  Well done Betty!   We did manage to get to the start on time on Sunday.  Maybe a bit too early for little Vixen who was grabbing everything she could get her teeth into waiting at the start, including my jacket!   We knew we would likely be a bit slower the second day, but were very happy to come 4th place on the Sunday! 



Betty leading with Wilson

Betty leading with Wilson


It was great so many people made the trip north for the event and we were so excited to see Lewis and Hudson, the two boys who we last saw at 9 weeks old.  They were both such happy, cheery, outgoing little people and looked absolutely fantastic!    Thank you so much to Buzz and Sal for giving them such a wonderful home.   Our five monkey puppies coped very well with their first rally.  They were all pretty cautious the first day, but were much more relaxed on the Sunday.

The puppies are now 10 months old, running in harness and are all loving it.  They are running a couple of miles now and are all puling forwards and very, very keen to run.  They really do love their ‘job’. 

puppy team led by Aunties Vixen and Betty. Ready for the 'ok'.

puppy team led by Aunties Vixen and Betty. Ready for the ‘ok’.


Little Olivia having a shot in lead with Vixen

Little Olivia having a shot in lead with Vixen

 The time has just flown by and we no longer have little teeny puppies, but adult sized youngsters who all eat like a horse.  They all have super attitudes to food (obviously inherited from their dad) and they have yet to refuse anything we have given them to eat. Given half a chance they will eat their own food and any other food going if any of the adults look like they need a hand eating theirs!    Long may it continue as we have a couple of their relatives here who are very stupid about food.  Dogs who don’t eat well are a pain the ass.  Not only is it extremely unhelpful when you feed several dogs together to have some who insist on eating tiny piece, by tiny piece and worse others who just don’t eat at all for several meals, it is impossible to know whether they aren’t eating due to feeling ill or just because the sky is the wrong shade of blue that day.  Not eating a meal for some of our dogs is a huge early warning sign something is up.  Not so much for the can’t eat wont eat crew.  Our silly eaters are hormone driven and the food stupidity always starts around seasons for both dogs and bitches.  Even the bitches we had spayed to try and help with their appetite still wont eat properly when the other entire girls are in season.   Luckily, we have a majority of dogs who eat everything all the time and food is rarely wasted here, just means a  few dogs get extra helpings while the figure conscious size zeros skip a few calories.    We don’t run anywhere near enough miles here in the uk for dogs skipping a few meals here and there to have much of a detrimental effect, but abroad where longer distances and well below freezing temps are the norm, then it becomes much, much more of an issue.   

puppies at 6 months learning to eat with the big dogs.

puppies at 6 months learning to eat with the big dogs.

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