Sunday, December 30, 2012

Health testing--Cystinuria in Mastiffs

One of the greatest health issues we have in Mastiffs is Cystinuria--a genetic urinary disease where the kidney forms cysteine stones.  These stones can completely block the kidneys, the ureters, the bladder, or the urethra. In Mastiffs, only the males exhibit these symptoms and test positive with the Urinary test; only one Mastiff female has every tested positive with the urinary test.

 Here is a link to he MCOA site with an excellent explanation of Cystinuria in Mastiffs----

Here is also a link to information explaining cystinuria in Mastiffs and the new DNA marker test that has been developed.

Now that you have that information in hand (and head)   here are 2 charts I have developed to show how just one dog carrying cystinuria may affect several generations of dogs.

If the male is affected by Cystinuria--

If a female is an unknown carrier---

So, it is extremely important that Mastiffs used in a breeding program be tested for cystinuria. The Cystinuria Nitroprusside test is a simple urine collection which does not require a vet visit but can easily be collected by the owner or breeder preferably 2-4 hours after the dog has eaten. The sample is chilled or frozen and shipped overnight to the PennGen testing lab at UPenn along with a filled out  Cystinuria Urine Submission Form.

Since only males exhibit symptoms, there is strong support for x-related  inheritance--mothers carry it--sons exhibit it and  daughters carry it.  So it's quite possible for Cystinuria to be carried for several generations without being detected.  Often only one in seven dogs form stones, so dogs that don't form stones may not be detected by the nitroprusside urinary test.  Until here recently, it was the best we could do--screen our dogs yearly before breeding.

Thanks to the research at UPenn, we now have DNA test for one type of cystinuria--the type that forms stones--so both males and females can be tested to see if they carry the gene (carry 1 copy of the gene), or if they are affected (carry 2 copies of the gene).  Many of us consider this a huge breakthrough in the prevention and management of this very devastating disease.

Make sure any puppy you buy is bred from Cystinuria tested  dogs.  This disease is life threatening in males who develop stones.

I have always done the Urinary testing my boys, and insisted it be done on any outside male I used for stud.  Within the next few months, I will be completing the DNA testing on all my adult breeding dogs.  I hope each and every Mastiff breeder will do the same.

Catie Arney,  KioKee Mastiffs, Hickory, NC

Spaying your Mastiff

Just this past week, another Mastiff friend sadly reported losing her Mastiff female to complications from a spay.  Post-op bleeding and hemorrhage is a huge risk we take when we spay these giant breed females.  I myself lost a female to this same post-op complication.

Since anesthesia is also a risk, most of the Mastiff breeders and owners I know are also reluctant to place their dogs under any additional anesthesia procedures, so we do it with great care and much consideration.  Some of us will risk doing a spay with a c-section just to prevent us from having to put our girl under an additional time.

During a recent conversation with a reproductive Vet, I was presented with a very interesting alternative to the complete spay (removal of the Ovaries, Fallopian tubes and Uterus)--just the removal of the ovaries.  The ovaries produce the hormone of the heat cycle, the estrogen that causes pyrometera and vaginal hyperplasia. So, if we remove the ovaries, we remove the hormone source--we stop these hormonal processes--the main reason we spay a female!! 

Please note-- This is considered an experiential procedure at present--but it makes perfectly good common sense to me!!  Within the next year, I will be doing this alternative procedure to the traditional spay with at least three of my girls. I plan on following up with an evaluation of long-term heath benefits, advantages, and disadvantages.

This procedure could also be done at the same time as a c-section (just remove the ovaries) reducing the possibility of post-op bleeding and hemorrhage. A bitch can still nurse her puppies and her uterus will contract and reduce in size since Oxytocin is produced by the posterior pituitary gland.  Your girl can have the benefits of a "spay" at the same time as her c-section with a lessor risk of post-op bleeding.

By not cutting all those large blood vessels to remove the uterus (arteries and veins) and other tissues, we eliminate those sites as potential post-op bleeding sources with  less surgical invasion and potentially quicker healing. Instead of an open incision,  a laporscoptic Bilateral oophorectomy (removal of ovaries) instead of the traditional spay could be done. Anesthesia time would be less, surgical trauma will be less, healing time would be shorter--and IMO, your girl would do better.

I suggest owners discuss this adaption to the traditional spay with your vet.  Get their recommendations to see if it would be a viable choice for you and your dog.   It could save your girl.

Catie Arney  KioKee Mastiffs, Hickory, NC

Friday, October 19, 2012

Do you Know Your Spiders?

With the cooler weather, spiders will be looking for "warmer" place to live.  So,  many of them begin to move inside our homes. For this reason,  Spider bites to  dogs are also  frequently seen this time of year.; usually to a foot or leg.

Sadly, we have seen several dogs who have suffered spider bites (mostly Brown Recluse)--who ended up losing some or all of the affect limb. It's a long drawn out recovery--and often painful for the dog and owner.  My Tina had a spider bite to her chest--took over 6 months to heal it up--but we did mange to heal it--no scar, full recovery.  We were lucky.

 Be sure to remove all trash, grass, leaves, etc. from around the foundation and walls of your home--no firewood stacks, lumber, rocks, etc. up next to your house.   Get out that rake and keep those leaves from piling up next to you home.   Be sure the underside of your home is sealed to keep out all type of critters.   A few mothball thrown up under your home and up in your attic may also help keep spiders and other critters from settling up a winter home.  Pick up and look up under all your dog house and SPRAY them with an insecticide to kill any adult of egg sacs.   A little prevention may save you a whole lot of cure.

I have attached a very nice chart of USA spiders (sorry  to all of our Canadian and other country friends--I don't know the spiders you have native to your locations!!)--please print off a copy and keep it for reference IF your dog or family  should get bit by a spider. There are also a few first aid instructions for post-spider bite care. 

 Always seek medical care for your dog or family member in the event of a spider bite. Severe allergic reactions can occur with a single spider bite (esp. Black Widow spiders).  If you kill the spider, place it in a jar, seal it up and take it with you for identification by the medical provider.  It could save your dog's or family member's life.

Enjoy the beautiful Fall weather, and be safe.

Catie Arney 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How to cut toenails

  Not cutting your puppy's toenails can lead to problems-- later as an adult you can not control or hold your dog to cut it's toenails.  I begin cutting toenails at 3 days--and then I do them weekly until 10 weeks of age--then every 2 weeks.  My puppies/dogs learn to stand quietly as I trim their nails.  No wrestling, mouthing/biting, no screaming, and no bleeding nails.

You need to have the right tools--proper size toenail clippers, a Dremel tool, and some quick-stop powder (it can be bought at most pet supply locations or online stores).  Until your dog is fully trained, have an assistant to help hold the dog--it your dog begins to struggle and get up and away from you--you will have an issue each and every time you try to cut nails--because it has learned it can get away from you and this procedure--and mostly likely will choose to do s every  time.

As very young  puppies, I use nail clippers; for 4-8 month old puppies I use large toenail clippers.  For older puppies and  adults  I use a toenail grinder--a Dremel tool that can be bought at Home Depot or Lowe's.   Large breed dogs have thick nails which are very difficult to cut--often the gullition type toenail clipper twist the toenail as it cits--and that hurts.  So I Use a Dremel tool--easier and more comfortable for the dog-- I use the "sanding" belt and grind off the toenails.  I find grinding toenails less stressful to dogs--once they get use to the noise of the Dremel--it's a few quick strokes, round off the edges, grind off the underside ridges (and the nail will grow slower!!) and  no sharp edges ( your clothes and skin will love it!!).

Have carpet in your home?  Well, you need to cut toenails because their is no contact surface with the nails as the dog walks so they never wear down. Inside house dogs need their nails cut more frequently.

Have you ever let your toenails get too long, so that when you put on shoes your feet hurt?  Well, your dog walking around with long toenails feels the same--the long nails make his toes sore and sensitive--so when you do try and cut them--it hurts for you to touch his feet.   They can also get caught on fencing, rugs and other objects  getting twisted, broken off in to the quick, or pulled out--making for a very sore foot.  If you can hear toenails click on the floor when your dog walks--it's time to cut toenails!!

Walking with long toenails also will cause your dog's feet/toes to lengthen and your dog will  walk off the back of his feet not his toes, placing stress on his shoulder and hip joints-- it will also affect his gait and the way he will stand.  Long nails make it difficult for your dogs foot pads to make contact with the floor surface--so they make slip on some floor surfaces. Those beautiful strong arched toes and "tight" cat feet you see on those show dogs on TV come from routine nail care, exercise, and good diet.

So, keep those toenails trimmed!!  Good foot/nail care begins in puppy hood--start them young, train them to lay quietly while you examine their feet,  rub their toes, and massage their feet--get them accustomed to you handling their toes and feet--this will help desensitize them and make it easier to  trim their nails.  Get them into a routine and trimming nails will never be a "wrestle-mania" at your house. Anyone can have the feet of a champion!!

Catie C. Arney  KioKee Mastiffs  Hickory, NC

Monday, July 30, 2012

Ear Infections

Hot summer weather seems to contribute to ear problems in many canine breeds.  Dogs with long hanging ears seem to have the most problems.  Mastiffs can get chronic ear infections from mites (they start scratching and it gets infected), swimming in ponds, rivers, or lakes, or sometimes just old age.

First step--get them to a vet--a good exam is key for treatment.  If they have mites--treat them for Mites. In order for the ears to heal--you have to treat the underlying problem.  If they are infected, antibiotics is also a good start.

Get a good ear bulb syringe and mix up some warm soapy water and flush out the ears at least every other day. You need to get the old  debris out of the ear.   Peroxide will destroy new skin and healing tissue--so do not use per oxide. If they are badly infected, your dog may not be able to tolerate this step--if not, wait for the ears to heal some (usually about 2 days),  and then begin the flushing.

If the ears remain moist and "yeasty" smelling--they may need a drying agent to help them heal.  I use the "blue power ear wash"--a home remedy used by lots of dog breeders.  Other than the temporary blue discoloration ( and it will stain your clothes  and furniture--(so, keep your dog outside for a few minutes and crate him inside to keep him off the furniture!!) it will help heal  and resolve the worst of ear infections in most dogs.

 Mix it up and keep some on hand--use it as soon as you notice any ear infection  problems.  The recipe is very simple--all the ingredients can be bought at any drug store.

Blue Power Ear Wash


16 Oz. Isopropyl Alcohol 
4 Tablespoons Boric Acid Powder 
16 Drops Gentian Violet Solution 1% 

Mix together in alcohol bottle and shake well. 

Please shake this solution every time you use it to mix the Boric Acid Powder. Either a baby ear syringe or a plastic squirt bottle work well for putting the solution in the ear. 


Evaluate condition of ears before treating and if the are inflamed and sore do not attempt to pull hair or clean out ear at all. Just flush and then wait until inflammation is gone, which will be about two days. Warm the solution and shake the bottle each time before using. The dogs will accept the treatment much better if you warm it up for them. 

Flood the ear with solution (gently squirt bottle). 

Massage gently, wipe with 100% cotton pad. 

On first treatment: flood the ear twice, wipe with a pad, and leave alone without massage. 

The dog will shake out the excess, which can be wiped with a tissue. (Note: the Gentian Violet does stain fabrics so you're best to do this outdoors.) 

Treat 2x per day for the first week to two weeks, depending upon severity of ears. 

After the 2nd or 3rd day you can clean out the ear with a tissue or cotton pad. 

Treat 1x per day for the next 1-2 weeks. 
Treat 1x per month (or even less frequently, depending on the dog).

I gave this "recipe" to my vet who uses it in office, and dispenses it to his clients.  It also works well to use as a "after swimming treatment" when your dogs go into the lake , river or pond--helps prevent  ear problems.

It's not very expensive, and is easy to mix, store and use. If you have a dog with a chronic ear problem--try it.

Catie C. Arney  KioKee  Mastiffs Hickory, NC

Gracie & Brian's Babies--9 weeks old--More Pictures!!

Purple (Lf--SOLD)   Blue (rt)

Green Collar Boy

My Keeper--Red Collar Boy--KioKee Morrigan's Turbo Max

Look at the size and bone to this 9 week old puppy!! Sorry, He belongs to Dawn Cox of Texas!!

Orange Colllar boy (Lf)  Green Collar boy (Rt)

All thre of these boys are still avalable--Lft to rt--Blue, Green Orange.

  These boys are now ready for their new homes--I do have 2 very nice show quality boys available.  Contact me at for more information.

Catie Arney
KioKee Mastiffs
Hickory, NC

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Are Mastiff good with children?

Chole with a new little friend

I get a lot of inquiries if Mastiff are good with children.  Well, it has been said, "A picture is worth a thousand words".  Meet Chole.  Chole was from my Rosie & Leo litter--an accidently breeding by the co-owner  which I took, raised and help place.  Originally she was placed with a young family with children, but due to unseen circumstances, they could not keep her.  So Chole came back to me.  My friends, Shari & her daughter Lauren had asked me about getting a Mastiff.  So I asked them if they would be interested in giving Chole a new home.  They met her on the day I picked her up and took her home--and the rest is history.  It was love at first sight.

The little boy in the picture is the son of family friends--as you can see he can't stop loving on Chole, and she is a most happy participant.  Look at the love and contentment on her face. There is no better friend or guardian for a small child.

Sometimes a new puppy isn't right for a family.  An adult dog will tell you the size and temperament of the dog. With a good evaluation, a very good match can be made fitting the right dog into your family.  Mastiff rescue organizations do this every day, and we have so many deserving dogs just looking for a home.  Over to the right side of my blog are several links to Mastiff Rescue organizations.  If you have room in your home and your heart--give a rescue dog a second chance.

Catie Arney, KioKee Mastiffs,  Hickory, NC

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gloria Davis--Lionhearted Mastiffs-Update Feb. 2012

It's now been three years since I received the e-mail that informed me of the abuse and  neglect of the Lionhearted dogs. For the first few days following the initial release of information, confusion, dismay, anger, and outright outrage ran rampant in the Mastiff community. Rumors, and rumors of rumors began to circulate about Gloria and her past; her past with her dogs, her past with her family, and her past with other Mastiff breeders and owners.

At first, I was among the outraged. I felt betrayed. I had known Gloria for over 30+ years, and I considered her one of my closest friends. How could I have been such a fool? Then the more I heard, the more I realize--the Gloria Davis I knew could not have ever done had not done what she was being accused of doing to her dogs. I began to ask questions--first hand questions to the animal control investigating officer, and to Kazia Martz Burrgess who was living with Gloria at that time--and still living in the home on the day Animal control picked up the Lionhearted 7 adult  and 5 puppies found starving and reported (by Mrs. Burrgess) as being abandoned by Gloria.

Fact: One of the starving dogs picked up by animal control was JC--Lionhearted Man in Black--Gloria's hope for her Lionhearted line. The dog who she felt was the dog she had waited 30 years to bred. JC stood starving in a pen, with no dog house or shelter from the prior 2-3 months of snow and freezing weather, and with the untouched dead body of his kennel mate. Although he was starving slowly to death, JC would not eat his kennel mate. He had ate his own feces, leaves and trash to stay alive. When Animal control finally arrived to remove the living dogs, JC stood over the body of his dead kennel mate and guarded her. JC was and still is a true Mastiff-he would have protected his defenseless kennel mate with his dying breath.

With in the next 48 hours after learning about the dead dogs still on the property, Myself and a few other concerned individuals made arrangements to pick up the 6 dead dogs remaining on the property and have them cremated. I drove to Anderson, SC and picked up those dogs. I also went to see for myself.

Once I walked on that property, and witnessed for myself the conditions existing on the property surrounding the abuse and death of Gloria's dogs--dogs that had been shot and left dead for weeks; I knew in my heart Gloria was not responsible for the carnage and abuse I found on that property. I left that death camp asking God and Gloria to forgive me. For I knew in my heart, what I had just witnessed would have never happened if Gloria was alive. I also knew, that everything Kazia Martz Burrgess had told relating to this event was questionable.

I personally wrapped each dead dog in plastic. I saw the bullet holes in their heads. I saw how they had remained in the same position once they had hit the ground after being shot. I saw where 4 of the brindle females had been lead into a single 6 x 6 pen, probably tied to the fence, and then shot. Their bodies lying haphazardly where they had been untied and dropped to the ground. Dogs who had laid on the frozen ground long enough for rats to tunnel underneath them and eat on the dead bodies. Max, Gloria's  pride and joy was one of the dead dogs--and he had been dead for some time. No way, Gloria would have allowed Max to lie unburied.

I also witnessed behaviors and actions on the part of Mrs. Burgess which in my personal opinion, was less than appropriate. Mrs. Burgess had remained living in the house on the property, walking in and out of that house in full view (less than 50 feet) of the dead and starving dogs. The feeding and watering dishes were thrown and piled up against the fence--dirty and full of leaves and trash. They had been there for some time--unused. Fact-Gloria picked up her feeding dishes each day after the dog finished eating, washed and dried them, then stacked them up ready for the next day. Kazia' excuse for not feeding or watering the dogs? She was afraid of what Gloria would do to her. Why did she not call Animal control herself and report Gloria? Another unanswered question.

What did Kazia Burrges do? She e-mailed out pictures of Gloria's dead dogs to Gloria's friends, people from whom Gloria had bought dogs, and the members of the rescue community asking for finical assistance to help "feed" Gloria's dogs. Gloria's friends are who reported this situation to animal control, and from that point the story took a bizarre turn.

Once an AC investigation was begun, no one but Ms. Burrgess and two of her "friends" had reportable seen, spoke directly to, or interacted with Gloria since approximately Mid December 2009. Once Gloria's friends began talking and comparing notes--none of us had spoken directly to Gloria since December 2009. We also agreed that recent E-mails from Gloria were different and not her usual "style" of writing; We all agreed--some of the e-mails we had received were not from Gloria. Someone had been impersonating Gloria via e-mails and per phone calls.

Several weeks later, a missing person's report was filed by Gloria's family and an investigation into Gloria's disappearance was begun. Within a few days, this investigation was advanced into a homicide investigation and an open homicide investigation is still in place. The local authorities in Anderson, SC, SLED, and the FBI have all been involved in this investigation.

Truth. None of Gloria's friends or family have had any contact with her since December 2009. All of her personal belongings including her ID, SS card, driver's license, Checking account information, personal belongings, and her car were found in the house on the Anderson property. Since her disappearance, there has been no activity on her SS card/number, banking account, credit cards, or any other personal information. Gloria Davis has basically fell off the face of the earth.

Much has been discovered and discussed in the months since this event surfaced. Gloria's dogs were placed though Anderson County Animal Control with the assistance of a few concerned individuals. Eventually, a few, made there way into Mastiff rescue where they were care for, fostered, and place up for adoption. On a personal note--JC now lives with a family and has made a full recovery.

So many unanswered questions remain, and well remain until Gloria can be located. Somewhere, someone has information relating to Gloria's disappearance. It is the hope and prayers of Gloria's friends and family that those who hold the missing pieces to this story will step forward. Gloria's sons, grand children, and her mother all deserve closure.

If you feel you have information relating to the disappearance of Gloria Davis, please contact the investigating officer in Anderson, SC-- Detective Wayne Mills. Any piece of information may be the link so needed in this investigation. He can be reached at

On a personal note--I will never stop asking questions. I will never stop looking for information. I will never believe that Gloria walked away from her home, her dogs, her family and her friends. Gloria was not a perfect person, but none of us are or will ever be. Gloria and her dogs deserve justice and peace. I believe in Karma and I believe in God's justice. In time, we will have our answers. In time, those who are responsible for these horrendous deeds will answer; if not in man's court, in God's court.

It is still hard for me to write or discuss this case. Since it is an open case, much can't be discussed at present. I would ask that each who reads this blog --do what I do. I pray each day for strength and guidance for Detective Mills, and peace for Gloria's family.

I see Gloria's love and devotion for her dogs in my Gracie and Hope--I see Max in Gracie and Hope's puppies. I know Gloria would be so proud of these dogs. I wish she was here to see them.

Catie Arney, KioKee Mastiffs Hickory, NC

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Just having Fun

Who says Mastiffs aren't athletes? Here are Dolly & Wally-17 months old out having a good romp on a blustery day. These two are from my Gracie & Cooter litter (Sept 2010)--Dolly was my 1st pick girl, and Wally was my 2nd pick boy.
At one point, Wally was a bit smaller than the other boys. When I told potiential puppy buyers, he just needed some time and he would catch up--because the genetics was there; no one believed me. Well, look at him now! He now lives in Ohio, and will be starting his show career this spring.
Thank you Danielle Browning for believing in Wally, and for believing in me. I can't wait to see what this boy and his sister are going to become!!
Wally & Dolly's Dam--Ch. Kiokee Lionhearted Savin' Grace--is due with her second litter Feb 17th. I expect these puppies will be ever bit as good--or better than her first litter. I will be placing the 2nd pick female, and the 1st & 2nd pick males into show homes. If you are interested in a show potiential puppy from this litter, contact me at
Catie Arney
Kiokee Mastiffs
Hickory, NC