August Sneak Peek

Systemic Mycoses – Big Words for Little Fungi Part II: Histoplasmosis

By Luke Peterson, DVM, MS

Histoplasmosis is another fungus that can cause multiple forms of disease in dogs. Histoplasma capsulatum can be found in a large portion of the central and eastern United States (see map in figure 1) primarily through the Ohio and Mississippi river valleys with the highest region in southern Illinois, southern Indiana, western Tennessee, western Kentucky, southeastern Missouri, eastern Arkansas, northern Mississippi, and the northwestern corner of Alabama. The fungus resides in soil and is especially associated with areas containing bird or bat droppings. Pointers, Weimeraners, and Brittany Spaniels have an increased risk compared to other breeds. Exposure to the fungus does not always result in disease. Research conducted during post-mortem exams isolated the fungus from 36% (Kentucky) and 44% (Virginia) of otherwise healthy dogs displaying no disease.

The fungus produces spores which are released into the air when the soil is disturbed. Dogs and humans are at risk when those spores are inhaled into the lungs. The spores then transform into yeast and spread to lymph nodes and through the blood stream to various organ systems. The yeast form is not directly contagious from one dog to another or from dog to human. The length of time it takes for the disease to progress in severity varies based on the health of the dog in question. But studies have found a more aggressive form which takes 2-4 weeks to become fatal and occurs in about 10% of affected dogs compared to a slower chronic form which takes 2-20 months the other 90% of the time. Disease syndromes most commonly found are pulmonary, mediastinal lymphadenitis (this is infection/inflammation of the mediastinal lymph nodes which are located in the chest cavity), and progressive disseminated histoplasmosis.

Don’t miss the rest of this article on page 38 of our August issue!

June Sneak Peek

The Check

Stephen Wiggins

The beagle is a scent hound. When running a rabbit the dog follows the scent channel left on the ground or in the air. The rabbit, on the other hand, is a prey animal that is “hard wired” (i.e., genetically programmed) to instinctively execute maneuvers in order to divert any predator from its trail. The rabbit would like nothing better than to end the race by permanently losing the pursuing hound. Sometimes the hound temporarily loses the scent line and is unable to pursue the rabbit for a short time. This is called a “check.”

This terminology is used because with the hound’s loss of the scent channel the progress of running the rabbit has been momentarily “checked” or impeded. Ideally, one wishes their dog would never have a check. But in the real world every hound or pack of hounds that ever ran a rabbit for very long has had a check. It is not that checks are bad. It is the work the dog does after the check begins that is important. In short, what every beagler wants is for their hound to make an attempt to reclaim the scent line as quickly as possible so the rabbit race continues. One never wants a temporary loss to turn into a permanent loss.

From a trial judge’s perspective the check is an important part of a race whereby hounds can demonstrate their ability. It allows judges to evaluate the quality of the hounds being observed. In his book, American Beagling, noted houndsman, Glenn Black, relates that an entire volume could be written on the features of check work especially since, “It is the basis of many close field-trial decisions.” The author continues: “In his manner of handling checks a hound has his best and most easily observed opportunity to exhibit his brains and levelheadedness, the quality of his nose and the trueness of his tongue. A great deal of his most valuable natural quality can be exhibited to the judges at the moment when they have the best opportunity to see everything he does. Driving a line is the hound’s easy work while picking checks is his hard work and thus more important as an indicator of his natural ability and quality” (p. 177).

Don’t miss the rest of this article! Check out page 18 of our June issue!

May Sneak Peek

Lone Star Beagle Association

By Troy Barber

As I travel around the country interviewing folks and gathering information for these articles, I’m reminded how like-minded beaglers are when it comes to the big picture. Big picture meaning the general ideas of why we do what we do. Without fail, I hear comments such as promote fellowship, encourage sportsmanlike conduct, preserve our heritage, maintain AKC standards and consider the well-being of each club and its members. I see it written in the constitution and by-laws of beagle clubs and beagle associations. I hear it when I’m talking to individuals. It doesn’t matter if I am in Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana or other parts of the country, the concerns and interests are very similar. On the other hand, the differences are also very similar. Yes, there are differences but it’s little things such as style, speed and bloodline of hounds. Then sometimes there are personality clashes, personal opinions or moral issues that seem to divide folks. The truth is, there are times our vision is clouded with these little things and we can’t see the forest for the trees, the forest being the big picture which should always take center stage. The trees are the little things that often dominate our thinking and dim our vision preventing us from seeing the big picture or the forest. If I had the magic formula to prevent this, I would be rich and famous. This very thing has caused division among individuals, families, beagle clubs, churches and even nations down through the years. The Bible indicates that it’s the little foxes that slip through the cracks and spoil the grapes. It also says a divided house cannot stand. Many times in my life I have had to step back and take a good long look at the big picture in order to put things in perspective. If we are too close up, we see only the trees but if we back away far enough we can then see the entire forest.

I mentioned last month that these articles are meant to inspire and challenge each individual as well as clubs, associations and federations. Inspire simply means to motivate, stimulate, encourage and influence. Inspiration doesn’t necessarily come in big packages; it can be the guy who volunteers to be the collar man at a field trial, the person who sweeps the floor at the club, the lady who cooks the fried apple pies and many others who quietly do those little things that makes a big difference. When I see my friend J.E. Childers, almost without fail, he will say, “I appreciate you.” Just those three words are enough to inspire me! It motivates and encourages me to do more. Thank you J.E. for being an inspiration to me as well as others. Challenge simply means to call or summon someone to engage themselves. We should all challenge ourselves to do a little more, a little better and always remember we’re building on a foundation that was laid by our forefathers, dedicated men and women who had a vision. We’re enjoying the fruits of their labors; it’s up to us to be good stewards of that which was entrusted to us. To challenge ourselves to improve on what we have, promote unity and to have a vision of where we’re going and how to get there. In order to do that effectively, we will need to lay aside those things that hinder us such as; selfishness, anger, envy, jealousy, greed, arrogance, ill will, resentment, superiority, and ego. And embrace attributes like joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth and compassion. I know that sounds like church, but for that, I make no apologies. If it works for church, it’ll work for our beagle clubs, associations and federations.

Don’t miss the remainder of this article on page 8 of our May issue!

March Sneak Peek

The Chief and the Marathoner

By Bruce Rood

Most people that know me understand I have hidden a passion for introducing the youth to the adventures of the great outdoors. Every year it seems I’ve gotten many chance to take a friend and his son, daughter or grandchild hunting. This year has been especially enjoyable hunting with my own twelve year old son, Luke. We have spent many days in the field and he was introduced to some new things including duck hunting and coon hunting for the first time. In the coming days we even have plans to attempt to call in a coyote or fox. He has even got to learn some basic trapping techniques. This year has been very special to me and I hope to him as well.

I also got to spend some time with a local hero of mine in the field chasing some rabbits. He is someone I consider a legend in his own right. I’ve been in law enforcement now for over twenty years. I’ve had a very rewarding and enjoyable career. I never wanted to owe anyone a favor for helping me out in my career. I wanted to earn everything I got and I did, except for this man. He is a man who took a chance on a poor kid with no political pull and gave him a job on the department. Chief Charles (Charlie) Hackett did not owe me anything and all he ever asked of me was to do my best.

Chief Hackett was a pioneer in local law enforcement and prior to being the chief served as the assistant chief to Chief Lynn Rudolph. Those two men completely changed the way we as a department conducted business. They are true leaders of men and would lead from the front line with you. He was instrumental in creating community based efforts that are used across the country today. Over the years, I got the chance to rabbit hunt with Charlie and his pack of beagles. Sadly, over time his pack began to dwindle with age until they were all gone. This year I got the chance to return the favor and supply the hounds and we’ve had a few enjoyable hunts. So far all of the hunts have taken place at one of his favorite places that he and another colleague from work have hunted for years. It’s a place called “Holly’s Thicket”.
The first trip into the thicket this year I brought along my son Luke along with a good friend and his son, Jack. Charlie brought his “adopted” grandson Levi. Levi is the son of a friend of Charlie’s and he treats him as his own. We jumped one right out of the gate and within seconds Charlie had two in the bag. He may be a little older now but his aim has not changed. The next one we jumped the dogs ran for well over an hour before it finally holed up. We saw this rabbit on several occasions and it was very large for an eastern cottontail. It sure could run. We ended the day with Levi and Jack bagging their first ever rabbits and had some great dog work. A total of six rabbits were taken in all but I remember that look on Charlie’s face after the big rabbit finally hit the hole. “I sure enjoyed listening to that run” he said with a big grin.

A few weeks later I got the invite to return to Holly’s Thicket with another colleague from work. Guy Trobaugh, and his two boys along with my son. Larry joined us along with David Foster. As soon as we stepped into the thicket the hounds were off again. Again, it was a bigger than normal rabbit and man did it run. I wondered the entire time if this could be the same one I ran a few days earlier with Charlie. We had six hounds down that day and they never let up. They circled that 20 acre thicket several times and even went way off to the adjoining pasture ground almost out of hearing range. He was shot at a few times but always seemed to outsmart us. Finally after almost two and a half hours later he hit a hole. It was the same hole as the previous one I ran with Charlie a few days earlier. The hounds were smoked. That rabbit ran so well and hard we decided to give him a name, the Marathoner. He had all the tools of a marathoner with a lot of stamina to handle the pressure of six hounds non-stop for that long. The only thing he was missing was a bib number and a pair of Saucony tennis shoes.

For the remainder of this article, be sure to check out page 16 of our March issue.