October 2014 Sneak Peek

Artificial Insemination: A Way to Preserve and Promote Great Hounds and Bloodlines

by Dr. Treyton Jai Diggs, DVM

I recently wrote an article interviewing Richard “Dickie” Beyl. In that conversation he spoke of his great hound FC JR’S TJ. He then stated that if he had known about artificial insemination and freezing semen he would have definitely had TJ’S semen frozen. I have always wondered why our sport doesn’t take advantage of this technology/service more often. I know a lot of other hound sports utilize this service quite often i.e. coonhounds and bird dogs. So I figured that I would write an article that would hopefully educate, familiarize, and enlighten beaglers on artificial insemination.
Before I ponder into great depth of this article, I would like to say that artificial insemination is not an easy process in dogs and it takes a great deal of education and appropriate timing to be successful. So finding a veterinarian that has an interest in this science is going to be integral.
As much as I promote my fellow houndsmen to utilize this technology, I strongly recommend that the bitch be proven. When I say “proven” I mean a bitch that has successfully conceived at least once or twice recently and is a good mother to her pups. I often have clients that want to use artificial insemination in a maiden or problematic bitch. I have found, that despite the efforts and attempts in these bitches, artificial insemination is often unsuccessful. Another recommendation is to collect semen from your stud when he is young. I encounter houndsmen that want to freeze their studs semen but they wait until their hound is too old to give a quality semen specimen. It is a common finding for semen potency to decrease with age so collecting from your hound early increases the likelihood of obtaining quality specimens. From my experience it best to collect between the ages of 2-5 years. Of course, they can be collected later but semen quality begins to decrease and so does the stud’s libido. I typically recommend to my clients to collect semen in the breeding off season (any period where your male is not being used regularly to naturally service bitches). This is a lot less stressful on the stud owner, he or she doesn’t have to worry about trying to successfully breed a bitch and schedule a semen collection at the same time. It also increases the likelihood of achieving a successful breeding and obtaining a quality collection sample. By collecting in the breeding off season, this also decreases the chances that your hound will get reproductively stressed. I don’t typically recommend breeding a dog more than 3-4 times a week. Breeding more than this often affects semen concentration and quality, resulting in smaller litters or bitches that fail to conceive or “miss”.

You can view the remainder of this article starting on page 4 of our October issue.

August Sneak Peek

Mile Branch Sammy III

by Troy Barber

While looking back at these old hounds has been very rewarding and brought back many fond memories, it has also been very challenging to gather accurate statistics. Although I have lots of firsthand knowledge of these hounds, I don’t remember all the details such as field trial records and awards so I have to rely on their owners and other sources. Many of the owners of these hounds live near the Gulf Coast and were hit hard by hurricane Katrina in 2005, therefore lots of the old records and photographs were destroyed by this horrific storm. That being said, I’m grateful to each individual who furnished photos and records for this series. However, I know we have failed to obtain 100% of the information due to circumstances but hopefully, we have done justice to the roles these hounds have played in beagle history.
Mile Branch Sammy produced well with several different bloodlines but like any other stud dog some were better than others. When he was crossed back on Black Creek/Skullfork bred females is when the magic really happened. If you recall Sammy was half Black Creek/Skullfork himself so when he was crossed back on females from that line the offspring were line bred with one quarter out-cross. Sammy’s popularity and success brought much recognition to the Black Creek bloodline as many folks refer to him and his offspring as Black Creek. Most of the traits that he was famous for did not come from the Black Creek side of the pedigree but rather his dam, Mile Branch Sadie. Let’s give credit where credit is due. The infusion of the Sammy blood into this already great line of hounds gave them a much needed facelift such as conformation, stamina, search and brains.
In part two of this series, we talked about the first few crosses made on Sammy and they all had something in common; the dams were closely related to Sammy’s sire Black Creek Sam VI. This had not gone unnoticed as many local beaglers observed the success of these first crosses. In an attempt to duplicate this success, many breeders began to seek out Sammy to cross on females with pedigrees similar to those initial matings.

You can view the remainder of this article on page 18 of our August issue!

May Sneak Peek

Fescue, The Quiet Killer

by Les Blondino

Fescue was introduced into the United States from Europe. Dr. E. N. Fergus of the University of Kentucky first observed tall fescue growing in Menifer County, Kentucky in 1931. Dr. Fergus collected seed and tested it in various Kentucky locations. Eventually fescue was named Kentucky 31, referring to 1931 when Dr. Fergus first observed tall fescue.

Fescue is hardy by nature and highly adaptive to a wide variety of conditions. Heat and drought have little effect on fescue. It also does well in a variety of soil types. Fescue thrives in acidic, poor or rich soil. Fescue is a cure all for erosion and other problems. Since fescue has all these survival qualities, it has been planted in large areas throughout the country. Fescue has been planted on 35 million acres. So, regardless of where you live, you probably have fescue.

Since fescue has all these survival qualities, when introduced to a new area, it relentlessly takes over. Fescue’s root structure and toxicity kills off the native grasses, weeds and other plants that are highly beneficial to rabbits and other wildlife.

The problems with fescue are caused by endophytes. Webster’s Dictionary defines endophytes as any plant that grows within another plant. Endophytes are organisms, fungi and bacteria living in some fescue, not all fescue have endophytes. However, when fescue does have endophytes, a variety of problems arise. Fescue often causes reproduction problems with cattle and other animals that graze it. Cattle grazing on fescue have been known to develop lameness and have lost part of their hooves and tails. This condition is referred to as “Fescue Foot”. Mares grazing tall fescue will sometimes abort or produce still born foals. In addition to this, they often fail to produce an adequate amount of milk. Along with these problems, studies have been conducted for pregnancy rates in cattle on fescue with endophytes and found to have a much lower pregnancy rates. There are a host of other problems, such as, weight gain, decreased milk production, rough half coat and elevated body temperature. An estimated $500 million dollars is lost to the livestock industry yearly from fescue.

Be sure to check out the full article starting on page 32 of our May issue!

Towanda Correction

There was a mistake in the Towanda ad that appeared in our April issue. The trial is also a Purina Points Trial. All judges are incorrect. The cost should be $12/dog. We apologize for any inconvenience. Please pass this information on to anyone you know who may have been planning to attend this trial.