health lagotto romagnolo

Why sterilise your dog

Neutering a dog mainly protects him from tumours. For the female these are tumours of the uterus and udder, for the male tumours of the testicles and prostate.

Mother Nature takes her course and would like females with puppies twice a year. This, however, is very bad. It would soon debilitate the females and shorten their lives.

The dog is not a wolf.

The Lagotto does not even resemble the Wolf. The Lagotto Romagnolo, and the dog in general, is a domestic animal that lives in a family and does not have the rules and hierarchies of a pack. Hierarchies that also regulate mating within the pack and which consequently determine the selection of the species.

Man’s intervention on a domestic animal such as the dog is necessary to try to prevent certain pathologies deriving from the lack of reproduction of the female in particular, but also of the male.

This remains the main and perhaps only reason, sorry if it is not enough, to convince people to sterilise their dogs.

When to sterilise your dog

I have searched for information and I have also consulted directly or indirectly with some vets. Unfortunately there are no univocal lines of thought on when to sterilise the dog and each one has its advantages and disadvantages.

For the male the operation is very simple and requires little time to recover. The operation can be done at any time, there is no reproductive cycle to take into account.

In general, early castration in males is not recommended.

But from 3-4 years of age it is worthwhile.

For the female after the operation it takes a few days to recover and overcome the pain in the abdomen. Early sterilisation of females significantly reduces the risk of tumours in later life.

But how early?

I believe that the evaluation must also take into account the breed. For the Lagotto Romagnolo I would avoid surgery before one year of age. The first year of age is fundamental for physical development in a breed exposed to dysplasia. It can also be a traumatic experience from a character point of view, which in my opinion should be postponed until after one year of age.

Sterilisation of the female takes place 2-3 months after the last heat.

Our females, once the reproductive activity is over, after the 5th litter, are sterilised.

The breeder’s code of ethics requires that females should not be reproduced after 5 litters.

Contraindications to sterilisation

If we exclude the minimum risk due to a surgical intervention, even if it is trivial, there are no contraindications to sterilisation.

The tendency to put on weight after sterilisation is not something that I have seen in my females, although obviously we always pay a lot of attention to this aspect.

Taboos and rumours

There are some taboos to overcome on this subject. That of going against nature. Briefly, I would say that nature is quite ruthless with regard to reproduction, two litters a year means exhausting the females to the point of shortening their lives. Overcome this taboo considering that the dog is a domestic animal.

The idea of having the female breed at least once to protect her from tumours is a widespread but unfounded consideration. Neutering certainly has benefits, one pregnancy in a lifetime, it is not clear why it should mark the female against tumours if the poor thing continues to have two heats a year for the rest of her life.

Dog pregnancy

The dog’s pregnancy lasts 63 days from the day of ovulation. This is a very precise figure. It is all about identifying the day of ovulation. Blood tests carried out in laboratories are able within a few hours to provide the level of Progesterone and thus the exact day of ovulation.

Proceeding with the help of science allows us to plan mating correctly and, more importantly, to know the date of birth. We can then be ready for any eventuality.

There is also additional information that can be gathered in the days leading up to the calving, so that we know how best to assist in the happy event.

Breeding is our profession, and as in all professions experience and preparation are essential for the end result. In our case, being up to the mark is very important because our mistakes are paid for by our animals, our Lagottos and their puppies.

For this reason we are necessarily strongly opposed to improvised and do-it-yourself litters. There are many sad testimonies of those who have ventured into this experience in ignorance.

A pregnant dog will have to be handled differently. Diet, walks, supplements, games, everything changes during this period.

Childbirth marks the end of the pregnancy. An event full of emotion and adrenaline that must be followed personally with the utmost attention. Sometimes obstetrical manoeuvres or medicines are required to help our canine and her puppies. At other times, moving in time and reading every signal, we must necessarily ask for the help of the vet to proceed to a caesarean section.

Benefits of reproduction

A female who has had her litter has a remarkable change, also character-wise.

Becoming a mother is an experience that completes and matures.

The self-denial of the bitches near their puppies is surprising in the first days. The care and attention they have for their creatures. A process that is repeated with renewed wonder.

Reproduction is a request from Mother Nature that is repeated every 6 months. Man’s intervention is sometimes necessary to counter some merciless rules. Mothers must not be put at risk and weaker pups must be helped to live through and overcome the great physical stress of childbirth.

A series of virtuous acts must be performed during the dog’s pregnancy and during the birth.

With a slight twist, the sterilisation of non-breeding bitches should also be considered a virtuous act.

The consequences of repeated calving without resulting in pregnancy, as Mother Nature mercilessly demands, are the cause of probable tumours of the udder or serious uterine problems.

Hysterical pregnancy

Hysterical pregnancy in dogs can have mild or even severe symptoms. Psychological setbacks and mental stress undoubtedly add to the physical symptoms.

In correspondence with the heat and the hormonal peak, our dog can develop this desire to be a mother to the point of having all the symptoms.

What is most noticeable are the swellings of the udders which can even lead to the production of milk.

Fetishistic behaviour towards objects that are associated with puppies. The whole situation is unfortunate and a veterinary visit to rule out serious complications is always recommended.

Sterilisation also solves the problem in this case. Its benefits are manifold and extend the life of our dog.

alimentazione lagotto romagnolo

Feeding your puppy: How and what.

sacco monge cuccioli lagotto

Puppy feeding Monge bag

In our kennel both for adult dogs but also for puppies we are using Monge or Royal Canin croquettes. For the feeding and weaning of puppies the product is Puppy and Junior Medium. In the picture on the right you can see the Monge bag with its colours so that it is easily recognizable. Monge has more tastes for puppies too, you can be wrong. Royal Canin has only Medium Puppy chicken nuggets. The prices are virtually identical per kilo of product, although obviously the larger bags significantly lower the price per kilogram.

It’s not a frequent occurrence but sometimes it happens that a weaning litter is not so enticing on a type of croquette and then we change, generally things get much better.

For those who want to stock up on croquettes in advance, simply ask us what brand of croquette we are using at that time.

We want the puppies to continue with this diet.

It is a certainty if the puppy loses some appetite due to the stress of insertion. Knowing for certain that the food is to his liking is an element of security. Changing food also leads to further discomfort for the dog. Changing food is not recommended during insertion.

For the quantities we should refer to the table on the back of the bag.

tabella alimentazione cuccioli crocchette monge

Monge rations table puppy feeding

In the picture beside I have put a zoom.

The first thing to look at is the adult dog’s weight. In the case of the Lagotto Romagnolo I have coloured in pink the column to follow for the females and in blue that of the males.

At this point the game is done! The rations we read are in grams and refer to the daily ration based on the months of the puppy’s life.

Up to the age of 6 months the ration will be divided into three meals with the convenient dispenser that is delivered at the farm. Better if moistened with water.

After six months the ration will be divided into two meals.

After 12 months we will switch to adult croquettes.

The above mentioned doses are a fairly precise reference. However, they do not take into account physical activity, season and metabolism, which can be different from puppy to puppy.

Usually the rations in winter are more abundant. The cold makes them consume more. In summer they are slightly reduced.

Weight control of the Lagotto puppy

Palpate the puppy along the hips. The fantastic curly hair of the Lagotto can be deceiving. Evaluating the shape of a shaved dog is quite simple. For the Lagotto, no! Especially when it is a puppy with fur.

We’ll weigh the puppy to see if growth is progressing regularly. He won’t have to gain weight too quickly. Even touch control is a good way to assess excesses.

Let’s try to see a normal weight gain for the Lagotto Romagnolo.

Theoretical considerations that can serve as a reference to evaluate the growth of the puppy or remove some doubts.

The puppy is given to the 10th week and its weight will be about 5 kilograms.

Until the 24th week the weekly weight increase will be almost constant.

It will reach 80% of its adult weight (around 500 grams per week for a Lagotto that will weigh 15 Kg when adult).

After the 24th week until the end of the year the weekly weight gain will still be constant but much less noticeable.

Just to give a reference we are in the order of 80 gr per week.

Foods forbidden for the Dog

There are foods that are harmful to dogs. It seems appropriate to report them:

  • Chocolate is extremely dangerous
  • Salt as it accumulates in the dog’s body due to the absence of sweating
  • Sweets in general are to be avoided.

Last recommendation are the delicacies, biscuits and hyper-points that we could use as prizes.

We must not satiate the Dog with these… I don’t get the term!

We risk providing him with an unbalanced excess of food. Different digestion times so that either the dog skips the meal or even worse, doubles it.

tools to groom lagotto romagnolo

Tools to Groom the Lagotto

Lagotto dog grooming is an activity that every owner can do on his own. The reasons can be many, from pastime, to the desire to try this practice or to keep your dog aesthetically in order with greater flexibility and frequency, compared to having to take him to a groomer when you just can’t take him anymore.

Many of the owners of our Lagotto want to try and do some retouching and gaining confidence and seeing their dog’s results and behaviour improve, they often continue.

If you are reading this article you are certainly interested in understanding what a good grooming equipment is, a compromise with professional equipment but sufficient to care for the curly hair of your Lagottino with excellent results.

Before going into the actual equipment, trying to give references both as brands and prices, remember that it will be necessary to wash the dog.

A bath based on shampoo for dogs and a conditioner to make the hair clean and easy to cut. It can also be easily done in the bathtub at home.

The comb will slide more easily and we will not risk to remove the sharpening of the cutting tools due also to light dirt.

Grooming tools: table

tavolo per toelettare

The Grooming Table

The Grooming Table is certainly indispensable to work in a certain harmony. The main feature is to be able to hold the dog firmly enough to cut. The first few times the dog will not be completely at ease but he will soon get used to it, making the operations much easier and more effective.

A table with an arm and lockable table like the one in the picture has a price around 80 euros or a little more.

It is a basic table, but it allows you to do your work very well and is easily transportable. Going up in price there are pneumatic tables. These are raised and lowered, but cannot be transported. Instead, they can rotate to position the dog quickly to one side or the other to simplify the process.

As for the laces, the ones supplied are made of fabric and can be inadvertently cut with scissors. Soon it will be necessary to switch to hard plastic ones with rubber head support.

Grooming tools: Comb and brush

cardatore toelettare


pettine toelettare

Steel tooth comb

The brush or carder is not necessary to keep the hair of the pond tidy. On the contrary, they are to be avoided in order not to smooth the hair and lose the typical hedgehog of the breed. However, when grooming, the carder can be useful for thinning the hair in certain critical points. It is also useful to raise the hair of the tail and give it a uniform shape. The comb like the one in the photo remains the main tool to manage the coat of the Lagotto Romagnolo.

The prices of both the carder and the comb do not reach 10 euros each.

Grooming tools: Hemostatic ear hair tongs

pinza peli cane emostatica

Hemostatic pliers for inner ear hair

In the picture, the hemostatic clamp is very useful to remove the hair growing inside the earcup. To be handled with great care but really effective. The block on the scissor rod allows you to be very precise for excellent cleaning.

These pliers are easily found at a price of less than 10 euros.

Cutting grooming tools: scissors.

There are also many types of scissors and the quality of the steel used makes all the difference. Both in price and ease of work.

The scissors to be used are straight or straight scissors with a length of about 20 cm. We can also equip ourselves with a second shorter scissors to be more precise in sculpting the head and following the anatomy of the dog near the shoulders and on the back. Excessively cheap scissors are generally not very durable and not very precise.

A good scissor has a price around 40 euros.

Obviously the scissors need to be resharpened and it is not easy to find someone who knows how to sharpen scissors, but it is worth a try.

The cost of sharpening scissors is about 3 euros.

Cutting grooming tools: clippers and heads.

Among the best-known brands of clippers are Moser, Aesculap and Heininger. They all use interchangeable heads, except for a few models of the Aesculap.

The Moser 45 with wire is priced at just over 100 euros and is sufficiently valid.

Probably the most widely used amateur level. The prices of the Aesculap and the Heininger are much higher, especially if we aim at battery-powered models. After years of use of the Moser 45 we have opted for the Heninger Saphir and it is a really nice, comfortable, light and durable battery pack. Of course the cost is justified by the number of our Lagotto.

For the heads, on the other hand, it is worth spending a few words on ceramic blades.  The ceramic blades are much more durable and above all they heat very little and avoid burns to our dog. Let’s remember to use the lubricating oil for shearing machine at a cost of about 10 euro.

For the shearing of Lagotto the blades number 7 – 7F (about 3 mm) are very good for shearing and to keep the belly clean even when we opt for a grooming instead of the complete shearing.

The cost of the complete blades is around 35 euros, something more for ceramic blades, but in my opinion they are to be recommended.

There are also other grooming tools from Lagotto that can be useful in case you need them, nail scissors or lower blades like the 10 to finish the feet and belly. But with the grooming equipment described above we will be able, with a little experience, to achieve excellent results in complete autonomy.

A certainty as an element of tranquillity:

The hair of your Lagotto will grow back, and any grooming mistakes will soon be remedied.



Intestinal worms in the puppy

A few weeks after the birth of the litter we are inevitably confronted with the problem of worming. The mother’s milk is the medium by which the puppies are infested with roundworms or coccidia or tapeworms. The mother has been regularly treated but this is not enough.

All puppies will soon become infested just by suckling.

For a healthy growth already from the second week of life both the puppies and the bitch will follow a worming prophylaxis.

In the first few weeks the mother is completely responsible for the hygiene of the puppies, and in doing so inevitably enters the breeding cycle of these parasites.

The first three weeks of the puppies’ life are very demanding for the mother. The kittens need to be fed every two hours and all the nutrients come from the mother. It is a very stressful period. Little rest and lots of energy to raise the offspring.

No room for parasites and intestinal worms!

Worming the puppies and the mother is essential for raising healthy and strong puppies. These treatments are repeated throughout the breeding period of the young Lagotti.

The evaluation of the consistency of the faeces and the daily growth in weight are the first indicators of the work we are doing.

As the time for the first vaccinations approaches, stool examination becomes indispensable.

Puppy vaccines, like the multivalent vaccines, are based on the immune response. A healthy, strong puppy that does not waste its defences fighting unnecessary parasites will have a better chance of responding to the vaccine.

Vaccinating puppies with intestinal worms is theoretically useless. So not to be done in practice.

This is the main reason why special attention should be paid to worming and only vaccinate after a laboratory examination of the faeces.

A vaccinated puppy that has failed to create antibodies will still be vulnerable.

Lagotto Romagnolo intestinal parasites

Once the puppy leaves the kennel it will have had its first vaccine and a prophylaxis against worms and intestinal parasites.

The puppies have not been suckling for several weeks now. However, both puppies and adult dogs can still be infected with intestinal worms.

The vehicle by which parasites enter the dog’s intestines is faeces from other dogs or wild animals.

It is again the consistency of the faeces that tells us that an examination of the faeces is necessary.

The most suitable treatment and medication can then be identified. With a stool sample the vet can determine what kind of microscopic organism is present.

Diarrhoea and the presence of mucus in the faeces should alert us. Unjustified weight loss or vomiting becomes almost a certainty.

The moment when the Lagotto comes into contact with the parasites is not always so obvious. A dog that has not ingested infected faeces may still have soiled its paws while walking. It is the subsequent actions of scratching or cleaning the curly coat that leads to the mouth and ingestion……..

Sometimes in adult Lagotto the presence of intestinal worms is asymptomatic.

We have recently equipped ourselves with a machine to produce ozonated water. We have noticed great benefits in terms of sanitation and sterilisation of the environment.

A few days before the annual vaccine booster, you should always take a stool sample to your vet. This will avoid unnecessary vaccination of the dog.


Giardia is a protozoan that lives in water. Dogs can be infected not only through the faeces of other animals, but also by drinking from puddles or by contact with infected urine.

Once giardia has been diagnosed, treatment is based on a deworming agent given over a longer period.

The most troublesome part is preventing the dog from coming into contact with the parasite again.

It will be necessary to:

  • Sanitise the environment where your Lagotto lives using bleach-based products.
  • Avoid frequenting contaminated environments where your dog is likely to have contracted giardia for the first time. Areas frequented by many dogs, for example, can pose a risk.

Unfortunately, the giardia parasite has a rather long life cycle, which requires special care to eradicate it.

Giardia can also affect humans. The treatment of Giardia for dogs is with Panacur tablets repeated over several days. ext

pericoli cane lagotto romagnolo forasacchi

Dandelions are the torture of spring and summer, in the countryside as well as in the city

The forasacs are those little spikes we see growing between the longest blades of grass. They are a real nuisance in the period from spring to summer.

We find them everywhere, in the countryside in meadows and woods, by the roadside as well as in gardens or flowerbeds in the city. They grow in places where the grass is not well cut, between nets or near pavements.

As long as they are green, the dandelions are not a danger.

The problem starts in hot weather. When they dry out and become stiff.

The forasacs split like a thousand-headed monster. As you try to destroy one of these spikes, it multiplies into other smaller spikes. All with the same characteristic.

They are tapered like a spear and with hard, tough little teeth they stick to the dog’s fur. They range in size from 1 to 3 centimetres.

It is their shape and teeth that allow the hairpin to advance. Very dangerous and frequent are the bores that enter the auricle. They also nest easily between the toes of the paws and can enter very quickly.

With the dog’s movement they continue forward until they pierce the flesh.

When Camilla, our vet, told me this, I didn’t want to believe it. It’s not frequent, but it happens that the forasacs manage to penetrate as far as the liver, the lungs, they advance inexorably.

All dogs are at risk from dandruff, and the Lagotto Romagnolo dog with its curly, woolly coat seems to be a real magnet for dandruff.

The most frequently affected areas are the ears, between the toes, under the armpits and generally where there is a flush.

The nose is a frequent risk area for many dogs. My Lagottos have never had to inhale a dandruff, so I’ve never had to worry about that!

As far as the ears are concerned, it is easy to tell when the dog has picked up a dandruff. He starts to shake his head or walks with it turned to one side.

We have equipped ourselves with a gima otoscope and special veterinary forceps so that we can remove the bores from the ear as soon as we notice them. Without these instruments it is not possible to remove the spikes from our dog’s ear. If the dog is used to being handled and stays still when we try to intervene, we have a good chance of success, even without sedatives. On the other hand, we will need the help of our vet.

The presence of boils between the toes or in other parts of the body is indicated by the dog licking or scratching himself repeatedly.

Unfortunately, I did not immediately notice the presence of a dandelion between the toes of one of my Lagotto’s legs. It is amazing how quickly the ear penetrates deep inside.

The dog licks itself repeatedly and will even try with its teeth to remove the ear. These behaviours indicate that something is wrong. The ear should be removed and the hole disinfected.

If you keep your Lagotto’s coat very short, there will be far fewer dandruff sticking to the hair that is no longer curly because of shearing. It will be easier to detect foreign bodies and remove them.

As soon as you have finished your walk, it is a good idea to check your four-legged friend for forbs.

The only defence we have against dandruff is to stay away from it. Check the coat of your Lagot after returning from a potentially dangerous walk.

Dog parasites: a danger for the Lagotto Romagnolo

Ticks, fleas, mosquitoes and parasites. These are the parasites that mainly infest our Lagotto Romagnolo in the period from spring to early autumn.

The last years are characterised by very long autumns and mild winters. The presence of these parasites and insects in many regions of Italy is now constant throughout the year. This means that prevention of diseases carried by parasites and mosquitoes must be constant.

Insects and parasites come into contact with the blood of our Lagotto Romagnolo, carrying diseases that are dangerous even for the life of our dog. Despite its thick, curly coat, the Lagotto Romagnolo is not immune.

Which diseases and complications are carried by parasites and insects.

Ticks and fleas can cause minor complications such as itching and inflammation. But also serious diseases such as anaemia and weight loss.

Mosquitoes and parasites carry terrible diseases. Diseases which, if not treated in time, have deadly consequences, such as Filariasis and Leishmaniasis.


It can occur months after the triggering event, a mosquito bite. The larvae settle in the dog’s skin. Through the circulatory system they travel up to the pulmonary artery and then to the heart.  The consequences can be lethal. It affects the heart and the respiratory system. Extremely expensive treatment does not always guarantee that our dog will be saved. There is a prophylaxis to protect your dog if it is bitten by an insect carrying the disease.


It can take months before it is diagnosed. The earlier it is detected, the greater the chances of saving your dog. For Leishmaniasis there is NO specific prophylaxis to protect our dog once it has been affected. There are areas in Italy identified as being at risk of leishmaniasis. The only defence is to avoid our dog coming into contact with carrier insects. This is done through the constant use of repellents. If we live in areas where the disease is widespread, we must be even more careful. A vaccine has recently been released, the use of which is still under discussion among vets. The advisability of using these vaccines also depends on the size of the dog and should be assessed in consultation with your vet.

Antiparasitics for dogs: what and when

The stakes are too high on this subject. We must not be light-hearted and use the necessary preventive products regularly.

Specific pesticides and repellents for ticks, fleas and mosquitoes.

These are dosage or collar products. There are various brands. Collars provide longer coverage. They are preferable to avoid forgetting to repeat the treatment. However, it is not always possible to use them if your dog can take off the collar. Dosed products are generally monthly treatments.

Not all metered products are equally effective. You should always check for ticks or fleas and change the product if necessary. Make sure that the product you choose protects you against parasites and insects alike. Frontline or Advantix drops and the Serestro collar are the most commonly used products.

Ivermectin-based prophylaxis

These are monthly treatments.  They protect our dog from filariasis and other parasites that may have infested our dog. These are meat-based treats to be given monthly in quantities proportional to the dog’s weight. One of the most widely used products is Cardotek.

The treatment is able to eliminate the larvae of Filariasis present on our Lagotto Romagnolo before they develop. Before starting these treatments it is recommended to carry out tests. The tests are indicated by the manufacturers themselves to avoid complications. If you interrupt or decide for the first time to carry out filariasis treatments on an adult dog, you should always seek the advice of your vet.

Lagotto Romagnolo power supply

The correlation between food and health is often forgotten even for humans. This relationship was well known more than two centuries ago to the father of medicine, Hippocrates.

“Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food”.

Even before Lagotto Romagnolo’s puppy becomes part of our life, the problem of how to feed it arises. Finding the right product to feed the puppy and even afterwards is not very easy. And even cooking ourselves is not so obvious.

The question is whether to cook the food at home or use the food, the croquettes.

Cooking our own food for our dog is certainly a demanding choice, but one that will benefit our Lagotto Romagnolo in the long run.

We ask our vet’s advice, to understand how to ensure a balanced diet for the puppy. An adequate diet to guarantee the correct development of our Lagotto Romagnolo.


The croquettes must be specific for puppies up to the compimentFeeding the Lagotto Romagnolo as a puppy and not only.o one year old. If we have opted for croquettes as a daily food for our puppy from Lagotto Romagnolo.

The quality croquettes ensure all the substances necessary for the correct growth of the puppy, vitamins, proteins, calcium and so on.

The dog does not need to change his food as he likes to do.

For this reason it is possible to choose the croquettes as a daily diet. Changing even just the brand of kibble can cause dysentery in the puppy and also in an adult dog.

How to choose the right product

It is not easy to find your way around the many products available.  Only the label on the package can provide useful information to understand which is a good food for our Lagotto Romagnolo.

The most famous brands are not necessarily the best.

The power of advertising can exceed the quality of the product. Then we will have to learn how to read the label, even if only to submit the products that we think are the best to our vet. Our Lagotto Romagnolo are completely dependent on our choices and even the breeder can share the experience made on his dogs giving useful information.

The croquettes are divided into two classes. Two fundamental adjectives for the choice of the nutrition of your Lagotto Romagnolo and not only:

  • CRUELTY-FREE, a product not tested by vivisection experiments on animals.
  • GRAIN-FREE, product without cereals and grains. Composed exclusively of animal proteins, fruit and vegetables.
    This information is indicated on the packaging of the croquettes.

For more information on how to read the label and how to choose a dry diet for your dogs, there is a lot of information on the WEB.

A first decisive information to be evaluated is the meat content. The dog is a carnivorous animal and the meat content must be high.

The label shows the substances that make up the feed in descending order. The first substance will be the one most present inside the croquette. The indicated meat content should be dehydrated, and attention should be paid to this as well. The presence of water increases the weight of the meat compared to other substances. But it is only water!

The content of ash, additives and chemical preservatives should be as low as possible.

After careful analysis and evaluation, I have chosen a product with excellent requirements.  In order to understand if over time the diet chosen for my Lagotto Romagnolo puppies could have repercussions on their health, I relied on personal experience and that of other breeders.

Dog signals

The dog sends clear signals when the chosen food is harmful to his health.  Continuously grazing grass is a sign of poor digestion.

Dermatitis and localised hair loss are often attributable to poor nutrition. In these cases, it is clear that you need to consult your vet..

processionaria cane lagotto romagnolo

The processionary moth

The processionary moth is an insect which as an adult becomes a nocturnal butterfly, the famous moths. They move in rows across the ground up the trees where they form their nests.

The name is due to the typical movement in a line, like a procession.

Processionary moth nests are white hanks that we often see on pine trees and from which it is difficult to free themselves.

Their activity begins in March and mostly at night, when they reach the ground and bury themselves.

In July and August, when the temperature is higher, it is very easy to encounter them. In this season, when temperatures are high, they come out of the ground and with their typical single file movement climb up into the trees. Mainly pines, but not only.

The processionary moth is dangerous for all animals and also for humans. The stinging hairs of the processionary moth cause severe inflammation in contact areas.

The processionary moth and the dog

The matter becomes much more complicated when it comes to our four-legged friends. If a dog comes into contact with them, it is because it sniffs or tries to ingest these insects.

The areas that typically affect dogs are the mouth and nose. Two extremely sensitive areas that can have fatal consequences.

The tongue swells exaggeratedly, even to the point of asphyxiation. Salivation becomes exaggerated.

Stinging hairs can reach the oesophagus. Depending on the extent of the contact, the dog shows a whole series of symptoms, from exhaustion to fever, lack of appetite to diarrhoea.

If you notice the contact immediately, you should wash the affected area with plenty of water.

This will not be easy as the dog will be in great pain and will not be very willing.

If possible, the affected area should not be extended, and the oral cavity should be kept clean.

Veterinary care is urgently needed.

The danger of the hairy bristles of these caterpillars is also very high for humans and children in particular. The consequences always depend on the affected areas. Eyes, mouth and respiratory tracts also lead to serious consequences for humans.

Where and when we find the processionary moth

Getting rid of these insects once they are established near your home is not easy. It is the presence mainly in pines and pine forests that will make them difficult to eradicate. With great care and in the winter period the branches containing the nests must be cut and burnt.

From March to October it is possible to find these insects. In the presence of pine trees, but above all their nests are easy to spot.

It is the climatic conditions that favour the spread of these insects.

In Florence in March 2017 the problem had reached alert levels. The municipalities in the surrounding areas also intervened with extraordinary plans to rid the city of a veritable processionary moth invasion. It had already happened in October 2015.

A proliferation that also involved other municipalities in Emilia Romagna, Lombardy, Umbria, Veneto, Liguria and Trentino in the same period. A bit of all of northern Italy and part of the centre.

We always hope that our Lagottos do not have to experience this kind of thing. So much depends on us and our behaviour.

Dog Vaccines and Socializing go hand in hand

The dog vaccines begin at our breeding farm and continue at the home of the new families. The timing of the vaccination protocol is one of the first questions that we are asked by the families who decide to welcome one of our puppy Lagotto Romagnolo.

The prophylaxis is not just one. Under the indications of our veterinarian we follow the prophylaxis recommended by WSAVA, World Veterinary Association for small animals, said in English sounds better.

The vaccination prophylaxis provides:

  • First Vaccine carried out on the kennel around 45-50 days
  • First Pentavalent vaccine carried out in the farm around 60-65 days
  • First Recall after 3-4 weeks
  • Second Recall 3-4 weeks after first Recall
  • Annual Recall

The first vaccination is carried out after 60 days.

The puppies in Tuscany, by regional law, can only be given after 60 days. More or less now is so in almost all regions. For a correct socialization it is important for us to keep the puppies in the breeding, close to the Mother, about ten more days.

It happens that we have to resist the pressure of the new families of puppies who would like their puppy from Lagotto Romagnolo as soon as possible.

Vaccinating the puppies before 60 days is impossible for us. We will have to change veterinarian.

Surely there are protocols to anticipate vaccines. It may not be the need to give up the puppies or pressure from the owners. In fact we, both to conclude the socialization and to follow the WSAVA guidelines, we respect the protocol.

Dog Vaccines and Health

A future mother should be vaccinated before she even goes into heat. In this case, during gestation and lactation antibodies are provided to her puppies.

This is the main reason why we should never anticipate the first vaccine. We risk a bleaching effect that will cancel the antibodies provided by the mother.

Before the vaccines, the puppies are wormed and faeces are tested to ensure the absence of worms. Periods of stress, such as leaving our farm in the next 4-5 days after vaccination, must be avoided. We are trying to vaccinate the puppy when his immune system is efficient.

Once the puppy has left our farm, it will have already carried out the first vaccine.

The new owner will have to make the first booster according to the above mentioned timing. This information is included in the health booklet that is delivered with the puppy.

How to behave after the first recall of the vaccine

Once the first recall has been made, the puppy will be able to freely attend other dogs.

We will be able to take him with us, everywhere and without any pathology.

Remains to avoid those situations that could lower the immune system.

To make our Puppy swim in the sea or in lakes or rivers, such as bathing him with complete hygiene without drying him thoroughly, can still be dangerous for the respect of the vaccination protocol. Cough or cold could lower the immune system and we should skip the last booster.

The prophylaxis would have to be repeated from the beginning. Do not give up!