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Hungarian Vizsla

25 Feb 2018
@ 09:41 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Guys, this is just a very rough and ready post. I would like to create a full web page later but in the mean time, I just want to quickly pass this on as a matter of caution.

My buddy Sarge is ill at the moment. Its our fault, we gave him supermarket dog biscuits as a nightly supplement for a couple of years. We did not know that the biscuits were so heavily loaded with flour and that this would overload his high functioning brain. He developed epilepsy. Vizsla forums would have you believe that epilepsy is a common genetic problem in this breed. But I tend to disagree with this (predisposition yes, but inevitability no) thanks to an older and very well written book (Betyar the Hungarian Vizsla) I was given by a Hungarian client. The book helped save Sarge's life (for now). The information caused me to ask what had changed since that book was written and now. I looked up the ingredients of the biscuits, noted how high the flour content was, then looked for links between gluten and epilepsy (in humans), then it all came together. We fixed the epiliepsy in just three weeks by changing his diet back to meat only, but the damage was done. In one final seizure, he lost his memory, his sense of self. There was about an hour or so where he had no idea of who he was, who we were or where he was. Following this, his immunity system attacked his own body, it destroyed his entire front end. He is currently on steroids in an attempt to suppress his immunity system and reboot it. He is covered in bed sores and has not been able to walk for more than a few minutes since November.

I had a client turn up here a few weeks ago, said he liked the Vizsla because they are a small compact breed. This may be a more recent myth caused by a failure to understand the old breed and feeding protocols. But then how was my client to know this? He was doing the best he could with the information he had. But the fact remains, a small Vizsla is a starved Vizsla.

The Vizsla is supposed to be large and robust, it takes three to four feeds per day for at least two years for the dogs to reach this size. Sarge normally weighs around 33-34kg (73lb). In the old Hungarian book, the author wrote - If the dog is not large, he will not be bold. He will become afraid to take a throat hold on wounded deer and will be timid in his general behavior. As you can see, this (throat hold) is not exactly a PC statement, less than palatable for show breeders. But the fact remains, the author was describing a correlation he noticed between size and general confidence within the breed.

Anyway, the poor guy is on the mend but its slow going and we do not yet know if his immune system will back off as he is still on steroids for the next two months.

I will try to write up a web page about this later in the hope that it will help others but am waiting for a conclusion. It is still early days. He could slip back if his immune system flares up again. He will be pretty scarred up after this, having so many sores and secondary infections without an immune system.

Anyway, I had better go give him his morning feed as I am currently getting the stare and the tail wag when I look at him.

I have to admit, all of this really pisses me off when you have a number of over-educated people (if you can call citing other people education) talking about this or that being good or bad for us and the environment, yet our most basic foods are in some ways more dangerous to some humans and animals than heavy metals.


25 Feb 2018
@ 07:06 pm (GMT)

Mike Neeson

Re: Hungarian Vizsla
Mate so sorry to hear about the pooch. I have always been a follower of the BARF diet for my dogs. Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. The author asserts that although dogs look very different to their ancestors, their gastrointestinal tracts have not changed. Dogs have been genetically engineered by humans on looks and performance, not for their diet and therefore need to eat what their brothers in the wild would be eating - raw food and definitely no grains. Dogs will flourish on meaty bones - just serving them chunks of meat is not as good a good meaty bone they can sit and destroy over the day. Dogs have an amazing ability to eat and digest large bones, as long as they are raw. The author also says that the only vegetables that dogs get should be from the guts of their prey - rich in beneficial bacteria and most importantly pre-digested. Dogs cannot break down vegetable fibre, it needs to be done for them. We have only ever fed our dogs fresh meat on bones - mainly raw chicken legs with supplemental large beef/deer bones. We stay away from the soft brisket because our dogs bite off large chunks and then tend to vomit them back up. I have seen my Lab/mongrel swallow whole chicken drums in his excitement and never had any issues with the large bone getting stuck in his GI tract - they really do have a great propensity to digest RAW bone. Keep your dogs well wormed and let them eat whole rabbit, chomp on bones, serve them a whole raw fish every now and then, but the key is RAW. Cooked bones are hard and will splinter and risk doing internal damage.

So to break it down, lets dogs eat like the scavengers/hunters they are, serve them what you expect wolves to eat and don't be afraid to let them eat manky stuff. Keep them wormed and they may take a little time getting used to new diets, but it's worth it.

In regards to wounds, sugar and honey are excellent for healing infected wounds and keeping wounds clean. The increased osmolarity at the wound pulls lymph and nutrients to the site, increase sloughing of the wound and decreases healing time. Just google scholar sugar and wounds, there are many studies showing the real benefits. although stopping the pooch from licking it off may be a problem!

In regards to seizures, they need to be stopped asap... but I realise this is probably unhelpful now. In the human model we use a muscle relaxant/sedative to bring an end to continuing seizures and avoid the hypoxia that results from poor ventilation and other problems related to constant work being done by the muscles for extended periods. The drug we use is midazolam, it can be applied sublingual (absorbed through the mucosa of the mouth) or intramuscular injection. This drug is very effective at stopping seizures quickly although it can lead to respiratory depression and deep sedation if too much is used. It is a restricted drug but it may pay to talk to your vet about it, just having one dose on hand may be helpful, so that if a seizure occurs, you can stop it and then get to the vet for further monitoring until the sedation wears off.
My heart goes out to you and your family,
PS the author of the BARF diet (he's an Aussie Vet) may be able to offer some further advice on seizures and diet.
25 Feb 2018
@ 07:44 pm (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: Hungarian Vizsla
Mate that just plain ol sucks....... our four footed buddies give thier all for us and when they go down hill it really kicks us in the guts.
we had a big black Clifford (not red like the kids book) he was huntaway golden retriever. constant ear infections and rashes on his puku nearly drove us all mad and cost us a fortune at the vets......untill members of my family were diagnosed glueten intolerant and we thought WTH not and did same with the dog...even went to out tame local butcher and got him to make us up special batch of dog rolls,that was easy for him to do,just didnt add bread nad crap and bound it together with cornflour not wheat flour. cost us about $1 more per 4kg roll and buggamesideways the dogs skin and ear problems dissapeared and stayed away.
our 6 year old cocker spaniel is nearly blind as doesnt have tears (plurry inbreeding puppy farmers) he was a great mate duckshooting but its hard work when he cant see...I feel your pain mate,hang in there and when the dreaded time comes,let the vet do it with a needle,Ive done it both ways and believe me its best...take Sarge up to his favourite hilltop ,where you two have spent happy times and plant him under a manuka so you can visit him in future and remember the good times spent together.
keep us posted
kia kaha Mate.
26 Feb 2018
@ 12:33 am (GMT)

Bob Mavin

Re: Hungarian Vizsla
Sorry to hear about your dog Nathan. I'm currently training our new Kelpie Pup.

Flour is not flour anymore, modified so much it's decremental to our health.

I walk though our supermarket stores in disbelief, the shit they are trying to feed us.

All the best
26 Feb 2018
@ 12:35 am (GMT)

Bob Mavin

Re: Hungarian Vizsla
detrimental,,,, bloody spell check
26 Feb 2018
@ 06:31 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Hungarian Vizsla
Thanks guys.

Normally we are well supplied with meat, I hunt each week. But we had to shift out of our old farm house for a while and go to the coast. It was during that time and while writing the books that we began to include the evening biscuits as an extra. We are now back in the hills again and Sarge and Boz are on their usual diet. No sign of any seizures now that the gluten is gone and back to hunted tucker. But the auto immune damage was intense. We are using manuka honey on his wounds and working closely with our vets. The local vets are extremely helpful.

Boz is in his twilight now. He sleeps most of the day, in his own world. Labs are a force of nature. Poor old guy, we keep joking about how he keeps on going- the undead, nosferatu etc.
26 Feb 2018
@ 09:42 am (GMT)

Robert Kennedy

Re: Hungarian Vizsla
Sorry to hear about Sarge, but there are a few lessons here for humans as well! Unfortunately modern processed foods contain many health hazards. I remember reading years ago about airline pilots having blurred vision, blackouts and being diagnosed as being epileptic by drinking a popular cola drink (Sugar-free to help their "Diet") Aspartame caused this and still does even though it has had a name change. Pilots had a message board to report all this and the jigsaw puzzle came together as more reports came in. Some noticed that they had no ill effects drinking the regular version of the drink in countries where the sugar-free was not available.
I have sent an email to Nathan because I had trouble logging in last night, but the gist of it was to investigate using Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C to aid his recovery, especially to restore his immune system. John Appleton in Auckland imports this from the USA. I hope he recovers.
26 Feb 2018
@ 11:20 am (GMT)

Martin Taylor

Re: Hungarian Vizsla
I really hope Sarge comes good mate he really is a great fella.
After the troubles l had with my Vizsla it was a very heart warming encounter to spend time with Sarge.

I look at my daughter with all her life threatening Allergy & Astema issues and wonder WTF is going on with us as supposedly Intelligent western societies. We have so many things really wrong!
26 Feb 2018
@ 08:24 pm (GMT)

Thomas Kitchen

Re: Hungarian Vizsla
very sorry to hear about Sarge's struggles.
i always enjoy seeing him in your video's.

i have found one of the best things to feed my dogs is down cow, lot of work and you have to be friendly with dairy farmers but i find they tend to have bit more fat on them then a lot of the wild game.
just be careful feeding the flap i had a very old dog with bad teeth swallow big chunks whole and unfortunately i believe that what killed him.

i have heard nothing but good things about mighty mix frozen dog food, lot of the pig hunters have swapped to it, ill probably give it ago soon, just need to contact local rep.

i also find the possyum chunky dog roll handy if i'm doing an over nighter out of my ute.
03 Mar 2018
@ 11:11 am (GMT)


Re: Hungarian Vizsla
My dad's dog had many seizure too. They did all sorts, medication ,food, nothing helped in the end. It was a foxy/poodle. Or foxadoodle, a silly little dog. Well Intelligent. But not my type.
So, this story interested me. I hope that doesn't bring you down Nathan, but I'm pretty sure your realistic. To how things may go. It does sound like your onto something with the food.

When you were talking about breeders I pricked my ears up too, I think there slipping in general. My preferred breed is the bull terrier. My dog is 11 he's a nice looking dog close to the breed standard of yesteryears. No major health problems.
Now days breeders seem more focused on looks. And I feel they have over looked some of the basics. Dogs of this breed often seem to go early nowdays.
I recently got a replacement pup ( my dog is a retired Sun tanner) which I paid big bucks for. Lovely looking dog, but the simple fact his feet were kind of rolled under. Not normal anyway. A simple thing that should be right. So he went back to the breeder for a refund.
I just think some are breeding for the show, and overlooking basics.

Good luck with Sarge. He's got a name I've always liked, and always remember the picture of him with earmuffs. They are dog earmuffs arnt they? Where did you get them?
I tried regular earmuffs the other day when water blasting but they don't work.
03 Mar 2018
@ 11:19 am (GMT)


Re: Hungarian Vizsla
Oh I seen something the other day about some of the new peanut butter have something in them that is real bad for dogs. As most owners often use it for Kong's or hiding pills I thought I'd mention it.

Xylitol is the ingredient.
21 Apr 2018
@ 09:16 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Hungarian Vizsla
OK, just updating this for my own notes and for others including vets. Notes here can be made into a doc later.

Going back over the approx dates.

Sarges last seizure was in the final week of Sept 2017. Body weight 34kg.

Secondary effect of auto immune disease most likely began following last major seizure but weight loss did not begin to show until mid November 2017.

Rapid onset of weight loss, unable to walk during December. Diagnosed with auto immune disease approx second week of December. Body weight 27.5kg. Given 20mg Prednisone morning, 10mg night. Penicillin given due to fears of infection - 10 days. Preds will wipe out his immune system in the hope that it can be give a 'clean reboot'.

Third week December, no change in auto immune, further deterioration. Dosage increased to 20mg Prednisone morning, 20mg night. Advised to keep on preds for a period of months.

16th March 2018, some weight regained, ability to walk regained but some skin problems, wounds that won't heal. Opted (self) to begin weaning off preds). First step down was 20mg preds morning, 10mg (half pill) at night. Second course of penicillin for skin infections. Highly concerned about taking sarge off the Preds too early and risking a return of the auto immune disease, by my gut instinct is that the skin conditions will get worse, hence the decision to wean.

Skin problems have continued. The Prednisone cure could now be worse than the disease. Gut instinct was correct but may have acted too late. Eagerly awaiting next weaning step but fears over adrenal shock. Body weight resolved at 34kg. Vet is concerned that the auto immune may come back. If it does, Steph and I have decided to put him down, rather than continue on the drug roller coaster. Sarge has no wound healing ability at this time. Wounds can be covered but without an immune system, they cannot heal.

7th April 2018, Stepped down to 10mg preds morning, 10mg night (half a pill night and morning). Skin conditions now extremely worrying, cortisol levels have created Cushings type systems. Small nicks become infected, leading to gaping wounds. Penicillin given but Sarge reacted badly, taken off penicillin the following day as Sarge refused to eat, drink or move. 24 hours later Sarge was eating, drinking and moving again after penicillin cleared from gut. One painkiller at noon each day till end of weaning, low dose.

15th April 2018, now racing against time. Stepped down to 10mg preds morning only. His body weight is still at 34kg, his energy levels are good. He is playful and has a bounce in his step. But he is covered in skin legions and still has no healing. Some wounds are now two months old. It is imperative that his immune system is allowed to return. However we still cannot fully wean him due to the risk of adrenal shock. Vets now advising herbs and natural remedies (which we are already using). Currently grating fresh turmeric into his raw meat. Mixing boiled ginger into his drinking water. Vet also wanted to experiment with Colloidal silver in his water to help fight infection. For an all over salve, we are using a non petro chem wound lotion mixed with lavender essence oil. On large wounds, we are using manuka honey 20 UMF then covering with dressings. We cannot use manuka honey in other areas because it is of course too sticky, hence the basic Lavender oil concoction as a general salve. Vitamin C also given.

22nd April (tomorrow), due to drop down to 10mg pred every other day. Sarge should finally see his immune system return this coming week. Fully weaned in two weeks from now. Can only hope these skin wounds can be overcome. A week ago, he tripped over and lost all the skin (muscle exposed) from the front of his front leg on carpet, simply due to weak and thinned skin surrounding an infected section.

In hind sight: The cure might be worse than the disease. I have followed the advice of the vets and it has been a rocky road for all involved, the vets have done their very best with the tools and knowledge they possess. Although various authorities state that long term preds may be a solution, I think the reduction in quality of life is not worth it, the side effects can be disastrous. I think a short and extremely high dose over 4 weeks followed by 4 weeks weaning is better than a long term approach (at least with regards to this particular situation). With a long term approach, Cushings and severe skin infections may be unavoidable. If the dog does not respond to 1 month at a full dose combined with 1 month weaning, allow him to move on from this world to greener pastures. We cannot unfortunately control everything. We have to ask ourselves, are we doing this to help our pet or are we doing this for our own reasons (not wanting to lose our buddy).

The vets have done their best with a condition that should never have occurred in the first place (the dog food).

This still could go either way. All we can do now is try our best to apply natural remedies, get Sarge off the preds and hope he heals. Beyond that, it is now up to the fates.

No need for anyone to comment or offer sympathies. Am simply documenting this in short rough note form for any others who happen to find themselves in this position with their pets.
21 Apr 2018
@ 05:32 pm (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: Hungarian Vizsla
straight aloe vera (as in grab leaf and squeeze it) onto wound may works a treat on most wounds,I use it on myself and have used it on bully type dog who has skin condition with good part is it wont hurt him even if does lick it .
23 Apr 2018
@ 07:19 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Hungarian Vizsla
Hi Mike, that would be ideal, just nothing on hand at the moment.

The Vet kicked this off with a chemical based anti dermatitis / fungal / bacteria wash, then advised switching to natural only. My mistake was not understanding the effects of preds on the skin. Had I known, I could have started a preventative treatment right at the beginning. On the other hand, this could have masked issues and caused me to keep him on the Preds longer while he suffered internal issues, liver etc.

In any case, I have had some success over the past few days with little more than a basic health shop salve as a carrier for lavender oil per the suggestion of the store owner. The lavender has stopped the inflammation prior to the eruptions. Would have gone well with aloe.

Again for my own notes:
Detox broth:

3 mutton neck chops or offcuts.
Grated turmeric (about a half inch).
Pinch powdered turmeric.
Pinch pepper.
Pinch salt (re- drop in sodium levels during weaning).
Two large slices of ginger added towards end of boiling, steeped for 5 minutes.

Taste test to ensure ginger not too weak or strong.

Bones and ginger removed after boiling. Left to cool.

Not the most palatable for Sarge but he managed to polish it off. Next time reduce to a half cup liquid.

Colloidal silver has been in the water for a week now, coat has not looked this good in a long time, quite a surprise. Seems the medical community do not know if they are coming or going on this one but the vets were ahead of the game.

On silver based wound dressings:
23 Apr 2018
@ 04:31 pm (GMT)

John D Hays - New Mexico

Re: Hungarian Vizsla
All “purebred” canines have health predispositions and susceptibilies. There are diseases that plague specific breeds to a greater or lesser extent. These tend to present as a dog gets older. The culprit is inbreeding. You don’t get a recognized breed without starting with a ferociously inbred breeding pool.

The older the breed and those breeds that are subject to natural selection have more robust health. Hence working dogs and hunting dogs tend to die off earlier because of rough and dangerous conditions. This process strongly selects against congenital weaknesses. But some hunting breeds such as the Lundehund in Norway are so specialized that they remain weak in health because they are tightly bred for a specific task, ignoring inbreeding weaknesses for a particular function.

This is why mixed breeds or mutts often have a touch of “hybrid vigor” and may often be long-lived and healthy.

That said, diet, exercise and environment can ameliorate or postpone expression of congenital weaknesses in canines. But there is no “cure” just more or less effective treatments. Time and age are the inevitable determining factors in maintaining a dogs health.

I don’t presently have any dogs, but have bred and trained many, many dogs in the past.

Home treatments, under advice of a vet, are often more effective and reasonable than going the full veterinary hospitalization route. The owner is best able to judge efficacy and to judge when the time has come to accede o nature.

Personally, I set a $500 limit on vet sessions for most illnesses. I tell the vet I don’t want to pay for any blood tests for diseases that I will not treat. Most experienced vets can diagnose a condition without most expensive tests. I prefer to spend my vet money on treatment for common ailments.

Further, no dogs over age 10 get vet visits. I either treat them myself or if that fails I put them down.

I know this sounds hard, but when you have 25 - 30 dogs at a time it is just the reality.

I don’t raise or train dogs anymore. I have three little kids now that take my attention.

Good luck Nathan, I hope you are able to turn his health around. It is possible and I have seen it work out with diet, steroids and close attention. But, as my father always said, there is a point of reason and when you reach that point it is usually obvious and a kindness.
24 Apr 2018
@ 01:39 am (GMT)

Cor Nepgen

Re: Hungarian Vizsla
Hi Nathan,

Sorry about your furry friend.. they do tend to become part of the family. Hope he improves and gets back to his old self.

All the best,
05 May 2018
@ 12:05 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Hungarian Vizsla
Further update for self notes and / or others going through the same:

Put sarge on every other day preds as of 22nd April.

On the 28th, we were supposed to trial preds every third day as a weaning process but he was so high in spirits, I only gave him the one dose on the third day (Tue 1st). After this, nothing. He is now recovering at an exceptional rate.

Herbal support and detoxing were crucial, also the use of calming herbs to help prevent adrenal shock (The Labrador also went through a herbal detox week for the hell of it- now back to eating any food, scat, or food shaped objects he can find).

As for ointments, we discovered that the heavy zinc based creams created a better barrier than others, allowing healing to continue underneath (e.g Sudocrem) Thanks again to our vets for this prompt.

All wounds now closed and in final healing stages, Sarge is mentally and physically well.
16 May 2018
@ 09:23 pm (GMT)

Andrew Murray

Re: Hungarian Vizsla

This article may explain some Sarge's downfall also.
04 Jun 2018
@ 07:45 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Hungarian Vizsla
Hi all, just a final update. Sarge had regained his weight, his strength was yet to return but he was happy. Then on Saturday night he had one final major epileptic fit which lasted over an hour and left him in a terrible state. On Sunday I held him in my arms while the vet put a drip in his leg and passed him over peacefully.

I wonder if that dog will ever know how much we loved him. He was such a good friend, a willing helper a valued family member.

To Mike Davis, thanks for your advice regarding the vet. You were right, this was the best way.
04 Jun 2018
@ 10:27 am (GMT)

Bryan Webster

Re: Hungarian Vizsla
So sorry to read about your dog nathan. They become an important part of the lives of families who are lucky enough to have them.

It really upset me when I had to put my first Brittany down, and it took a good many years before we got another.

My wife and I are both in our retirement years here now, and this little dog certainly livens the house - as well as our lives up. She does not tolerate my not taking her for her morning and afternoon walks, so in a way, she is also looking after us too. These walks and daily fall hunts have to happen even if it is raining, snowing, hot as heck, or -40 Celcius here, she is one tough little girl, and part of our lives.
04 Jun 2018
@ 09:46 pm (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: Hungarian Vizsla
sorry to hear that news Mate.
when one of our four footed buddies pass I cant but think to myself "if theres a puppy dog heaven,theyve sure got one hell of a pack"
I like to think when we shuffle off this mortal world we will be reunited with all the many great dogs we've hunted with over the years.
Take the time to remember Sarge Mate,he is in a better place without pain now.
05 Jun 2018
@ 06:32 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Hungarian Vizsla
Thanks guys, that was very kind of you, Steph and I greatly appreciate your thoughts. Thanks for taking the time to write.
05 Jun 2018
@ 12:06 pm (GMT)

Mike Neeson

Re: Hungarian Vizsla
Sorry to hear mate. It's so hard to see such a good and loyal friend go, Dogs are so bitter sweet. They enrich our lives so much but you always have to say goodbye to soon.
07 Jun 2018
@ 04:33 am (GMT)


Re: Hungarian Vizsla
Nathan, sorry for your loss.

When a person’s health breaks it can often take years to set things right. Dogs and cats are small-bodied creatures who are subject to system collapse just because they are so small. Illnesses overtake them and overwhelm them. They also just don’t live that long to begin with. They often don’t have the time or physical resources to cope with major illnesses.

My boy, Nathaniel is begging me for a dog, but I don’t know if I can stand another broken heart after so many.
07 Jun 2018
@ 05:12 am (GMT)

Bryan Webster

Re: Hungarian Vizsla
My wife and I felt the same way for a long time after our first dog passed on.
One day we were visiting relatives and so on near where we both grew up.
I saw an advertisement from a Brittany breeder near where we stayed, and went to see him.

The first thing we saw were 1 dozen 8 week old pups running to the gate to greet us, some wrestling and tumbling around. Talk about something to liven up our lives! The breeder opened the gate for use to come in, and one particular pup would not leave me alone....decision was made and has never been regretted.
25 Jan 2020
@ 07:51 pm (GMT)

Laura Acton

Re: Hungarian Vizsla
To know about vizslas do visit us:


We are a small, family run business, based out of Taranaki, New Zealand, who specialize in cartridge research and testing, and rifle accurizing.