In the description of Shêtans life, you will find information that you might think is irrelevant. But I am simply trying to put in answers to the hundreds of questions I got after posting about Sudden Death on the maillists.

Shêtan came to me as a 13 week old pup.
The day before I got him he was given shots for distemper (Dohyvac) and Dohyvac Parvo Live. He was feverish and had runny stools during the first 48 hours. Next time he had any vaccinations was at the age of 1, he got a triplevaccine, distemper, parvo and kennelcough, the name of it was Nobi-Vac DHPPI Vet and he did not show any strange symtoms after that shot.

The only time Shêtan showed any signs of sickness, was at the age of 9-10 months when he had high fever one day and did not want to do anything but sleep. Since this was totally contradictory to Shêtans normal beviour, I took him to the vet and he was given Ampivet for 10 days. From day 2 he seemed alright. This was the only time he was sick or had any kind of antibiotics.

Shêtan spent his first months with me (and my grandfather, who takes care of my dog(s) when I work) on the island where I have my summer cabin. The island has no cars, no bikes, no roads, not even gravelroads. You fetch your water in buckets at one of the 5 pumps on the island and you heat it on the stove.
Needless to say, the air is pretty clean out there.

Shêtan proved to be allergic to most foods I tried. Even the lamb & rice brands I tried at first. His stools was Ok in the morning but turned more runny as the day went by. In spite of having this problem, Shêtan was quite fat at times, he must have been able to absorb most of what he needed anyway. In the end I found out he could eat Sensible Choice Lamb & Rice without any problem at all, and that is what he ate for the remainder of his life. I owned Shêtans uncle (litter brother to Shêtans Dam) as well, and he also had food allergies, but I don't know of any other dogs from that kennel with the same problem.

During Shêtans puppyhood, I also had Sputnik, but he got bonecancer and was put down when Shêtan was 9 months old. From that day he was the only Borzoi in my home. As all Saheejev Borzoi he had not only a very sunny disposition, he loved life as only Saheejev Borzoi do. They are also extremely active and energetic and known to destroy a thing or two while they grow up :-)! Shêtan never had a problem with exercising on his own, he loved to run all by himself and was only still when forced to. He was also a creature of habit, and on the island he demanded to be taken down to the beach every evening for his dayly swim and about an hour of running in the sand.

He was in a pretty good condition during summer time, for a single Borzoi. During his first and only winter, we lived in my apartment in a suburb to Stockholm, that means less exercise and meeting new dogs (and viruses...) every day.

Since Sputnik had his tonsils removed when he was 2, due to chronic infections, I always checked Shêtans uncle Yermoloff regularly for any signs of red or swollen tonsils. He never had any such problems. I checked Shêtan too, but obviously not as often I should have, he had a real bad tonsillitis at the time of his this death according to the vet. With all his swimming during rather cold September I should have had the brains to check him every day! He had just as much energy (seemingly) as usual and he ate as usual. Was there really no signs at all of Shêtan beeing sick?

Even if Shêtan was in a fairly good condition, he was not used to run around for hours playing with other dogs. That's exactly what he did 2 days in a row just a few days before his death! On October 4 we were visiting my parents and he took off after the neighbours cat. It took awhile for him to come back and he was all exhausted by then. On October 5 we visited a kennel close to my parents, and he spent several hours outside with 3 other Borzoi of the same age. On October 6 we had a Borzoi gathering for fun, while about 13-14 Borzoi spent practically all day chasing each other on a big field. On October 7 he was very tired, but it did not strike me as odd, not after the weekend he had. On October 8 he was no longer tired, but got some runny stools during the afternoon. He did not get his evening meal that day. On the morning of October 9 he seemed perfectly normal, very happy, bouncing up and down, just as always. Two hours later he was dead...

I have about 20 minutes of film from that gathering, and in hindsight, it is so obvious! Not once on that film, is Shêtan running at full speed. He is constantly in motion but never 100%. Compared with other film sequences of Shêtan, the difference is very clear to see if you only know what to look for. And that was the only sign of anything being out of the ordinary, and believe me, I have ransacked my mind again and again for more than a year!

He was probably not at all in a good shape, with that tonsillitis and yet he was exposed to all this exercise. And that is most likely the reason why the streptococci had a chance to turn toxic.

And where did the streptococci come from?


All text and photos on the section "Sudden Death in Sighthounds" on my homepage (Starcastle Hounds) is copyright 1997-2001 to