Raising a Healthy Vizsla
I am a scientist. I read a lot and I carefully evaluate the scientific literature before coming to any conclusions. These are the tips I have for raising a happy, healthy Vizsla.
Young Vizslas require a lot of exercise, but you must avoid high-impact, straight line forced running, such as running with a dog on a leash. Young Vizslas travel in random zoomies, with sudden directional changes, high leaps, extreme acceleration and sliding stops. Their bodies need that crazy movement to develop all the joints and tendons and muscles and fine-tune their sense of balance. Their joints finish closing by 18 months, and that is when you can begin - slowly - to take them for leash running or along the side of a bike.
Studies have shown that it is best to allow dogs to keep their sex hormones until they are two. Actually, they are healthier staying intact throughout their lives, but not everyone wants to deal with bitches in heat or dogs that want to visit every female they see. Show dogs must remain intact, but for a dog that isn't destined for the show ring, I understand why homes want to spay or neuter once the puppy reaches the age of two. Please read the science and make a reasonable decision based on what's best for your dog and your lifestyle. See Dr. Zink's article, the Golden Retriever Study and the Vizsla Study or the summary on the Canine Health page.
Most vaccines are not necessary, and are harmful to Vizslas. I follow Dr. Jean Dodds protocol for vaccinations, which is a minimal vaccination program. Puppies recieve distemper and parvo vaccines. Dogs are usually required to be vaccinated with rabies at 6 months, then again at 1.5 years, and each 3 years beyond that (check your local laws), but there is no science to show why that vaccination needs to be repeated - in fact, there are studies that show it is uneccessary. Unfortunately, those who dictate legal requirements are overly cautious about rabies. Puppies should never have any other vaccinations besides the initial parvo/distemper shots and the required rabies shots. Period. Adjuvants used in vaccines cause autoimmune reactions that can result in life long health problems. It's frightening what animal vaccine companies get away with in terms of the toxic chemicals are allowed in animal vaccines. Hey, they are just animals, so who cares? Right? Combine that with a lack of a systematic method to report side effects. The vaccine companies have no incentive to collect this information. Most vets are reluctant to report side effects from vaccinations because they don't want to be held responsible. It's unfortunate, but there is no consumer-based centralized process to report vaccine reactions in dogs, which allows the vaccine companies to say "no reported adverse reactions."
It's important to keep your dog's teeth clean. As they get older, you will probably need to have your vet do dental cleaning to get the back teeth.
Vizslas have cat-like feet, meaning they have tight toes. If the nails are too long, they dig into the ground and make the toes spread. This will cause arthritis and create foot problems. Keep nails short and trimmed, and get in the habit of trimming toenails every week for their entire life.