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Advice on Bloat, as given in the Irish Setter Breeders Club Newsletter, Winter 2009

The Summer Newsletter 2009 and the Winter Newsletter 2009 of the ISBC (UK) both contain important information on health issues. Anyone interested may be able to order a copy via the secretary (see website).

The advice given on page 5 Vol 1 Issue 27 by the breed clubs' KC Health Liaison Representative Prof Ed Hall to vets and breeders is quoted as follows:

"1. A gastroplexy should always be performed when torsion is corrected.

2. Inflammatory bowel disease is not common in young dogs and to use steroids and other drugs with significant side-effects is inappropriate at such a time.

3. Bloat is probably inherited and whilst it may take a long time to determine the genetic problems, it makes sense not to repeat a breeding that has produced puppies with bloat.

Points 1 and 2 are things I will continue to try and educate my colleagues about, although owner pressure can have an effect too.

Point 3 is for breeders and breed societies to consider."

Further in the article (written by Lynne Dale):
Health Record:
The ISBC is keeping a record of helath problems in the breed. It is our intention over the next few years to see if we can get a good knowledge of the problems both past and present we have encountered. This information will eventually be handed to the KV Health Rep. in the hope it will be useful for future research.

Finally a request for information from people with dogs experiencing problems is given, saying that there are two sections for the storing of information: Open and Closed, the closed section being for those wanting confidentiality.

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Yes I have thought of changing back to the tripe and beef diet, but they are all doing so well on the 'kibble' and all the puppies were reared on the kibble so am loathed to change it...if it ain't broke don't fix it....if they start to have digestive problems then I may go back to it...I have found a place that does it in free flow bags...so very civilized, unlike the old days...
And yes it was Laughing dog that I used all those years ago, problem is it was wheat, and when I came back to Irish in 2000 Tammy was allergic to wheat so I never went back to that way of feeding. I bet it would be a whole lot cheaper to feed my dogs in the ''old way''
Dee, what diet do you feed your dogs on at present to avoid digestive problems as I know you were reaserching different foods with your present dogs. Do you avoid wheat products? Does anybody feed raw chicken wings? Until we find the 'genetic predisposition' of bloat we need to manage our dogs diet as best we can so any information shared would be of great benefit.
I feed my dogs on raw chicken carcases, chicken wings and backs, as part of their regular food. They also get dry dog food,lots of raw bones, mince (the supermarket mince, not pet mince), rabbits which my son shoots, eggs, milk and yoghourt, ,cooked rice and barley, vegetables (raw and cooked) and Weetabix. And a few other things. as available. A pretty mixed diet
I've never bred a dog who had bloat,
I have owned an IRWS who came as a rescue (not my breeding) , and had bloated before I got him, so had to learn to manage his diet. He also had MO, although when I first got him I didnt know enough about MO to even realise that he was affected.
What I learned from him was that it wasnt so much what he ate that mattered, what was important was to feed him in small amounts at frequent intervals and to train him to slow down and not gulp his food too quickly. He was also an anxious insecure dog, who couldnt cope with stress and panicked if he was left alone, and I had to learn how to manage that too. He came to work with me, where he lived under my desk, slept on my bed, and even had to be in the bathroom with me! As he was five years old when I got him, he had a lot of learned habits and behaviour which were hard to change
He never bloated again after he came to live with me, and died at nine (he had cancer)
Apart from the raw chicken and the rabbits my dogs are fed a very similar diet. I tend not to use barley as it can produce wind. Similarly cabbage and sprouts. They love raw egg yolks and shells, milk and probiotic natural yougurt. I have just started my dogs on Sharon Pinkerton's Challenge, which is a salmon and potato based kibble with no artificial preservatives or flavourings ( at least that is what the list of ingredients says) and will be be interested in their progress.
Unfortunately my last litter litter contained more than one case of bloat. I have mentioned before, it was not a closely bred litter This was over eight years ago and. which is why I have had to start all over again. Sadly you cannot salvage what is beyond redemption.
We all know that Irish are a very sensitive breed and flourish with love and attention. They have to be managed carefully to bring out the best in them. It sounds, Margaret, as though you had great success with this dog.
Unfortunately my last litter litter contained more than one case of bloat. I have mentioned before, it was not a closely bred litter This was over eight years ago
Eva C. - we seem to go round in circles and come back once again to COI - or coefficient of inbreeding. Looking at the pedigree of your litter bred in 2001 and going back further than the usual 3-4 generations to 10 generations you may be surprised to find just how high the COI of that litter actually was.
This is not meant to offend, it just shows that when breeding from the traditional lines it is very likely to have a high COI. So although quite often we may not be aware of the fact when looking at a 4 generation pedigree it is dificult not to breed litters with a COI below 10. The principal lines in the UK are inbred.
I see Leen has offered to give COI calculations for those interested. It may be interesting to ask for the COI of your last litter.
No offence taken Susan, I just might give that a try for my own interest. There are certain lines which I wished I had never brought in, but then it is easy to be smart in hindsight and, yes, I was guilty of wanting to improve certain aspects of my dogs and that is why I used the dog I did but, with the benefit of DNA testing, our knowledge would improve and help us make better judgments.
But I absolutely agree with Ursula's last comments. If you choose to throw the baby out with the bath water you will have nothing left. Informed judgment is what is necessary. Anyway, as we all know there are thousands of healthy IS who live to a ripe old age without as much as sneezing.
Hi Eva, I have been feeding raw chicken wings for over 15 years now, I start the babes on them at 3 weeks, with raw minced beef/tripe/chick and puppy kibble.....(Burns).My feeding regime for my adults is a raw chick wing in the morning, a handful of wholemeal biscs at lunch time and raw Tripe or Chick/Beef/Rabbit...what ever is available mixed with raw veg and a few wholemeal biscs for their evening meal, all mine have done well on this , no problems health wise or skin allergies or up-set tummies...all my pups are xrayed at 6 weeks for MO , my vet advises Raised feeding stands and DO NOT exercise for 1 hour before or after feeding.......
Hi Sue, I must admit I have been too scared to embark on a raw chicken wing diet, mainly because of my vet's concerns. Interesting that your vet advocates raised feeding when all research into GDV advises the exact opposite.
When I first started in IS in the early 70s I bought a book 'The Complete Herbal Book for the Dog' written by Juliette de Bairacli Levy. She studied conventional veterinary medicine which she gave up for a basic nomadic existance with her afghan dogs. She did a lot of pioneering work into holistic veterinary medicine and wrote many books on herbal medicine and natural feeding. She never fed meat and biscuit/kibble together. Always biscuit in the morning and meat in the evening. She used natural products such as garlic for worming, and never inoculated with manufactured vaccines. She died earlier this year. She was not known to have any problems with her dogs, gastric or otherwise. I think she did actually breed afghans, mainly the mountain type. Her books and advice make very interesting reading.
Hi Eva, I think we all have different views on what to feed how to feed when to feed, I think I had doubts when I started this feeding regime, But it seemed to do well for the dogs and still does, so I am happy with it.....I also read the books by Ian Billinghurst...The Barf Diet and Give your Dog A Bone, he also advocates raw garlic as a wormer and flea preventitive aid....I do give raw crushed garlic 3/4 times a week... I will search on Abe books for this ladys book it sounds really interesting, Thankyou for that
Dee your might be right. My epi dog Dublin had major stomach problems that I didn't realize were probably bloat/gas issues. It would happen at least twice a month that you could hear the grumbling tummy on the first floor of the house and he was upstairs. He would refuse to eat and pace and be unsettled with it many times. And he would vomit just foamy green at times as well. I had him on Pro Plan Salmon and Rice diet three times a day. He would be fine for a bit but any stress or diet changes would throw him off. He was a very stressed dog who reacted easily to so many things. I often felt his epi status was due to his nervousness. Anyway if he had lived longer I do feel we would have seen torsion eventually. Looking back on my posts I did menton and ask about his stomach issues because I felt something wasn't right with him. And sadly his breeder is still breeding from Dublin's dad. I feel so badly for the furture owners of the puppies. The heartache that might be prevented and the suffering of further litters. Our new puppy is from someone else and I hope for a better result.
Susan L, unfortunatly if all stud-dogs/bitches (that have been used for more than one mating only), that had ever produced offspring suffering from HD, bloat, stomach-disorder...you name it, were never used again, there would be no dogs to breed from.
Full stop!
And that goes for all breeds...

Just as humans could not be expected to give birth to and raise 10 constantly healthy children we can not expect dogs to suddenly turn into "super-beings" without any hereditory (or accidental) faults.
That is life...
but Ursula if the grandfather of my dog also was epi and many of the puppies have had stomach problems I do feel it was warranted of the breeder of Dublin to step back and take a good look at the line. One of his siblings also had a heart problem and was put down before age 1. My breeder is another story. A very long one which educated me enough on what I should be watchful of. I know genetics are a crapshoot to some degree. I understand what your saying, but I won't take another dog from that breeder since she is still using the father of Dublin. This new puppy I felt had more variety in his pedigree and I didn't see all the same names from the same kennel like Dublin's was. I hope to be one of the lucky ones who has a fine IS living to a decent age without problems. It would be my first one then out of 4.




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