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Murfee is a beautiful 15 month old setter he is on a natural raw food diet and has a beautiful shiny coat.  However we have noticed that he is quite lethargic particularly a.m. and we have to drag him out for a walk particularly when going in car while we are out he's fine and running about but tired after a walk (usually an hour).  He's been prescribed Sulphur to take for a couple of days (not yet received).  Maybe he's just a very laid back dog but I'm not sure.  Has anybody had any experience of this happening with their setter/s.  Or has anybody got any advice to pass on?

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I hope they can find out what is wrong and treat Murfee accordingly. With the right treatment I'm sure he will soon be a normally active young setter! Wishing you all the best!!!


Hi everyone finally got results of Murfee's blood test.  The vet said that Murfee has a slightly low level of calcium (hypocalcemia)for a dog his age so he's sending him to a specialist for more 'finely tuned tests'.  I don't like the sound of this at all I almost don't want to ask you this question but has anyone had any experience of this condition and if so can it be managed with medication, please say it's nothing to worry about.....

Teresa,  I feel that low vitamin D in dogs is as a problem which is as dire as it is in humans. The problem for Murfee is this is highly unlikely to be looked at, as the veterinary community is far - far behind human medicine on this front, which itself is seriously lacking knowledge on the importance of vitamin D.  The NHS in particular is stuck in the vitamin D = ricketts  paradigm, which is painfully outdated. I  encountered the same veterinary ignorance of vitamin D whilst Tallulah was hospitalized at Cambridge. There are quite a few conditions which cause low calcium and I would hope that Murfee's condition is one that can be successfully put right.  However, one of the things I would NEVER accept for my dogs are those blasted prescription diets, which are highly manipulated marketing scams on the part of the pet food industry, as they do NOT support our dogs back into total well being. They cannot, as they are species inappropriate for one thing !  For example, dogs with Addison's disease are offered  a wonderful prescription diet which is supposed to help balance the sodium/potassium levels, and YET contains grains, which create a massive burst of insulin, which in itself destabilizes the entire system of sodium/potassium regulation !  I have Addison's, no medical professional has ever offered me a magical prescription diet, I have to create my own based upon the knowledge of my condition.  I would guess you will be offered on of this 'magical' diets.  Please don't go there. 

I do hope that there is nothing developmental going on with Murfee, but even there, I do wonder about the vitamin D aspect. However, there is no research going on with regards to vitamin D in dogs, and there is unlikely to be for a long time, because it is sooooo far behind human medicine on this front.   Good luck Murfee and Teresa. I do hope he is put back on track very very soon. x

HI Teresa......They will more than likely run a PHT (Parathyroid Hormone Test) next.

If the blood calcium is low, the Parathyroid hormone increases which causes calcium to be taken out of the bone to correct the calcium levels in the body which obviously is not good for the dog.

A interesting fact is....low calcium is very common in kittens fed on a complete meat diet.  My friend has lots of rescued cats (16 of them!!) and she had a approximately 20 week old ferel kitten brought to her who after blood tests, was found to be suffering from Hypocalcemia. The vet put kitty on a drip for a few days and when the kitten's diet was changed to a complete kitten food, the calcium levels corrected themselves.

I had a bitch who had Hypercalcaemia (raised calcium) this is extremely serious as the underlying cause is usually a tumour as it was in my girl's case.  She survived surgery only to die three days later.

Hi Teresa! Wishing Murfee and you all the best!!! Barbara

Murfee will be seeing a specialist next week so in the meantime i've ordered some homeopathic remedies from Ainsworth they are brilliant they've put my mind at rest regarding Murfee's raw food diet they said nothing to do with diet.  For those of you who are interested in holistic meds this is what was prescribed: calcarea carbonica (lots of info on google; silica and Thuja they are very good at giving you advice on any ailment either for yourself or your dog and not nearly as expensive as vets medications .  To be quite honest with you if i had a homeopathic vet nearer to me i wouldn't be bothering with an allopathic vet at all!  However i will let you know the outcome of the results

HI Teresa, you maybe interested to know that Tally's homeopathic vet has her on phosphorus. She says Irish Setters always score high on phosphorus.  Initially 200c x 3 for day one, then 200c x 1 day too, then stop.  Wait a few days, see what happens. If nothing happens, then go to dose 1m with the same dosing schedule as with the 200.  Fortunately, Tally has responded well on 200, so at the moment, I have left her there.  Can you possibly private mail me and tell me where you live?  I might be able to help find a homeopath not too far from you?

Hi there,

I don't want to frighten you by any means but have you had bloods run on him?  Check he isn't anaemic - look at his gums and see if they look pink enough.  If not get him back to the vets.  I speak from bad experience unfortunately but I hope it is something trivial and that he is just a laid back boy.  Wishing you all the best. xxx

Murfee has now been to see specialist and is suspected to have musculoskeletal elbow dysplaysia in his forelegs they'll be taking xrays in a couple of weeks to confirm this.  In the meantime I am continuing with homeopathic remedies as prescribed/advised by Ainsworth.  Murfee's stools after weeks of being mucousy to loose after 4 days of remedies are now back to their dry crumbly consistency.  He is still lethargic but when he's out quite happily sniffing and running around.  I'm not overdoing walks at the moment yesterday pm he just wanted to rest but i think in future i'll encourage him to have a short walk even if it's just up the road just to keep everything moving. This morning he got up excitably when i came downstairs and sat by the door waiting for the lead hasn't done this 4 ages. Specialist mentioned that raw feeding may be inappropriate (here we go)  think it's more than likely genetic as he had a balanced/measured diet (Honeys) in his crucial months of development  before i prepared myself.  I told her i'm not putting him back on dry she categorically agreed but said a homemade balanced diet nutritionally suited to Murfee might be suitable for his condition she wants a week's typical menu emailed to her.  I asked Ainsworth's if OCD is curable they said condition can be managed very well with homeopathic remedies which has made me feel alot better as i'm not going down steroid/antibiotic route.  It's great having this forum as you've all given great advice and i think we can all help each other by sharing good times and bad as sometimes it can be quite overwhelming coping with some of these illnesses and conditions that we all have to contend with.  Once he's diagnosed one way or another i'm going to get to the bottom of this, stop messing about and find a good homeopathic vet which maybe i should have done in the 1st place. Thanks for listening

I am sorry about Murfee, Teresa. I do hope you follow the specialists advice to prevent Murfee from suffering unnecessary pain.

I hardly dare voice my thoughts here as I know people who prefer raw feeding do not take kindly to criticism on their feeding regime. I'd just like to say this: Your experience with Murfee - providing the diagnosis is correct - is the same as that of a friend who bred Irish Setters. When she reared her most recent litter she insisted on feeding them by the raw feeding method. Whilst the pups who left the breeder at 9-10 weeks of age were put on 'regular' dog food and thrived, the breeder reared her own pup purely by BARFing. At the age of 8-9 months the pup was diagnosed with OCD and has since been operated on both front legs - an ordeal for a lively Irish!

Although OCD/ED does have a known (low) heritability in certain breeds it is not considered widespread in Irish Setters. If you look up risk factors for developing this crippling disease you will find that it is strongly suggested that by feeding high levels of protein and disregarding the important mineral balance you are increasing the risk of your youngster being affected.

I prefer to keep out of discussions on feeding methods as it tends to become very emotional. My personal opinion is this: Do as you like with an adult dog but do not experiment on a youngster. It is extremely difficult to provide a growing setter with the correct raw diet and most people are not prepared to have their dog's menu plan checked by a canine nutrition expert. By the time problems become apparent it is often too late. 

Thank you for your sentiments and comments Sue, can i ask what you feed your dog/s?

Thanks for not flying at me, Teresa. I actually feed what I consider I high quality complete dry food and just add a little water. To tell the truth I am a very lazy person! ;-) 




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