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Hi everyone,

This is a topic I mean to add for a while now, but my exams have kept me busy lately!

So here goes:

Romã lives with pain. She broke her arm when she was 8 weeks old, and her bones are narrower in that arm. No I know she has pain, because her limp is not constant, sometimes it gets a lot worse than her normal and very slight limp. However, she has had this pain since she was 8 weeks, so she deals with it and considers it normal - "If it hurts more, I'll just limp more and carry on with my life".

This is a setter I'm dealing with, so everytime I try to keep her in rest, she'll just stop eating and be miserable, wich I hate - plus, she doesn't seem to mind her arm at all, and just runs with it anyway.

I know that she is happier running around and not thinking about how she'll walk in 10 years time. I also know she lives in the moment, so I should just let her be happy and deal with whatever happens in the future whenever it happens, but we humans need to think about the future, and I hate the thought of her in pain as an old dog....

If this was a transition thing, and she only needed to be kept quiet for a while, in order to be perfect in the future, this would be a no brainer, but the truth is she'll never get better, so resting won't solve anything, it'll just delay the real problems a while...

So what do I do? Do I think about the "now" or the future?

Surely there are more of you dealing with this kind of decisions, what are your points of view, and how do you deal with it with your setters?

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Thanks, Sue and Mell,

I just realised I went off my onw topic as I was writting it, it was meant to be a lot diferent, but I guess this one version is actually more helpful. Romã does quantic therapy, and I do give her anti-inflamatory drugs whenver she is worst, in adittion to her daily glucosamine, I forgot to mention that!

I really liked what you said Sue: "quality rather than quantity"

I was happy with my decision of letting her live the moment, but I have been judged a lot lately for "not caring" about her future, and it actually made me wonder if I was doing the right thing.

I guess it's very easy to tell someone how to manage their dogs exercise if you have a bulldog at home... Setters are another deal, and I think I just needed someone that deals with the same kind of dog to judge me as well! :)

We had a boy who suffered shoulder trauma as a pup and then developed arthritis at a young age. He had bouts of lameness, managed with anti inflammatories, and reduced exercise. He soon began to self-limit and then, when all was well, he would be back to normal, ranging far and wide, and acting as the 'shepherd' herding in our other dogs if they didn't come when called.

We used to show him and he had fantastic movement on his good days! In time, he had less good days and was retired from the ring, but we then bought him a Bioflow magnotherapy collar. After 6 weeks I took him to ringcraft and ran him up the mat....I couldn't believe how sound he was. Soon after, he went Best in Show at a Breed Open show, from the Veteran class and never looked back.

Now we often put magnotherapy collars on our older dogs and they usually show improvements for a year or two...just something that we've found helps the quality of their lives alongside (and sometimes instead of) the more usual veterinary meds.

Romã got a horse magnet as a gift from a friend when she started her recovery. When she is very bad, I place it with a bandage in her leg for a while every night, and it seems to help... But she needs to be in a lot of pain to allow it, because in a normal day, she'll take it off in two minutes! 

The way I see it, quantic therapies, acupuncture, mangotherapy, can't harm them, so why not try it?

Probably, but its the first time I've heard of them! Now I need to find them :)

Thanks Sue, tomorrow afternoon I'm going to take sometime to check it out and trully understand how it works! (now I have to study fish inspection for my exam tomorrow morning)

Thanks! I'll need it!

I would let her be herself. You said it best that she lives in the moment. That's a powerful lesson that dogs teach us. They don't look 10 years down the road - they look down the road today and run. Your baby is happy now and no one can predict the future. There may be other issues, or pain may become more treatable - which is very likely. Continue to give her your love - that's all she wants in life. My precious Rocket had a spinal condition that got so bad she could not stand from a sitting position. I carried her up and down stairs for two years. She was happy until the end of her too short life. That's all we can ask.

Hi Teresa

I will share one my stories with you to give you hope. When I purchased my English Setter, Jessie in 1990 at 8 weeks of age, even after a few weeks I knew there was something wrong with the way she moved. My vet could not see this at the time. Later the x-rays revealed 2 extremely bad hips. My vet’s diagnosis was that even with 2 hip replacements Jessie would be lucky to live past 3 years of age. I was devastated but I immediately started researching everything about HD to help Jessie. I was not going to lose Jessie without a big fight. I do not know what you mean by “quantic therapy” but if this involves swimming, this is what I chose as the best exercise for Jessie, and fortunately she loved it. As Jessie was only a puppy I had to be careful with the level of her exercise. I discovered from my research that the natural diet I was feeding my dogs was the best diet to boost a strong immune system. Fortunately my vet did not push drugs or processed food.

I agree with Jeff that unconditional love is the best healer of all.

Because this is going back so far I cannot remember the exact timeframe but I think when Jessie was around 18months old I took her to see a highly respected orthopaedic surgeon. I think his name was Dr Richard Eaten-Wells. He asked me to leave Jessie in the car while he spoke to me. I could not understand why. He went through Jessie’s x-rays with me and then he said I will ask one of my nurses to help you carry Jessie into the surgery. I said there was no need because Jessie was more than capable of doing this herself. He was amazed when he saw how well she moved, which defied her x-rays.  He advised me not to proceed with the surgery. My own vet took x-rays of Jessie about a year later and shook his head in disbelief because her physical movement continued to defy the x-rays. He did not bother to take further x-rays.

Jessie was still going on short walks when she was 14yo. She died 4 months before her 15th Birthday only because of an incompetent vet. Unfortunately my own vet was away at the time. I predominantly used natural therapies and a natural diet to help Jessie. There were times when she needed drug medication, but not often. Jessie shared her life initially with Benmore, my longhaired dachshund and then Bandit, my English Setter. My dogs ruled me with an “iron paw”, loved each other, loved me, were loved by me, and my dogs lived a happy and interesting life. I believe all of this helps.

I hope in 10 years time Roma is still having lots of fun, and it is amazing what Love can do.

Best wishes from Susan

Very tender replies Jeff, Finn and Susan. They touch the heart of an Irish Setter Lover. Thankyou for sharing.

Thank you so much for yur amazing Stories Jeff and Susan. They are both very moving stories, and once again, you are reassuring me that I'm doing the right thing. My doubts started because on of my vets, wich I love and is very competent keeps telling me I'm jut killing her faster and that she does not need to run to be a happy dog. Thing is, she has french bulldogs, so naturally she can't understand why running is so important to Romã. I see her every day because she is also my teacher, and every day, when she sees me taking my girls into the fields, she gives me that disaprooval look. After the big hip scare we had earlier this year, I did try to change some of her habits, and ended up with a miserable dog. Since I went back to our normal lives, she is back to being the happiest dog alive, and that really helps me deal with her pain ( I know I struggle more with it than she does!)

Susan, quantic therapy is a form of alternative therapy that involves a computer! She is connected to a computorized machine that "reads" her and then is supposed to help her readjust and be more confortable. IT sounds really wierd, but she sleepd trough the process and is completely relaxed. Then when it's over, wakes up very moody, sleeps 10 hrs in a row and the next moring she is perfect and almost without a limp. We are also looking into magnotherapy now.

As for swimming, I'm very lucky, because it's her favourite exercise and we have a small lake at home where she can swim in the weekends and holidays. During the week, while we are in the university, we also have lakes and dams we can use, so during the summer she mainly swims all day long - she also improves a lot then!

Once again, thank you so much for sharing your stories, I can see very clearly that I'm doing the right thing, letting her be happy and managing her pain using the least amount of drugs I can. None of my friends and colleagues have active dogs so I was having a hard time finding support for my views! I know as setter owners you can understand what i mean! 




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