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Our gorgeous 8mth old IRWS has been diagnosed with hip dysplasia in both hips :(

After noticing a couple of weeks ago that Poppy was holding her right leg and having periods of lameness, we took her to the vets. The first vet we saw - our usual vet was on holiday - said to have her on Metacam for a week as she thought it was muscle strain. At the time, I said that I would prefer to have her x-rayed as her hips weren't symmetrical and I suspected she was suffering from CDH - I explained that my eldest daughter suffers from the same thing and the symptoms were similar. She rotated the hips, not to a great degree and thought I was been over cautious.

A week later and she was still the same so I booked an appointment to have her seen by my usual vet today. As soon as he rotated her left hip, you heard it 'clunking' in and out of joint. The other hip couldn't even be rotated to that extexnt because it was too painful for her. When I saw the x-rays, it was like looking at my daughter's hips!

He memtioned about building up the muscle with hydro but I said I want her to have a triple pelvic osteotomy, as this is the best way of making sure she has as normal a doggy life as the other dogs.

She's booked in for next Friday for the op but I don't know whether to get her referred to Noel Fitzpatrick - the 'bionic vet'. I did mention it to him and he says the orthpaedic specialist they have have a great success rate with this procedure. It's just I know from past experience with my daughter, you need to get it right first time!

Also, he recommended changing her diet to Hill j/d, as this greatly slows down the arthritic process but I really don't like that stuff. We feed her on the BARF diet and give her salmon oil and glucasomine. This diet would be a lifetime thing, not just until she's recovered.

Any advice on the vet referral/food would be greatly received.

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The first people Emma may have wanted to talk to after seeing Malcolm Ness were probably her own vet, Poppy's breeder and the owner of her sire. Why not give her some time to do this first before going public on a list  like this?

Emma, I'm very sorry to hear about Poppy, I hope she makes a fine and quick recovery 

Hi Emma,

Any news on Poppy yet? If you still have my number give me a call please as would like to know how you got on with Malcolm Ness

How is Poppy doing ?

Just been aware of this blog and so very sorry to hear that Emma!!! poor beautiful Poppy :-(

Hi all,

Sorry I have not updated you all sooner but I wanted to speak to the breeder and owner of the sire before posting anything on here. This seems to have offended one member in particular but I'm affraid that was the proper way to do things!

Anyway, as you know, we were going to see Malcolm for a second opinion on the treatment for Poppy. He did a full series of x-rays, including her elbows, and a CT scan of her hips so he could come up with a way forward for the best possible outcome for Poppy. He confirmed that the TPO would not be possible due to the severity of the dislocation. He said to stop the hydro and put her on full excercise for a month a go back - 24/04 - where he will review her progress. The theory behind the excercise is to build up the muscle to support her hips, hopefully this will be enough to stop the bones rubbing and decrease any pain. This seems to have worked as she is now off the Metacam and loving her long walks. She is definitely going to need a double hip replacement as she still holds her back legs for normal everyday tasks like jumping on and off the couch and even when she sits, you see her putting all of her weight through her shoulders and front legs. If possible though, he would like to hold off for 6 months as the bone is still a little soft at this age. However, if her condition gets worse, the op will be brought forward.

I'm really pleased we went to see him as I now feel we have a definite way forward. He did however have some very controversial views on a couple of things. The BARF diet and breeders! Apparently, she should just be on 'Chappie' as the BARF diet is a 'fad' and when he comes to operate on her, he wants to know she's nutritionally sound! I must admit, I just smiled and nodded, needless to say, she's still on the BARF diet! The second thing he went to town on was breeders reasoning for telling the owners of their puppies not to excerise their dogs too early. He claims that the only reason for this is to distance themselves from the problem when it does occur - being able to 'pin the blame' on the owners ie too much excercise, stairs etc... He claims that with hips like these, they either have them or they don't, no amount of excercise will make any difference. I must admit, I can see what he's saying and I'm sure that is the case for some less responsible  breeders but I don't think that's the case for the majority. I'm sure a lot of you will have very strong thoguhts on this one! :)

Finally, thank you for all of the support. It's been a god send and so helpful, without it, I wouldn't have come across Malcolm's name! I will post another update after her next appointment but please remember, it will not be staright away as I have other people to contact first and 4 small children to care for! :)

Hi Emma,

I've just read this through from start to finish and I really feel for you, your family and of course Poppy.  As you said the breeders you got your girl from are EXTREMELY responsible, caring and always have health in the front of their mind - every test was done and I'm glad you're finding their support useful.  I can only imagine how they feel as well and my thoughts are with all of you.

The exercise thing is interesting as when I look at the litter we bred 3 puppies were scored at 14 months old

Rory 3:3 - Carefully restricted exercise (5mins per month until a yr old) and royal canin dry

Bailey 2:2 - Restricted to half an hour off the lead daily and once or twice a week longer when young.  Fed a combination of RAW and royal canin - then challenge dry

Misty 0:0 - Lots of free running from birth - chasing the other dogs around the garden, walks both on and off lead and often well exceeding what she should have had (although she was kept on a lead for some of the long walks with the big dogs) Also she demolished the attempt at gating the stairs so many times they gave up and allowed her to use them.  Fed RAW and sometimes challenge dry

This probably had no impact but all the times I shouted HIPS at mum and dad as their 9 month old pup dived over stiles in the country and I held mine back.  We were sure Mistys would be high... I'm not saying we'll be changing the advice we gave Rory's owners but it is interesting although its probably just anomalies.

 I was comparing her X-rays to my girls and they made me wince - your poor little girl :(

I'm pleased that you have got to see the specialist and I hope you are feeling clearer now you have an idea of the way forward and know what to prepare yourself for.  I am really crossing my fingers for your poppy and look forward to a pain free, bird chasing future for her. 

Take care and all the best

Susie xx

Such a big journey to continue Emma and Poppy. All the best for her and her wonderful supportive family.

Hi Susie,

Thanks for your kind words.

I do see the logic behind what he is saying. And as you have shown, this has proven to be the case in your experience.

I do not doubt for one minute that the advise given to me by all of the breeders of my dogs gas been in the best interest of the pups but I wonder if this is down to the 'fear' of what may happen if they advise otherwise? We have a Retriever pup who is 5 months and we walk her with the other dogs now. A good deal of it is on the lead but definitely a lot more than most breeders would recommend!

It's certainly an interesting deabte which I'm sure would attract some strong opinions! :)

Hi Emma,

This was our first litter so we don't have the years and years of experience that most breeders do so we can't really see the different impacts.  I suppose it would make sense that if a hip was already prone to going out of place lots of impact etc. on it when it is still forming could cause further damage, but surely mother nature wouldn't give a puppy loads of bounce and energy if it was going to damage itself? 


 I really don't know what the answer is - our results are probably just be abnormalities and we won't be changing our advice to any future puppy buyers (not because we are trying to shield ourself from allegations but because all the books advice it and if I went against that I feel I might be doing the puppies a dis-service) but I like you would be very interested to see the results of any research.


Unfortunately as in people sometimes things just go wrong for no reason and you can do everything possible right and still get stung.  Your poppy is very lucky to have such a caring owner who will go to all lengths to help her.  I really do wish her all the best and look forward to seeing some pictures of her in a few months time running around like a lunatic without any pain. xx

I'm aware that many breeders advise puppy owners to restrict exercise , but I dont restrict my puppies at all . They run as much as they want, until they just flop down and go to sleep again. I try to have litters born in the summer and they go outside in a grass run where they spend most of the day if the weather is fine, as well as a couple of runs up the field and back which start with a few minutes and gradually get longer. The only thing I discourage is climbing stairs if they are indoors, jumping fences before they are about ten months, and I dont take puppies up on the hill to run on heather before at least ten months . And I dont overfeed puppies, would rather have a slightly underweight puppy than an overweight one.

I have BVA hip scores for around 30 IRWS that I have either bred or owned, and further scores for another dozen or so who are outside the UK.

The thirty with BVA scores include dogs I have both bred and raised here at Dalriach, dogs that I bred but went to other owners (so may have been raised differently), and dogs bred by somebody else but raised here.

The lowest average total hip scores of about 6.8  are the ones bred and raised here, So puppies allowed to run as much and as long as they want, but kept away from stairs and fences 

The next group are the ones bred by other breeders but raised here who have an average total score of about 8.4

The highest average are the ones bred here but raised elsewhere with an average total of about 9.4

The ones hip scored overseas mostly have A hip scores, in pretty active homes, I'm not aware of anybody who restricts puppy exercise much

So far I havent bred a dog found to have  hip dysplasia when hip scored (and I have never had a dog X rayed without sending the X ray in for scoring) , and the highest hip score for a dog bred AND raised here with unlimited free exercise is a total of 12. I suspect puppies born early summer who go outdoors a lot have slightly better hips than winter litters who are raised more indoors. All dogs that I breed from are hip scored, and I try to only breed from dogs with a hip score not more than the average for the breed (although I havent always kept to this, and with more time  I'm learning that its probably better to stay below the breed average than take risks)

Of course the numbers are small and not statistically significant, and this is just my experience

misty didnt go over stiles at 9 months more like a year .its one thing keeping a solitary dog on a lead its another when she is with two who are free .also recall training its no good having good hips if the dog disappears when you try to do it  at a later age, we have a large for the area garden with some steps they jump on and off settees beds out of cars; you are not dealing with children who are dependant for the early years but an animal that in human terms almost hits the ground running and is very smart and is watching you like we watch soap operas




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