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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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Firstly Emma I would like to say how sorry I am to read this news and wish you all the luck in the world.

If you want a referral to Noel Fitzpatrick as you want the best for Poppy then get your vet to give you one.  Even a consultation just to set your mind at rest. 

Could you maybe add Chondroitin to the Glucosamine.  Alternatively Yumega do iMove for humans and dogs.  I have just started using it myself as it has come highly recommended from another IS exhibitor who has been taking it for a couple of months and swears she is getting benefit from it.  It contains Glucosamine, Green Lipped Mussel and Hyaluronic Acid.  It is made by Lintbells Ltd.

I do think you should carry on with the BARF diet if it is suiting her.  That way you can best regulate her weight.  Members who feed their dogs on BARF would know better than I what you could feed in addition. 

Once again.........good luck

Emma, I am sooo shocked and sorry to read this.

Please look into krill oil which contains the anti oxidant astaxanthin, much better than any other oils on the market, and knocks the spots of the Linbells products..

I get mine from:


They have the highest and cleanest (free of lead) levels of omega 3's possible.

If you can get your vet, or the specialist to 'approve' these, you should be able to claim them back on your insurance !  I would rather go to Noel Fitzpatrick purely because of his reputation and because of the results I have seen, including  one gundog who is out enjoying life in the agility ring.

As for Hills anything.  I would scrub that.  That's the vets answers to just about everything and it IS a pure marketing CON. I would stick to a species appropriate diet, the nutritionist at Queens Vet School Cambridge surprisingly (knock me down with a feather duster!!!) said I couldn't do better for my girl than the Natural Instinct meats and bones I feed her.  Best wishes for your girl. I do hope it goes well.

I wasn't going to come back on this forum, but something drew me to it this evening, so I do hope it all goes well.  I will check back from time to time, and hope that your give us some updates on her post operative progress?

No advice just wanted to say I am very sorry for your girl and yourself. Such sad news. Gentle hugs for Poppy

Oh Fran.....useful info.  I will also check out krill oil.  Good to know.

Hi Emma, I am very sorry to read your post. I know what you are going through as in 1997 my parents' Irish at 7 months went lame and was diagnosed with severe hip dysplasia. She was operated on successfully by an experienced vet (in Switzerland) and had a triple pelvic osteotomy performed on one side. The option of hip replacement was in this case not feasible due to the positioning of the whole joint.

If however an artificial hip replacement had been a possibility we would more likely have chosen that solution. I do not know all the pro's and contra's but I am sure the specialist can explain it to you. Obviously here lies the difference between humans and dogs as a dog is fully grown at the age of roughly one year and therefore a artificial hip replacement can be done a lot earlier than in humans.

Let me say that our 'Ginger' made it to a good age of 11 years and although her movement in her hindquarters was never really strong she enjoyed a good life as the family pet. We did notice she suffered some pain in later years and she was given pain killers as needed.

There is so much controversy over feeding regimes and the benefits (or not) of glucosamine and similar so I think it best you choose what she enjoys and be prepared to give her medication for pain relief as required.

Just to say ,Emma, I am sorry that Poppy has this problem.I know you will do the best you can for her.

I hope your daughter's operation was successful.

Emma, I am so sorry to hear of Poppy's hip condition and for your worry too.  I hope when you have recovered from the shock that you will contact the IRWS Club of Great Britain where a record of health issues is maintained to monitor the breed and where help and support is offered to all IRWS.

As you can see from the response already, that you and Poppy have much sympathy and many helpful suggestions.

There has been at least one successful IRWS hip replacement and also hydrotherapy has been used to great effect.  Glean all the advice you can from everywhere, sift through that which seems reasonable to your case and trust your vet (but beware of the sales pitches ;o]))) or orthopaedic specialist.

Eight months is very young for so total a diagnosis, let's hope youth will aid Poppy's recovery.

Take heart, Emma. You're not alone.

Can I add to Ann's plea that you also contact Poppy's breeder, though you have probably done so already.  I know she will be as devestated as you are.  Both of you take heart.

well a very emotive issue and im so happy that Poppy has a very understanding owner who obviously loves her to death, it has already been said to contact the breeder and see what lies in her pedigree and what it goes back to, i also agree with Ann M that it should be sent to the IRWSCGB so that they can monitor the data...but most of all from all of us here at Diptonia i wish all the best for Poppy and if there is anything i can do just drop me a line

love and (((hugs)))) from me and my family xxxx


I'm very sorry to hear about your girl, and really hope she makes a fine and quick recover!

I just had a quite simillar scare with Romã. The circumstances in Romã are different and her condition is not nearly as bad as it looked at first, but we did had to go trough some changes in her life to make sure she lives a long and healthy life.

The triple pelvic seems a good solution, as far as I know (I'm surely no expert). If your vet has a good success rate with the op, you are surely fine with it. However, if I was in your situation, and had the time and money go get a second opinion, I'd definetely go for it.

My vet is also a great vet, he is very competent and he did not say or do anything to make me think I needed a second opinion. However, I had the chance to go to an expert on HD, so I got my second opinion. He told me pretty much the same, but there were these tiny differences in his X-ray interpretation that totaly changed Romã's diagnosis, prognostic and treatment plan. She is now absolutely fine and with many years to live, hopefully. My usual vet was not offended at all by me taking a second opinion, and neither should yours!

As for the food, I was also adviced to put Romã in Royal Canin Mobility or Hill's j/d. My advice to you: forget them! These foods are made thinking all HD dogs are fat and lazy, our light and live Setters will just loose weight and very important muscle building with that weight, if placed on such foods! Just give her a very good glucosamine (spend time finding the perfect brand where you live) and omega 3 and 6 rich food, to help the absortion and fixation of the glucosamine. Don't let her become overweight, but definetely don't let her loose any!

As for hydrotherapy - I personaly think it is a must in these kind of dogs - not only to recover from her op, but also to help build her muscles without putting too much pressure in the joints. What I do with Romã, who loves to swim, is transfer most of our long walks near lakes, ponds or the ocean as soon as it is warm enough for that. She goes in, swims and exercices in the water, instead of just running around like mad - works wonders for her!

Please let us know who she is doing, and what our decision was!

That's good advice, Teresa. A second opinion would be valuable. 

I'm a little concerned that 8 months is young for such a conclusion - although it's not unknown.  As it's only two weeks ago that the lameness was noticed and the diagnosis made, it seems a little hurried to opt for surgery when the bones are still growing and the joints still maleable.

Hydrotherapy, as you highlighted, is excellent for building muscle - and it is muscle that stabilises joints and swimming that exercises muscles without the stress of weight.

I remember a case years ago of a young dog with 'no hips'!  X-rays showed no connection whatsoever between the femoral head and the acetabulem.  He had been a lazy greedy puppy who sat by the feeding bowl all day (the litter was 'creep-fed') and did not play with his litter mates at all.  He was bought because he was so chubby and cuddly.  Anyway, stepping off the kerb one day, he went down screaming with pain and carried to the vet .... with the diagnosis above. The owners were advised to swim him (and thin him) which they did regularly for months (I can't remember what he was fed on tho')  He ended up as a shooting companion for his owner.... not perfect in movement, but able to enjoy an active life.  So all was not lost.

Please keep us up to date with Poppy's progress, Emma.

For a TPO to be performed, the dog MUST be under 10 months of age. On her x-rays. you could see the balls of the hips starting to have wear on it. She is trim and not overweight. The images clearly show the hips out of joint, as I said earlier, it was like looking on my daughter's x-rays!

I have asked them this morning for a referral to Noel Fitzpatrick, I just don't know how long it will take. As Poppy is 8.5 months old, time is not really on our side!




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