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Arthur is a delightful puppy but my wife and I are a little worried.I am hoping that someone else  may have had a similar experience and can advise.

 Three  weeks before Christmas Arthur suddenly started limping  and not using his right hind leg,it sort of 'dangled '.He was taken to the vet's but the vet could find nothing wrong even though he was limping on this leg.He had restricted walks and was on Metacam which seemed to help.By Christmas his leg was fine,he was walking normally and happily  ran with the other dogs. All was well until Thursday of this week.I was out with him and suddenly he stopped using his right hind leg.Again,like the left one, it just dangled',He was at the vet's yesterday and had x-rays,blood tests and fluid taken from his joints.(£344--Thank God for insurance!)Everything was as it should be and the vet is as mystified as we are.He thinks he may have injured his leg but there was no indication of this. I did not witness anything that could have injured him or see him do anything that would have injured him.The vet also observed that Arthur is a tall  dog for his age and it may be that that is causing the problem.He felt that when he was fully grown the problem will stop.

Today he is using that leg again but every now and then will limp on it.He is back on restricted walks and Metacam.

I will appreciate your opinions.

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This sounds very much like my first setter, Chilli, when she was very young. It also cost us a lot of money in vet fees but nothing was ever found. It didn't help that she would start whinging as soon as the vet started walking towards
her! She did eventually grow out of it, from memory around 12 months. We never did find out what the cause was but as the medication the vet prescribed didn't really make any difference we would rest her for a few days whenever she had one of her limps and she'd be as good as new. It's a worry. Hope this gets resolved for you soon.

whar do you know about the "development" of setters?


You have not given enough information about your execise and feeding patterns


You say he runs with the other dogs, how many, what breeds


You do have a problem with Arthur and you do need to do more thn just resting him for a few days but you need to provide more info.

Setters dont play like other breeds, they roughhouse quite a bit and like to canon into each other and try to take the feet from their running mates. I dont like pups running with older dogs and I dont like long spells of offlead exercise for something that is only 20 weeks old. Setters need lots of time and energy to develop the right bone structure and thats where the lameness is most often coming from.

Hence question about who Arthur was running with

Hi Howard,

I was speaking to a friend in another breed only recently about something similar.  Her dog just grew out of it but she went through the same regime with her vet and and he couldn't find anything either.  I am assuming, as your puppy has been x-rayed all the things that first spring to mind have been eliminated.  You say he has has blood tests......what has your vet tested for?  Maybe, if this persists, a referral would be the next step forward. 

I am not a vet Howard but I have just googled Growing Pains in Dogs and there is a condition called PANOSTEITIS.  Go on line and check it for yourself.  The prognosis says that this condition resolves itself with time.  Perhaps you might discuss it with your vet.

Additionally speak to your breeders.  I am sure they will be very supportive in this

Eva beat me to it :-)

When Barney and Alfie were about 4 months old they would lay and howl, scream in pain and become lame, it was intermittent but so scary and I had every test done under the sun but to no avail.  The vet eventually said they thought it was growing pains, gave me painkillers for when they were at their worse and I just had to keep an eye on them. By the time they were 6 months old it had totally gone, they were both big, heavy boned boys and I can only assume it was something to do with the rate of them growing.

That was my first and only litter of Irish Setters, they were the only pups in the litter so I had no siblings to compare notes with. I bred a few litters of English Setters which are more heavy in bone than the Irish, but thankfully never had any further experience of it.

I do hope Arthur will be ok very soon.

A few years ago I had an Irish puppy that had hind leg issues at the very same age, 5 months. He was X-rayed and he was found............by an orthopaedic specialist, to have patella luxation which was due to tibial tortion. Tibial tortion, slight spiral pattern to the growth of the bone, occurs during periods of rapid growth. This spiral allows the patella to slip out of it's groove.


It may not be this, but my own Vet didn't make the diagnosis, even with X-rays, he referred us to an orthopaedic specialist Vet who did find it. The dog didn't need surgery or anything, we were advised that he would grow out of it, and that I should allow lots of free running and jumping exercise............I know............. shock horror, but it worked.


Ask for an orthopaedic referral.


Dawn R.

Thank you all for your replies which are both helpful and reassuring.Arthur's blood test was to rule out any infection that might be in his system.The vet mentioned Panosteitis but has ruled that out as well as patella luxation.The x-rays were very clear and showed his joints and limbs to be sound,

He was very keen for his walk today and has shown no signs of distress today.

Thank you all again.


Since posting my comment I was emailed by a friend who had just read your blog.  Years ago she bred a dog who was  diagnosed with Panosteitis.  This dog grew quickly into a big boy.  He also grew out of this condition.

It's interesting that your vet has ruled out Panosteitis.  You say he is mystified but what does he think it might be?

I am going to ask him why he has ruled out Panosteitis.The information given here about it seems to fit Arthur's condition.

I will let you know.



I have had 2 dogs, a bitch and, a few years later, her son, who both suffered what we and our vet could only describe as wandering lameness....i.e. any and all limbs were involved over a considerable period of time. Both were early onset around 4 to 5 months and both were eventually tallish racy  elegant looking animals. The vet finally diagnosed panosteitis as a last resort and both were treated with Rimadyl when symptoms were acute and cage rest ( to stop them jumping up and down in excitement especially as they were with other Irish) They were only ever exercised over short distances on the lead,until over a year old, and then we gradually built up their exercise, with no further ill effects. Both now can run with the best of them and no problems.

Obviously can't argue with the vet in his/her wisdom, but am intrigued to know, along with eva, why panosteitis has been

 summarily discarded. Our dogs' X Rays and blood tests didn't help in the final diagnosis. Either way I do hope you find an answer....it may well be that similar treatment and time is the answer. Good luck.

Hi Howard,

I have one of the girls from the same litter who has been experiencing exactly the same problems - and we too have had x-rays and tests done and nothing conclusive found. But her limping seemed to start when she got slammed into a chair by a pair of over-enthusiastic puppies at 'puppy playgroup'. She had a course of Rimadyl and rest and things seemed to settle down. But it is now an intermittent problem and the limping only seems to be occasional - usually after a walk if she's been doing a bit too much charging around. We had her x-rays referred to an orthopaedic specialist who couldn't find anything of any concern. The vets did say they thought there was a bit of laxity in her stifle joint, but nothing particularly abnormal. She doesn't seem to have a problem standing up on her hind legs to pinch things off the kitchen counter!

So it's been a case of watch this space  - I'm sorry I've nothing to offer to help you, other than to empathise with you.....although Maisie certainly isn't tall for her age - she was the smallest in the litter and is still what you might call petite!


Thank you Frances,that is most helpful.Like Maisie, Arthur has no problem reaching high surfaces!




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