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At a loss what to do with my poorly girl Lily

Has anyone any ideas what could be wrong with my 4 year old entire setter? She has been suffering recurrent interdigital cysts, dry coat and lumps and bumps all over her and now has a lump on her lip. I walk her for 2 hours every day but she just keeps laying down and panting. I know it is hot but she lays down even on cold days.

For the past year I have been so worried about her. She has gained 9 kg in weight despite the long walks every day. She has had 3 operations as the vet has to sedate her as she is so frightened she won't let anyone near her. She has had 2 scans of her ovaries, a thyroid test which came back normal and been referred to the Davies Hospital. The specialist just kept telling me she was obese and that would cause her exercise intolerance. I don't know of many dogs whose owner religiously walk them for 2 hours come rain or shine. Most of my friends' dogs barely make it out for more than 20 mins a day!!!!

Having owned a setter as a child I know that my beautiful baby is not right. She is not over fed, has 2 meals a day, none of our food but often barks for her own food. Maximum 4 small treat sticks a day and yet the weight gain continues.

Finally, her coat is thin and dry with bad dandruff. When I collected her after the op yesterday her coat was completely white with dandruff (she wasn't like it in the morning). I am sorry for the long post but I am so worried. Everything I google points to thyroid issues but the vets keep saying her result last year was normal.

I would be so grateful for help and ideas.



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Hi Claire I am really sorry to read what you and your girl have to endure. And I am sorry but haven't any advice other than to change the vet. I keep my fingers crossed that they find the cause for her illness and can treat her! And I would not go for a 2 hours walk with a poorly dog, when she is better thats great but for her system it could be exhausting.
Thanks for your reply. I think you may be right about changing vets. I'm sure they think I'm mad and that I over feed her and never walk her lol. I have to say that we are only managing short walks at the moment. The trouble is she sulks if we don't do her normal routine....even if it does take double the time with all the pit stops and boy can she sulk!!! Her mind is willing but obviously her body isn't. It's just so sad that I can't make her better. The vet keeps telling me to keep on with the exercise to help her to lose weight so it's a catch 22. Sometimes her paws are so swollen and sore that her quality of life is affected. My sister has a setter who is a year older who happily bounces around all day long while my poor Lily just looks on. I'm forever hopeful that someone somewhere has an idea :-(

Sounds like underactive thyroid to me. Some dogs, and people get symptoms like these when they are boarderline and the medics do not always want to treat. I would have the bloods redone, as after 12 months they are out of date anyway, ask what normal range is for setters and where she falls. If she is at the bottom end see if the vet will prescribe a very low dose, 25mg thyroxin for 6 to 8 weeks, if it is thyroid it should start to take effect after around 4 weeks, if there is no effect it should not harm her. Alternatly she may be anaemic, this can affect skin and coat condition,, making both dry and thin, it also affeaffects energy levels making them lethargic, doesn't explain weight gain though.

I would get full blood count, thyroid and blood sugars etc done.

You can also have her bloods shipped over to Dr. Jean Dodds at Hemopet.  In the UK via:


This will pick up whether or not there is a thyroid issue, or something else going on.

I know I will probably get my head chewed off yet again, but raw feeding any dog a good quality raw food can really help, combined with digestive enzymes for dogs (not the human dose one's). I speak from personal experience and also from experience of helping a lot of other dogs now, not just setters.   For anyone who would like help and advice with raw feeding, am organizing a raw feeding workshop with a holistic vet and will post dates on here once it has all been finalized.

Agree with Fran, I would contact Dr. Dodds.  You can send her an email with the test results that your vet has done and she will respond.


Hi Claire, I'm really sorry to hear about your girl. When I read your post, I thought of thyroid too. I can recommend having your dog tested at hemopet. The normal vet has only one test possibility for thyroid (testing the T4) and this test only says that the level is too low when 2/3 of the thyroid glands are destroyed - so the result would be normal for the vet until then! Hemopet can give a whole profile and at the same time test all the other blood values well before the thyroid glands are destroyed and recommend treatement. Here's the link: http://hemopet.org/hemolife/thyroid-testing.html I'd recommend the thyroid profile Plus. Good luck!

Hi Cornelia was just thinking about you and hoping you would reply! Have a great summer full of Joy:)

Hi Claire,

I wish Lily was better.I hope you can get some intelligent vet to help you.

Ellie's terrible cysts keep recurring and now she has got lumps on her body,and more worringly,in her mouth.I am told that there is nothing we can do.She has had all manner of tests,all without any positive reults.

At the moment life is good for her and ,with the help of painkillers,she still enjoys her (shortened) walks.I am not sure the Atopica she takes makes an iota of difference but I daren't stop giving them to her.

I am thinking of you ,


Hi Claire, I'm sorry your Lily isn't well sounds like another vet opinion is a good idea! I'll keep you and Lily in our thoughts. Take care x

Hi Claire,

another vet and keep us posted

we are all here to help you


Good morning, thank you for all your kind words and thoughts.  We returned to the vet yesterday for Lily to have her bandage off her paw.  She had a piece of wood in her paw which they removed.  The vet thinks because she has had so many of the cysts the skin has been damaged and soft allowing the splinter in.  The lump on Lily's lip is an infection.  Apparently, the first part of the new thyroid test has still come back negative but her stress hormone level from her urine test (done 3 weeks ago) is slightly elevated.

We are still waiting for the results for the Cushings blood test and the full thyroid panel test.  The vet has agreed that all the symptoms are pointing to thyroid and he has started Lily on 0.1 mg of Solexine twice a day for the next 4 weeks.  She will be rattling with all the tablets!

Up again with her last night while she panted heavily until I let her into the garden....where she laid happily for 2 hours arrghhh!!!!!

I'm still worried that we are missing something.  I've even started googling heart conditions.....:-(

dear Claire, i cant offer any advise, but i really wish you to get to the roots soon,, it must be so painful and heartbreaking for all you to see her in such condition... we are thinking about you, and hope for a best solution as soon as possible.. XX




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