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Some will already know that Saffy has had a problem.....just what it is, I don't know. and nor it seem do the vets.
She was at a 'working/training day' on the Sunday, had a good day, didn't do anything different than she would on a good day out, we came home and she ate half of her supper (she was at the time in the middle of a full blown phantom pregnancy) so she wasn't interested in food, after about an hour she started crying, and stretching, the crying got to be a real worry, so called the vet.
First question she asked was 'how long since her last season'..... answer 7-8 weeks. 'Ah its probably a Piametra, but you do know that it costs to bring a dog in at this time???
So I took her to the vet. She confirmed that she thought that it was a 'closed Piametra' she kept her in and put her on a drip with a pain killer in it.
At 11 pm I got another call saying that she thought that the Piametra was about to rupture, and that I needed to consent to a 'spay' I really didn't want to go down that road but if it meant that her life was saved then so be it. BUT if nothing was found to be wrong with the Uterus then it was to stay where it was......
She phoned at midnight and said that the operation was over and the Uterus was still where it was supposed to be, she had a wee bit of gas in her stomach. This was removed and she found that the Spleen was enlarged and was tucked behind the stomach.
The small bit of gas became a large amount of gas and a twist or partial twist when asking the next two vets that I dealt with. (?) Bloat......
Having seen many cases of Bloat I told them that I brought her in with a gut pain NOT with bloat if it had been bloat I would have been the first to say, this in my mind was definitely not bloat.
Why is it always assumed that Irish Setter + Gas = Bloat why can it not just be Gas???
But the question still arises What was it.
On the following Friday night she started shaking so she went back in for the day, they took a few ex-rays this time and it seems that none of her organs are in the correct place.
She was put on medicine for stomach ulcers and she has been progressing well on them but can anyone help as to what it may be???? At the end of the day she seems to have had an operation (with all that goes with it) for nothing!!!!!

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My first bitch was Raycroft/Wendove/Hartsbourn lines and she was put the Sh Ch Corneven Lovebird. Both my bitch and Lovebird died of bloat and all bar 1 or 2 of a litter of 10 died with it, I was given all the platitudes as to environment and management, ie exercise and feeding etc They would blow in the middle of the night, they would blow just before feeding, they were fed tripe and terrier meal not dry food, never exercised just after food etc but they still died in the end, my life was that I couldn't leave them because I was so afraid that they would blow when I was out. With the two of them that lasted about 12 years I would not recommend breeding from an animal that has blown because it is not fair on the puppy owners, or the puppies themselves. This problem goes far to far back in the lines and I am convinced that there is a genetic link to it as well as a 'body shape' predisposition. But it should be looked into, it needs eradicating. But it won't be because people will not admit to it being in their lines.
But it should be looked into, it needs eradicating. But it won't be because people will not admit to it being in their lines. writes Dee Rance.

That was exactly my observation. They all share a main tail male line.
This is true here in Australia also. My beloved first Irish Setter Skye died of bloat at age 5 years. First time, she had her spleen removed, and her stomach stitched. Exactly 10 weeks later, it happened again, in the middle of the night, and this time we weren't so lucky. She lived another week but hardly even recognised us. A horrible experience that even affects me to this very day and it's just over 6 years now.

I spoke to her breeder when it happened. He denied all knowledge of any bloat being in his lines, only to find out some years later, that he had lost many of his top Irish Setters to this terrible thing. He just wouldn't admit it.

Dee, I hope your beautiful Sassy has a speedy recovery from this op. and she continues to stay happy and well. She certainly has a loving Mum.
Thank you for that, but as you know bloat has its own symptoms, Saffy didn't have bloat, but as I say the vets did call it bloat, because it is a blanket diagnoses for gas in the stomach, as I said before, like colic in horses, it can be anything from a mild stomach ache to a dead horse, Saffy is on something for a Colitis and Gastritis and this seems to be working. She is back to her usual self, completely mad....so we are so thankful for that. Yes I do love this wee girl to bits, although sometimes I could swing for her......a true Irish......I was sorry to hear about your wee girl its a horrible way for anything to go, that is why the two girls sleep on the bed...just in case it happens to either of them in the night...As I said before I lost all my lines in the 70's and 80's with this dreadful thing, I think that a lot of breeders are crossed with Ostriches they just stick their heads in the stand and hope that it will all blow over
Replies by Henk ten Klooster on November 7, 2008
"Depth of chest (yes Gennadi) was mentioned as a reason. Deadright - a further narrowing chest was in most of the relevant lineage visible in pictures here since the twenties.

As for the UK - one of the topbreeders over there told me that quite a few keydogs had suffered from bloat. One of them mentioned that I remember was Sh Ch Stephenshill Gamebird but not yet doublechecked. Maybe our UK friends can provide a doublecheck on that.

Other famous keydogs who bloated were mentioned in columns in Our Dogs and Dog World, from which I have clippings here starting twenties. So a very old problem, stripping quite a few factors environmental mentioned as possible reasons (like dry food etc.).

In the early days, it seems from sources available they responded to it like this: in a second or other generation as well drop the line. This is not scientific, just personal observations but whatever helps to get rid of this monster is of help thats why its typed down here."

"That was exactly my observation. They all share a main tail male line."

Henk (or anyone else who can clarify)
I would appreciate your advice on what is meant by "main tail male line". Would you describe that this main line would be in the pedigree more than once in the seven generations? What constitutes it being called this?

I would also like to know whether there are specific points on the dog that we should measure to get the ADWR (Abdomen Depth/Width Ratio) to identify whether our dogs may be at higher risk (as discussed by the Purdue University in their research program in 1995).

Your information and advice would be greatly appreciated.
I am in the UK and have exhibited since 1982 and even now after all this time it is difficult to find out what dog suffered with what??It is all mostly rumours and hearsay!So,yes it would be great to know before planning a litter what is EXACTLY at the back of our pedigrees!
I am not quite sure if I am correct, but remember my daughter taking photos of my Tam. She took withers, to point of tail...Chest, withers to elbow.....and width, from left to right of spring of ribs, (not sure if it was point of shoulder to point of buttocks) Don't know if this will help, it was done a long time ago, a lot of water under the bridge....
Hello Cheryl,

You mention research maybe unknown to others. Parts of it can be chased by following the link http://www.canine-genetics.com/gendis.htm

One relevant quote in dr Armstrongs article: "While it may be argued that there is nothing wrong with a tall, narrow dog aside from the greater risk for bloat, selecting for a conformation that is not functionally sound is a recipe for disaster."

For direct main tale male lines, it is exactly what it says sire-grandsire-ggsire always topline, female bottomline. Most involved popular sires, subsequently "linebred"(=inbred) too.

Following those main descent lines in pictures shows the breed changed in show rings due to trends regularly, reason is that standards provide room for interpretation. This is playground of show judges searching for one type, means excluding others within a standard but not favorite type of time.

Last main tool of selection tends to narrow a gene pool rapidly, show results are priority number one, not an answer to the question how to safeguard a healthy future for the breed (=diversity).

Elsewhere is documented that big changes in breeds history were according to experts of the time negative influenced by show judges losing contact with practice (=field trials). In other words they run a risk of selecting for a conformation that is not functionally sound ref Armstrong.

So called "breed specific" problems like bloat are not (yet) reported as a major problem in Irish red and white setters and their close relatives working Irish red setters. This may mean these problems are not breed specific but breed lineage specific. Quite a few pedigrees of leading UK and USA show lineage show a considerable inbreeding percentage to dogs that bloated, for example.

If you compare the average IRWS or working IRS with average show bred UK or USA IRS, you will see that apart from height and weight it is also the chest (so ADWR) where the big difference is.

Analyzing average lineage behind groups provides differences in their "family make up". Especially in founders. If the IRS has "three legs", the working variant plus IRWS have thanks to John Nash (Moanruad) a "fourth leg", old IRWS blood. Numbers for key dogs (tens of or hundreds thousands of times behind the average dog) differs hugely.

Scientific research comparing under more health/conformation etc. of different groups of IRS/IRWS could learn us a lot for a more healthy future of the average red (and white) setter. In the absence of scientific help commonsense might help. Fit for function is a test far outreaching a beauty contest.
Dee, I started to feed off the ground because I was told it is better. Should I go back to feeding on the ground like I do my Aussies?
Hi there, I did, and the results were instant, the bitch in question was my beautiful Tam, every time she ate she had to be ''patted down'' burped like a baby, and when I put the bowl ON the ground she didn't do it, she still 'gassed up' on occasions, but not nearly so much, as when she was fed OFF the ground. My friend used to give food and water OFF the ground, and when we went over there, and Tam wanted a drink, she had to drink OFF the ground, and she instantly blew...
The research was done in the US, and it definitely worked for me, what I would suggest is to give it a go, and watch carefully what happens. BUT it must be your decision, if I said definitely do it and your dog blew after trying, it would, by default, be my problem, I would have caused it, so please it is up to you...what you feel is best.
I have always feed on the ground until Scout became ill and it seemed he was uncomfortable bending down to eat. I have been feeding Hawk with a raised bowl. I have two watering bowls for the dogs and he does drink from the lower of the two. I think I will go back to feeding on the ground and see how he does. I would like to read the research information it would be interesting.
What was Scout ill with, was it bloat??? Try doing it in stages, a little bit at a time, I hope that you have decided to do this without me prompting you....As I said I would feel dreadful if anything were to happen, please keep me informed.
I know that I felt really scared when I did it, but don't show any worry because that can cause problems in itself, recently when I was about to have Saffys eyes tested I was really worried, and Jas, bless her, tried really hard to blow, so however you think you feel, it must be calm.
Good luck




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