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Murfee is a beautiful 15 month old setter he is on a natural raw food diet and has a beautiful shiny coat.  However we have noticed that he is quite lethargic particularly a.m. and we have to drag him out for a walk particularly when going in car while we are out he's fine and running about but tired after a walk (usually an hour).  He's been prescribed Sulphur to take for a couple of days (not yet received).  Maybe he's just a very laid back dog but I'm not sure.  Has anybody had any experience of this happening with their setter/s.  Or has anybody got any advice to pass on?

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I'm having to reply to my own message here as I could not amend it.

Teresa, I was going to ask if the vet has explained the swollen lymph glands and the hypocalcemia first mentioned? I suppose there is a link between hypocalcemia and development problems like OCD but I wonder if you have had any further explanations from the specialist? Am I correct that no xrays have been taken?


Hi Susan

When the specialist examined him she said that his lymph glands were normal so i accepted this but i will contact her again regarding this as i don't know anything about these glands and why they would 'be up' as the vet put it and normal when she checked them.  To be honest with you i'm so relieved that Murfee is so well now that i'm concentrating on this now he's playful again at home not limping or anything and running at speed and not resting with regard to the calcium deficiency she is putting this down possibly to diet but i am treating him with prescribed homeopathic remedies to help him absorb the calcium as i don't believe it's his diet because he eats plenty of bones so no he wasn't xrayed as i said before the orthopaedic sp couldn't find any evidence of dysplaysia and i didnt want to put him through sedation unnecessarily she agreed that his symptoms were probably caused by vaccination and she has informed the vet of this for any alternative when next due

There are risks with all diets Susan. Raw, dried, and cooked.  Many people fall into the high protein/low protein trap, when it is the quality of the protein which is the important issue. Good quality protein is essential to all living things, not just dogs. Some raw foods can be as damaging as the worst of dry food if the quality of the protein is poor. However, from what I know about Murfee's diet, Teresa really couldn't have done better, and from a company who probably have the highest standards and possible care concerning their product. Probably better than the company I use for my dogs food, which has been thoroughly checked over and approved by the nutritionist at Queens Vet School Cambridge. In fact, I am now in contact with Murfee's food provider, to see if I can afford to switch my gang over to theirs, but with 3 dogs, it could costs a fortune.

Fran, I agree with you there.I would not feed just any complete dogfood either. But to tell the truth I prefer the lazy way of feeding a good complete food preferably produced in a way that complies with certain ethical standards (hopefully), rather than having to find my way through all the issues that need to be observed when deciding to raw feed...

I personally feel a lot safer giving my dogs a complete food that covers all aspects necessary for a growing setter rather than taking unnecessary risks. Surprisingly for some, I actually DO trust the makers of quality dog food to get it right. If they didn't they'd be out of business pretty fast...

High Susan here is the report that i received from specialist sent to vet.   Physical examination revealed Murfee to weight 27.65kg, BCS 3/9. He had pink mucous membranes, rapid CRT, heart rate
varied HR 102-156bpm (note when anxious he does produce rapid runs of heart beats but each beat is accompanied by a conducted femoral pulse). His respiratory rate was variable – initially increased at 42-56 bpm with what looked to be nonlocalised
increased effort but eventually he settled, slept and was less anxious – at that time his RR was 30bpm. Lung sounds clear. Normal gut sounds present, abdomen palpates normal for deep chested dog. Peripheral lymph nodes normal, head and neck and spine normal, skin normal, two testicles present scrotum. Note a grass awn was found embedded in gum margin
Musculoskeletal examination revealed pain LF - elbow, and then L shoulder (but could be reacting to elbow?), pain RF shoulder - but this could be from elbow?. LF carpus slightly fluid distended joint capsule. Murfee resented digital palpation initially, but after walk outside he didn’t subsequently mind the digits being manipulated on either foot. Palpation of hips ok,
stifles and hocks ok. Note RF digit 3 nail not worn. Palpation ends of long bones produced no resentment nor was pain elicited upon firm palpation of large muscle groups. He quickly became lame in the forelimbs when free running in the carpark.
Assessment – you are quite correct - he seems excessively lethargic in the consult room for a young athletic breed. DDx musculoskeletal - elbow dysplasia, OCD (less likely panosteitis etc), lungworm prophylaxis not current, less likely polyarthritis, heart defect (Murfee has a marked sinus arrhythmia and short bursts of rapid tachycardia when anxious),
myopathy / storage disease unlikely, gluten intolerance?, CLAD seems unlikely, seizures very unlikely, 
It is interested to note the low serum total calcium reported in your referring blood work.
I have requested a urine sample, faecal sample for lungworm and that his owner keep a food diary of his homemade diet for the next week. Murfee is to see orthopaedic surgeon for a consultation 10th October

Thanks for that, Teresa. I see the lymph glands are back to normal which is a relief. I see Murfee had a full check over.

I realize you are going through a worrying time with Murfee and sincerely hope that the orthopaedic surgeon can put your mind at rest and suggest the best treatment for your boy. In my experience (of mostly Labradors plus the Setter I mentioned earlier) dogs usually recover well after surgery - should that be deemed necessary. I just hope Murfee is insured.

Wishing you and Murfee all the very best!

Hi everyone GOOD NEWS went to see the orthopaedic specialist today and he said that he cant't find any evidence of elbow dysplaysia he thoroughly checked his legs and spine and didn't think it necessary to xray or scan him as there are no symptoms - Murfee is not limping anymore is happy to go for walks again and tears around without resting anymore so his lethargy seems to have disappeared he asked me if he was on any medication i said homeopathic remedies and listed them out.  I think he had a bad reaction to booster and that with the help of the prescribed remedies he got himself better - only my theory but hey the so called experts got it wrong and frightened the  life out of me in the process.  I asked about the slightly low calcium and he said could be dietary i will look into this further myself if his lethargy returns i'll think about thyroid blood test although vet said it was fine

Wooooo hooooo. Great news.  Well done you for standing your ground and getting him sorted out. Glad he is tearing around again and being a normal Setter :-D Long may it last. 

That is great news, Teresa! I hope Murfee does just fine from now on.

Weird that you should get three different opinions/diagnosis from three experts...


Delighted to hear this news, Teresa. So relieved for you & Murfee. Best wishes.

Thanks James lovely to  hear from you again how's the big fella?

He's just fantastic as usual, Teresa, and living like a lord....with his two servants!!!




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