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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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I don't really know, but probably what I'm about to suggest is not the correct "protocol" in these kind of situations, but hey, all is fair in love...

Maybe you could find a way to talk to Noel Fitzpatrick yourself and pressure him to see your girl ASAP, as time is really important in her case? Or even find someone to call in a favor and get him to see her sooner? I know what I'm suggesting is not correct, but it sometimes helps!

Hope she gets to go to her second opinion very soon!

emma is there pics of the plates to look at?

Yes, Emma has posted them a couple of days ago

where are they Margaret?

They were on page 4 but maybe on 5 now, with me replying to you :)

Ann, actually the age of Poppy is not unusual for dogs with severe hip dysplasia. Severe cases - such as Emma describes in Poppy and such as my parents experienced with Ginger - will often show up around 5 - 8 months. There is often an acute phase of pain in the joint at this age before the chronic manifestation of pain due to degeneration of the joint sets in. According to research you will see various phases in a severely dysplastic dog: first signs of discomfort in a grwoing pup can be gait abnormalities, to difficulties in climbing stairs, lack of endurance in play etc. The acute stage with limping and excercise intolerance and acute pain can become apparant at the age of 5 - 8 months. Around the age of 12 - 14 months there then often follows a period of stabilisation with less pain and less obvious symptoms. What follows is the chronic phase of pain due to HD due to secondary joint degeneration. Quite often dogs are not presented with symptoms until they are in the chronic phase.

Emma is right in doing what she can for Polly at this early age and not waiting for the next stages. A triple pelvic osteotomy should be performed before the secondary signs of joint degeneration set in...

What becomes apparent with cases such as Polly's and Ginger's is that these dogs will never appear in any statistics of hip scoring. Our Ginger had been operated on by the age of 12 months and no official grading of her joints would ever have been possible.


Thanks for the info, Susan.

You are right, such cases do not appear in statistics and are possibly diagnosed as 'growing pains' if the condition is not too severe?

Could we conclude that this degree of CHD is hereditary, rather than contributed to by environmental influences - diet, exercise, trauma?

It would benefit the breed as a whole if the condition - its symptoms, diagnosis, treatment & prognosis - were officially reported to the breed club so that it can be considered in breed health monitoring.


Very sorry to hear about your puppy, Emma.

Susan makes a good point. Some of the worst cases of HD never get to appear in the KC/BVA hip scoring records, either because the puppy was x rayed and diagnosed before 12 months, or because the X ray on an adult dog showed such obvious faults that the owner chose not to submit for scoring. So a prospective puppy buyer could carefully scan a pedigree and check the hip scores of all the dogs for four generations and find all hip scores within the normal range. What they wouldnt find is how many dogs and bitches in that pedigree produced offspring  with unrecorded HD. And it wont tell them which breeders continued to breed from those dogs. If the puppy buyer had access to that information , they might read a pedigree very differently

Absolutely, Margaret!

And it would help the breed if owners with these worst cases of HD - that don't get published because the dogs were too young for scoring, the owner chooses not to submit x-rays for scoring or does not know the serious implications for the breed - would at least inform the breed club.

Many new owners are not encouraged by breeders to join breed clubs where information is held in perspective and advice is readily given.  Reading pedigrees to glean information of this sort does not come easily to many new buyers specially those whose puppy's problems don't show up until well after the owners have lost their heart to it.

But would you tell the prospective buyer, Ann, if information had been given to you in confidence that puppies under 12 months have been found to have HD or that an adult dog over 12 months has been hip x rayed and diagnosed as having HD but no officially hip scored? I'm sure that like me, you can look at a pedigree and know that there is some risk of HD there, even if all the dogs in the pedigree who have been hip scored have good scores. What do you tell the prospective puppy buyer ?

Aha...Basically it works like this:

An owner reports to the breed club, say, a bad case of HD (that they have not had hip scored - because it is obvious to even the inexperienced eye that scoring will make no difference and that they will not think of breeding from that dog.) The case with the pedigree details is recorded. If someone else, thinking of buying a puppy asks for advice regarding the HD situation of IRWS maybe specifically within those lines I would be able to say something like, "A puppy from this line had to have a TPO operation to correct dysplastic hips, there have been no more reports of HD from its siblings, the sire had a hip score just above the average, the dam had a hip score below the average, three of its grandparents were hip scored with average scores, only two of its 8 great grandparents were scored, one quite higher than the average etc etc." and advise them to discuss this with the breeder.

If it were an enquiry about buying puppies in general with a specific question about HD, I would give the whole picture of HD within the breed as far as is known and reported - the good and the bad.

When health issues are reported, the owner of the affected dog is asked that if another similar case occurs, would they be willing to talk to that owner explaining the strategies they used etc. Most people are very agreeable.  So we are able to advise the new case owner that someone with practical experience of the condition is willing to talk them through it.  If they say they would like this, then the experienced owner is given their phone number and contacts them directly. Many lasting friendships have started this way ;o]))

Over the 24 years that this has been in operation, we have had no complaints, only letters of thanks and appreciation and, when being advised that their name and dog's name will not be bandied about by the breed club, more often than not those owners say -"that's OK, I don't mind anyone knowing, it's for the good of the breed that 'x y z' is known."

That is an option and without coersion.

Of course the goodwill created depends entirely on the willingness of owners to contact the breed club as well as the breeder in the first place....

I have to say, that the breeder of Poppy has asked us to have her scoring done and submit the info. However, with the vets bills being as high as they're going to be and all of the aftercare required, £200 for hip scoring is not high on our priority list at the moment. We wanted to breed a litter or two from her but obviously we won't be doing that now.




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