A couple weeks ago I received an email from Liza about Harvey. Harvey is from Smudge's litter born last year with Reggie being the Dad. She had been in contact just before this email as it was Harvey's first birthday last month on the 24th, with photos and an update to say all was well with Harvey. This email was to tell me that Harvey had gone lame.
I hope you are well. I have some news regarding Harvey …he is fine …but we have just returned from the vet and he has been diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia in both hips. I noticed last week that he was preferring his right hind leg more than his left and when he was running he was skipping every now and then to not use the leg . I took him to the vets Tuesday and the vet manipulated his hip and was in discomfort. We decided to X-ray today as his left muscle seemed a little more underdeveloped than his right so he has been favouring one side over time. I do feel sad as I wish I had noticed it earlier but I genuinely did not as it is really not obvious and he is still incredibly active. I have had a little read and it is a complex issue that will likely lead to possible Arthritis. We are seeking specialist advice as soon as possible as I will do everything possible to see if there is anything we can do to give him as much comfort as possible and ward of the inevitable. I was wondering if you knew anything about this condition as any advice would be warmly welcome. Sorry to be in touch with this news …I know they all hold a special place in your heart but thought you should know.
I'll keep in touch with news
Liza & Harvey x"
It is never a good feeling to get an email about a dog you have bred, that has a health problem, but you cannot bury your head in the sand and on reading this email I emailed Liza straight back to offer some comfort and to tell her about a pup we bred a few years ago that had a similar thing happen. He went lame and they took him to the vets. An x-ray was done and very mild hip dysplasia was noticed on one hip. It turned out though that it was not the hip dysplasia that was causing the lameness, but a soft tissue injury and I hoped this was the case with Harvey.
Unfortunately hip dysplasia is common in dogs. I do believe it is hereditary when we see young dogs with shallow hips and unformed femur heads, but when we get into the grey area of dogs with mild to moderate dysplasia with healthy formed skeletal structure, but the femur head is not sitting totally flush in the hip joint, more often as not has been caused by slack or over tight hip flexors, I think we might be looking at a negative aspect of domestication of canines and this type of hip dysplasia is more a result of environmental pressures on a growing dog than an hereditary cause.
The last couple weeks I have kept in touch with Liza and this morning after emailing her to find out how things are and to tell her Harvey's litter sibling is visiting us soon, I found this email from Liza in my inbox.
Just got back from the specialist (I'm having to use my phone as my laptop is dying!)
It's good news ... Borderline hip dysplaysia on right and very mild on left! He has no serious worries at all and feels that he won't suffer longer term and no sign of damage and they are not troubling him at all. The carrying of the back leg is to do with his hip flexor... It is very tight and this could be because it has been working too much to correct the hip or perhaps there is a tear. Apparently dogs with hip dysplasia don't carry/skip the leg. I am so relieved, I can live with myself again and stop reliving the last 9mnths of every ball I have thrown! We now need to relax the hip flexor to prevent damage. The vet said to go back in 6mnths, keep exercising and hopefully it will correct itself but I might give him some physio to help stretch it.
I am so happy ... Best £180 I've ever spent .. If I did not go I would always worry !
Thanks for your support x
Can't wait to see the Mollie pictures This is where I find cheeky Harvey in the morning once I come back from my shower "
Thankfully it looks like Harvey has only very mild hip dysplasia and that the lameness is more to do with a soft tissue injury, probably from him being a very bouncy energetic boy. Being a smaller type dog, I would be reasonably confident that this is just a blip and that Harvey will be back on track once his soft tissue injury heals. Thanks Liza for getting back to me and for the lovely photo of Harvey, oblivious to our worrying about him.
This diagram shows the hip flexor group in a human. I could not find a diagram of this for a dog, which showed this group as well as this. This group is the same in dogs, the difference being that they walk on all fours.
You can see there is a lot going on in a hip.
Tomorrow morning I am out the vets at 10.30 am to get Smudge scanned to see how many pups roughly she is carrying. She is pretty obviously in pups now feeling her tummy. She is just over four weeks pregnant to our Henry and has just gone off her food a bit, as she normally will eat anything and everything.
The photos below are ones our oldest Bert took this morning of the dogs before going to school. I milked this morning and I found them on the camera earlier and had to find out who took them.
The last bit of this blog is a video taken last night of Treacle cleaning Henry's ears and then Smudge's ears. Treacle tends to like doing this and the dogs tend to like the attention as you will see in the video. Dogs are very tactile animals and interactions like this are common in a pack and strengthen bonds within the pack. Treacle will even clean my ears and for some reason Treacle and Jessica love licking and nibbling my husband David's hair. He has very wiry hair and I think they like the texture or maybe he just tastes nice. Lol
“The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you,but he will make a fool of himself, too.”
― Samuel Butler
Me (Jane) with Puddin' and Teagol, waiting patiently to flush a patch of kale, December 2019
Hello, I am Jane!