Woody (by Bernie)
Woody was a gift to me so in that sense I was lucky I didn’t pay out the £300 hundred pounds the lady who bred him was charging for her litter! A litter that was brought into the world from one of those owners who thinks “ wouldn’t it be nice for my bitch to have a litter,” Someone who didn’t know the first thing about breeding dogs & that everything she did know came from just one book!!
I know she never had her bitch health checked, even though I & several other people advised her to do so. The sire she used was a stud dog she got from an advert in a magazine.
Woody came to us at 8 weeks of age, he was a gorgeous little black pup who fitted in lovely at our household. Already owning one black lab & a whippet Lurcher we were no strangers to having dogs. It wasn’t actually my intention of getting another dog but he came along anyway & was here to stay!
It was when he was about 9 months of age I started to notice a limp on his front left leg , I took him to the vet who advised me to keep him on strict lead walks & gave a course of anti inflammatories & pain killers. Things did seem to improve for a while but not for long. So after weeks on strict lead walks & more visits to the vet for repeat prescriptions, his lameness was still there. So back to the vet, this time x-rays were taken of his elbows because this seemed to be the area causing the problem. OCD was diagnosed So a different course of medication was prescribed, Metacam along with the still strict on lead exercise. This medication just did not agree with Woody it made him ill, loose stools & sickness , so once again back to the vet. We saw a different vet at the practice & he suggested referring Woody to a specialist, & that’s exactly what we did!
The specialist looked at his x-rays and basically told us that using key hole surgery that he would widen the space in the joint of the elbows & remove fragments of loose cartilage & bone so easing the discomfort Woody was in. This procedure was done on both his elbows at the same time. We were given a very strict regime for him When we picked him up from the specialists along with a course of painkillers. He had to have total rest for the first week only allowed to go out to be able to relief himself & had to be on a lead at all times.
Then the next week he would be allowed 5mins exercise on lead, and it followed on from there, the week after that he would be allowed 10 mins , the week after that 15mins, the week after that 20 minutes leading up to 45 mins a day. Then it was a check up back at the specialists. We also had to slowly reduce the amount of painkiller through out this regime. He made real good progress & through it all he was such a happy little chap. The real reward was when after his 6 month check up with the specialist we could let the little man off the lead for some real pain free freedom!!
We don’t really know whether Woody’s problem was caused by genetics, or maybe just a little over exercise as a young pup, both vet & specialist said it can be caused by both & that they are seeing more & more of the condition in this breed.
This is why health checks are important, that breeding dogs should be left to those who know what they are doing & have good experience at it, or if a beginner, that they have a respected and established breeder as a mentor. Not just the average dog owner who feels they’d like their dog to have puppies but knows nothing about the need for health checks.