It’s bad news for puppy Gracie…


Gracie aged five months Last week I spent most of the time trying to find out what’s wrong with Gracie the puppy. Turns out she’s got moderate hip dysplasia – a problem some Labradors are unlucky enough to develop later in life, or in Gracie’s case, be born with.

Her hips are just out of joint, which you can see from the two pictures below – a normal one from a text book, versus poor Gracie’s hip x-ray. Poor puppy was feeling sorry for herself after coming round from the x-rays – it made us chuckle as she kept whimpering for about an hour or so afterwards, even though she was right as rain!


Lauren, Ben and Gracie She’s been doing weird bunny-hops instead of running, which hinted at problems, so we’ve resorted to helping her out and giving her a little carry every so often!

Although that’s getting harder the more she grows! As you can see, she’s a fully fledged teenager now, in puppy years! She’ll be six months at the end of September.

Having been to the vet’s, I’m told she can be ‘fixed’ – she might have to have an op called a TPO done by a local specialist, and most dogs recover fully. It’s good we caught it so early apparently. So thank goodness for Pet Plan is all I can say.

The appointment is at the end of September – I’ll keep you informed but I’m told the op can be a huge success so I’m confident it’ll be fine in the end, poor pup!

I'm back on air for six days on the trot now, before going off on the first of my September mini-breaks. Going to Stonehenge on a walking/archaeology holiday next week – told you I’m a geek deep down!

But in the meantime do make sure you join me on air.

Best wishes



  1. Susan September 15, 2010 at 9:47 pm -  Reply

    Hi Debbie! Poor pup!! I hope she will be ok so do keep us up to date please. I think you QVC presenters must have the holiday bug as you are always off on your travels! How interesting though. Post some pics of your adventures! Definately not a geek I have to add!
    Take care
    Susan x

  2. Louise September 15, 2010 at 10:22 pm -  Reply

    Hi Debs
    Thanks for your advice re writing. I really should give it a go, and I admire you greatly for having done so. What made you start to write btw?
    I can still remember the day my vet told me Caspar needed to have his leg amputated, and how disconsolate I felt, so I know how you feel. hopefully, the operation will cure the problem. If there is any plus side, it’s better to happen at her age rather than as an older dog, as recovery could be more complicated. As a youngster, she should come through it no problem. Caspar has no problem only having 3 legs; he’s more bouncy than his dad, Oscar!
    I’m sure you’ll enjoy your ‘geek week’ – I certainly don’t think it’s an anorak-type thing to do; I’m interested in fossils etc myself.
    Hope everything goes swimmingly with Gracie – I’m sure it will – and give her a hug from me. Cas and Oscar send her lots of woofs and return your hugs.
    Speak soon and keep well.

  3. Mrs Heidi Barnett September 16, 2010 at 11:27 pm -  Reply

    Hi Debbie,
    hope you enjoyed your archaeology trip hun, I’m looking forward to beauty day!
    I have just sat with tears in my eyes after reading/watching poor ‘lil Gracie. I am so sad for you and hope all will be well. I had a GSD many years ago with bad hip dysplacia, and I hated to see her in pain.
    I have written on your blogs before as I have a lab and love him dearly (he’s 2 & a 1/2 now). They are such loyal, loving & fun dogs!
    Please keep us informed about Gracie..bless her,she is a lovely looking labby. Lets hope the vets can do something and that she will be fine!!
    Hugs,Heidi in Somerset x

  4. Marg September 17, 2010 at 9:08 pm -  Reply

    Hope little Gracie responds to treatment, I’m so glad they can now treat it.Please keep us informed as it feels like she belongs to all of us,poor little (or not so little) girl. Isnt it at times like this pet insurance seems very reasonable. Did the breeder tell you if the parents had any history of hip displasia? I know dogs with this condition ,which can be inherited,were not allowed to be used for breeding in the past,perhaps things have changed.German Sheperds at that time were the breed worst affected,but all breeds were affected to some degree, its a rotten condition which affects big boned dogs,such a shame,poor Gracie.

  5. deb flint September 20, 2010 at 10:23 pm -  Reply

    Marg, heidi, Susan – thanks as ever for your kind thoughts about little pup pup gracie. She liked the attention she got from my brother Glenn whilst I was down at Stonehenge last week – and he taught her ‘down’! It’s funny now she’s back – seeing her performing something some of the others don’t know! Holly learned ‘down’ a while back but Patch – well, Patch is just Patch and doesn’t catch on very quickly!
    Marg, no both parents had low hip scores – you’re right, they can’t breed if it’s high. So my little one won’t get the chance, which is a shame, but hopefully Daisy will be fine – she looks it at the moment but we’ll have her checked when the time comes in two years or so. Hope you enjoy the archaeology stories and vids and pics going up soon!

  6. deb flint September 20, 2010 at 10:26 pm -  Reply

    Louise – caspar sounds right as rain now! Am sure Gracie will be too.
    I have a link I’d like you to look at hon – it’s from my tutor from my Tuscany writing course, Jessica Hart – she’s got a fab website with lots of tips about writing a novel. Anyone else want to check it out please do! It’s about romance but much of the theory relates to other genres too.
    I’m off to another writing course next week (told you all I was off a fair bit in September!) which I can’t wait for – going to Oxford with a great pal of mine called Litty, from the Tuscany course last year actually! All about getting published by a company called Cornerstones. Should be fab! 🙂 I’m happiest when I’m learning stuff!

  7. Jean September 21, 2010 at 10:01 am -  Reply

    Hi Debbie,
    Sorry to hear about your pup, lovely puppies as well. Hip dyplasis is a very painful thing for dogs. This is why it is essential to have both the parents hips scored before you breed. I have labradors myself and I know the importance. Sometimes this comes from further back in the pedigree. Anyway all the best for the operation, I hope it all goes well and that she makes a full recovery. Regards Jean.

  8. Gayle Metcalfe September 21, 2010 at 11:41 pm -  Reply

    Hope Gracie is ok, was a shock to read that she has problems but glad that it has been caught so early and its fixable. Keep us up to date please as love hearing about all your beautiful labradors. Love Gayle (and Lina and Luisa, my two black lab sisters!) XXX

  9. debbie flint September 25, 2010 at 12:43 am -  Reply

    Thanks gayle – will do.
    Jean – yes it is vital, and ironically I made sure I went to a breeder who could show me very low (ie good) hip scored for my two pups’ parents. Just luck of the DNA draw I suppose.
    One interesting point to note tho, having spoken to the vet about it, and asked if this op is common – vet said no, not as common as it used to be, as it’s being bred out of the breed due to careful hip scoring. Not that it helps my ‘exception to the rule throw back’ Gracie!! She won’t be able to have pups tho, that’s for sure – I dread to think what her hip score would be now!
    Never mind, long as she’s ok – will report back the week after next!”
    thanks for caring, all!

  10. Louise October 1, 2010 at 2:08 pm -  Reply

    Hi Debs
    Same as me; I’m always wanting to learn more and more. I’m just deciding what to study next. I did english and american literature at uni, and I would like to follow on in that vein somehow. A friend of min’s reding lord of the flies for a course – I’ve never read that one. I don’t consider it a classic.
    Have you read nathaniel hawthorne’s the scarlet letter? That;s a brilliant novel, about a young woman who had a child with a priest in the usa.
    What is that link address Debs for Jessica’s website? No harm taking a look.
    About Gracie, you say about watching her diet carefully; perhaps you already know this, but if the dog food you are giving any dog has included in the ingredients ‘meat and animal derivatives’, steer clear of it. It has bones etc in it. Everything I give Oscar and Caspar now is hypoallergenic and contains soya – they’re bouncing. Being boxers, however, they can be prone to joint problems/arthritis, so I’m looking for the best preventative for that. Cod liver oil/glucosamine and chondroitin I think.
    You never know perhaps, in a year’s time, Gracie won’t need the op but, if she does, she will still be young enough to come through it ok. You’ve got to have faith in your vet, haven’t you? They know what they’re talking about.
    Keep us up to speed on how you arre coming along with your course. You need something else to focus on apart from work, don’t you?
    Keep well and speak soon.

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