Vet's heartbreaking discovery after dog spotted limping

Brooke Rolfe
·News Reporter
·4-min read

Rescue dog Storm has spent the first year of her life suffering horrible pain due to what her rescuers believe is the result of backyard breeding.

After having an X-ray, the bull arab’s vet said the abnormalities evident in her right femur were the worst he had ever seen, according to The Dogfather Rescue Inc founder Paul Horwath.

“He was fascinated by the case because he’s never seen anything like it,” Mr Horwath, who is based in northern NSW, told Yahoo News Australia.

The devastating trauma experienced by the otherwise “beautiful” dog, could have been avoided if backyard breeding was outlawed, according to Mr Horwath.

Photo shows X-ray of dog's abnormal femur.
Storm was born with several severe abnormalities in her right femur (pictured). Source: Supplied

“It’s just another reason why backyard breeding should be illegal and the government should be stepping in, fining them and stopping it,” he said.

“If people want, they can go through everything to get their licence to be a registered breeder. At least if there’s rules and guidelines there’s more chance of this not happening again.”

The rescue group re-homed Storm after the initial household which adopted her from the pound changed their mind, but soon after she arrived into her new adoptive family, they noticed something was wrong.

“Storm went to a nice person in the Byron Bay area who noticed she was limping. So we got her to the vet and did a consultation and discovered that she has this horrible problem,” Mr Horwath said.

“Basically her femur is all deformed and growing wrong. The vet said it looked like the result of backyard breeding, but couldn’t rule out an early trauma.”

Health problems most likely result of ‘poor breeding’

Dr Leigh Davidson from Your Vet Online said it was probable that Storm’s condition was the result of poor breeding.

“One can argue that the dog’s poor hip conformation and leg abnormalities are due to bad breeding as these issues are heritable in nature,” she told Yahoo News Australia.

Photo shows rescue dog Storm relaxing on a blanket.
Storm will next week begin the six-week journey to a painless life. Source: Supplied

“If the breeder had performed standard hip score testing and monitored the progeny for issues with the patella ligaments then we may not see these issues as often.

“Sadly the cases of poor conformation that we see in dogs are usually due to poor breeding,” she said, adding it was impossible to guarantee this wouldn’t happen even if the dog returned a clear test.

Up to three procedures will be executed on Storm’s hind leg next week in a major operation set to cost at least $5000 - a huge price for the rescue foundation.

The foundation has set up a fundraising account for the public to contribute to the surgery and has already raised $3000.

But Mr Horwath warned other animals could suffer if they don’t raise the remaining funds.

At least 10 other dogs or cats would miss out on being rescued if the remaining $2000 isn’t raised, given the time and cost of Storm’s care, Mr Horwath said.

Is backyard breeding really the problem?

Julie Nelson, managing director at Master Dog Breeders and Associates, argued that developmental abnormalities were possible in dogs regardless of who breeds them.

“Even though I agree that backyard breeding creates problems, any breeding can create problems,” Ms Nelson told Yahoo News Australia.

Photo shows rescue dog Storm standing on the beach.
Storm has had a rocky start to life but finally things are looking up. Source: Supplied

“It’s just difficult to slot them into a category because it’s a living animal. Some will be no good, irregardless of how much the breeder tries to lower the risk factor.”

Ms Nelson said backyard breeding had earned a bad reputation as a result of “ignorant” people, who breed puppies with no further consideration than putting two dogs together.

“You might have two beautiful dogs in your backyard but without testing them and without being sure that they’re healthy, all kinds of things can show up in your puppies,” she said.

Even still, Ms Nelson said some things won’t show up in a test, regardless of whether a puppy is bred in a backyard or not.

Without responsible breeding, she said “everybody suffers” - both the new owner of the puppy and its breeder.

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