Heartbroken Lancashire couple forced to put beloved dog Archie to sleep due to ill health from unscrupulous breeding

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A Lancashire couple have been left heartbroken after being forced to put their beloved dog to sleep after witnessing the heartbreaking results of unscrupulous breeding.

Louise, 33, from Preston and her partner found Archie – a Springer x Cocker crossbreed puppy, online. When they first brought him home, he was a typical energetic and happy Spaniel, always running and playing with their other dog Rowan. But then Louise started to notice Archie was occasionally limping on one leg, and over time Archie started to slow down, before one day suddenly he was unable to put weight on his back leg.

She said: “We took Archie straight to the vets and they diagnosed him with a luxating patella which occurs when a dog's kneecap slides out of the groove in the thighbone.

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“They said it could be fixed with a simple surgery and so we of course said we would go ahead, but they did X-rays as part of the surgery and we got a phone call saying Archie had hip dysplasia on both his hips. The vet said it was a severe case.

Archie - a Springer x Cocker crossbreed puppy had to be put down due to breeding complicationsArchie - a Springer x Cocker crossbreed puppy had to be put down due to breeding complications
Archie - a Springer x Cocker crossbreed puppy had to be put down due to breeding complications

“Our Archie was just over 12 months old at this point, my heart just sunk. Everything was going through my head and I just kept thinking he is far too young to be having hip problems.

“The vet recommended two options, a bilateral total hip replacement or euthanasia. We decided to see how he got on having just had surgery and take it day by day as he wasn’t showing any signs of hip pain so far.”

Louise then noticed Archie’s behaviour changing and he was more reactive and isolated. Because of this, Archie was referred to a specialist that saw curves in Archie’s femur and recommended a major surgery to try and straighten it.

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She added: “We agreed to the surgery in the hopes it might help his hips as well. It ended up being Archie’s third surgery within just 12 months, after each one he had to be on crate rest and never allowed off the lead – essentially not being a dog.

Louise pictured with her partner and the two dogsLouise pictured with her partner and the two dogs
Louise pictured with her partner and the two dogs

“Archie was so unbelievably clever and energetic that we decided it would not be fair to put him through any further surgeries. We decided we would do anything and everything we could to help him non-surgically. We tried hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, laser therapy – everything and things were going quite well.”

Louise and her partner continued to work on building up Archie’s muscle mass, but his behaviour continued to change with him and his once close pal Rowan growing further apart.

Louise said: “It put a strain on the entire household really because we were so stressed about how Archie was feeling, while also chasing up the insurance and trying to take time off work to take him to the different therapy appointments, everything was just beyond stressful.”

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Archie’s behaviour to Rowan became increasingly aggressive so Louise returned to the vets for an X-ray where she was referred to referred to a specialist orthopaedic surgeon who said Archie’s hips were one of the worst cases he had seen. There were only two options for Archie, a total hip replacement surgery or being put down.

Archie and RowanArchie and Rowan
Archie and Rowan

She added: “My partner and I were just heartbroken but we had agreed before no more surgery. It wasn’t fair on Archie or Rowan. We took Archie home and tried to make his last week as special as possible, bringing the family over to see him, taking him to his favourite places and he seemed almost happier. Our Archie was just an absolute angel, almost like he knew that all the pain was about to stop.

"Luckily we were insured from day one but obviously insurance doesn’t cover everything, even on the highest level. It put a massive strain on myself and partner’s relationship due to the stress. The worry of having a sick puppy it’s just always on your mind.”

When Louise told Archie’s breeder about his diagnosis, they replied with a simple message along the lines of ‘oh no we had been considering doing health tests at some point’. But the breeder then stopped replying.

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Issuing a warning to others, she added: “We wanted the breeder to be concerned and inform the owners of the rest of the litter so they could get their pups checked out, as catching it early the more you can do. Looking back sadly I think the breeder was just looking to cut some corners and breeding just to make some extra money.”

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After Archie passed away, Louise and her partner felt a gap in their lives and decided to get another dog, Maple, a Labrador Retriever.

“We found her via The Kennel Club and after everything we had been through with Archie we were really quizzing the breeder. We wanted hip and elbow scores, to see the mum and dad, we drove up to visit them about three or four times. The breeder was really lovely and was also keeping one of the pups from the litter too. We still send the breeder updates every now and again so have stayed in contact.

“We learned a lot from Archie. It was all so sad but we are just glad that he came to us and we were able to give him the best chance in life and tried absolutely everything for him.”

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Worryingly, Louise is not alone, as new research from The Kennel Club released this week as part of the organisation’s Be Puppywise campaign found more than half of puppy buyers in the North West experienced complications when getting their dog, from not getting health records or their pet having unexpected health or behavioural issues, and more than one in two faced unexpectedly high financial costs.

For more information on the ‘Be Puppywise’ campaign and puppy buying advice click HERE.

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