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Vet solves mystery of puppy’s rare bone condition

By Kath Smart

Paul Tweedie with his 11 month-old Boerboel Angus, who had a very rare condition which was treated by Paragon Vets (photo Jenny Woolgar)

A Carlisle dog owner is celebrating after a leading local vet solved the mystery of a rare genetic condition affecting his puppy.

Owner Paul Tweedie was shocked to find his pup had developed a mysterious lump on his jaw and was going off his food.

Angus is a boerboel, a breed which originates in South Africa and which is uncommon in the UK.

Angus (photo Jenny Woolgar)

“He has big jowls so I didn’t notice it at first but I put my hand under his chin and realised he had a lump which was really big,” said Paul, who is a car salesman at Stan Palmer Ford at Bolton Low Houses.

Paul immediately took Angus to his vets, Paragon at Dalston.

“They weren’t sure what to make of it and asked me to bring him back the next day and leave him. I think they suspected it was a big cancer,’ said Paul, 53. ‘I was pretty upset – he was only six months and he’s a family pet.”

Paragon started to investigate but initially were stumped.

Small animal vet Graham Lewis said: “He developed this large bony lump on his jaw which felt thickened and swollen. And then he went fairly significantly off his food and became lethargic, like you would see with a fever.

“We X-rayed him and you could see there were changes in the bone.”

Further investigations led the veterinary team to conclude that Angus had a condition called calvarial hyperstotic syndrome.

It is so rare only a few papers have been written on it.

“It is a condition which occurs in the young dogs of the bigger mastiff breeds. Luckily it is something which seems to be self-limiting,” said Graham.

The X-rays were sent to specialists at Kentdale Veterinary Orthopaedics in Crooklands, south Cumbria, who confirmed the diagnosis.

And Angus was given medication to keep his fever under control until the symptoms began to subside.

“As the bone is still growing the swellings seem to disappear,” says Graham.

“He still has a slight lump on his jaw but is now back to normal – big and bouncy and doing very well.

“In all the combined 127 years of experience of the team of seven small animal vets at Paragon, we have never seen the condition before.”

Paul said: “I went down to London to get Angus from the best breeder I could find. I was really upset when he went in, but I have the utmost faith in Paragon and in Graham.”

Angus, who is now 10 months old, is “absolutely fine,” he says.

“He’s just been playing with his frisbee up the field. You look at him and he looks ferocious, but he has a lovely nature.

“Hopefully we will be together for 12 or 14 years.”

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