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Thank you Ironstone for this fantastic picture and forum post!


A Merry Christmas to you and your hounds and a Happy New Year 2012.

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Firstly let me say a great ‘thank you’ to everybody who has been able to support me in this event. And of course for the donations which will be passed to the organising Rotary Club, who hope to ‘match fund’ the amount, and so pass more than £1000 to Diabetes UK.

I have taken part in a few marathons now, generally off road as it seems a little easier on the knees and feet. As I wanted to raise money in memory of Dave Blackford, I thought it would be a good idea to find a run down in Devon, and found this event which was mostly on country lanes. As it was south of the A38 and it had ‘Vale’ in the title I didn’t look too closely at the course, but the other clue was also in the title: ‘Dartmoor’, and so the route had a couple of nice mile and a half uphill sections that made for a testing time.

We stayed with Jeanie the night before the race, and then drove down to Newton Abbott. There were also half marathon and ten kilometre races taking place, so about 1000 runners overall. The race was two 13 mile circuits, and Vanessa and the dogs were there to cheer me on at the half way point where I was still going strong. The steep climb took it’s toll, however, on the second lap!

The plan was for Jeanie and Arthur (Glenmorlich Catch the Wind for Hartvalley) to join me for the last few miles, and it was a great relief to see them as I was flagging at the end of the second lap. It certainly gave me a lift, and raised a great cheer from the crowds as we crossed the finishing line, more for Arthur than for me I’m sure!

Some of you kindly made pledges, at various Champ and Limited shows, and if you haven’t sent your money yet then it would be appreciated if you could send it soon, in order that I can send the money off to the organisers. If anyone else feels inspired to send anything, it would of course be gratefully received. Cheques should be made payable to ‘DVRC Marathon’, and please let me know if you are a UK tax payer.

Once again, many thanks!

Cliff Dargonne

10 Heighton Road, Newhaven, BN9 0RB


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Evidence Based Practice :

Your opportunity to share your expertise : how do you evaluate clinical outcomes from cruciate surgery in the dog?

Whether you are a dog owner with years of experience or a novice, I want to hear your views through today’s enclosed questionnaire.

I believe there is considerable expertise in dog owning people, and the purpose of this survey is to draw that expertise together and find out what the dog owners as a whole think about the question of lameness, and of outcome evaluation from a common orthopaedic procedure in the dog.

I believe that everyone’s opinion is important, so please note that your opinions are valued, and please fill in and post your copy of the questionnaire to me so that I can produce an analysis of the profession’s view of these questions.

Please click here to download the questionnaire (Word Document).

Please click here to download the questionnaire (PDF Document).

Why is this important?  

We have been doing cruciate surgery since 1952 and even before that, but 1952 marked the pivotal success of Saki Paatsama in Helsinki with his tunnel and graft technique that he argued through his critics to gain his MSc.  Since then, variations and changes in thinking have taken place in the veterinary profession, and a commonly held view is that ‘no one surgical technique has been shown to be better than any other’.  In many debates, the arguments tend to develop around the current prowess and prominence of the surgeon advocating his or her preferred technique, but sadly the arguments are rarely based on an evidence base, but rather on the propounding of theory which some may support and some may not.

The question of how we evaluate lameness first needs to be studied because without a definition of how lameness is evaluated we have no baseline with which to study one case and then compare it to another.

Lameness is a part of an evaluation of the clinical outcome of a cruciate surgery, but there are different facets of lameness which could include the ability to sit down for example, the ability to get up, as well as the ability to walk, run, jump through hoops or run 10 kilometres without showing any difficulty or lameness.  Clinicians have opinions and so do clients who own the dogs, so which parts of the clinical evaluation and which person or persons have the most consistent view and ability to assess the outcome?

The purpose of this survey to which I hope you will contribute by completing the enclosed questionnaire is to find out what relative importance dog owners attach to the various ways of evaluating lameness and clinical outcome so that there is a possibility of designing a questionnaire that can be used by the whole community, which is built on a collection of data from a wide audience, followed by analysis of what is currently practiced, and should be included for practice and research.

This has been done in the medical profession where there are various accepted methods of evaluating clinical outcomes such as the International Knee Development Committee (IKDC).  I would like to point out that even if the surgeon is confident of his or her clinical outcome, if the patient is still limping in pain, the patient may have a different but valid viewpoint, so dog owners who are nursing the veterinary surgeons’ cases have some very important observations that I would like to see represented in the returns of the questionnaires.

Ultimately, if we can develop a method of asking clients and clinicians the most relevant and useful questions about lameness and clinical outcomes, we should be able to deliver a better service by responding to this, and also we should have acquired the ability to better our clinical and surgical approaches to our patients through the obtaining of better and more focussed feedback.

Dr Paul R. Manning, MRCVS.,
Astonlee Veterinary Hospital,
Tickford Street,
Newport Pagnell,
MK16 9BA
United Kingdom

Email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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You will have no doubt have heard the sad news of the far too early loss of Dave.

Vanessa and I met Dave and Jeanie some years ago, through the Deerhound Club, and they became close friends. Dave was so keen on his country sports, and I'm sure that he found it odd that I would want to go off running and climbing, but at least we shared a love of the open countryside. So with that in mind I shall be making a trip to Devon, where I have entered this marathon race to raise some money for Diabetes UK, in his memory. I have run a few marathon races in the past, but hope to run this one, at least in part, with one of Dave's beloved Hartvalley Deerhounds!

The race is organised by the local Rotary Club, who aim to match fund any money raised, as well as claim any tax back: therefore every £10 pledged will raise over £20 for Diabetes UK!!

I know times are hard, and there are a lot of claims on our spare cash, but if you would like to support, and remember Dave, please send cheques payable to DVRC Marathon, and let me know if you are a UK taxpayer. Or see me at the 'Southern' Limited Show. Many thanks!

Cliff Dargonne, 10 Heighton Road, Newhaven, BN9 0RB

01273 517314, 07802716830

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The Scottish Deerhound Club of America (SDCA) have just finished revising their excellent booklet "The Scottish Deerhound - An overview of its care and requirements" by Miranda Levin. If you would like a printed booklet please see below for US ordering and for international orders please contact Lisa Dempsey directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For the web version of the booklet please click here.

SDCA Booklet


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