8th November 2012 to 6th September 2023

Frazer’s Pedigree

Updated December 2023 and contains information on new treatments tried.

Puppy Frazer – about 5 months old

After the heartbreak of losing our two boys from this ghastly disease back in 2009 and 2012, there were definite reservations of ever having a Westie again.

We spent a year dogless and found it hard. So hard to know what to do.

The lure and love for this little white dog was taunting us terribly.

Surely no-one can be so unlucky to have three Westies to have this disease? Life cannot be that cruel.

We had always loved Norfolk Terriers as well as Westies, and a spur of the moment decision was made, and along came our boy Norris, a Black & Tan Norfolk pup. A totally different character who took away some of the heartbreak and emptiness we were feeling. He was, and still is, a godsend.

Feelings for a Westie were still there, so we gave in and thought, ok, let’s find a good reputable breeder who has a history of longevity in their dogs previously bred. We approached Marie Purchon who ran the Lindenka kennels in Yorkshire, a small kennel who bred some stunning dogs. She promised us her next boy born.

This never happened as the next litter only had one boy and she retained him for herself for showing. He was Lindenka Chesterman. We were not disappointed though as a beautiful boy dog she had been successfully showing, called Lindenka Frazer, was available for us to take on if we so desired. We were led to believe that Frazer didn’t enjoy the show scene and would be better suited to a loving pet home (he was a clever boy even at 14 months old!).

Frazer after a chalk bath ready for his first show

Frazer had a good pedigree and his grandad lived until he was 16. We were thrilled & privileged to be entrusted to have him. He had just been awarded the top West Highland White Terrier Puppy of 2013 (Pro Plan/Dog World Pup of the Year Final 2013 (youtube.com) Frazer is seen at 4 minutes 30 and 23 minutes). Our lives had become better once again for having this beautiful boy in our lives. We were so proud of him.

Frazer having qualified for pup of the year 2013

Frazer & Norris became the very best of friends right from the start. A real bond was created. Frazer was quite shy and needed the more confident little Norfolk to make him shine even more.

Frazer with his best friend and brother Norris

Frazer was obedient, loyal, clever and very loving. He truly appreciated everything he had been given by his move to live with us. He really loved his walks, had lovely meals, had sumptuous soft large beds around the house…not a dog crate in site. He had really fallen on his feet.

After a house move to a house with a huge garden and plot of land, life got even better for Frazer. He had room to roam and seeing him run and chase squirrels with his wingman Norris was a joy to see.

Having more room generally, we decided to have a little girl Norfolk terrier and we took on Isla who was nearly 5 when she joined us. So Frazer, Norris and Isla were all within 6 months of one another, age wise. Our little team was perfect; they all got on so well. Frazer doted on Isla, and she him.

Isla had previously had a couple of litters during her show career and so had many mothering instincts still in her. She used to mother Frazer, lick him, clean him and was always with him wherever he slept.

On squirrel watch with the Norfolk’s
Our little family

The years went by, our little team getting older, and few ailments. Life was great. We had every thought that they would all grow old gracefully together.

As we were aware of Westie Lung Disease, we always got the vet to listen carefully to his lungs whilst having their annual check up and boosters. At the end of January 2023, Frazers’ lungs were described as “clear” by the vet at Northwich Vets. Two months later, devastation hit.

Frazer had a sickness bug, but it seemed just normal frothy morning sick that Westies sometimes get. But it went on for a few days. This was, we think, the trigger for what was about to come. During his treatment, we heard the faintest of crackling from his mouth when Frazer exhaled. A dull sick feeling came over us…NO NO NO, PLEASE NOT AGAIN! This is what we heard….

We were stunned to hear the crackling only two months after being told by the vet that his lungs sounded clear. Did the vet actually know what to listen for?

We took Frazer to the vets and saw a locum who just wanted to get to the bottom of his sickness bouts. After a blood test showed up nothing, we were sent away with the usual anti sickness tablets. On flagging up the lung crackling, Northwich Vets’ locum showed absolutely no concern for the condition we’d notified her of. Again, did the vet at Northwich Vets know what to listen for?

Frazer’s sickness eventually started to subside as if his own body had sorted itself out. However, we were still left with what we could hear as a crackling sound in his breathing. We then had to be quite firm with the vet and saw Patrick Murphy, the practice owner of Northwich Vets. After being in his company, it was quite evident that vet’s knowledge and treatment over here in the UK hadn’t really moved on in the 12 years since we lost Austin.

The vet was on board with prescribing the Flixotide inhaler as we still had the AeroDawg Inhaler apparatus from years ago. The vet refused to give us a definite diagnosis even though it was pretty much apparent what this was the start of. Vets 10 years ago knew what it was straight away – are vets nowadays frightened of mis-diagnosing or are their diagnosis skills worse? The vet wanted to perform cardiographs, lung washes, x-rays etc. all of which were very invasive.

We started Frazer on the Flixotide and Serrapeptase with the backing of the vet. We had heard so much about laser therapy, through being friends with the late PJ Kessler, who started off using K-laser therapy on her Westie, Tyler, some years ago with good results. So we wanted to give that a try. Here is a link to a paper detailing what treatment Tyler had and information behind the theory https://westiefoundation.org/files/galleries/k-laser-ipf-treatment-westies.pdf . Well worth a read. Further reading brought the following supporting information to our notice about how laser therapy works. The information can be found at https://northernlasertherapy.com/how-it-works.

On mentioning Laser Therapy to our vet, Patrick Murphy, we were literally laughed at, with him basically saying that it didn’t work. Then in the next breath he said that they had a laser which we could try (this smacked of double standards; on the one hand he said it didn’t work, but on the other there was an opportunity to make money come what may!). He was completely the wrong vet to have and it was a fight just to get any new treatments going. Wanting to try anything we could, we tried the laser at Northwich Vets but to be honest we thought Frazer’s symptoms worsened.

On doing our own research, we realised that the laser at our vets was woefully underpowered for lung work. It was an ASA Laser. Our vets probably knew this but still took our money. Scandalous. We felt that we had wasted 2-3 weeks doing this, just lining the vets’ pockets.

Our research found that the only laser that would work to penetrate skin, muscle and reach the lungs was the K-Laser Class 4 Cube laser. We contacted the K-Laser UK distributor and found a vets in Wilmslow, Cheshire (The Vets’ Place) who had the appropriate laser. We discussed this with our vet, who was probably disgruntled that someone dared challenge what they had wasn’t up to the job, but you have to do what you feel is right.

As we have found out, Vets in the UK have very little experience with or knowledge of laser therapy for Westie Lung Disease. We joined the Westie Lung Disease – IPF in USA (Treatments, Symptoms, Studies etc., a highly respected Facebook group supported by many American Vets and people keen on spreading the findings being made in the USA. It is well worth joining this group. We were given very useful, tried and trusted advice from all the research files on their site. We discussed the laser protocols and gave them to The Vets’ Place to go along with. If you are new to WLD, please register with this Facebook site – it will help you immensely. Over in America, they seem to pay more attention to this disease than here in the UK. We contacted the Medical Director, David Bradley who devised the K-Laser protocols. His response was as follows:

“I understand your confusion and am happy to help. These can be tough cases and not all patients respond as we would like. However, we have been doing quite a number of cases of IPF with the laser. In most patients, the laser has improved clinical signs, reduced the amount of other drugs needed, seems to slow progression, and may even reverse some of the changes. The University of Minnesota started using it with very good results. Dr. Harrington and I are on a “Westie Face Book” page as consultants for people looking for information regarding treating their Westies with this disease. We get inquiries quite frequently from all over the world. The feedback has been very positive.I have attached the protocol we are currently recommending. We are the ones that wrote the original protocols and I know the VBS group very well. The current protocol could be correct depending on what power (watts) they are using. And, as stated in the protocol, if results are not observed after 2-3 treatments, they should start increasing the dose 25% per treatment until improvement is noted. Your current veterinarian is welcome to contact me directly if needed.If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me anytime. Any feedback is always appreciated as we continue to monitor response in these patients. Good luck!


David S Bradley, DVM, FASLMS

Veterinary Medical Director”

Our vet gave the okay for us to go to the vets in Wilmslow for the laser treatment and we started Frazer on two visits a week for about 30 minutes per session. The transformation was there to see. His energy levels improved and he seemed a lot brighter. All we did was sit him on a mat and the nurse moved the laser pen on his front and sides (thorax). We continued to give him the Flixotide inhaler twice a day.

We now had hope that we were on the right track and could slow down the progression of this disease. In hindsight, all we were doing was basically keeping things at bay and making Frazer have a normal, good quality life. He was running around as normal, eating well, but there were the odd times he panted a little more. The crackling in his breath was still there but no worse, as far as we could tell.

Whilst chatting with Nurse Lizzie at The Vets’ Place, where they took a lot of interest in Frazer, she found out about the University of Edinburgh (Royal Dick) were conducting a 2 year trial of an existing human drug looking into halting the progression of this disease, taking the place of steroids. It was Professor Brendan Corcoran whom we’d come across some ten years previously. We contacted him and his team and discovered that the trial was still available to join.

In order to get the ball rolling, we had to do it through our vet. However, when raising the prospect of joining the trial, Patrick Murphy, our vet, put his head in his hands claiming (somewhat disrespectfully) that he thought we would be getting some random drug off the web. His attitude towards a serious trial & respected Professor was appalling. Once we got him to speak with Prof. Corcoran, we think he realised that we were not stupid pet owners and were serious about seeking treatment. Clearly our vet thought he was superior to a Professor of Veterinary Science – says it all really.

For Frazer to join the trial, he had to have a lung x-ray just to confirm what we already knew. This was confirmed and so were then on-board with the trial. The tablets were to be funded by us and initially were about £5 per tablet. The tablet was Mycophenolate, initially in a lower dose, especially manufactured for a dog. Mycophenolate is an existing human drug that is used to stop rejection when having an organ transplant.

The lower dose is done to start with to see whether the dog would have any reaction. There was a free choice whether you continued with Laser/inhaler for this trial. Not wanting to stop anything that seemed to be already working, we kept Frazer on both the laser and the inhaled steroids. The Mycophenolate didn’t cause Frazer any side effects that we could visibly see. Once he had nearly finished the lower dose period, we ordered the larger and more appropriately priced ones to carry on with.

All this time, Frazer was his normal self, enjoying life. We stopped him running up the stairs at home as he did seem to get out of breath badly doing that, and that was a clear sign to us that his lung capacity was deteriorating.

A young Frazer running free at home
In the woods

We went to our vets for a check up at the end of August 2023 and he said that his lungs sounded great, and that the comment of “whatever you’re doing, keep doing it” was a joy to behold. We left with so much hope that things were working, but before we could start Frazer on the new dose of Mycophenolate, our world suddenly fell apart.

On Tuesday 5 September 2023, we thought it would be a “normal” a day, only it proved to be Frazers’ last of near normality. We did the normal things & he went out for his usual two short walks.

In the previous few weeks, the weather here in the UK had been very hot (25-30 degrees Celsius), but even more so, very humid (70-80% humidity). The air quality wasn’t very good either. In the previous few months we’d invested in air conditioning units, an air purifier for the bedroom plus a humidity measurement tool. These were all to try and minimise the impact of hot air and poor air quality.

That morning, our cars were covers in dust/sand, just as the entire county seemed to be. It turned out to be Saharan dust that had been in the air for the last few days. Frazer didn’t want his evening meal on the 5 September and he seemed a little uncomfortable in himself. He sounded a lot more crackly and started to pant a lot more.

Frazer had lost ½ kg over the last two weeks without trying. Something wasn’t right.

During the night of 5-6 September, he just couldn’t settle at all. He found it difficult to lie down to sleep. It was awful to see this. He had suddenly gone from a bright, alert, smiley boy to a struggling old man. It was a bad night.

On the morning of 6 September 2023 after his breathing remained desperate, we took him to the vet. This seemed a pointless exercise now, looking back. The vet, their senior vet Patrick Murphy at Northwich Vets was floundering around and hadn’t got a clue what to do. Despite his dreadful condition, it was suggested Frazer went to see a Cardiologist, i.e. the vet was selling more pointless tests. We genuinely felt that if he could have ended Frazer’s life there and then, to relieve himself of not having to help his breathing, he would have done.

We felt utterly helpless, on our own with our beautiful boy who was desperate for help, struggling to breathe before our very eyes. The was no offer of oxygen to ease his symptoms. We pushed the vet to think of something else, us even suggesting Corvental, which helped our previous two Westies, as it can open up the airways. Frazers’ lungs sounded very “mushy” as if they were just disintegrating and giving up.

The vet gave him an injection and we were told to up the inhaler breaths and to “see how it goes”.

As the next few hours progressed, it was so distressing to see. Frazer just couldn’t lie down and he was getting more and more tired. There was no change or improvement from any meds at all. The weather was sticky, humid and hot. We had air conditioning units on and fans blowing to keep the artificially cooled air moving for him.

Frazer was a boy who always wanted to please and be involved, and even now, in his hour of need, and what ended up being his final hours, he heartbreakingly wagged his tail wanting to be with Norris & Isla. He even wanted to go into the garden with them but in jumping down the step into the garden, he was so tired and exhausted that his front legs went from under him – he hardly had any energy.

Having seen Austin & Harry with this condition, it was as if Frazers’ body was starting to close off. His mind was all there and that’s what made it all the more distressing. He started to go a bit dazed – his eyes looked grey and tired. He was slipping away in front of our very eyes.

Throughout the day, we just knew that if nature didn’t step in suddenly to stop what was to come with horrendous struggles to breathe, we would have to do the only thing of kindness for him. Frazer did not deserve this to happen to him. He had never ever, in his time with us, been naughty or be any trouble. He was just the most perfect boy, and loyal to us. Norris and Isla were heartbreakingly about to lose their very best friend and big brother.

With very heavy hearts and a dull sick feeling, we had to call the vet. There was nothing else we could do. Seeing our boy fading away was tearing us apart. The hour in which we had to wait for the vet to come to the house was and will always be the worst time of our lives.

We had all three dogs together in the lounge. Norris and Isla were their usual selves, and Frazer, bless him, tried desperately to roll over to have his tummy tickled. But he suddenly got back up as it stopped him getting any air. He was visibly gaping for air.

When the vet arrived with an assistant, we felt it best for Norris and Isla to be in another room. Although Frazer was clearly struggling, the defence & fight mechanism kicks in especially now that two people had entered the room. Frazers’ face looking up at us and the vet will haunt us forever, for what we were about to do.

We knew deep down that Frazer would have shut down, struggling to breathe and would not have survived the night. But anyone who has had to go through this will know that so many “what ifs” and “maybes” always go through your mind. Having little or no help with this disease, all owners of these loving Westies will know how hard this is.

Although the word “euthanasia” means good death, no death is good. It is the end of life however it is put.

Frazer slipped away with him staring into our eyes, but not before a little struggle as the drip line was inserted into his tiny vein. Although he was at home, in his own surroundings which he loved, his final moments were of him thinking “what’s going on Mum…Dad?” We were desperate to help him, but completely powerless.

We are all utterly heartbroken over the loss of Frazer. From the first hearing of crackles in his breath to him leaving us was just six months. Six months! On all but his last day, he seemed perfectly fine and he had a lovely quality of life. This is the only thing that we feel thankful for…but it simply wasn’t enough. At nearly eleven years old, our beautiful boy was taken from us too soon.

We do hope, and thinking back, that the inhaled steroid, Serrapeptase and laser therapy did play a big part in keeping him well and holding off the symptoms.  Frazer’s lungs were like a dam waiting to burst. They were fighting away doing their best until the final “crack” put paid to everything. The impact of the bad air quality in the final week, we are sure took its’ tragic toll.

The introduction of Mycophenolate was inconclusive. We just cannot say if that helped or not, as he wasn’t on them long enough. It’s a trial in its’ infancy and one day when the results from Edinburgh (Royal Dick) University are published, it may one day help.

The treatments out there only serve to try to slow down the progression. There are no guarantees. As we have always said, this disease will always win in the end.

More needs to be done to stop the breeding lines that this disease is coming from. Breeders need to take more responsibility for what they are creating and not just chase the rosette for their own status & vanity. Frazer was one of four in his litter. His siblings were Lindenka Taylor, Lindenka Tucker (both of whom we believe became pets) whilst Lindenka Travis moved to America and was widely & successfully shown and sired several litters. We have made enquiries as to their health but have been met with a wall of silence. If anyone knows who their respective health is faring or indeed any of their litters, we would be most interested to hear about them.

Frazer now rests in peace and no longer carries the weight of this disease on his shoulders.

He is buried in our little “memorial garden” at home alongside Austin & Harry.

Sleep tight…

Frazer, we will always love you. It has been an honour and privilege to have had you in our lives. We are better people for knowing you.

You were and always will be…

The Perfect Loyal Friend…