Hard Decision - Rottweiler surgeries

by Lisa

My rottie, Delilah is 20 months old. She's had a rough start. To date, she's had 3 surgeries on her left back leg. Started out with a fractured hock and it just did not get better. Now we are past that hurdle.

Her gait is not right because of the plate and screws. Now because she compensates with her right leg, she has torn her knee out on the other leg. They want to do another surgery. So we now have two bad back legs. Each surgery runs about $3500. We have 3 and now she needs another one and she's not even two yet. My concern is for her future. She is constantly in pain, but they assure me that this will get better once the knee if fixed. She does not run and play like other dogs get to. She tries, don't get me wrong, but she has to always be put on restriction to immobilize. They also told me that she will have hip problems and arthritis at an earlier age because of this.

I love Ms. Delilah with all my heart. She is my baby girl. I would have to save money for this surgery so it could be awhile before she gets to have it, but in the end, am I doing what's fair to her? There are people who think logically but I can't help but be selfish and want her around for a long time. But am I being fair to her?

So I put this out to others who have love for rotties, what would you do?

Hi Lisa
I'm sorry to hear about all the problems Delilah is having, that is a lot to deal with - for both of you.

These are major surgeries so there will be a fair amount of pain involved and of course a recovery period where she's going to have to be restricted in terms of movement. But once her recovery is complete she should be mobile and pain free.

Rottweilers are prone to hip problems and arthritis and other joint issues, and it's possible that Delilah will be more likely to develop these or develop them earlier than normal. But she may not. Even if she does there are numerous natural supplements and products, as well as mainstream medications that will help.

Rottie pups are big and clumsy and they are as energetic as any pup, but as they mature they are not a particularly high-energy breed. Although Delilah will obviously need to walk and play like any other dog, I doubt that she'll feel hampered by her surgeries.

Dogs obviously don't think the way we do and she deals only with the present, and accepts whatever IS. As soon as her pain is gone she will forget about it, and she won't worry about her future. She'll just be happy in the NOW.

The worry and stress is yours, and I can only imagine how difficult it is to see her go through these surgeries and to worry about her long-term health. But, you obviously love her very much and I'm certain that she loves you equally. She has a happy, loving home and that is something many, many dogs are lucky enough to share.

As long as she is happy and healthy in general, then I personally feel that she deserves the best possible chance at life - which is what you are giving her. It probably seems endless right now with one surgery after another, but she's only just growing out of puppyhood and has many years ahead of her that she will be able to enjoy. She simply wants to be loved and to love in return.

However, I would also recommend discussing your concerns with your veterinarian, in terms of medical information he/she is the one who will be able to help the most.

My daughter adopted two dogs (both rescues) about 5 years ago. About 18 months later the younger one developed a very rare type of tongue cancer and had to undergo extensive surgery, chemo/radiotherapy and countless follow up tests and procedures. It cost many, many thousands of dollars. The long-term prognosis was very uncertain as it's an extremely rare cancer.

At the time (before treatment started) we all wondered whether she should go ahead with it all, it was going to be painful, there would be quite a bit of rehab, and it could all be for nothing in the end. There were many different opinions both for and against. Even all the vets and specialists we spoke to had different opinions. In the end my daughter decided that Candy deserved the chance to fight and went ahead.

2 years down the road Candy is happy, active and loves life. She has only a small piece of tongue left and had to learn to eat/drink all over again... but she did it and the 'smile' on her face is no less bright because there is no tongue to hang out of her mouth. She excels at agility and being a dog she just gets on with life and doesn't worry about what is behind her. As for what's in front of her.. who knows, the cancer could come back but with an 'all-clear' at her 2 year X-rays, it's looking better all the time.

I'm sharing this just to let you know that there can be happy endings, no matter how bleak it seems at the time. Of course your situation is not identical to ours, but I do know how it feels to have to make this type of decision.

Perhaps other visitors reading this who have had similar experiences would like to share them and give you any support and advice they can. I hope so.

I wish you and Delilah the very best of luck with whatever you decide to do and hope that this has helped in some way.

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Dec 04, 2011
by: Captain Bligh

I would do anything for my dogs. Even second mortgage the house. That's how much I care for them. I think of the medical decisions first and how that will come out for each dgo and then figure out how to get the money. I know people who spend that on their cats too. Love is love.

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