8 months old rottweiler female – Babesia and weak hind legs.

by Himanshu Mehta

Should we breed a bitch who has suffered Babesia Gibsoni infection at 7 months of age?

Also feel that her hind legs could be a little weak. Her normal posture of sitting is with one of her hind legs splayed out. Seems to dislike sitting straight on her hump/hind quarters. Can’t lift her front legs up off the ground and sit on her haunches in a ‘salute’ position. Our labrador used to do it all the time even though he was obese.

Also, how much daily exercise should we give her? Seems to detest going for walks. We take her out for a brisk evening walk that is a kilometer long.

Hi Himanshu
Babesia infection isn’t something I’ve ever personally come across, but I know it’s a tick-born illness that causes a severe anemia and other symptoms.

Even if a dog has been successfully treated for this disease, as far as I understand they remain ‘infected’ but just not showing ‘active’ symptoms. A dog who has had this infection should NOT be bred.

As for her hind legs, the things you describe don’t necessarily mean she has a problem in that area. Rotties are big, heavy dogs and I wouldn’t encourage her to try to sit and ‘salute’ as it won’t be comfortable for her and could do damage.

The way she sits is fairly common, and again doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a problem.

Issues with her hips would most likely be noticed as discomfort, difficulty, pain or stiffness when she gets up from a sitting or lying position. A ‘bunny-hopping’ or ‘skipping’ kind of run, sometimes a ‘clicking’ noise when she walks and others.

If you have a concern about her hips I would advise you to have your vet take a look at her. However, at such a young age it’s very difficult to make any sort of definitive diagnosis unless the problem is severe. She’s growing and will seem a bit clumsy or out of proportion for a while, and her joints etc. won’t be fully mature for some time to come.

A daily walk of the length you describe is okay, but no running or jogging on hard surfaces, and no jumping from any sort of height (ie out of a truck or down steps).

You can visit my Ask A Vet A Question page to get an opinion from a professional online veterinarian. It can help to have a second opinion sometimes.

I wish you the best of luck with your pup, hope it all turns out well.

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