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Posted by: pet lover | 2004/01/06

putting dog to sleep?<br>putting dog to sleep

I know this is difficult and in the end our dicision, but this is my problem. We have a beautiful 2.5 year old Boerboel. She is big and heavy, and at age 1 we found out with xrays that she has extremely bad hip displasia. At about 2 she started getting epileptic fits. She gets about one attack a month, wich is not too bad. She is on medication, but it doesn't show any change yet.
About three months ago, she tore the ligaments on her hind knee during a fit. My vet says she can fix this, but the operation would cost about R2000, which is more than I can afford, knowing that she will continue fitting and having bad hips as well.
Now the problem, do I let her continue her days as is, or do we take that horrible decision to put her to sleep and move on. Apart from the fits and the knee, she is a lovely dog, patient with my small children, a good watch dog and a pleasant animal. My other dog, a 5 year old boxer misses a friend to play rough with and run around with, but I'm afraid that the boerboel would not tolerate another puppy in the yard. She doesn't even tolerate the cats!
Some input appreciated!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberVet

This is always a difficult decision, and there is seldom an absolutely right or absolutely wrong answer. It is very often a decision that needs to be made based on the balance of all the factors involved, and a good measure of gut feel. Your veterinarian should be able to help you more, knowing exactly how bad the hips really are. In general though, hip dysplasia per se can vary from mild to severe, and in the severe case, euthanasia very often needs to be administered quite early in life. Add a bad knee to bad hips, and the problem is certainly compounded significantly. If the epilepsy is not currently controlled, the dose of medication must be adjusted until it is controlled. Epilepsy can be controlled in the greatest majority of patients. Once again, add hip dysplasia, ruptured knee ligaments, epilepsy and financial constraints and the overall picture is not good. I cannot make the decision for you, however the knee will need attention urgently to avoid excessive damage. The decision therefore needs to be made fairly urgently as to what to do. The best is, discussed this with your vet again, as she knows the overall condition best.

Good luck!

Dr Malan van Zyl
Veterinary Specialist Physician
Cape Town

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: pet lover | 2004/01/08

Thank you Dr van Zyl, you confirmed what we thought. I did have a long talk with my vet just before I posted my first letter. She agrees with everyting, but obviously she can't tell me to just put the dog down. She said she will support us as far as possible.
I wish my dog could talk and give me her input! How bad is her pain? As I said before, some days she is in obvious pain, not doing anything and just lying down. Other days she plays like a puppy, chasing kids around the pool, chasing the boxer around and having such fun. It are those days that make me hesitant.

Reply to pet lover
Posted by: Wakka | 2004/01/08

We had it fixed about two weeks after she tore her ligaments. As far as I know there is isn't an immediate rush, so you can wait a few weeks to make your decision.

One thing that you need to take into account, though is that the dog is now waliking on 3 legs, putting strain on those legs. You don't want any of the other ligaments tearing.

Also.. the recovery period is long. You need to play nurse to the dog for a few months until the leg heals from the operation.

Reply to Wakka
Posted by: pet lover | 2004/01/07

Your answers highlights the way we feel. We owe it to her to keep her healthy and painfree, but at the same time, I owe it to my human children to look after their needs first. Their school fees are incredibly high etc. To Wakka, how long after your dog's injury did you have the operation done? Is she fully recovered and can she run around without hassle?
If it was just the ligament, I probably would not have hesitated, but the epilepsy is a huge problem. It is not nice to see this huge big dog completely helpless fitting. My other dog gets stressed beyond belief and I feel I need to shield this aspect of her to my kids.
I must say, my boxer is about half her size, but he loves her so dearly. She bullies him endlessly, but on the days when she has no energy to play, he will gently come and play around her. Including her in his play, but being so gentle.

I cry all the time about this. Input from the vet would be highly appreciated.

Reply to pet lover
Posted by: wakka | 2004/01/07

My boerboel was also daignosed with a hip problem when she was 1 year old. We were told that she would be on hip medication for the rest of her life. We loved the dog when we got her and putting her down because of the extra cost was out of the question. She was like a child (my wife and I are having problems having children).

Since then she has had other problems and we had it fixed. However, I am able to get the money to pay for the medical fees. I do not know how I would have reacted if I did not have the money.

Recently she also tore her ligaments. We were qouted R2000 and I payed it without hesitation. She has now fully recovered.

Although she is costing us money, the treatments that she receives are 100% effective and she is 100% healthy. We are very glad that we can do that for her, and in turn she gives her love back to us.

Reply to wakka
Posted by: S. | 2004/01/07

All the responses to the question of whether to put this boerbul to sleep seem to be a justification so that you can feel better. If your child had something wrong with it and had to have an operation you would not hesitate to find the money, but because it is "just" a dog its life is worth forfeiting. When you commit to getting a pet, you agree to take care of it always, not just when it is well. To me, animals need to be cared for and not discarded because they don't fit the ideal of a 100% healthy animal. Respect its life as equal to your own.

Reply to S.
Posted by: Shelley | 2004/01/07

Dear Pet lover
I recently had to put down my prized pet-a cat I rescued as a kitten. She developed kidney problems & although an operation would have saved her life it also cost way to much & I had to put her down. She was suffering too much-also having epaleptic fits, messing herself because she could not control her bowels ect. It is kinder to put your "baby" cown than to let them suffer until they die. I was allowed to sit with my cat & stroke her when the vet gave her the injection-maybe (If you feel you are strong enough to do this) you can ask your vet if you can do the same. I cried bitterly for a whole week after, but she knew she was loved & I got to say goodbye to her & she felt safe when she died because I was there next to her. I recently got a new kitten-healthy in everyway & I must say it helps.

Reply to Shelley
Posted by: Jacqui | 2004/01/07

Dear pet lover,

I am very sorry to hear about your sad situation. As the owner of a big beautiful boerboel myself I can really feel for you. You know what the right decision is in your heart - she cannot carry on suffering and it would probably be the kindest thing to let her go now - before she has to face each day with extreme pain (assuming shes not there right now). I know its a heart renching decision and that no other dog can replace her. Love her enough to do the right thing and be there with her when (if) she does let go so that she knows she is loved.

Reply to Jacqui
Posted by: sammy | 2004/01/07

sounds to me like it would be putting good money into a bad situation..Dogs are great, but now days, the money for monthly medicines and dewormers and food are hard to come by, sounds like your dog is always need some sort of treatment, and if I had to make the dessision, I would start over. If she is not tolerating the cat, maybe her pain would make her less tolerable of your kids...sorry lousy decision you have to make, start over with a nice healthy pup

Reply to sammy

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