Last year, in June, we got Scott, a sweet Old German Shepherd, aged four months at the time. Scott was a dog with a good pedigree from a good breeder – which was important to us, since we wanted a dog who would be with us for a long time. The first months went by without problem, and Scott grew to be a strong young man. In September, he started limping a bit on his right front leg, so we took him to the vet. He got some drops and the lameness was gone a couple of days later.
Scott did well in obedience training and became a good friend to us and our four children. He played and was especially fond of tennis balls. We thought he was fine.
Around Christmas, he started limping again on his right front leg and even making complaining sounds, so we brought him back to the vet, who also noted that Scott was walking strangely with his hind legs. To be on the safe side, we had x-rays made of his hind and forelegs (Scott was then 11 months old). Then the vet came back with the results: He told us matter-of-factly that it would be best to put him down, since he had very severe arthritis in both his hind and forelegs, which meant nothing could be done. Waiting a while longer would only mean that we would get more attached to him (Scott was like a child to us).
We left to process the news, and our children were very affected too. How could anything be wrong with him? He could still walk and run really fast! What now?
One thing was certain: we were not ready to put Scott down. He still played a lot and was cheerful and sweet. We went to an orthopaedic veterinary surgeon for a second opinion. His advice was not to operate on Scott, since he did not have a good leg to stand on. There were also the costs to consider.
Searching on the Internet, we came upon Dr Aharon. On her website, we read testimonies from people who had come to her with similar problems. We were relieved after our first appointment with her. She examined Scott and felt that his front left leg was sensitive and he still had growing pains, but on his right side, she felt a lot of muscle mass, which could provide him strong support.
She advised us to switch to another kind of food, specifically for dogs with growth problems. She also gave us some exercises for his muscles, telling us that Scott could very well recuperate. She agreed that an operation was not really an option for a dog with so many joint problems. We had to make sure he didn’t play with tennis balls anymore, but simply that he walked a lot, 20 to 30 minutes a couple of times a day. The vet still prescribed Rimadyl tablets to relieve Scott’s pain. But since he didn’t limp anymore, we reduced the dose from two tablets to one.
After a number of weeks we noticed that Scott was walking better. His fur looked better too. It seems that Dr Aharon gave us some very good advice. Now, half a year later, Scott is still doing great. He runs, plays and swims, and looking at him you would never know he suffered from any problem at all. We know that this may change as he gets older. But it is still great to have our sweet dog with us and to see him pain-free, and without having to undergo expensive operations.
Dr Aharon still checks on Scott, but because he’s walking so well, she doesn’t need to do much. We hope it stays that way. Our advice is to consult Dr Aharon first, before you decide on an operation for your dog, and before you put him down.