A family from Parklands, Table View, a west coast suburb of Cape Town, was unexpectantly faced with a difficult decision after Ollie, their adult male Rottweiler and close member of the family was diagnosed with liver disease.
Oliver and Zoe’s father Fabian von den Deutsche Bruke descends from a former world champion show dog. Oliver himself ranked among the top. He loved water and would swim for hours on end, playing fetch with his ball.
“I have had Oliver since he was a 6-week old puppy. He is the half brother of Zoe” said Greg, Ollie’s owner.
As a puppy, Ollie as he was affectionately known, grew up with his sister Zoe, Colby our other Rottweiler and brother Bobby who were both adopted from a shelter. Ollie was always a bold dog and the Alpha male of the pack. After Zoe’s passing in 2017, we adopted Roxy from Rottweiler Rescue as a companion for him. A year later we acquired another female Rottweiler Isabella.
Ollie also had a special bond with Abigail, if she shouted in the house he would run to see if she was ok. Abigail also had a special name for him and called him Big Boy.
The family always tried to incorporate them into their family outings.
“It was very sad for us to let him go. He will always be in our hearts. He was our Big Boy” – said Greg.
Picture: Owner, Greg, his wife Donna and their daughter Abigail with Ollie and Zoe
Liver Disease in Dogs
The liver is one of the most important organs for your dog. It helps with digestion and blood clotting, and it removes toxins from their system. If their liver is not working properly, it can leave your animal companion very sick and in a tremendous amount of pain.
Doctor Debbie Clayton, a resident veterinarian at the Cape of Good Hope SPCA attended to Ollie after he presented with poor appetite and vomiting. She immediately admitted Ollie to the animal hospital on Saturday 24 July for further clinical workup and treatment.
Ollie’s Diagnosis and Treatment
Oliver was slightly underweight at presentation and I decided to admit him to the hospital for further tests and treatment, said Dr Clayton.
He was given treatment for nausea, antibiotics and placed on a drip. His blood tests revealed that he had liver disease and we provided him with further liver support treatment.
Ollie initially responded well to treatment before his condition suddenly deteriorated.
Symptoms and causes of liver disease in dogs
Liver disease is relatively common in dogs and there are many different types and causes of liver disease.
The liver influences most of the body’s chemical processes. It manufactures important proteins, removes toxins, and is involved in metabolism. It is also needed for storage and digestion amongst other very important biochemical processes.
Early symptoms include lethargy, decreased appetite, vomiting and weight loss. Later on, it can cause jaundice and abdominal distention. Sometimes, liver disease can be a result of ageing or genetics, or from bacterial or viral infections, trauma, neoplasia.
Donna has since written to the Cape of Good Hope SPCA saying – “My family and I salute your hard work, diligence, compassion and the humane treatment afforded to Ollie! All our calls were handled without fuss and so much patience.
Sadly our big boy didn’t win the battle but we thank you for the honesty with regard to Ollies’ health. We were invited to say our farewells and we felt welcome albeit the circumstances. The staff member who administered the euthanasia was very professional, showed us so much empathy and also assured us that there was no rush and we should take our time to greet. She explained the entire procedure to us before proceeding.
The hospital area where our pet was kept was hygienically clean and heated. The kennel was pristinely neat and kitted out with a fresh unsoiled blanket and clean feeding bowls!
We have regularly visited private practices with our pets but we have never encountered this type of “royal” treatment.”