OK..We had our very first litter of prebred goldens at the beginning of Feb. They went to their new homes at the end of March. Our vet had no concerns with any of the pups (it was a litter of 12) and the parents are both perfectly healthy as well.
I jus received a phone call from one of the puppy buyers - her first vet check was normal with their vet as well - but all of a sudden 2 days ago her puppy got sick. It will not eat and is very lethargic. Her vet thinks it has something wrong with it's liver. She recommended a liver biopsy. The new owner said she is not sure what they are going to do and I told her to let me know what they decided to do. She had called me to see if any of the other pups or the parents had any problems and I told her no.
I told her that if it is something genetic, we could work something out, but I would definitely not do that unless they had proof from their vet that it was genetic. If in fact this puppy has to be put down or dies - what are my responsibilites as a breeder?
Please give me some advice. I feel really bad, but if it isn't something genetic, I dont feel that after almost 6 weeks of them having it, it is my responsibility to do anything.
What is in your puppy-buying contract about health issues? Did you do all the health/genetic testing on the parents? Do you know that they (and their lines) are free from genetic issues? Have you contacted the other 11 puppy buyers to see if they're having the same issue?
You as a breeder need to intervene if they do decide to put this puppy to sleep. If, at all possible the vet says this dog can be saved but the new owners do not want to pay the bills, you should interevene and take this puppy back. You brought this little one into the world, you need to do everything you can to make sure it has a fighting chance.
If it is something genetic, you can offer them their money back, plus SOME of the vet bills they accumulated from this little one. And in return get the puppy back of course. If they still want to keep the puppy, you can offer to pay some of the vet bills. This would all seem fair to me if I purchased this puppy and it was soemthing genetic.
Goldens do have a lot of genetic problems to begin with. (We had 4 when I was growing up at 4 different times and none died of old age, or just a freak accident. Everything was health issues or genetics.)
Good luck, and hope you do everything you can to make this right.
Liver problems are not really common to the golden retriever breed as far as genetics go. Not like canine hip dysplasia, eye problems, etc are. If liver shunts had been diagnosed.. well thats definitely genetic IMHO.
When I hear that the vet has diagnosed liver problems in conjunction with a biopsy, I think more along the lines of how the liver filters out the bad things from our bodies. When dogs get into poison or contaminated food or whatever the liver is the first organ to show signs of this, as all the poisons are stored there. Do you happen to know if the puppy is left out alone for long periods of time, or is allowed to roam free? This can be a recipe for disaster as far as poisonings go.
Even household chemicals, if ingested, can cause liver failure... and if they are feeding Diamond dog food, that brand had a recent recall involving dogs dying from aflatoxin, a toxic fungus found that grows on grains and this time happened to make it into bags that were used. Many dogs died as a result of this.. most from liver failure.
Ask for the veterinarian's phone number and call them up, to ask about the puppy's condition and what his take is on the diagnosis. You can even offer to pay for the biopsy to ensure that it's not genetic (I strongly doubt it is though).
Even though the puppy has beeen in their care for 6 weeks, I should hope that you as it's breeder still feel at least some sort of link and responsibility for the fate of the puppy. After all, it was your breeding program that brought it into the world, and your decision to sell it to the people who bought it.
Ask questions of the owners about what dog foods they are feeding, has it gotten into anythign recently, been out of their sight into the woods or bushes or anything. I'd be extremely nosy, personally about the environment the puppy is being raised in.
***Edited By: Minniyar on 5/4/2006 1:18:53 PM*** Reason: add
I had a cat with liver problems, that my vet said would be dead in a week, so with that I tried a homeopathic remedy, of Milk thistle in drop form I gave it to the cat everyday for 2 weeks, when I took her back the vet was shocked that her liver was normal, she lived another 3 yrs, what I'm getting at here is that Milk Thistle is a natural liver cleanser, it works! I myself would try that before a surgery, if you have the sometime. Just thought I'd let you know!!
In a hurry so excuse any typos sounds like a flu we've had going around down here. It is vague and the best way to tell if this is what youre dealing with is to give it a baby asprin and check in an hour.If puppy is better, it is the virus,I'd be suspicious of a liver problem at this junction. I'd get a second opinion from a different vet. As far as your liability, if it is genetic, of course replace the pup, but otherwise, you are not morally obligated to do more, but it would be good business to offer to help out if you can afford it. got to go get the kids.....
Our contracts state that if the puppy is found by their vet to have any potantial genetic issue, we must be given a copy of the vets report and in addition may, at our expense get a second opinion by a vet of our choice before making any restitutions. We have never had one come back to this point, but.....my opinion is this.....
If the pup, does indeed have a medical issue that is deemd genetic, you need to take the puppy back and give a replacement from a future litter (our contract also states the amount of time we have to replace since whelping and raising takes a certain amount of time, and we do not breed often) If, the owners do not wish to return the puppy and have it treated, then I would either choose to pay for half of the vet bill, or return half of the purchase price.
I would definitely contact the other puppy buyers as well to see if they are having problems.
Correct....the puppy has been out of your care for 6 weeks, correct? If she got into poison, overdose of something that effected the liver etc. That is their responsibility. That is the prupose for the written letter from their vet confirming the cause and the option of the 2nd opinion.
Years ago I bred dogs. And I sold most of the puppies, although I tried to give as many away as I could to friends, family and other dog trainers.
Then I had a horror happen.
I sold a healthy puppy to a man who then called me seven days later. He said "The puppy is sick." I got in my car and drive all night to see the puppy, but when I got their the puppy had been to the vet and died.
"I want a new puppy!" The man demanded.
"Why?" He asked
Because the first one I sold you died, and I am worried.
"Then I want my money back!" He shouted.
Fine - I started to reach for my check book when the man said...
"I guess I should not have used RAID on the fleas?"
Here is what took place - the man left the 8 week old puppy at a doggy day care. The puppy got fleas. The man went to the store, read the back of a Raid can where it said "kills fleas". He then put the puppy in a crate and sprayed the crate with Raid. (I am starting to cry as I tell this story as it breaks my heart).
I no longer breed dogs.
I have such deep respect for dog breeders because you put your hearts on the line to make other people happy, although you endure such sadness each time you say goodbye to a puppy. You let go of hugs so that other people can welcome hugs. This to me is magic.
But you also put yourself at great risk when you do not have clear contacts that all of your puppy people should know. The hard truth is, you have no clue what some people are doing with their puppies. Little pups do not have powerful bodies, they need to be treated with care. But the truth is that they are taken to obedience classes to young, where they are often tramatized by older aggressive dogs. They are left at puppy day care, taken to public parks... the list is long.
My advice on this subject - get the OK to speak with the vet yourself. If you can, go and see the puppy. Ask if your vet can have a look. Lord knows that some vets have real problems knowing what they are doing. And I agree with the other lady 100%, if you can get the puppy back please do so - do not let them put it down until you are sure that nothing can be done.
Goodluck with this....
Please keep us posted.
Lord, I have been on this website for less than four hours and I have already read news about two sick puppies!
I don't think the man wanted to be cruel, but he was stupid and that is worse! I can't fully remember what I said. I know there was shouting! And crying soon thereafter. I had my breeding bitches 'fixed' about three weeks after that. I was heartbroken. And I felt so bad that I had sold the pup to him in the first place. It was like I was a real bad mom.