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Thread: Puppy with curve in spine; breeder wants her back

  1. #1
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    Default Puppy with curve in spine; breeder wants her back

    I am new here. I posted on the other health site a couple of days ago that our new puppy, 12 weeks old today, has a curve in her spine.

    The vet is optimistic, hoping it is orthopedic. We will have Xrays this week.
    When I called the breeder 2 days ago she was non-committal. However we emailed yesterday asking for partial financial reimbursement to pay for tests and treatment. She emailed back and said she would like us to bring Ruby Mae back. She will give us a littermate or a refund. She is sad and wants to know what is wrong with the pup so she doesn't breed the line if she shouldn't. She feels that we should avoid future heartbreak now by giving her back. She told us to think of what's best for our daughter (age 9) and the dog.
    We are already very much in love with Ruby Mae and don't want to give her back. Obviously we need to wait until work-up but suppose it is the worst? I don't believe, nor do I want my daughter to think, that pets are disposable. Am I being naive about the pain involved?

    Thanks for opinions.

    Jo with Ruby Mae

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    Hi Jo,
    I'm sorry to hear about your pup's health issues.
    When you go back to your vet you need to ask if the condition is stable or likely to worsen.Hopefully your vet can suggest if it's a malformation in the bones of the spinal column or caused by an underlying problem...and can indicate if the condition will be problematic or minor.
    Your breeder sounds very supportive and is being extremely decent about this.
    As a mother of young children I would have to put my feelings aside if I were in the same situation.I would give the breeder a copy of the reports and return the pup.
    I know few will agree with me,but I would tell my child that the breeder accidentally gave the wrong pup and that she needs her special puppy back but that she has another lovely puppy instead.
    Personally I would take the littermate...

    Sins

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    Whatever you do do not take the puppy back, the breeder will have her
    put to sleep.
    Tania and The Three Cavaliers!
    Dotty!- A Sweet Little Tri
    Molly - Pretty Tri Dougall - Gorgeous Blenheim

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    That would be my fear too I'm afraid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by momtobug View Post
    ...We are already very much in love with Ruby Mae and don't want to give her back. Obviously we need to wait until work-up but suppose it is the worst? I don't believe, nor do I want my daughter to think, that pets are disposable. Am I being naive about the pain involved?
    I'm not sure what "the worst" is here. Since you posted this under the "SM and MVD" section, I assume you suspect it might be CM/SM. I would be surprised that it is CM/SM, because of the age of the puppy and the necessary progressiveness of the disorder. Scoliosis can be one of SM's symptoms, but my understanding is that it is relatively rare and usually develops very late in the progression.

    I suggest that you accept the breeder's offer to replace Ruby Mae with a littermate. The breeder seems to be saying the right things, and whether she proceeds with surgery or does not, should be a decsion the breeder should be making, considering her age. Of course, if there is a written contract between you and the breeder, it would govern this issue, if health is included in it.

    Had the breeder discovered this problem before selling Ruby Mae to you, she would not have been offered to you. I gather the timing for all of this has been no more than a week or two, considering Ruby Mae's current age.

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    Rod, actually it is the reverse -- scoliosis usually is an SM symptom in young affected pups, actually, and often corrects itself by age 1 or so.

    Without knowing who she is (please don't post her name or any links though), I'd have suspicions about the breeder myself if the only offer was to have you bring the puppy back and ony made after you went back and asked for financial support. She is decent to offer to replace the puppy (better than many would do!) but I'd assume she will put to sleep, not spend anything finding out what the problem is; especially if she is not a well-regarded breed club show breeder who has shown a commitment to taking back and keeping dogs. I would be suspicious she simply does not want the dog publicly known as having this problem not least as she was so unsupportive the first time around. Any caring, responsible breeder would immediately have wanted to know more, been in touch, and started to talk about options for you and for her. Coincidence that this offer comes as you may be facing expenses and asked for help?

    Whether you choose to return her for a replacement pup is a separate and difficult decision . It might indeed be a better choice but that is a decision only you can take as there are so many variables to consider. I am not sure there would be less heartache in giving her up though -- a lot would depend on what happens next, depending on where she goes. I think I'd rather get a diagnosis and then make that decision. I just think it extremely unlikely the breeder will do anything but pts and am always suspicious about sudden changes of heart that also offer an easy and cheaper way out of a problem.

    I would still say that a vet -- who is not a specialist and unlikely ever to have seen SM or its symptoms -- probably is not the most informed opinion on possible problems here, with all due respect to vets. I do know many neurologists would assume a high chance of SM in a cavalier puppy with scoliosis and thus again -- I do think even an orthopedist view needs to be accepted with caution and a second opinion got from a neurologist unless the cause is patently obvious and could not possibly be due to syinxes causing the puppy to twist. I know an awful lot of SM dogs put through unnecessary surgeries by orthopedists convinced the problem was orthopedic when it was neurological.

    What does your homing contract with the breeder state, incidentally?
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

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    It is SO tough when there are children involved and my heart goes out ot you.
    I dont have children of my own but I am very very close to my neice who is 9 and nephew of 2.
    Children do bounce back quickly from problems but at the same time she will be learning alot about life by you sticking with Ruby Mae.
    Kirsty has learnt alot about dogs and illness by me talking to her very frankly about Rubys problems and she knows how to touch her and where not to and she also understands alot about her condition (SM) she coped so well when her own Rabbit died and although nothing can prepare someone for the death of a loved pet she spoke openly about it rather than becoming withdrawn and was very grown up about it all.
    If I knew that at 12 weeks old Ruby was going to have these problems and had the offer to give her back I certainly wouldnt.
    The breeder will most likely have her PTS but it is impotant that she knows everything she can about Ruby Maes issue for the future of her own.

    I wish you well with whatever you chose and make a desision based on what is best for Ruby Mae and your family at the time and try not to think about too many "What If" scenarios x

    Karen

    Ruby - my stunning soul mate who defies the odds every day
    Charlie- my angel at heart and devil at play


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    I have read no factual basis thus far for concluding that the breeder will put Ruby Mae down. I think the best of breeders would make the same offer as this one has. I know that my dogs' breeders would make that offer, and I also know, for a fact, that they would not put the puppy down unless it was a last resort.
    Last edited by RodRussell; 15th November 2009 at 06:59 PM. Reason: correct typo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Karlin View Post
    Rod, actually it is the reverse -- scoliosis usually is an SM symptom in young affected pups, actually, and often corrects itself by age 1 or so.
    I defer to you, Karlin.

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    This is from Clare Rusbridge's older information sheet on SM (it has been replaced by a more medical sheet aimed at vets):

    What clinical signs can the vet look for if I choose not to have an MRI?

    Typically clinical signs are only seen when there is syringomyelia. The damage to the spinal cord and the interruption of CSF flow results in pain and abnormal sensations of which the most common signs are crying and shoulder scratching, especially when excited or walking on a lead. The scratching is usually to one side but may become both. There is not evidence of skin or ear infections. Unlike scratching for skin disease the dogs often walk and scratch at the same time and make little contact with the skin.

    Affected dogs are also sensitive around the head, neck and forelimbs. They often cry/yelp/scream for apparently no reason (some of these dogs may have unfair reputations for being a baby). Pain may be related to head posture and some dogs prefer to sleep or eat with their heads up. Excitement, barking, coughing, suddenly rising or exertion can increase the fluid pressure in the syrinxes and precipitate the scratching and/ or crying. Some severely affected young dogs develop a neck scoliosis i.e. their neck is twisted. Other affected dogs may develop a wobbling hind limb gait (pelvic limb ataxia) and/or a forelimb weakness (thoracic limb weakness). Signs are usually recognized between 6 months and 3 years however dogs of any age may be presented. Mildly affected dogs may only have occasional signs of pain.
    This is still available on the Canadian club site:

    http://cavaliercanada.com/content/view/61/199/
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

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