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

  1. #11
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    On weight of evidence but without knowing who the breeder is, I'd suspect she will simply pts. She may be right to take that approach -- if this is SM, a puppy this young showing these symptoms would likely be severely affected. But the sudden interest in replacement only came when financial support was asked for. That to me, says volumes.

    If the pup has severe SM, the only real medium to long term option for the puppy for anything but short term palliative care would probably be surgery, which is expensive.

    Given the choice, the better option may be to take a replacement puppy -- however if her dogs are closely related and she has scanned none of them, a replacement especially a sibling would be likely, a high risk.

    All of these are very difficult decisions to take and a burden for anyone. Jo if you want, PM me the info on the breeder and if I know who they are or the kind of breeding set-up they have, it may be easier to say to work with the breeder.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

  2. #12
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    Wow, this is a hard one. If it were me, I would push for a refund and keep the pup. However, if your breeder says she would give you a replacement pup and not a refund, then I would take one! You'll probably end up getting another Cavalier down the road anyway- they're addicting!

    As for sheltering children, I believe they have to learn about death too. Dealing with the death of a pet is very difficult for children and adults, but it helps them learn to deal with losses that they will face throughout their life. Good luck in your decision.

    For what it's worth, my first Cavalier (Casey) developed a murmur prior to her 1st birthday. I demanded a refund, and received one. But there was no way I could give her back. Casey's littermate had patella problems. Instead of a refund, she took another pup and was thrilled.
    Trisha in Southwest Florida
    Cavaliers: Casey, Ollie, & Winston and usually a foster or two! Cats: Pebbles & Benson

  3. #13
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    The breeder did offer full refund if we dont want a replacement pup, did I neglect to mention that?
    She also said she wants to do what is "RIGHT" for the dog and my daughter. I lay in bed awake last night wondering if it were unethical to keep the dog alive if I knew she had a serious disease. But she is certainly a happy pup and enjoying life at the moment. No sign of neurological disease. Boy she can run like the wind chasing balls and leaves.
    My gut right now is to keep Ruby Mae and give her the best life we can no matter how long she has. Not that we can afford to give her a high end life; but we can fill her with love. (she almost slept in our bed instead of her crate last night due to this way of thinking but good sense prevailed since we are trying to train her).

    Karlin her curve is not in her neck area, it is lower. Any good sign there?

    Thanks for all the replies. I was hoping to hear from people who have dogs with SM and if it is to bring a life of heartache.

  4. #14
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    I think I would go back to an orthopedist and have the x-rays taken. They should be able to tell if it is a clear-cut case of the diagnosis you mentioned on your other thread. Sorry, can't remember what it was called. In my mind I interpreted it as something to do with extra bones or cartilage or something like that, which seemed to make sense since the way you described it was just one side of her ribcage, not necessarily a curved spine (even though you called it that). Please correct me if I'm wrong. If that diagnosis is given by a competent orthopedic surgeon, not a vet, then I would discuss with him/her the prognosis and treatment before making any decisions about returning Ruby Mae. It may be something that surgery will be able to correct allowing her to live a good quality life once it is corrected. I would also determine if it is a fluke of nature or a hereditary condition, for that would influcence your decision whether to take another pup from the same litter. Whichever way you decide to go, this is a wonderful teaching moment for your child. Karen might be able to give you some pointers about talking with your daughter about Ruby Mae since it seems like she has had some deep conversations about similar isues with her niece. Good luck to you. We are all here to offer support whatever your decision is.
    Bev
    Oliver (blenheim, born 3/2001), Riley (black & tan, born 8/2002,), Madison (ruby, born 9/2003), and Oz (tri-color, born 7/2007)

  5. #15
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    In he July 2005 article, "Neurological diseases of the Cavalier King Charles spaniel", Dr. Rushbridge confirms that younger dogs are most likely to have scolosis due to CM/SM, and in that article, she includes a photo of a 16 month old female Cavalier with a twisted neck.

    However, she also wrote in that article that:

    "Clinical signs of syringomyelia and occipital hypoplasia are usually recognised between five months and three years of age. However, dogs of any age may be presented, and dogs with more severe disease tend to be presented before two years of age."

    And in her accompanying chart, she states that the "Age when signs start" is greater than 5 months.

    So, this problem in a 12 week old puppy may well be due to another cause, such as a birth defect.

  6. #16
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    You posted your last message while I was writing my last one - so this is an addendum in response to your last question. We got Riley at 11 months oldd and she already displayed neurologic symptoms, but I didn't know about SM. I thought it was due to a very difficult birth. She was finally diagnosed with SM at age 5 and had decompression surgery shortly after diagnosis. She has been the most wonderful dog, before and after surgery. She is living a good quality life. She runs and plays and seems happy. She is the same sweet loving dog she was before surgery - her personality did not change. Having SM is not necessarily dooming a dog to a life of pain - you just have to find the right medications for her. EVen after surgery, SM dogs are still on medication. While the initial diagnosis of SM is devastating and heartbreaking for the owner, you come to a point in which you realize that you just need to love your dog and enjoy their lives right now. Since I don't know if Riley's SM will cause her to die earlier than otherwise - I decided to stop obsessing about it and just get on with loving her like I do my other dogs. I do admit that I treat her and think about her a little differently - I think it's hard not to. But she is a happy dog, she seems pain free right now and she is happy to be a part of her "pack".
    Bev
    Oliver (blenheim, born 3/2001), Riley (black & tan, born 8/2002,), Madison (ruby, born 9/2003), and Oz (tri-color, born 7/2007)

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by RodRussell View Post
    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.
    I am inexperienced in dealing with breeders. If the breeder took Ruby Mae back, what would she do with her, or what would other breeders do with a sick puppy that has been returned?
    Tania and The Three Cavaliers!
    Dotty!- A Sweet Little Tri
    Molly - Pretty Tri Dougall - Gorgeous Blenheim

  8. #18
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    So, this problem in a 12 week old puppy may well be due to another cause, such as a birth defect.
    I would tend to agree with Rod on this one.
    It might be a malformation in the shape of the vertebrae and have absolutely nothing to do with CM/SM.It may not even require veterinary intervention.
    Until your vet has the x rays back and you can view them and have a qualified opinion then we can't reach any conclusions.
    Again there's no guarantee your breeder will PTS....but in a worse case scenario you have to consider the fact that you may have to do this yourself eventually.As unpalatable as we all feel it is, ocasionally PTS is the most humane option.
    However, it's best not to think that far ahead.
    Just get the results first,it may not be as bad as you fear.
    Then learn as much about the condition as you can.
    Decide if it can be managed while maintaining a good quality of life for the pup.
    Finally if it is a serious condition,you need to seriously consider the impact of a special needs dog on your family.The breeder has offered to relieve you of the responsibility,and replace the pup or give a refund.
    There is nothing morally or ethically wrong in giving back the pup.
    Good luck with the test results and let us know what shows up.
    Sins

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tania View Post
    ...If the breeder took Ruby Mae back, what would she do with her, or what would other breeders do with a sick puppy that has been returned?
    We could speculate about that all day. It could range from immediately putting the puppy down, if the breeder's vet was willing to do so, to having an MRI and x-rays and, once finding out the problem, paying for surgery and recovery and keeping the dog for the rest of its natural life.

  10. #20
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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.

    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?
    I'd have to side with Rod on this. We are talking about an 11 WEEK old pup. The bones etc... are still EXTREMELY soft and growing at such a rate that curvature of the spine caused by SM/CM would be odd. 6 months YES, 1 year yes... One of my dogs had scoliosis at 9 months, it didn't get any better. I'd really like to see what my girls MRI looks like, but to spend close to 3000.00 when she isn't getting any surgery for mild symptoms is too much.

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