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Cootz

Labs 4 Me

12 posts in this topic

Labs,

Sounds like you been around the block a time or two with buying and owning dogs, especially labs. Here's my question, I bought a lab pup from someone, and I won't name who, that's currently 18 months old. Up until the end of the summer I thought that the pup just walked, ran and swam funny because of his age. In the last two months I've come to realize that he's favoring one leg. Kind of like when He runs he swings his back leg stiff legged around. It's not really noticable until he's run a lot. I took him up to fix some deer stands the third weenend of Oct. and let him chase the 4-wheeler and after an hour or so of on and off running he'd have a heck of a time just standing. Ended up having him ride in the 4-wheeler basket most of the day. I know I wasn't really over running him because my 8 year old was just fine. Some heavy breathing but fine. I don't know what's wrong with my young dog other then he's having issues with what I'm guessing is his hips. Day to day he's ok. And short term he's fine. I don't know if this is the begining of hip dysplasia or not. I bought him from who I believe is a reputable dog breeder and he is guarenteed for two years for hips. It states that I have to have the dog x-rayed. I'm wondering about the guarentee. I'm wondering if you have to fight with breeders a lot to get a new dog if you believe you have purchased one that has problems or if they generally are good people to deal with? I don't want my money back, I just want a healthy dog.

I do care about this pup and want to see him find a loving home and not put to sleep because of his problems. Other then the hips, he's a great dog. He's just not right for my lifestyle.

Since I've never delt with this before I want to see what you have to say before I contact the breeder.

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Cootz,

Did you get a written or an oral contract? Written ones are much easier to understand what is covered and what will take place in regards to the warranty. Oral ones are open to interpretation...

As you posted, Before contacting the breeder, I'd start off with a trip to a vet who can give you an accurrate reading of your hip films in regards to the OFA standards. I'd suggest Dr. Fran Smith of the Smith Veterinary Clinic in Burnsville. She's been on the board of OFA and knows more about labs than almost anyone else you are likely to meet. If it's not a hip problem, she should be able to diagnose whatever malody has stricken your dog on that visit. Could be other afflictions of varying joints and tissues within the leg... Could be a stress fracture, or some non-inherited disorder... There would be no reason to send the radiographs into the OFA unless it's written in the contract that it is their word and their word only that states if the hips (or elbows) are degenerative. The problem with guarantees of 24 months and of films sent into the OFA prior to those 24 months, they are viewed upon as preliinary readings. You cannot got your OFA rating prior to 24 months. It's usually a waste to do it before 12 months... so in essence you are doing 2 hip scans in a one year time frame in order to enact the warranty if needed. Most people do not even consider having films taken of their dogs joints until after the minimum 24 months have elapsed... thus absolving the breeder from a warranty claim.

Once you have a diagnosis, and if it's confirmed by the vet that it is an inherited disorder or another malody that he has had since birth, you should move forward with contacting the breeder. Start to keep some records right now to share with the breeder as to when you began noticing the problem, visits to the vet (along with records), a written transcript by the vet as to the diagnosis and maybe even the films if they'd like their vet to review them. At this point, again depending on the guarantee, most breeders ask to have the dog and papers returned to them before a 'like puppy' is provided. Most times the dog is put don by the breeder. The reason for this is the breeder does not want to place a dog with a known physical abnormality in a home... it will usually have a shortened life to begin with and they usually can run up some expensive vet bills as they age. Also if it is dysplasia, I've known dogs that have become very aggressive to the point of biting as the pain in the joint increases with the advancement of the disease. You can request of the breeder to find a home for your dog or maybe even request that you yourself will find a home for him, but don't be surprise if they decline the request. You have to remind yourself that you are looking for a solid working dog and go from there. Some people cannot and will not turn their dog in, but in the end if he is showing clinical signs as an 18 month old dog, the next 5-6 years will not be a pleasant experience for either you or the dog. For the above scenario, I offer on my guarantee as a 3rd option, a 50% reduction in cost on a future puppy whenever you are ready for a pup and you also decide what will happen to the dog. You may keep him and run him for 5 years, or give him to a relative to be a couch dog or what ever you wish... many breeders won't do this as they want it cut and dry (and I feel many think the buyer will never turn in their dog, so the guarantee is a mute point then). I also offer the traditional free pup upon turning the dog in and also 100% refund of purchase price upon turning the dog in.

At this point you will now know what kind of breeder you are dealing with. A good breeder will make it right, a bad breeder will find a way to wiggle around the guarantee.

I hope all turns out for the better. I hope that the dog has some minor 'hitch-in-his giddy-up' and all will turn out well, but if it is the reverse outcome, make a plan in your head what you want to see happen and see if you can work to that goal.

Let us know how all turns out...

Good Luck!

Ken

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I am a brittany breeder and I agree with everything LABS has said. Most quarantees should be 30 to 36 months. I quarantee anything genetic. Most good breeders will replace the pup with little fuss. If it was from my kennel and you wanted to keep your current pup or find it a new home yourself, I would require proof of spading on nuetering before I would replace the pup.

A good breeder will want to work with you to make things right.

Good luck, Ike

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Here’s a perfect scenario of what I’d like to see happen. The breeder agrees to give me a new pup when ever they have another litter and I find a home for Ruger. I’m trying to decide in my head if it is fair to put a wonderful puppy down just because I have to have a working dog as a dog. I optimistically think I could find a home for him to be a couch potato. Might be just a fantasy too. And I think I’d have to be the one to put this pup down if it came to that so I don’t think I could let the breeder do it. I need to know this pup had respect and love up to the end. It’s hard thinking about it right now, but that’s what has to happen on my end.

As far as me, I'm just a shmoe who loves to hunt ducks and who takes a hack at training my dog/dogs. I'm a hunter, not a field trial person. So I only spent $400 on my last dog. I'll spend what is necessary to keep my dogs healthy but I'm not willing to put a bunch of money into this pup for a new hip or whatever. I only have an emotional bond with him not a working loyalty bond yet like I have with my "old man". He's at least retrieved his share of birds. So I sit at home thinking that, "ok, I've got $400 into him, why spend another $300 proving he's not healthy to save $100?" I will bring him to a vet to get an opinion of what's ailing him just to rule out the simple things. But in the end, unless it's something simple, I'm just not going to pay to "fix" him so he's 100%. And there’s where my moral dilemma sits. I don’t have kids but I now understand why all parents just want healthy children!

My first dog I bought for $100 from a real good friend of mines uncle who bread his female and he turned out “perfect". Was hoping the second one was going to be that easy.

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I understand your logic Cootz, and I feel for you. A lot of times guarnatees just don't add up, especially if they aren't having another litter for a while. It's hard to justify spending a couple hundred bucks for diagnosising something that at best you get $400 back. But in the end you want and need a working dog.

I'd offer this to the breeder... A return of the papers to the breeder, and have the new owners have him nuetered and send proof to the breeder of that taking place and then you get a free pup. Then you are only out the cost of the initial vet visit to confirm what ails him.

I hope in the end that it all works out for you and Ruger.

Good Luck!

Ken

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Most of the breeders I deal with it will not only come down to replacing the dog but a choice of a new puppy or refund of the purchase price. If he is a reputable breeder as stated than the 24 month guarantee will extend past the 24 month period to do the hips.

If he has litters on a frequent basis then just take a new puppy. If that is not the case and you have to wait 12 months for the next one then ask for your money to be returned.

GOOD LUCK!!!

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Labs, I'm not a breeder and I can't tolerate a dog that humps everything and chases every female. So I fixed both my dogs as soon as the vet said it was ok.

I appreciate the advise. Maybe I'll give you a call when I'm in the market for a new pup.

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Thought I better wade in here as I am sure this is one of our pups. We have had 8 litters or about 75 pups with a mother/daughter combination. Both OFA'd as EXCELLENT and were bred to males with GOOD ratings. This is our first occurrance of this problem. I understand that hip dysplasia can show up even in this careful of a breeding but think odds are in our favor. As Lab's stated, there are many other afflictions that could appear to be dysplasia. Here is the pasted section of our written guarantee regarding hips.

Your puppy is guaranteed against hip dysplasia for 2 years 6 months. Your puppy’s hips can be X-rayed and evaluated at 24 months. If by chance at this time your puppy would be dysplastic, we will replace your puppy with one of equal value (purchase price) or the purchase price may be applied to a puppy of greater value. You MUST notify us if your puppy is dysplastic. The X-rays must be taken by a qualified veterinarian and sent to the Orthopedic Foundation of American (OFA). The prognosis from the OFA, along with the X-rays must be sent to us with a letter from your veterinarian on his/her letterhead that the dog has been destroyed and the AKC papers must be assigned back to us. Any decision to vary from this agreement is entirely up to the litter owner and must be done in writing before you take any action. All expenses in replacing the puppy will be assumed by the purchaser. We will reserve the right to a second opinion.

I think thats pretty clear what needs to be done. I would certainly accept Fran Smith's opinion regarding radiological evidence in place of an official OFA preliminary result. Putting down of the dog would not have to be the final decision especially as he has already been neutered. Plenty of wiggle room to come up with alternatives. That may come accross as harsh but how do I know the pup didn't get run over by a 4 wheeler. Your everyday vet doesn't have much experience in evaluating hips.

If the pup in question does have dysplasia, just replacing it may not be an option. His mother is retired from breeding. Our next female is still in training and will run events this spring. Who's to say she won't excell and her pups are $1000 a crack or more.

This is in no way a bashing session of Cootz. He has an issue with his dog that needs to be cleared up. We have been in contact and need to see what the results are before we move on. I wanted to give a breeders perspective on this and hopefully get some good discussion going. I unfortunately won't be able to participate much with SoDak planned for tommorrow through the weekend and then back to work on the road. Look forward to reading everyones thoughts on this and will respond back when time permits.

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I have a 3 1/2 year old lab from one of Bryce's litters. I have nothing but good things to say about the breed they produce. I dont do field trials or anything like that but have a very good hunter and friend. I would definatly get another pup from him.

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Update for those of you who have bought pups from us in the past or see one in your future. Cootz sent us a copy of Ruger's x-rays. Anyone familiar with vets and x-rays knows that this is a rare occurrance. I took them to Dr. Fran Smith (just as Labs reccommended) at our cost. They were reviewed by her and other than the fact that they were not taken to OFA standards (knees not shown), she was confident that no dysplasia was evident and the dog would recieve a fair rating. We again reccommended that Cootz get his dog evaluated to determine the source of his problem. OFA official evaluation is one source but we pretty much know what that will tell us. Dr. Smith would be the best resource to check all possibilities. These reccommendations were sent out over 2 months ago and we have not heard anything back. The last time I talked to him, he felt that $140 into the evaluation process was too much and I sensed that he would go no further. I can see only one problem with our hobby breeding. We are evaluating our placement process for any future litters.

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Bryce,

I am also a hobby breeder & I understand a lot of your thoughts & feelings. I was just wondering how you evaluate people purchasing pups. I have only had a few problems in the past 10 yrs, most are from purchasers thinking dogs train themselves. Then at 1 or 2 yrs old they think it is a dog deffect.

my e-mail address is kentucky_ike@yahoo.com

Thanks, Ben

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Bryce, if you are interested in looking at a copy of the guarantee we use I would be more than happy to forward or fax it to you.

Let me know, if nothing else you can compare what other breeders are using.

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