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(35 Posts)
GoalieMum Tue 08-Mar-16 13:53:38

Havent stopped crying since I took my puppy to the vets this morning. She is an 8 week old Westie, picked her up on Saturday. Already have a one year old Westie and they get on great.
Took her for her first set of jabs this morning and the vet discovered a very loud heart murmur on both sides of her heart. He said that without a scan he could not be sure but being the loudness that it was it indicated serious problems. He said puppies do get them and grow out of them but they are normally the quiet ones. He said that she should be returned to the breeder.
I have spoken to the breeder who has since spoken to her own vet who checked the puppies before they left and her breeder is saying that she didnot have this murmur a week ago.
The breeder has offered to take her back but I just can't imagine not having her, I love her already. She was the smallest of the litter and is still tiny.
We researched loads before deciding on this breeder and her set up is great, she is a well established reputable breeder. And this happens. My kids are going to be devasted. I do have the option to keep her but my vet thinks it could be very costly and her life expectancy will not be great.
I don't know what to do.

Raia Tue 08-Mar-16 14:12:36

Poor you, what an upsetting situation to find yourself in sad

Have you got lifelong insurance cover for her?

GoalieMum Tue 08-Mar-16 14:14:43

At the moment we only have the four weeks free cover provided by the breeder by Petplan. So don't think they would cover this?

GoalieMum Tue 08-Mar-16 14:37:10

What do I do?
Return her to the breeder and never see her again?
Keep her and quite possibly loose her quite quickly? Put her through treatment only to loose her? The vet said it is very loud but obviously without a scan he can't say what exactly needs doing.
She also has a problem with her bits not having formed properly. The breeders vet said she would grow into them. my vet was very concerned and didn't know what it was. Would need further investigation

fourpawswhite Tue 08-Mar-16 15:01:49


That's awfully upsetting news. Ok, deep breath. How well do you know the breeder/what is your relationship like? My first step would be to get the details of the vet she uses and get the pup round there pronto for a further opinion. Tell them exactly what your vet has said and go from there. If the first vet has missed something so massive, that is a major alarm bell.

My breeder is now a very good friend of mine who I admire a great deal. We used her for a dog many years ago and bought a puppy from her last year. Like you, puppies were checked before I collected. I went to my vet, interestingly same company, different branch and they said her teeth were coming in wrong, resulting in a nasty overbite. They wanted to operate immediately to remove the canines and avoid future injury and infection. Allegedly a common problem with puppies. I refused, spoke to breeder and she went mental. This is apparently something being pushed with younger vets and is completely unnecessary and pointless. I was no way consenting to a general anesthetic for an 8 week pup and was so relieved i checked again. My vet got a swearing from other branch who had already checked teeth and all was well.
Another puppy owner was not so lucky and followed the vets immediate advice, resulting in costly operation which was not needed.

Speak to the original vet yourself, get all the info and then you can make an informed decision. Does sound like you may need the scan to do that but I would always go with the vet your breeder recommends if you can and if they are reputable.

Whitney168 Tue 08-Mar-16 15:06:26

With the heart problem, I'd first ask what the breeder is suggesting. Any decent breeder in this situation would offer to take the pup back and refund your money in full at least, or indeed most when the issue was proven would refund your money even if you wanted to keep the pup, so at least some of your costs were covered.

(As an aside, it is entirely fair for them to ask to speak to your vet or get a second opinion.)

Given the second issue around under-developed 'bits' (?), to be honest I would say bite the bullet and return her to let her breeder look after her. You've had her a very short time, lovely though I'm sure she is, and it is not really fair/sensible to deal with such major problems.

Difficultdora Tue 08-Mar-16 15:47:23

I'm so so sorry but I would also be returning her to the breeder. You may think that you are attached to her now after having her less than a week, but imagine how upset you are going to be when she dies young? I lost a pup at 14 months and I was absolutely devastated, far worse than losing an oldie. Also have you thought about the effect on your current Westie? The pup may not be strong enough to play for very long and you might have to intervene frequently or keep them apart.

BernardsarenotalwaysSaints Tue 08-Mar-16 16:15:47

The first thing I would be doing is getting a 2nd opinion to confirm the severity or indeed existence of the murmur & then speaking to the original vet. Assuming your vet is correct, upsetting though it would be, I would be returning to the breeder. What does your contract say regarding health conditions found after purchase? Is there a time limit?

GoalieMum Tue 08-Mar-16 16:38:37

The breeder has said she will have her back, full refund.
I do trust my vet, he was very upset for me and was also very honest with me. I have used him for my other dog and never had any issues with him.
I don't know the breeder that well, she is quite a distance from me. She is very upset also and cross that her vet didn't pick up on it.
I don't think I have a choice. One problem on its own might be ok but she has two major problems.
I know we've only had her three days but I cannot imagine her not being here.

JoffreyBaratheon Tue 08-Mar-16 16:47:14

I'd take her back too, but as a point of interest - I was born with a hole in the heart and therefore a heart murmur. And the cardiologists always said it was a loud murmur which was better, as that means it's smaller...

The reason I'd take her back is that if you feel like this after a few days, how will you feel after a few weeks, or months? And how could you get insurance cover, now? The operations required (if any are) will be an unbelievable price...

mrslaughan Tue 08-Mar-16 17:13:36

I had a cat (bin cat ) with a congenital heart condition, and it was awful...... Lots of nights in oxygen tents.
If you are considering keeping the puppy I would take him to a specialist vet - cardiologist- they exist because the cat had one. ..... And have a full and frank discussion about prognosis. But if it is anything like ours the prognosis is not great and we spent a lot of money keeping him alive and giving him a quality of life.

Now the breeder - so much is ringing alarm bells- she sold you the runt of the litter - the fact it was noticeably smaller should have rung alarm bells. I see lots of litters of pedigree dogs and none of them are "noticeably" smaller to the untrained eye....... Sorry to be cynical, but I am around a number of breeders and some are so unethical......some are even KC assured breeders, so please also let the KC know and the breed club, this maybe a one-off , but with such a bad heart defect , I would be questioning whether or of that bitch should be bred from again.
I am so sorry you have been put in this situation.

wannaBe Tue 08-Mar-16 17:23:39

Would there be a way to take the puppy to your breeder's vet without them knowing which puppy it was/from what breeder etc?

As heartbreaking as it is I would be returning the puppy to the breeder and would be alerting the kennel club.

Years ago we had a dog who we brought back to the UK from South Africa. When he had his pre-travel checkup the vet diagnosed a mild heart murmur but said it was nothing to be concerned with. When he arrived in this country the vet at the quarantine kennels rang to report that the dog had a serious heart murmur and he wasn't sure whether he would even survive quarantine. Fortunately he did, but he only lived for another eight months after he came out of kennels. sad.

I find it difficult to believe that a reputable vet wouldn't be able to pick up a heart murmur a week ago when your own vet is saying that it's serious and is recommending you return the dog to the breeder.

Catzpyjamas Tue 08-Mar-16 17:33:11

Honestly, as hard as it may be, I would return her to the breeder. The heartbreak of giving her up would be really sore but better that than a lifetime commitment which could still result in losing her down the line. I know of so many people who took the runt of the litter through sympathy (and breeders occasionally prey on this) only to lose them later to a condition they came with. Better to make the break now before you are further invested financially and emotionally.
So sad for you sad

WeAllHaveWings Tue 08-Mar-16 17:55:11

Return to breeder before you and dc get anymore attached. It will be hard now, but even harder later.

BernardsarenotalwaysSaints Tue 08-Mar-16 18:43:34

I just wanted to be clear that you also have the offer to take back & refund in writing/that it is clearly written in the contract as I have similar views to mrslaughan about the breeder ringing alarm bells. It's not unheard of for someone to make the offer then try & wriggle out of it.

GoalieMum Tue 08-Mar-16 18:48:22

Have just taken her to a different vet as I needed a second opinion. They confirmed my vet was right, it is a grade 4 heart murmur. Breeders vet still saying it wasn't there a week ago. If that's true then the prognosis isn't good at all.
The new vet does have a specialist cardiac person who can scan her at a cost of £280 to find out exactly what the problem is. She said it could be anything from needing to be on medication to the heart being completely untreatable.
The vet said she definitely will have a shorter lifespan than a normal westie.
Do I go down the route of getting her scanned to find out exactly what the problem is? Can't think straight at the minute

GoalieMum Tue 08-Mar-16 18:50:09

Oh and they are saying that she could possibly be an intersex puppy, where the sex is not fully developed as one or the other as her vulva is deformed. Never heard of this before.

TheHobbitMum Tue 08-Mar-16 19:01:30

What an awful situation your in. I'm in agreement with the other posters to return the pup. It will be hard but no where near as hard as having the pup for a length of time. Your children will be properly attached and be devastated sad I'd inform the KC also as something doesn't add up, of she was so much smaller the vet would've looked for issues and with issues like this they must of found them! I'm so very sorry x

notapizzaeater Tue 08-Mar-16 19:02:09

Aww so sorry for you.

What would you do after the scan ? Would you keep her ? Would your 6 week pet plan cover her ? What is the breeder going to do with her if u return her ?

Catzpyjamas Tue 08-Mar-16 19:49:58

Please don't take this on. It's so much to deal with when you should all be enjoying a new puppy. The breeder should have insurance, if they are professional about their business, so let them deal with her.
If you did decide to keep her, I would suspect that she would be uninsurable with anyone else for both conditions after this diagnosis so you would need to check with Petplan if they would continue to insure her.

BernardsarenotalwaysSaints Tue 08-Mar-16 20:59:49

I've never heard of a case of an intersex dog before but I'm guessing it's as much of a possibility in them (or animals in general) as it is in humans.

mrslaughan Tue 08-Mar-16 21:23:34

I am really sorry Goaliemum - but the fact that she has another condition rings major alarm bells. Make sure you get the offer of refund and to have the puppy back in writing - that can be a text.
Whether you go ahead with the scan really depends on your financial situation, and will it really change things?
Our cat went into heart failure , that's how we new there was a problem. I don't remember if I was told a grade - but he only lived 6 months from this time, he had to have heart medication 3 x a day (quite a tie) and we choose to put to sleep when it appeared he was going into kidney failure..... The kidney failure was caused by the strain the heart medication put on his kidneys.
When were told hopefully he would live a year, unfortunately he didn't live that long, and there were lots of late night rush trips to the vet hospital to stabilise him. That's why you really do need to understand what you would be in for.
Would I do again ? I would do the scan, but if I had understood the implications of his condition, I think I probably would have PTS - I am not really sure. It cost us £1000' all my animals are insured from the moment we get them!

3boys3dogshelp Tue 08-Mar-16 22:59:22

Hi goaliemum, if you do decide to do the scan your free insurance should pay for it if it was issued by the breeders vet who had checked your puppy and said the heart was ok at that point. I think the insurance has a limit of £1000. Phone Petplan and check - they should be able to explain your cover. At least then you could make a decision with all the information you need. If you do decide to keep the puppy (I am not suggesting that you should, fwiw I would take back to the breeder) do not let that policy lapse, phone Petplan and set up a direct debit to continue the policy with lifetime cover, to keep her insured vs heart problems. There will still be excesses and a limit to what you can claim though.
I agree that scanning a young puppies heart should be done by a specialist.

Whitney168 Wed 09-Mar-16 09:16:07

if you do decide to do the scan your free insurance should pay for it if it was issued by the breeders vet who had checked your puppy and said the heart was ok at that point

Not necessarily, in that insurance will often exclude congenital (present from birth) defects, which it sounds as if both these things are.

This stuff happens, anyone who breeds several litters will eventually meet a problem. It sounds as if this breeder is prepared to step up and look after her puppy, and sadly I would let her without further investigation and longer to become fond of the puppy and change your mind. It sounds as if you would be setting your family up for a world of heartbreak and expense.

roseandgrey Wed 09-Mar-16 09:18:46

No advice OP, but just wanted to let you know I am thinking of you. What an awful situation to be in at what should be a really happy time flowers

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