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Grade IV heart murmur in new puppy(57 Posts)
I posted before in a sleep dep'd haze and everyone was lovely and helpful and things have got better but sadly another issue has come up and I am posting for more advice.
We picked up our OES pup last week at 10 weeks old from a KC registered breeder. She seemed lovely - home environment, pups clearly well socialised, no concerns. She said when we picked him up that her vet had picked up a minor innocent heart murmur but his dad had had the same and that had cleared up.
I took him to the vet today and was told that it looks more serious - our vet thinks a grade IV heart murmur and recommended a scan at the hospital as it may be indicative of something more serious. She also did say that as it's a pre existing condition it wouldn't be covered by our pet insurance and the scan alone would be £500 plus. We don't have thousands of pounds available for a puppy. We did get pet insurance as soon as we picked him up but that has a two week bedding in period which we're not out of.
I have talked to the breeder who has been a bit odd - she started off claiming it was fine, and then rapidly switched to insisting that she didn't want to sell us a sick pup and would come and collect him today and give us a full refund. Totally opposed to us keeping him and her helping with any bills or even waiting for another week for his follow up scan and wants to refund and collect ASAP.
DH thinks she wants to resell him while he is still a puppy. He also thinks from her tone that she knew he was sick. He is quiet for a puppy, and has been unwilling to eat, and is slightly thin according to the vet so I could believe he's poorly but he's also smart and affectionate and I love him to bits. I don't want to let him go but this situation is really concerning me.
What do I do? Any advice?
I insured him from the day we collected him from the breeder but apparently this has a two week "bedding in" period and issues that crop up in that time period are not covered.
I thought the breeder had bridging cover for this. Apparently not.
It’s normal for them to come with insurance from the breeder covering 4-6 weeks depending on who it’s with... I genuinely have no clue if it would still count as a pre-existing condition, but I’m that she didn’t insure the puppies.
Tbh she sounds really dodgy and I suspect you’re right and she wants to sell him on ASAP.
Really though your options are return him for a refund or keep him and pay the vet bills, she’s offered you a refund, that’s I’m sure legally all she has to do.
Do check if the breeder did have insurance as tabulahrasa said they usually come with so many weeks free which covers you for that period when you either extend it or get your own. However, I do know some breeders didn't offer this and those were the ones that I discarded as they didn't seem great iykwim.
Offering you money back is really all you can expect. I had a contract whereby if my vet found something like this within the first two weeks I could return him for a full refund. Whether I would have returned him I am not sure as by then you feel responsible.
I don't know all the ins and outs of heart murmurs but I thought they varied lots in how problematic they can be.
However you do need to seriously think about the cost as vets fees quickly mount up (as you have found with a simple scan) and obviously anything relating to the murmur will be excluded.
It sounds like you can't afford to keep him, can't bear to part with him.
happening but without the scan/insurance complication arising so soon. This is almost certainly what the breeder was banking on, but now you've raised concerns she's trying to head off reputation damage by recalling the pup
I'm guessing this is a standard KC-registered breeder and not an Assured Breeder Scheme (ABS) KC-registered breeder. It seems a bit dodgy to have admitted breeding from a sire with a known heart condition, and the lack of puppy insurance on handover isn't a good sign either.
Before you get in to panic mode - which may or may not be needed - I might take him to another vet for an opinion on the grade of the heart murmur. 'Flow murmurs' are not uncommon in puppies, and perhaps for the sake of a second opinion your heart may be put at rest.
I also don't especially have an issue with her offering to take the puppy back and refund in full. IF there is a major issue, it is her responsibility to deal with it. You have had him a week, and obviously it would be sad for you, but a good breeder has planned this litter for years, spent weeks nurturing them and will be just as distraught and will want to do the best thing by the puppy and the buyer.
It seems a bit dodgy to have admitted breeding from a sire with a known heart condition
As above, flow murmurs are not uncommon in puppies, are not caused by heart disease and often do clear entirely by the time the puppies are a few months old.
So sorry to hear about your pup. If the breeders vet had noted the murmur she should have passed that information on to you, very important for insurance purposes.
If you were my client, without insurance and concerned about costs (and indeed the possibility of losing your dog at an early age) I would probably recommend taking the dog back, unfortunately. Lots of murmurs are innocent and don't cause a huge issue, but the only way you can tell us via a full cardiac work-up, and that in itself can be costly.
The breeder needs to offer to take the pup back. What she does with it then would be up to her. A good breeder will then pay for the tests independently and see how to proceed. I hope it gets sorted out for you, but remember this is not your fault!
The breeder is under no obligation to pay vets bills. Why would she, it could run into thousands. Your choices are either give the puppy back and get a refund, or keep it and pay yourself. However she has been underhand, because telling you about the heart murmur on the day of pickup is not on. She knew you were attached to the puppy by then. I haven't a lot of faith in breeders. My GSD came from a supposedly well respected breeder unwell with possible ecoli or giardia and full of worms .
And by the way, with any 'four weeks free insurance' deals, you activate it after you pick the puppy up, so it still wouldn't cover this pre-existing condition. If you give it back, it will probably be re-sold or PTS.
You could try asking for a partial refund if it turns out to be an issue, but I doubt the breeder will be interested.
The two vets I've spoken to today say that the base minimum fees for working out what is wrong will be around £500. There is a slim chance the murmur could be benign. However, the odds are that treatment will either be some kind of op which starts at £2k and could go as high as £10k or life long medication which could be as high as £50 per week.
And that starts spiraling rapidly into money we don't have.
It’s obviously a dodgy breeder as with most normal breeders the pup would come with 4 weeks insurance , she’s offered you a refund and frankly if you don’t think you can afford the bills then that’s probably your best option . You cannot expect her / him to start paying out vets bills , they will either sell him on to some other unsuspecting buyer or have him pts .
When pups come with 4 weeks insurance, it starts after you pick them up. It still wouldn't have covered this.
As someone upthread said, get a second opinion about the heart murmur
Grade 4 heart murmurs are normally not without symptoms, and medication being needed. This could be an issue that costs a lot of money and will likely reduce the lifespan of the dog. I'm a vet nurse and even I would return the dog, sad as it is to do so. No insurer would cover this condition as it's from birth. It's not like it's just the cost of diagnosis, it's ongoing medication and possible surgery. A true grade 4 heart murmur is going to need treatment
If you can't afford the vets fees now then your only option really is to return the puppy.
I just feel so horrendous. He is snuggled up to me in the sofa just now with his chin on my knee. He is honestly the nicest puppy I've ever met. It's breaking my heart that I can't find a way out of this.
The only way out of it is to commit money now and hope it isn't too expensive in the future. However, if you would struggle to pay for the initial tests let alone anything else it doesn't really leave you with any real choice. I'm sorry OP. I had thought about what if this happened to my puppy but I am fortunate in that I could suck up the costs if necessary but not everyone is in that position.
What an awful situation
However, as the breeder sounds moderately shady, like other I think that the puppy will either be sold onto new unsuspecting buyers who may end up in the same situation, or PTS as the breeder doesn't want the expense.
Pending a second opinion, I would suggest another option - speak to one of the large rescue charities e.g. Blue Cross or Dogs Trust (probably not the RSPCA, who PTS a high % of animals). They will be able to provide the treatment the puppy needs and rehome it to a family who know exactly what they're signing up for. I say larger charities as given the expense this will incur, I don't think it would be fair to ask a tiny shelter to take it on; it would be a much smaller dent in the finances of a large charity. Few would judge you for rehoming via a proper rescue charity, and I think it's got the highest likelihood of a good outcome for the puppy.
Avocados would a charity take them on though given that there is a huge question mark over its health and they are bursting at the seems as it is and at the moment the puppy has a home? I would like to think they would but really don't know.
However, as the breeder sounds moderately shady
I don't think anything that the OP has said here makes the breeder sound at all shady, so unless the OP has other info that changes that it is probably more helpful not to make that assumption. Good breeders take responsibility for the puppies they produce, and nothing the OP is saying here gives the impression that is not the case.
I know breeders who in these circumstances have taken their puppies back as they felt they were entirely their responsibility, had whatever operations/treatment were necessary and then either kept the dog or if appropriate given it away once sorted to a pet home, with complete transparency around any issues so the new home could take an informed decision.
I don't think the breeder has necessarily done anything wrong. They took the pup to their vet who diagnosed an innocent murmur, informed the new owner, and have agreed to take the pup back and refund the money.
Also I wouldn't say most pups come with free insurance at all. Only those registered with the KC, and most I see are obviously not.
You have two options, keep the pup and expect the cost, or give the pup back. You don't know what the breeder will do with it, but surely you have just as much reason to assume she'll have it investigated and treated as she'll have it rehomed or pts.
Horrible situation to be in of course. I personally would stump up for the initial investigations then go from there. Medication can be given on prescription which will reduce future costs. If that's still not an option, then you have to give the pup back
My feeling, having now talked to the breeder at length, is that she wants the best for him too. She could be dishonest, but what she is saying is that if we can't cover potential costs then she will take him back, and have his health thoroughly investigated and if he needs life long care, keep him as her pet along with his parents which may be the best thing for him. Certainly if she has the resources to cover huge vets bills.
I did suggest that we do further tests here and then see, as we could manage an initial scan, but her concern is that the longer he is with us, the most traumatic leaving again will be which may be true.
Or maybe I just want to believe that at least I am doing right by him.
It won't get any easier the longer you have him, OP. It's horribly sad, but if you can't commit to his care (and if uninsured, I don't suppose many could/would after a week), then it is best to get him back to his breeder and let him look after him.
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