Health Problem with Dog just purchased from Breeder

Discussion in 'The Breeding Ground' started by sbfish, Sep 15, 2007.

  1. sbfish

    sbfish New Member

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    I apologize for the length of this post but I would really appreciate any feedback on how to handle the following problem. 2 weeks ago I purchased a 3 year old female vizsla from a nationally reputable breeder that I have bought a dog from before. The following day Haley was shaking and scratching her ears and making a wheezing sound. I immediately called the breeder and was reassured the dog was healthy that the ear shaking was due to having her ears cleaned before I picked her up and the sound was "snurgling." Long story short I took her to my vet and cytology report was positive for fungal ear infection. A couple days later I had to take her in the middle of the night to emergency CARE because she was scratching her ear raw. I returned to my vet the following day where she was sedated to have her ears washed and checked for foreign bodies. There were no foreign bodies but I found out today she tested positive for Pseudomonas. Vet bills are up to $700 as of today. Fortunately Haley is no longer in pain.

    The breeder is unwilling to offer any financial compensation for the bills and would rather barter, providing me with another dog in the future or help me breed Haley (she has 8 pts). I am not wanting to barter. To make matters worse she rudely told me I should have called her and brought the dog to her vet (2 hours away) as vets in my town are more expensive, probably taking advantage of me, and her vet could have resolved the problem more effectively!?

    I love this dog and she gets along really well with my 13 yr old vizsla. I don't want to return her but I am aware of the potential complications and ongoing costs with this diagnosis.

    My questions are: 1) what type of compensation would be expected from a responsible and ethical breeder under these circumstances if I choose to keep her? 2) If the breeder is unwilling to do this what are some options I can pursue other than returning Haley?

    Thank you for your time, Julie
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2007
  2. Saje

    Saje Island dweller

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    She doesn't sound like a very good breeder. :( What does your contact say? A good breeder would have a health guarantee.
     
  3. This issue should have been resolved as to what was going to happen before you sought vet care and paid money for it. Apparently you tried that, and unfortunately it didn't work.

    At this point any action you take is going to end up costing you more than the vet bills probably. If the breeder were going to stand behind the dog, you would not be here making this post.

    If the bitch is better, I would say you have 2 choices, really. Zip your lip and move on, or return the bitch and get your money back.

    Are you planning to finish her?
     
  4. That is possible, but with all respect due to the OP, there are 2 sides to every story, and we have only heard one side.
     
  5. ToscasMom

    ToscasMom Harumph™©®

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    I would take her to small claims court. See how she likes that.

    You do not need a lawyer in court of claims. You present the information, she rebuts and the judge decides.
     
  6. sbfish

    sbfish New Member

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    She was in a hurry to get to an appointment and is going to mail me contract, so unfortunately I don't recall what the contract states.
     
  7. sbfish

    sbfish New Member

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    I have never shown a dog before, what is the advantage of finishing her?
     
  8. Just a couple of comments. You have no contract. Better step VERY LIGHTLY until you do.

    The advantage of finishing her is that she will carry the title of CH on the front of her name forever. Later when others do pedigree research, they will understand immediately that she was of a certain quality. It shows other breeders looking at current pedigrees who might be considering breedings of her relatives (sire, grand sires, uncles, aunts, etc) that the combination of her sire and dam produced at least one dog who was able to complete a CH title. The reason I would do it is I think it's a fun thing to do with my dog. :D

    Hope you get the contract straightened out, but if I were you, unless and until you do, I would keep very quiet.
     
  9. Oh, and FWIW, no one would ever, under ANY circumstances, leave my home with any dog or puppy without a signed contract that has been reviewed carefully with the new owners. I also do not release any dogs or puppies without a current health certificate.
     
  10. sbfish

    sbfish New Member

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    The breeder initially didn't offer her for sale because she wanted to finish her and asked if I would be willing to bring her to a dog show(s) which will be occurring in my town, as well as leaving her name as owner of the dog until she finished. Because I trusted and respected her I had no objection. She also stated she'd be willing to help me if I wanted to breed her. I have no experience with breeding and though appealing I need to research whether this would be an option to pursue.
     
  11. ToscasMom

    ToscasMom Harumph™©®

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    Contract isn't necessary in court of claims. Good faith is just as important in court of claims. This type of court is designed for the consumer who feels he has been wronged financially by a business and doesn't want to spend more on a lawyer than the case is worth. There are limits to the amount of recovery, but that limit is surely well above your costs. Bring the date of purchase proof and all the vet bills and describe the timing and what happened. Court of claims is not expensive. I think the average price is something like 20 bucks. You can only present for actual financial losses, which is what you want to do anyways.
     
  12. sbfish

    sbfish New Member

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    Thank you for the suggestion, I think this is a good option.
     
  13. bubbatd

    bubbatd Moderator

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    Good luck !!!
     
  14. FrenchKissed

    FrenchKissed New Member

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    $700.00 to treat an ear infection is a little outrageous. You should have returned the dog and allowed the breeder to treat the problem. Yes it was 2 hours away, but 2 hours is a far cry from $700.
    You took the dog to your vet and then to the emergency clinic because later on she was scratching the ears raw.
    Your vet misdiagnosed the problem and treated the issue incorrectly. It seems to me your issue should be with your own vet, who diagnosed it as a fungal infection when it was actually a bacterial issue.
    Things like this are not a health problem they are a disease and they are temporary.
    When you choose to own a dog they are going to have things go wrong with them. They are a living breathing animal and nothing is fool proof in biology.
    If you wanted the breeder to be responsible for the vet bill you should have taken the dog back and allowed the breeder to treat the issue. You chose not to do this. No, it is not the breeder's responsibility to pay for your choice of treatment.
     
  15. ToscasMom

    ToscasMom Harumph™©®

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    Well there's two sides to a coin, yes, I agree. Sometimes vet medicine is a process of elimination. There isn't one of us who hasn't been thru that. The truth of the matter is, the breeder told the owner that the problem was just because the ears were cleaned. That turned out not to be so. If the puppy hadn't had a problem to begin with, the owner would not have had to go to the vet for it. That's why court of claims is such a good thing. A judge or appointed arbitrator can sort these things out more objectively and make a final legally binding determination.

    And since there is no contract, the owner had no way of knowing what the agreed upon process should be in treating a puppy that was ill.
     
  16. FrenchKissed

    FrenchKissed New Member

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    Small claims court costs vary by location. Some states it is a couple hundred dollars to file, most are around $50. Second the claim would have to be made in the county of purchase. That means going back to that county to file the paper work and going back again for the court date.
    Any judge with an ounce of common sense is going to question why some one was willing to make *two* two hour trips to sue some one but would not make that trip to return a dog to the breeder so that they (the breeder) could take responsibility for the problem to begin with.
    Sometimes life is full of hard lessons and we simply need to learn from them instead of trying to post the blame on others.
     
  17. sbfish

    sbfish New Member

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    She has both a fungal infection and a bacterial one which can be highly resistant to antibiotics and extremely difficult to treat. At the time I called concerned about her ear she was adamant there was no problem. I am not new to owning a dog and understand the financial responsibility involved. I went to the vet for a routine check-up, to introduce them, and to check her ear. This was Saturday and I was willing to pay this and didn't think it necessary to take her back to the breeder. Monday morning at 1 am is when I needed to take her to emergency. When I did speak with the breeder after the sedation she said she should have told me to bring her back.

    For your assessment here are the costs:

    9/7 visit, cytology, fungal med--$142
    9/10 emergency fee, pain med--$131
    9/11 sedation, ear wash, test, culture & sensitivity, meds--$426
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2007
  18. bubbatd

    bubbatd Moderator

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    I feel so sorry for you !!! And yes ...the breeder should help you with the expenses or refund you your money .
     
  19. simplymisty

    simplymisty IL Dog Freak

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    I agree, the breeder should pay. Just my 02
     
  20. If I were the breeder, I would not want any relationship with someone who was going to hold me hostage over some (un-necessary IMO) vet treatment and costs, and who would go post all this stuff on some public bulletin board dragging my name through the mud.

    In fact if this happened to ME, I would likely DEMAND the return of the dog and refund the purchase price as soon as the dog and the papers were returned to me.

    However, I would never have let anyone leave with a dog without first signing a contract. You go to court with no contract, you pay your money and you take your chances.
     

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