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Hey guys,

I want to describe my situation and ask for advise, my puppy's health problems are becoming a heavy burden for me and not having a lot of experience with this I would thank anyone who can offer some advise.

I have done some research and found a golden retriever breeder that I believe to be trustworthy, had the parents and grand parents on site, let us see her kennel, has a public online community for all people who got a puppy from her, will do CKC registry for the puppy and etc, there were a lot of good signs there.

After talking to the breeder on the phone, seeing pictures and being told in the ad that the puppy was healthy, we finally decided to make the trip (a few hours away) to her kennel and get our puppy.

We get there and everything seems perfect, she calls the puppies and shows us our new family member. We talk for a bit and before we are ready to pay her she mentions that the puppy has a I/VI heart murmur (was diagnosed on week 7) but that it should clear up soon and that I shouldn't worry about it. At the time she convinced me that it was a minor thing and that I didn't have to worry about it, not knowing much about veterinary medicine I believed her and took the puppy.

All was good until I saw my vet a few days later and he told me that it's not that simple, that this could be a bigger problem and there is no way to tell now how bad it is, and that if it doesn't go away by 6 months of age we would have to do an echo-cardiogram (around $400 procedure) just to figure out more details about the murmur. The vet did not at anytime say that I shouldn't worry about this, in fact he said that the murmur being soft does not indicate anything and that this could be a problem in the future, overall he was not very positive. At this point he was 9 weeks old.

Two weeks later (Yesterday) I went to the vet again, he checked and the puppy still has the murmur (which he wrote down to be II/VI and not I/VI like the breeder's vet did at 7 weeks of age) and addition to that he also told me that one of the dogs testicles never descended, he couldn't feel one of them.

He said some harsh things like "the breeder should no longer use his parents for breeding", when I claimed that these could be unrelated to genetics he started giving me a lesson in genetics as if I didn't already know.

Now I'm at this situation where my puppy at 11 weeks of age has a II/VI "systolic pmi la" heart murmur and one retained testicle.

The vet has already told me that the neutering procedure will be slightly more complicated in his case and he already talks as if I had accepted to do the neutering at 6 months of age.

I'm not sure what to do in this case, our family is very attached to the puppy we had him for a little over 2 weeks but this has already become a major source of concern and stress for me. It also upsets me that I paid full price for a puppy with all these condition that if don't go away will potentially be very expensive to treat and possibly fatal.

What should I expect from the breeder, a full refund?
Would it be smart for me to put my feelings aside return the puppy to the breeder and get my money back?
Am I digging myself a hole if I decide to keep this puppy? If I keep it what should I expect from the breeder?

I hope someone with more dog experience can give me some advise,
Thanks a lot!
 

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Things are not lost at this point. The undescended testicle could very well still come down and the heart murmur could still go away. I would call your breeder and talk to her about your concerns.
 

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I'm not questioning your vet, as I am not a vet myself, but anecdotally there have been a lot of puppies who had murmurs when they were tiny and they grow out of it. But, I encourage you to take her to a heart specialist for your own peace of mind.

The rescue had a litter of puppies a few years ago and a few of the males had undescended testicles. The rescue's vet recommend waiting until they were a year old to neuter them, to give them time for the testicles to drop. I know one of them ultimately had to have abdominal neuter to retrieve them, but I gathered from the vets recommendation that is possible for them to drop later and worth waiting to see if it will.
 

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I would slow down, take a few deep breaths and really focus on your pup right now. The heart murmur can still go away. If it was a grade III or more I would be concerned. Just continue to monitor and see what happens. From my experience they do tend to go away though their are cases where they dont and yes you have to look into it further as heart conditions like SAS is a cause of concern in this breed. Did the parents, grandparents have heart clearances by a cardiologist?

The retained testicle could also come down still. For me if its not present by 4-5 months it probably wont come down. If it doesnt and remains undescended then yes those two dogs shouldnt be bred again as it is hereditary. IMO also there is no rush to do it at 6 months. As long as you do neuter him by like age 2 years at most you should be fine. The longer you do wait the easier it is to find the other testicle because they are very very small when they are growing inside the dog and it gives it time to get bigger.

Again, look carefully at what your contract states, but I wouldnt jump the gun just yet as far as "blaming the breeder" unless their other red flags that you are now noticing. Again, health clearances such as Hips, Elbows, Eyes and Heart done by specialists and the OFA (i assume they do all of this in Canada). I would contact the breeder and just voice your concerns and see what they say. Do it nicely, politely and see what happens. You may Be surprised..either in a good way or even bad way. Because that will show how much they do care or show their true colors. I wish you and your pup the best. Enjoy every second as they get big so quickly!

If you need any help, especially regarding clearances, telling if this is a good reputable breeder you can certainely ask here. There are some very helpful, informative people on here!
 

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I had a GSD that had one undescended testicle. My vet at the time that pushes early neutering, had me wait until he was a year old to neuter him. The neuter becomes much like a spay, where their is second incision in the abdomin to find the lost testicle. No problems. I believe it is genetic, but it is also pretty common. Two of my cats had the same issue.

I believe a murmur being graded by a doctor listening is subjective to the vet. A handful of vets can hear it and grade them differently. When my daughter had a heart murmur that she grew out of, some doctors could hear it, some couldn't, and then it also depended on what position she was in. I did follow up with a cardiologist just for my own piece of mind.

Have you talked to your breeder again?
 

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If we were talking about your human child having a murmur, you would most likely take the child to a cardiologist. They are the ones more experienced in listening to the murmur and more up-to-date on what is most likely to happen. Same goes for a puppy.

The undescended testicle isn't that big a deal. The surgery isn't any worse than a spay and the dog will be fine. I would probably do the neuter at 12 months, rather than 18 months.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I called the breeder and she told me that one of his half brothers (which she was keeping for herself) who was born a week from him has just been detected to also have a heart murmur. She was very upset about it as she was planning on having be a new breeding male for her kennel.

Her direction to me was that we should wait until we really know it's a problem (6 months) and than she would give me the money back or give me a new puppy if it's a problem, something like that not really sure how this would work. This doesn't seem to be a logical resolution of the problem.

If it turns out to be a real problem a refund of the puppy value would not make much financial difference by than I would have already spent a lot of money and the treatment costs (which I would want to do because I would be very bound with the dog) would probably be much higher.

When we got our puppy we had to fill out a CKC form that she said would be used for registration and later mailed to us. We weren't shown anything from the parents, health certificates, registration or anything.
 

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If it were my puppy, I'd want him evaluated by a cardiologist not just a regular vet as said above. Grading is important and I'd much more trust someone with specialized training in that arena.

As far as the testicle, it could still come down, but if not it is important to get it taken care of as there is an increased risk of other health issues for retained ones.
 
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If it were my puppy, I'd want him evaluated by a cardiologist not just a regular vet as said above. Grading is important and I'd much more trust someone with specialized training in that arena.

As far as the testicle, it could still come down, but if not it is important to get it taken care of as there is an increased risk of other health issues for retained ones.
I think this might be a good idea, I'm losing sleep over this and not being able to enjoy my puppy as much as I wanted to, it's becoming a negative experience and I don't want to pass this down to the puppy.

Would a cardiologist be able to tell me more info about the problem or would he most likely say "We have to wait and see"? Around how much would I spend to do this? I heard echo-cardiograms cost around $400.

Anyone has a phone number or name for a decent cardiologist in Toronto?

Thanks,
Gihad.
 

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An innocent puppy murmur will typically disappear around 16 weeks of age. I would wait until then before worrying. If it hasn't disappeared by 16 weeks, I would want the puppy seen by a specialist.

At this age, testicles can go up and come down :) Not a big deal overall and not a reason to rush into a neuter. I would probably neuter him before he turns two.

Location is important as far as neutering goes though, much easier if they can feel or locate the undescended testicle than if they have search for it internally.

A reputable breeder would have been proud to show pedigrees and clearance information (certs for hips, elbows, eyes and heart) on the parents before you even made the decision to drive up and see the pup.
 

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Anyone has a phone number or name for a decent cardiologist in Toronto?

Thanks,
Gihad.
Yes, there is a wonderful cardiologist at the VEC in Toronto on Yonge St. Her name is Dr Regan Williams. She is the cardiologist we use for breeding clearances. I believe the cardiologist clearance for breeding was less than $70, it did not include and echo. She may want to just monitor your puppy, until it is a little older.

Phone number is 416-920-2002

I do know of a puppy, who was pick of his litter, that was given away because his heart murmur had not gone away by 6 mths. I saw the lady that had him, about a year later and asked her how he was doing. She told me when she took him in for a check up at a year it was gone. I am sure this is the exception rather than the rule, but it does happen.
 

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Before I picked up Olliver my breeder advised his 1 testicle had not come down. She told me the eventual neuter may cost more if it did not come down and told me she would give me difference in the cost if that were the case.
By the 2nd set of shots (about 3 months) all testicles where they should be.
Additionally, 1st young vet thought she heard some little something in heart area. The older vet listened, said it is not uncommon to hear some oddball sounds in young puppies. Did a thorough exam, said probably nothing but we would make sure to note chart and watch. Last 3 visits his heart is perfect.
Olliver is now 4.5 months old and A+ healthy.
 

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Well I talked about this with my wife and she is a vet tech. She said that the testicle thing is no big deal. However, that it should be taken care of. Next, she said that she understands the expense but your little one should be taken to a cardio specialist. She feels that if you did take your puppy back it probably wouldn't live as long because not every puppy finds a great home. You've already put in the sweat equity and finances thus far and you obviously love your new addition. She said she would wait it out. If at the end of 6 months.... your puppy still has the issues, keep the puppy, get your money back (because by then its a matter of principal) and dont use her or recommend her to anyone. But medicine isn't the only thing that keeps an animal alive, if they have the will power and a good home, they will do everything they can to stay alive. All of this is my wifes (and my own) opinion of the situation.

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I have had more new puppies with these kind of problems than without. It seems to go with babyhood in goldens. There is every chance both issues will iron themselves out. The testicle is only a big deal if you planned to show or breed. The heart murmur is a wait-and-see. It IS frustrating- I have been in your shoes. I would try and focus on all the fun parts of the puppy, and check the heart at 16 weeks before taking action.
 

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I am sorry you are going through this. Your puppy is blesssed to have you to care for him. My Ylan was diagnosed with dysplasia at 4 months. We had 13.5 beautiful years. You never know what will happen or why. Ihave read good advise and I can't help much but pray that you find serenity to be able to help your pup the best way.
 

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I have read this forum for years but have never posted. After reading your
story I just had to reply. It brought back so many memories, and tears. I went through exactly what you are going through in 2005. I don't want to upset you in any way, but I feel I should tell you my story. My very first dog ever and golden named Stella was diagnosed with an innocent murmur on her first puppy check up and shots with my vet. When the breeder took the litter into the vet before they went to there forever homes she did not have a murmur. Anyway he was a bit concerned but said lets check it on the next visit. Well to make a long story short, it never went away and only got worse. The breeder asked me to take her to her vet which I did and he also said this is not good. We went to a critical care vet and saw a wonderful cardiologist who did a ultrasound, all I had to do is look at her face and I knew. Being in the medical field myself I knew what was going on. She was diagnosed with SAS (basically a narrowing in the valve for blood flow to the heart). She said she probably won't make it to her first year. My breeder was wonderful, she was devestated this had never happened to her before and the littermates were all fine. She insisted I give her back as it was not fair to us, and that she would keep her as happy as long as she could. Hardest thing I ever had to do in my life! She only survived a couple of days after that, she was having trouble breathing as she was getting bigger (only abut 3 months as this time) the narrowing of the valve got smaller with less and less blood flow to the heart.

I am sorry this is so long but, please get that ultrasound done now for your peace of mind before you get to attached (I know you are already), but you never know the outcome... we didn't. Stella only lived for 6 months (Oct 16,2005-Mar 16,2006) but she has a very special place in my heart.

Good news through, now have 2 more goldens from the same breeder (she is so awesome) a 7yr old and a 21/2 yr old and are as healthy as can be.

I wish you all the best, but make sure you are in constant contact about this whole situation with your breeder.

Keep us posted.
 

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My brother got a lab 10 years ago that ended up with muscular myopathy (dog MD). No recourse with the breeder other than to return the pup and she was 9 months old. They were told of the likely problems, mortality, difficulty of having a dog with this disease. They kept her and she has been the light of their lives. She's beaten all of the odds and outlived even our Hazel. If he ends up truly having a problem, consider that the relationship can be even more rewarding with a special needs pup.


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In general, Grade 1-2 murmurs are mild and can often be innocent. I knew of a golden pup with a Grade 3 who was diagnosed with mild SAS. Mild SAS will not shorten a dog's life. I made a cardiologist ultrasound a pup I bred who had a very soft, Grade 1 murmur at 8 weeks. He tried to talk me it of it because it was so soft. I insisted and he did not see SAS at that time. That dog is fine and will be 9 in August. SAS can show up any time until one year.

Undescended testicles are no big deal. It is a sex determined recessive trait...so both parents carry the trait.. Those two dogs should not be bred to each other again.
 

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Undescended testicles are no big deal. It is a sex determined recessive trait...so both parents carry the trait.. Those two dogs should not be bred to each other again.
At what age is it determined to be a recessive trait?
Given that testes go up and down, when does it pass the threshold of being fairly common male puppy testes and cross over to a recessive trait? At say 16 weeks, 6 months?
 
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