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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My sister's 10-month old golden went from being perfectly fine last Sunday, limping Monday, dragging back leg on Thursday, to unable to walk on Friday. Met with a neurologist (Dr. Cameron at Sage in Redwood City, CA--she was great) on Friday, had an MRI that afternoon. MRI showed incredibly aggressive cancer in and around his 3rd vertebrae (the tumor was huge). (He also had an extra vertebrae.) He had to be put down that evening (just waited for all family members to be able to go and say goodbye). We all are devastated (my sister lost 2 other goldens to cancer last year).

I get that goldens get cancer, but at 10 months old?? Has anyone else had this experience?

My sister notified the breeder who responded that she needed a couple of days to process this. Haven't heard back since then.

I read that CA law requires breeders to refund the money paid for the puppy ($1900) plus vet bills up to the cost of the puppy (my sister probably spent nearly $5000 in 4 days). The breeder has not offered anything. My sister is not even thinking about money right now, but I'd like to know what others think about this.

Also, I'd think that the owners of the other 8 puppies in the litter should be notified but not sure if that will happen either. (I'd want to know so I could be proactive if a health issue came up.)

Would appreciate any thoughts on this.
 

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That really stinks and I'm so sorry for your sister's loss.
Cancer in puppies is rare, but not unknown. The pup's breeder has probably never had this happen to any of her pups before. That's possibly why you haven't heard back - it will have come as a shock to them too.
The last couple of paragraphs seem to be suggesting the cancer is hereditary and the breeder must have been negligent. I'm no expert, but even I know there is no single cause of cancer. Personally, I think it's just one of those things and, unless the breeder deliberately bred dogs with bloodlines that were full of dogs dying young from the same sort of cancer your family's dog had, they cannot be held responsible.
Again, I'm sorry.
 

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Grumpy Old Man
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I read that CA law requires breeders to refund the money paid for the puppy ($1900) plus vet bills up to the cost of the puppy (my sister probably spent nearly $5000 in 4 days).
I suspect that your understanding is not quite correct.

The Breeder may likely be responsible to refund the purchase price of the pup OR Veterinary bills up to the purchase price of the pup but not both.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
California Polanco-Lockyer Pet Breeder Warranty

California 1 year for congenital or hereditary defects
1. Replacement plus reimbursement for veterinary expenses related to diagnosis and treatment, up to the purchase price of the dog

2. Refund of purchase price PLUS reimbursement for veterinary expenses up to the purchase price of the dog

3. Reimbursement of veterinary expenses up to 150% of the purchase price of the dog

§ 122070. Sale of ill or diseased dog; purchaser's remedies

(a) If a licensed veterinarian states in writing that within 15 days after the purchaser has taken physical possession of a dog following the sale by a breeder, the dog has become ill due to any illness or disease that existed in the dog on or before delivery of the dog to the purchaser, or, if within one year after the purchaser has taken physical possession of the dog after the sale by a breeder, a veterinarian licensed in this state states in writing that the dog has a congenital or hereditary condition that adversely affects the health of the dog, or that requires, or is likely in the future to require, hospitalization or nonelective surgical procedures, the dog shall be considered unfit for sale, and the breeder shall provide the purchaser with any of the following remedies that the purchaser elects:

(1) Return the dog to the breeder for a refund of the purchase price, plus sales tax, and reimbursement for reasonable veterinary fees for diagnosis and treating the dog in an amount not to exceed the original purchase price of the dog, including sales tax.

(2) Exchange the dog for a dog of the purchaser's choice of equivalent value, providing a replacement dog is available, and receive reimbursement for reasonable veterinary fees for diagnosis and treating the dog in an amount not to exceed the original purchase price of the dog, plus sales tax on the original purchase price of the dog.

(3) Retain the dog, and receive reimbursement for reasonable veterinary fees for diagnosis and treating the dog in an amount not to exceed 150 percent of the original purchase price of the dog, plus sales tax.

(b) If the dog has died, regardless of the date of death of the dog, obtain a refund for the purchase price of the dog, plus sales tax, or a replacement dog of equivalent value of the purchaser's choice, and reimbursement for reasonable veterinary fees for diagnosis and treatment of the dog in an amount not to exceed the purchase price of the dog, plus sales tax, if any of the following conditions exist:

(1) A veterinarian, licensed in this state, states in writing that the dog has died due to an illness or disease that existed within 15 days after the purchaser obtained physical possession of the dog after the sale by a breeder.

(2) A veterinarian, licensed in this state, states in writing that the dog has died due to a congenital or hereditary condition that was diagnosed by the veterinarian within one year after the purchaser obtained physical possession of the dog after the sale by a breeder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
4 out of 4 dogs from breeder have died from cancer

Also, this is my sister's fourth dog from this breeder. All four have died from cancer.

You're probably wondering why she went back, right?

The dogs have wonderful temperaments and are great looking. Truly wonderful dogs all around. The breeder is well known and considered reputable in northern CA. The first 3 died at 8, 10, and 13 (with treatments--radiation and chemo). My sister has never asked for anything for the first three dogs.

This is different--this puppy died at 10 months.

Also, it seems odd that he had an extra vertebrae and had cancer on his spine. I think that's a congenital condition, isn't it?
 

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are there alot of people that think that cancer liek that can be completely unrelated to diet + nutrition of the dog?? did it feed from its mother for the proper time period as a pup? i guess im super lucky ive had my murphy since march 2004

me personally id like to know what these dogs ate everyday
i dont trust dog pet food whatsoever.. i dont like feediny my dog something that i wouldnt eat..then again i wouldnt eat raw/chicken/rabbit/duck:D
 

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Wow- I think California law is unfair to the breeder. AR sure got in there..

However- there is no reason to think that an extra vertebrae which almost certainly is lumbar and not really 'extra' and is found not uncommonly- they are called transitional vertebrae - there's no reason to think that they cause cancer.
So by the 'if dog is dead' section, the vet would have to certify that the extra vertebrae, the congenital piece, actually caused the cancer. If he did that, I'm quite sure the GSD people will be interested in this case. They have a lot of transitional vertebrae.

And in a case like this, I am sure any breeder would take some time to process- this is not a toaster ,but a living thing that was not expected to live less than a wonderful life.Just like your sister is processing. I'm so sorry- but I do think that less than a week is not enough time to expect the breeder to offer up a refund. And if she wasn't consulted in the time the vet care was being received, even more time- it is shocking to the breeder to hear this news.... unless she's breeding dogs whose pedigrees hold tons of cancer, this feels 'just one of those things'.
 

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Genetic disease is disease whose underlying basis is due to action of a gene or several genes acting to produce the defect. Genes in general are the biological code. This is something that can be followed looking at pedigrees and noting health conditions and CODs and testing results all of which require owners to publish on k9data and OFA. Breeders/competitors do hear of problems in lines, and we often know of them even if they are not published but that doesn't help the lay person much.
Congenital condition is a condition that may or may not be genetic in nature but was present at birth. Oftentimes a congenital condition is due to an insult to the fetus, physical or chemical, that happened at a critical time in development and might not have resulted in the condition had the insult happened a few days either way of the day it did happen. This sort of thing is not easily tracked down, since it too requires publishing and I believe a transitional vertebrae would of course be congenital but do not believe it is cancer causing. The GSD people do have lots and lots of TV and I do not think they have come upon what causes them. Typically (now I've read up on them) they have lumbar and sacral features and are very common. Here is what OFA says about them: "The most common type of transitional vertebrae in dogs is in the lumbo-sacral area where the last lumbar vertebral body takes on anatomic characteristics of the sacrum. Transitional vertebrae are usually not associated with clinical signs and the dog can be used in a breeding program." This is the NIH statement published: "We hypothesize that an LTV is not the result of transformation of a lumbar into a sacral vertebra or vice versa, but rather is an autonomous intermediate type of vertebra. It occurs when the point of contact of the pelvis with the vertebral column is slightly cranial or caudal to its normal position. "

No one implies they cause cancer. Certainly this is not something the breeder could have anticipated. I have no idea who the breeder is, but as a breeder, the tone of the post bothers me- mostly because no good breeder would deliberately cause a young cancer- or any cancer- and if your sister has purchased a total of 4 dogs from this breeder, it seems to me that she has a good relationship with her and almost certainly will be offered a new puppy and some relief from the vet bills. But once someone gets to the 'I am owed this because a law says so' that feeling of partnership in the life of the puppy will go out the window. When we get a new puppy, we are responsible for its care. To extend the breeder's responsibility for an entire year that the breeder has ZERO input on care and quality of life is to my mind excessive. And to blame a breeder for creating an anomaly, which is all the TV is, is really saying the breeder is God which we all know is inaccurate. I would assume the cancer was independent of the TV, and that the TV did not cause the cancer. It is very sad, yes, but it is almost certainly a coincidence.
 

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Gunner and Honey's Mom
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Wow, that is so sad. I feel so bad for your sister. CANCER SUCKS!
 

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Large breed dogs die of cancer, smaller breeds tend to die of metabolic diseases. It's a fact. The breeder is probably in shock, if your sister kept going back to her for multiple dogs, it's due to this woman being a caring breeder and I guarantee she's spent the past two days crying on and off and wondering why that little puppy she planned for, delivered and raised and loved for the first months of it's life had to die such an unfair death and why her valued puppy family is again heartbroken. Good breeders aren't in it for money, their hearts are involved. I know you're worried about your sister, but I hope you'll have some compassion for the breeder. It's one thing for a breeder to read about it happening to another breeder's puppy but a whole nother thing to have to deal with themselves. One of my dear friends was utterly devastated when one of the puppies she bred died of cancer at age 4 years. I was afraid she was going to stop breeding altogether. The majority of these people care more than you can possibly imagine. There is risk involved and we all know it. Any one who is serious about Goldens is well aware that there is a higher risk for cancer and that half die of it. Getting a Golden to age 10 without cancer is a win, your sister has actually, unfortunately, had a pretty average experience with Goldens.

I certainly wouldn't suggest this to your sister at this point, but I have to wonder if there is something environmental happening with her home, yard or the food she feeds to trigger these cancers in younger dogs. There is simply not a full understanding yet and what I've been reading lately really seems to indicate that it's a combination of genetic AND environmental issues that set up an individual dog for cancer. Simply over feeding your Golden appears to increase the risk (read the following articles I've linked)

https://www.prevention.com/health/healthy-living/extend-your-dogs-life

"Their conclusions have been remarkably uniform. The studies found that cancer incidence patterns among first-generation immigrants were nearly identical to those of their native country, but through subsequent generations, these patterns evolved to resemble those found in the United States. ”

This tells us that we should pay much more attention to diet, environmental issues, and lifestyle in our dogs."

https://www.dogcancerblog.com/blog/landmark-study-confirms-cancer-is-top-cause-of-dog-death/

I hope the breeder offers to give your sister a new puppy or part of her money back but I don't think it's remotely fair to blame the breeder for what happened to a living creature. There is inherent risk in owning a dog, sometimes our hearts are broken, it's the price we pay for loving them.
 

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I can tell that you and your sister are awfully traumatized by this unexpected very early cancer (I would be too), but I'm not sure how a breeder would ever be able to predict or know that would be the outcome for this puppy.

I even thought to myself - do you blame human parents for childhood cancers? No, you don't. It's the unfortunate cards that are dealt.

I don't believe that the breeder legally owes anything, but in good faith, and because your sister is a repeat and valued customer, I could see her offering her another puppy when her heart is ready for one. Not out of any obligation, but more from the goodness of her heart.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
10 month old died from cancer

Thanks for the replies. To respond to a few...

we are fanatical about what we feed, environment, etc. Only organic grain-free food, supplemented with organic fresh vegetables from my garden. Never any chemicals, pesticides, insecticides, --our homes are all organic. (I have collies and cats, too.)

I absolutely think this breeder cares about her dogs, no question. If we didn't, my sister wouldn't have gone back for 4 dogs.

The goldens are my sister's children. She would do anything for them, and you couldn't find a better home. My questions are related to the unfathomable death of a 10-month old and whether anyone else has had that experience. Pretty much everyone I've talked to (vets, trainers, collie people) have said this has to be genetic, so while I agree there must be some degree of bad luck, it certainly can be no fault of my sister's.

In terms of reimbursement, whether or not the law says she is due money, it seems to me that that is the ethical and fair outcome. No amount of money can bring back the puppy or even remotely help my sister's deep sadness. But she does not have an unlimited amount of money (not that that matters either). For her first golden, she spent about $30,000 on MRIs, radiation, etc. She drove 4 hours a day for 20 days to UC Davis for radiation (he had a brain tumor that the vets thought could be treated with radiation). For her second and third goldens (both died last year of hemangiosarcoma), she spent over $20,000 on surgeries and chemo, as well as holistic vets.

My sister is certainly not even thinking about money at this time. And she would never ask the breeder for anything. It's just that I have heard from so many dog people of different breeds that they hope the breeder reimburses her. That caused me to go online and learn about the California puppy lemon law.

I would have expected/hoped that my sister would have heard back from the breeder by now. Yes, of course she's grieving about the puppy she bred, but what about my sister's grieving? As each day goes by that my sister doesn't hear from her, my sister becomes sadder and more disappointed. (not expecting to hear about money, but to get a response about the whole situation) As you can imagine, she has received an outpouring of love and support from the vets, trainers, friends (100s of notes on facebook), but not the breeder?

I am still hoping the breeder responds and does the right thing (to me and the law) and offers compensation in recognition that this should not have happened.

Another question for you all--do you think the breeder should not breed those particular dogs again, at least not repeat that breeding? Also, should she advise the owners of the other puppies about this?

(Do note that I am not trying to cause problems for the breeder--I have specifically not listed her name or kennel name or the name of the stud dog and his kennel.)
 

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I do think she should tell the other puppy owners.
I know that I would.

Not sure what I think on the re-breeding- I know I personally would not repeat that breeding, but do not think I would throw the bitch out because she produced an early cancer...but we don't know what kind of cancer it was, we don't know if it was a rare cancer. It might be that when (and I hope she ordered one) the necropsy comes back, it is discovered this is a totally non-genetic cancer. Necropsies are only responsible in this situation. That will be several weeks away and the answers found in the necropsy will shed much more light.
I hope the breeder does touch base with your sister. She is probably not only suffering herself but also fearful that she will make your sister hurt even more by contacting her when it may be the first time in days she has not cried- it's hard to know when it is a good time to call if someone is grieving. I'd suggest that your sister call her, share the sadness. I once had a puppy who died from eating a mushroom- they went right to the ER, he still died.... I had such a hard time making myself call them back, after getting the message. Firstly he was only a few months old and very promising- and it truly caused me so much pain..and after a few days, I had to MAKE myself call them. Sometimes it is hard to call when you know the other end of the line will hold wailing and pain and sorrow and guilt. It was 3 years before I called and told them I had a great puppy for them. I had not promised them a puppy, and certainly, his eating mushrooms was not even remotely my fault- but as is true from the other perspective- they are not toasters than can be replaced at will, and sometimes the breeder might need to be in a financial position to be generous. I believe though that "Pretty much everyone I've talked to (vets, trainers, collie people) have said this has to be genetic, so while I agree there must be some degree of bad luck, it certainly can be no fault of my sister's." may or may not be true. We don't know and won't know ever- but we can guess if we have a necropsy to inform us. No vet can eyeball a tumor and be sure it is what they think it is.
 

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First of all, I am so sorry for all the hearts that have been broken because the loss of this dog.

I am very new to this world of breeding, and know the love and care that my family put into our first litter. We loved those puppies so much, if we got news like this, we would be in shock and everybody's hearts would be broken.

To most of us, breeding is not a business, it is a hobby. Rarely is there money to be made. In the past 10 days, I have spent almost $1000 in clearances for my dogs, if somebody was expecting me to reimburse them in anyway right now, it would be a while before I have the money to do it. This is what breeders do to lower the statistics of something hereditary happening, but it has no guarantees.

My breeder had a litter 14 years ago yesterday, two or three are still doing very well from that litter. She kept 2, one died of cancer 10 months ago, the other is still doing great. I think there was at least 4 of them that made it to 13. I also know one of them died at 6 of cancer. Who knows why? That is why they are doing the big GRF study, to see how much is environmental and / or hereditary. There is even some talk that the cancer gene was in one of the very first dogs that created the golden retriever, if that is so, then there is no way to avoid it, since all golden retrievers are related to that dog.

I have also been told that any cancer after 10 years old for a golden, GSD, or any dog of that size is considered "old age cancer". Sad, but reality.

Prayers going to your sister. I think if I was that breeder, I would offer a free puppy further down the road, if I had any plans on breeding another litter.
 
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A little bit off topic, but if your sister decides to open her heart to another golden in the future, I would encourage her to look into pet insurance. I KNOW that 60% of goldens will develop cancer, and I don't want to have to make health care decisions based on finances, and I also don't want to put myself into a financial hardship. I chose Healthy Paws which will cover 90% of Noah's bills if anything catastrophic happens (doesn't cover routine yearly exams, etc). There are many other highly rated insurers as well that you can find by doing a search here when that time comes.
 

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Cancer issues

I am a breeder. I bought my foundation dam from a friend (breeder) who had no cancer in her line (other than 1-2 instances of old age cancer at an advanced age); she has been breeding since 1995. In my very first litter, one of the pups died at 7 months from lymphoma. I was STUNNED, spent time crying (still hard to think about 3 yrs later); I have a littermate to this pup. I offered immediately money back or pup from next litter - their choice. What was especially horrible is that they had put down their old dog just before buying the pup - 2 dogs in less than a year. It was so upsetting for everyone; they chose full money back which was paid within the week.

Another pup from this first litter died at 23 months - again, devastating. How can this be? 2 pups from the same litter getting cancer??? They wanted and were given a pup to replace their beloved dog (I have not repeated that first breeding). They have a lovely female now (at no cost to them); it is too upsetting to have this happen to my beloved puppies at any age....

My dam's littermate (another female) passed at 3.5 years of age to cancer of the spleen. Another shocker! My friend/breeder gave the owner a new pup at 50% price.

My point is no one has any idea what is causing cancer. My dogs/puppies are given homemade organic ground chicken with supplements/vitamins that are recommended by my vet. I live on a farm with many animals; it is rare for any of us to be ill. Yes, I do believe there is a genetic component that is interacting with environmental components just as I believe this to be the same issue around autism. Latest studies show a possible issue on Chromosome 5 but there is nothing one can do at this time. I researched ALL data available for longevity on K9data before breeding and choosing dogs but obviously, that is not the "be all/end all" as not all data from every dog from every litter on that website.

As a breeder, it is devastating to know a much beloved pup has died - my heart breaks. I don't care what age; the family will be offered a free pup or money back. I have donated blood samples to various agencies researching cancer in Goldens from all my goldies and encourage puppy buyers to insure their dogs so that finances are not an issue if accident or illness occurs. it is now reported 66% of all goldens will have cancer and it is BIG topic in vet seminars and breeder groups. One seminar my vet went to called the Golden Retriever a "lost dog" that will be extinct in 100 years due to health issues. i will continue to love my girls as long as I can.
 
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