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Hi all
I am looking for an older puppy/ young adult (less than 2yr) and have come across a potential little guy from a reputable breeder. He is a year and a half and the breeder will have to regime him b/c eye exam showed a "very small cataract". Therefore she won't be breeding him. Two of the six siblings look to have cleared in eyes. My question is how serious is this? From what little I've read you really don't know. Could grow fast or lay dormant for years. Is this correct? What are the chances of me finding a more healthy similar age pup? I must assume that breeders will always regime an older pup for reasons that they can't breed. Would thus be one of the more desirable scenarios?
Thanks for any advice!
 

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Kate
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I think there are different types of cataracts...

If it is really serious, I believe you can have it removed. Another member on here (Dallas Gold) just had her dog's cataracts removed, so she might be able to give you an idea of the cost and recovery.

Our first golden had cataracts all his life... and they never bothered him and he could see fine. This was the golden who would always bring rabbits back if you sent him after them, and I do not believe he was as much a nose dog as my current guy is. And there were other instances like us "timing him" we would bob a treat three times before tossing. He would watch us bob the treat and always catch it in mid-air.

Possibly he had sight limitations at night or in the dark... but again it never caused problems.

Our collie has eye issues... possibly hereditary or caused by an injury (we adopted him, so we don't know). Not a cataract, but he has a "gem" on his eye which probably limits his vision just as much. This means that we do not walk him at night or in the dark. Otherwise, he is fine using his eyes.

**** Discuss with the breeder and ask if you can talk it over with the vet who diagnosed him.
 

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Faux Wanda
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If you are seriously considering this dog, ask if you can take him to your vet. Have the dog examined and ask the vet what this type of cataract means for this dog. Only a vet who has examined him can give you the answer you are looking for.
 

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the party's crashing us
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Would need more info. There are lots of different kinds of cataracts.
My older dog has "punctate cataracts - significance unknown" which are just very small cataracts, not inheritable and do not affect his vision. He has cleared CERF exams just fine and has been bred.
My younger dog (his son) was diagnosed with triangular/Y suture juvenile cataracts at a year which do NOT clear CERF and thus won't be bred. However the good news is it does not affect his vision (if it does, it is minor and he does not realize it) and should not progress further. It's quite possible the puppy you're looking at has something similar, if not the same juvenile cataracts, and it will not hurt him as a pet at all. Talk to the breeder and see what the deal is. Best of luck,
 

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Wyatt Earp
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I would recommend to take him to an eye specialist not a regular vet. My Cody had cataract surgery on both eyes. It is not cheap.
 

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If you are seriously considering this dog, ask if you can take him to your vet. Have the dog examined and ask the vet what this type of cataract means for this dog. Only a vet who has examined him can give you the answer you are looking for.
This would be excellent if the breeder would let you do this. Where are you at in NC? There's a veterinary ophthalmologist that we used to go to in Cary that has clinic hours in Wilmington too. He managed my bridge girl's eye issues and we really liked him. I agree with the others that it depends on the type of cataract.
 

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Thanks I figured I'd need more info and have put out the inquiry to the breeder. Here is the dogs name : Snowdrift Smooth Irish Cream On The Rox
I also noticed that parents don't have all clearances ESP heart. Is this possible that the breeder will have this info for me and that the k9data is simply incomplete? I've noticed ESP on older dogs data is incomplete (ie no death date for a dog born in the 80s). I've asked the breeder this pedigree question as well. Thanks, all!
 

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Thanks I figured I'd need more info and have put out the inquiry to the breeder. Here is the dogs name : Snowdrift Smooth Irish Cream On The Rox
I also noticed that parents don't have all clearances ESP heart. Is this possible that the breeder will have this info for me and that the k9data is simply incomplete? I've noticed ESP on older dogs data is incomplete (ie no death date for a dog born in the 80s). I've asked the breeder this pedigree question as well. Thanks, all!
You could always ask to have his heart examined by a cardiologist, at 15 months the problem that affects goldens "SAS" usually presents itself (very rarely does it show up later in life). At a health clinic this will run about $70 to $100. My guess at his age, he most likely has the juvenile cataracts (puppy cataracts), but you should ask, these are almost always harmless, but does prevent the dog from being bred. These are typically bilaterial, so if he only has one, it might be something different. If you do end up with him, you'll want to make yearly trips to the Opthamologist (as all goldens should be going anyways, because the risk of PU is everywhere).
 

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The ophthalmologist that I go to doesn't get excited about juvenile cataracts... They are not thought to progress to blindness.
 

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Faux Wanda
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Thanks I figured I'd need more info and have put out the inquiry to the breeder. Here is the dogs name : Snowdrift Smooth Irish Cream On The Rox
I also noticed that parents don't have all clearances ESP heart. Is this possible that the breeder will have this info for me and that the k9data is simply incomplete? I've noticed ESP on older dogs data is incomplete (ie no death date for a dog born in the 80s). I've asked the breeder this pedigree question as well. Thanks, all!

You are wise to do your homework before getting this or any dog. Getting the facts ahead of time can save you time, money and heartache in the future.
Most reputable breeders will be very forthcoming to you because they honestly want what is in the best interest of their dogs. They usually have a take back policy and really don't want to take back their dogs, so they try to do it right the first time. None of the breeders I know want to see their dogs coming back but they have that policy so that the dogs don't end up in rescue, shelters, or just left by the side of the road. This is just one of many signs that I look for in a good breeder. If she takes back her dogs, she gets a check mark. That being said, if she wants to place the dog in the right home the first time, she shouldn't have a problem with you taking the dog for an exam. If she doesn't know you, there may be some stipulations. For instance, if it were me, I would want to know the names and numbers of the vets that you would be seeing and I would call in advance to make sure that they knew you, recommended you, and had an appointment set up for the dog. (you might even have to leave your first born as collateral, but that is a whole other story);)

I agree that an ophthalmologist is the best place to start if the breeder agrees to it. If she does allow you to take him, consider taking him to the vet also, for a checkup. Tell the vet that you are thinking about getting this dog and want to know if he has any health issues that you should be aware of. The vet can listen to his heart and let you know if there is anything serious going on. The vet might also suggest blood work to rule out anything more serious. This would also be a great time for you to get to know the dog, to see if it is a good match. :D

Hope everything works out for you. Please keep posting and if you do get the dog, please post pics.
 

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You are wise to do your homework before getting this or any dog. Getting the facts ahead of time can save you time, money and heartache in the future.
Most reputable breeders will be very forthcoming to you because they honestly want what is in the best interest of their dogs. They usually have a take back policy and really don't want to take back their dogs, so they try to do it right the first time. None of the breeders I know want to see their dogs coming back but they have that policy so that the dogs don't end up in rescue, shelters, or just left by the side of the road. This is just one of many signs that I look for in a good breeder. If she takes back her dogs, she gets a check mark. That being said, if she wants to place the dog in the right home the first time, she shouldn't have a problem with you taking the dog for an exam. If she doesn't know you, there may be some stipulations. For instance, if it were me, I would want to know the names and numbers of the vets that you would be seeing and I would call in advance to make sure that they knew you, recommended you, and had an appointment set up for the dog. (you might even have to leave your first born as collateral, but that is a whole other story);)

I agree that an ophthalmologist is the best place to start if the breeder agrees to it. If she does allow you to take him, consider taking him to the vet also, for a checkup. Tell the vet that you are thinking about getting this dog and want to know if he has any health issues that you should be aware of. The vet can listen to his heart and let you know if there is anything serious going on. The vet might also suggest blood work to rule out anything more serious. This would also be a great time for you to get to know the dog, to see if it is a good match. :D

Hope everything works out for you. Please keep posting and if you do get the dog, please post pics.
If she is concerned about the heart, a GP can't necessarily tell if the dog has SAS (which can cause sudden death at a young age), so she really should see a cardiologist also, to get the all clear. Also ask if he has his OFA prelims, often breeders do these at year, to check how the hips and elbows are. By 15 months you can get a pretty good idea of how they are going to turn out by the time he is full grown. (although I don't do prelims, so its not always the case, but people do them pretty often.)
 

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If the cataracts are juvies or punctuate cataract-significance unknown, I wouldn't worry about it.

It is possible that eyes and hearts were done but not recorded in OFA. In that case, the breeder should have paperwork for you to see. There is a sticky thread on what clearances should look like. If the dogs were imports, some of their clearances may be from their home country. I'm not a big fan of that, once the dog has been moved to a new country to live, but it is what it is. Many other countries do not do all the clearances that are done in the US, so some of that information may simply not be available.

You could always ask to see his vet records, too.
 

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Faux Wanda
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If she is concerned about the heart, a GP can't necessarily tell if the dog has SAS (which can cause sudden death at a young age), so she really should see a cardiologist also, to get the all clear. Also ask if he has his OFA prelims, often breeders do these at year, to check how the hips and elbows are. By 15 months you can get a pretty good idea of how they are going to turn out by the time he is full grown. (although I don't do prelims, so its not always the case, but people do them pretty often.)
I am sure that I will be corrected if I am wrong, and I will check this just to confirm with my vet, but it has been my belief that if a dog has a heart murmur, detected by a vet, that it could be SAS and further testing needs to be done by a cardiologist. Not all murmurs are SAS, but the sign of SAS is a murmur which can be detected by a vet. My boy had a very slight heart murmur, detected by my vet, he went to a cardiologist for an echo and didn't have SAS so he cleared OFA. None of my other dogs have any murmurs. They have all been cleared by my vet, a cardiologist, and OFA and none of them needed an echo. So, my understanding is that a vet would be the first step to detecting SAS.
I also don't know if I would waste the money on a prelim for a dog that wasn't being bred. I don't even do it on my breeding dogs because I had a prelim done and come back good and then failed the OFA so I stopped doing prelims.
 

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If a dog has a heart murmur, then it can only be characterized by doing an echo. it is my understanding that if a dog has a murmur, you will only get an OFA clearance if the cardiologist does an echo.
 

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Faux Wanda
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If a dog has a heart murmur, then it can only be characterized by doing an echo. it is my understanding that if a dog has a murmur, you will only get an OFA clearance if the cardiologist does an echo.
Have you ever seen a dog with SAS and no heart murmur? Can the murmur be detected by a GP? Is it necessary for all dogs to see a cardiologist to be checked for SAS?
I will definitely be asking my vet these questions but am curious about the general consensus here. I know that the guidelines for getting a puppy here state heart tested by board certified cardiologist, but I have never understood why given what I previously posted that I believe to be true.

I am not trying to hijack the thread. Getting back on topic. Does he need to take the dog to a cardiologist or will a vet do?
 

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A vet may not always be able to detect a heart murmur, especially at the lower levels. Some are very good and can, but honestly I don't think they are in the majority. Probably no big deal for your average pet owner, but a huge one for a breeder.

And yes, I have heard frequently of vets missing heart murmurs, especially in the area of a Grade 1 or even 2.
 

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We adopted a 5 month old puppy with a congenital cataract. His ophthalmologist recommended a watch and wait approach. Even though one eye was basically blind you would never know it. We just knew that one day he might need cataract removal surgery. We planned for it financially by setting money aside, hoping we'd never need to use it for surgery.

When he turned 6 he developed a cataract (sorry, don't remember the type) in his other eye, discovered by our regular vet in a wellness exam. It was caught early and once again the ophthalmologist suggested a watch and wait approach. We noticed his vision was deteriorating about a year and a half later and at his six month check up, the ophthalmologist confirmed both cataracts were growing. We elected for double cataract surgery at that time. We are 6 months post-op and he was just released from six week follow up exams and full activities. We are now on a 6 month follow up schedule. His vision is OK now, but his depth perception is terrible, a common side effect of the surgery. It still beats blindness though. In our area, single cataract removal was about $2500, double $3500. The drops are priced from inexpensive to expensive. Right now we are on one drop that runs about $30 a bottle--and we use a bottle every 6 weeks or so.

Only you can decide if you want to have a special needs dog that may need daily drops and eventually surgery. We went in knowing it was always a possibility. Fortunately we are in a position now to afford his surgery, exams and drops. He's given us back a lot of love, enjoyment and a few gray hairs.:)
 

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I have never seen a dog with SAS that did not have a heart murmur. I have seen dogs greater than one year be diagnosed with SAS. There are "innocent" murmurs as well as physiologic murmurs. I have a dog with a physiologic murmur so determined with an echo. My husband has a physiologic heart murmur so determined by echo... the murmur is audible when he lays down and after exercise....
 

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And yes, regular practitioners can miss a murmur. Five years ago, I was set to breed to a dog with a practitioner heart clearance. When I saw that, I told my friends, that I would pay for a cardiologist clearance myself... anyway, they did it and he had a Grade II heart murmur. The cardiologist did an echo and all was fine. They gave me permission to speak to the cardiologist. The cardiologist acted like I had six heads... the dog was fine...


I don't so prelims either, #1 once they are my dogs, they are not going anywhere, #2 the hip clearances can go from prelim clear to vice versa.
 
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