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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm in bad need of advice. Bailey is one year old.
She started limping on one of her back legs and won't put any weight on it MOST of the time. At other times, she runs almost fine.

We checked the obvious - nails, pads, skin, etc. and found nothing. We thought maybe she got bit or pulled a muscle and waited to see if it got better. About 3 weeks and she's about the same - not better or worse.

Took her to the vet today and they said she has a Luxating Patella. From what I understand (I will research more) this is not an injury, but that the kneecap doesn't slide properly, and probably never has worked correctly and has worn a groove and now is dislocated and will continue to not stay in the 'channel'. They recommend we go see a specialist to have surgery done. They said ballpark cost would be about $1500 - $2000. I don't know if that includes everything or just the surgery - and maybe hospitalization, xrays, followup, therapy etc may be extra.

We are both heart broke and sickened and don't know what to do.
ANY ADVICE PLEASE?

Also, not sure about what the breeder should or would do. There was a health guarantee when we bought her. I don't know if we can keep the dog and expect the breeder to refund our money to go towards the cost of the surgery. Any breeders PLEASE advise what you would do in this situation as well as any owners what you would do if this were your pet.

We live about 30 miles from Athens, GA (UGA) and are told there are excellent 'vet surgeons' in that area. UGA also has a Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Today's bill alone was $210 for xrays and office visit and some pain pills.

There is a line somewhere that you just say that is too much money to spend on a pet. I don't know where you draw the line though.

Obviously, we love our dog, and if money were no issue we would have the surgery. However, as with most people, money is an issue at some point. If say $500 would fix her up - we'd have no mental debate going on.
 

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Gosh, hard to say what you should do. What will her life be like without the surgery?? I'm an emotional sucker. I paid $1500 dollars or so to keep my last dog alive for a few additional weeks . . . hopefully, some of the breeders can advise you on what they would do if she had of been one of their pups.
 

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ZMan I'm so sorry to hear about Bailey!

I am not a breeder but I would contact the breeder. We had a chocolate lab that blew out both of her knees (ACL on one and ACL and PCL on the other) before she was a year old. We opted for the surgeries. The vet let us pay on time so we went ahead.

K.C. was a gift to our kids by my sister, knowing that the surgery would fix the problem and the fact she was so young, we decided it was worth the money she was a wonderful dog. We have no regrets having spent the money. I would ask for a break down of what the $1500-$2000 includes.

When she died we lovingly called her the $10,000 dog. Between my sister and my husband and I, we figure that's about what we spent. Including treatment for a fungal infection that killed her. It was worth every penny to us.

I will keep Bailey and your family in my thoughts and prayers.
 

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i am going to keep you and bailey in our daily thoughts and prayers

please keep us updated...and have you also considered a 2nd opinion at all.

I will hope for the best.
 

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Zman, I am so very sorry. It is such a heart wrenching decision you are making...I don't recall if you ever told us who your breeder is and if you did I don't remember...and, frankly, I don't want to know...I am going to say what I would do and what many other breeders would do...but I will advise you to first of all check your contract for a genetic health warranty and see what it says because that is your answer.
Your breeder is only obligated (legally) to do what you and they contracted to do...
Since this is a genetic disease, and since most breeders do test their breeding stock for patellas when the hips are tested, your breeder might have some insight. But it is not a required test, so if your breeder did not test for patellas, they need to know to immediately take the parent dogs out of their program and to notify all of the puppy owners from that breeding pair so that they can be tested before it gets as bad as it is for Bailey. They need to do this whether or not they are covering Bailey in their contract.
Now, if they do cover inherited disease or incidents, the contract will determine what has to take place in order to get the benefit of your contract. Also look at the term of your contract for the time frame...some are for a year, others more.
I do not require that the puppy be returned to me, but I will take the puppy back and find a home willing to accept the expenses if the owner wants me to do so. Other breeders don't want the puppy back and actually REQUIRE euthinasia...which I think is obscene. (Not the decision to put the dog to sleep, because that is very personal...but to require it to be a condition of refund is obscene to me.)
I would refund the cost of treatment up to the cost of the dog. So, if you paid $2000 for a puppy and the operation was $1500, I'd refund $1500. If it was $2500, I'd refund $2000.
If you wanted to return the puppy to me and get another puppy from totally different lines, I would allow that too.
The problem you have (and almost all owners would have) is that you love Bailey. Returning her at this point and getting a new puppy is an option, but may not be one you would want...still, it is better than putting Bailey to sleep, in my opinion. Again, your breeder should be able to find a good home with people who could afford her care...or the rehome sites can also help.
If you decide that you can not afford the operation and if your breeder doesn't help you, please contact the IDOG.biz site and ask the rescue people to help you rehome her.
Again, I am so very sorry...I will keep your family and sweet Bailey in my best thoughts and in my prayers.
If you would like, please PM me and I can give you more information or ideas.
 

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When my Kia kept getting urinary tract infections, I took in a urine sample and the vet didn't like the color so she suggested a bile acid test. Turns out (after many tests and trips to 2 vets) that she has a congenital liver shunt that prevents her blood from going into the liver for detoxification. (It's called an extrahepatic portosystemic shunt). A trip to UF College of Vet Medicine in Gainesville and a surgery (cut open from chest to belly and 30 staples or so) showed they could not correct the problem but they put her on "medical management" with special food and antibiotics. This was when she was 9 months old and I am happy to say she is 19 months and doing remarkably well. She goes back every 6 months for tests and adjustments in her meds and the staff there marvel at how well she is doing. You would never know she has any disorder - she is one crazy doodle!

My point is that for me, there is no fine line in my responsibility as a pet owner to do whatever I can for their health. I understand money is the issue but I cringe at the thought of what would have been her fate had I stopped treatment after a certain amount had been spent and not taken her to Gainesville. We celebrate Kia every day - we call her our "miracle dog" - and because of perseverance she (hopefully) will live a happy and healthy LONG life. Good Luck.
 

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My heart goes out to you and Bailey. I would definately contact your breeder. If he/she is a reputable breeder they will refund the cost of your dog and you can apply that towards treatment. Good luck and God Bless :!:
 

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Dittos here, Zman.....if I were your breeder I would want to know, and don't forget...that breeder could produce more puppies with patella problems and NOT KNOW they are doing it! So that would be a big reason to go ahead and contact your breeder. Not to mention, if they are an ethical breeder they care about their reputation AND their puppies.

There is a second issue that I bring up gently, but sincerely: There is a reality to being a good consumer when it comes to your vet and the charges they want, and the tests/fees they order. I do a happy dance when I go to my vet...and I've been to the vet A LOT lately, with Jasmine, breeding AI processes, and other stuff.....but my vet, I'm blessed to say, is one of the most reasonably-priced offices I've ever seen, in 3 states!
I drive about 30-40 min, so this isn't exactly pain-free, but I get a reasonable price, and my dogs get really good, practical care. I would recommend EVERYONE consider being a consumer and talking to at least two vets, and talk to other people, with dogs, when choosing a vet or two.

I'm with Jacque, I'd be talking to you about financial aid for you and your dog's care. I hope you get some help from your breeder!

Hugs to Bailey....
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
UPDATE

UPDATE -
Spoke with the breeder today. She seemed very willing to cooperate and work with us on this.

She will refund what we paid for Bailey to go towards the surgery. But there are some stipulations which seem fair to us. She requires that we take Bailey to her vet for a second opinion. This exam will be paid for by the breeder, including any xrays her vet wants to take, if any. I told her that I would go by our vets and pick up the xrays and take them with me so maybe they won't have to do more xrays and the breeder be stuck with the cost.

So, we have an appointment to see her vet tomorrow am.

Our vet did xrays of the leg and knee. She also did xrays of the hips. Good news is that she sees no signs of Hip Dysplasia. We haven't seen any symptoms of that, but have had it in the back of our heads. We went to a breeder that was in a rural area and got our puppy for a much cheaper price than the $2000 that breeders want in this area. This is a reputable breeder, but in a more remote location. I don't think the price is why Bailey has the knee problem as this is a rare instance in large breed dogs.

So, we have our spirits a little higher that the breeder seems willing to work with us.

Assuming that this vet will concur that surgery is needed, we scheduled a tentative appointment with an ortho surgeon that our vet referred us to at UGA Vet Hospital. Of course, that could be changed if anything wild comes out of tomorrow's appointment. I suspect that her vet will more or less simply confirm our vets findings.

Our vet says that she would classify Bailey's Luxating Patella as a Grade 3. There are 4 grades, with 1 being the mildest and 4 being the worst. So, it doesn't sound as if this a borderline case.

Also, the UGA Vet Hospital accepts a program called Care Credit. Does anybody have any experience with them? Basically, it's like a credit card for health care treatments for humans or animals. You can use it and pay back over 18 months interest-free or over a longer period for an 11.9 interest rate. I've looked at their website and will do more research on that.

Thanks for all of you comments, thoughts and prayers.

Keep praying and wishing us luck for tomorrow and beyond.
 

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I'm happy to hear the breeder is working with you.

Cali and I send best wishes for tomorrow and for a good outcome.
 

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Prayers still being said and THAT really is good news the breeder is working with you :D

keep us updated when you find out more...and thanks
 

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Prayers from Kansas, good luck :)
 

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Sending prayers and good wishes to you and Bailey for the best possible outcome today! Keep us posted! :D :D
 
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