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Discussion Starter #1
I've owned 4 standard poodles from 3 different breeders and, until now, have never had reason to advise AGAINST a particular breeder. That changed this year when my youngest dog was diagnosed with a genetic bone deformity. Not only has the breeder refused any responsibility or involvement, he has now completely cut off all contact and abandoned my puppy and 2 others in the litter. He has very nice dogs and has a nice puppy rearing protocol, but you can only count on him when nothing goes wrong. Gladystar Standard Poodles, Saukville, WI. Buy from him at your own risk!
 

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Thanks for the warning. I am in Wisconsin, and if I ever consider a standard, I will make sure to avoid them. So sorry you are going through this.
 

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Wow, so sorry about this! I also would have thought this breeder looks excellent based on website. Awful that you are not getting their support. I'm curious, and if you don't mind, could you give the age of your dog and any other info about the bone issue?
 

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How awful. I'm so glad you are able to warn others but I wish you were getting the help you needed. (((HUGS)))

I also have to wonder - it's potentially two dogs to avoid - both the dam and the sire. So you know who the sire was?
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I have two dogs from this breeder and, until this problem, I would have sworn he's a great breeder. I would still be saying that if a problem hadn't occurred. He was concerned initially, but as the facts were discovered he quickly dug in and declared he'd done nothing wrong and owed his buyers nothing.
He's correct that he didn't do anything wrong. There is no test for this condition and both the dam and sire had been bred to other dogs before with no problems. This was just an unlucky pairing of two carrier dogs. The sire is a Valentine dog; he'll never be bred again. His owner is devastated.
The technical name is "bilateral angular front limb deformity". It can be caused by damaged growth plates or rapid growth in large breed puppies. When it's seen in multiple pups in the same litter it's almost certainly genetic. This litter is being studied at the Purdue Canine Genetics Research Lab, so hopefully they'll find markers and develop a test.
In these puppies, the ulna stopped growing prematurely. The radius continued to grow and became bowed and twisted. Their front legs are shorter than they should be; the radius sticks out laterally at the elbows and medially at the wrists (see picture). Sometimes early surgical intervention can correct it, but it wasn't discovered soon enough in these puppies. All were left furry and fluffy, so it just couldn't be seen. It was noticed in one of the conformation pups when her front feet started angling outward. All were diagnosed around 9 months of age. They are now 15 months old. All were purchased as performance dogs; two for conformation. Mine was purchased primarily as an agility dog. That dream is now gone. My dog was evaluated by two orthopedic surgeons and a sport/rehab vet. For now surgery isn't recommended, but I'll have to watch her for pain and lameness her entire life, and surgery could be in her future. She had signs of arthritis at 11 months.
I'm not blaming my breeder for her bone deformity. He couldn't have prevented or predicted it. But, once it was discovered he failed miserably to do the right thing. When I asked for a refund he accused me of trying to destroy the pure bred dog breeding community, suggested I'd subject my puppy to unnecessary surgery, and denied he'd sold me a dog for agility. (If you check his website you'll see he says all his puppies can be expected to excel at all performance sports.) I haven't heard from him since.
I've attached a pretty cringe-worthy picture of what her legs look like, one of her x-rays, and another picture that shows how cute she is. Crooked legs or not, she's a lovely little dog and we will just have to find things other than agility to do together.
 

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What a sweet looking girl!! It is devastating to know she already has arthritis and might be in more pain in the future. Poor baby :(
 

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It's heartbreaking to see the photos and knowing you had wanted to participate in agility. I hope they find the genetic loci so it can be tested.
 

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Thank you for the information! That is so heartbreaking. I hope they will be able to find a genetic marker for this. With three affected pups it's certainly definitely genetic, and the breeder should have stepped up.
 

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I was looking at this breeder 4 years ago because of their agility accomplishments. Breeder support is very high on my list of criteria. I particularly respect breeders that are open about health issues they’ve encountered with their breeding dogs and how they dealt with them. Thank you for sharing this.
 

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I am so sorry. It’s shameful the breeder couldn’t find those words and instead tried to berate you with that wild claim. I sincerely hope the genetic marker is found. I feel so badly for your poodle and the others affected in the litter.
 

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Oh dear. I have been reading along as this conversation has progressed. She looks like a lovely lively sprite. I am sorry it looks like she is going to have a hard life with arthritis. It is also unfortunate to have had to let go of the agility dream.



You are a good and kind soul to do all of the work you are doing to help advance research to understand the genetics of this condition. Since both sire and dam have been bred to other dogs with no apparently affected pups it sounds like it is probably an autosomal recessive pattern of inheritance. Each parent should have one copy of the disease allele and the affected pups should each show two copies of that allele.
 

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He's correct that he didn't do anything wrong. There is no test for this condition and both the dam and sire had been bred to other dogs before with no problems. This was just an unlucky pairing of two carrier dogs. ............

I'm not blaming my breeder for her bone deformity. He couldn't have prevented or predicted it.

But, once it was discovered he failed miserably to do the right thing. When I asked for a refund he accused me of trying to destroy the pure bred dog breeding community, suggested I'd subject my puppy to unnecessary surgery, and denied he'd sold me a dog for agility.

(If you check his website you'll see he says all his puppies can be expected to excel at all performance sports.) I haven't heard from him since.
This is appalling. Any excellent breeder needs to be able to honor their promises. Even if it wasn't his fault, he needs to refund any purchaser of a dog that did not meet his promises.

Your dog is so lucky to have you as a loving owner, regardless.

Thank you for letting us know !
 

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Oh the poor baby. Did you report the breeder? Does anyone care?

I went through the same thing with Doris Grant, a completely unethical breeder in Canada who brokered Ricky from Florida. When he needed surgery for luxating patella at 6 months, and I had already paid for the surgery, she 'kindly' offered to take him back.

My poodle before Ricky came from a puppy mill 'breeder' sanctioned by the AKC. She was ultimately sanctioned by them for a few months, but was not banned.

Unethical breeders should be banned from the profession. I guess no one in charge really cares.
 

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A different point of view...

I have two dogs from this breeder and, until this problem, I would have sworn he's a great breeder. I would still be saying that if a problem hadn't occurred. He was concerned initially, but as the facts were discovered he quickly dug in and declared he'd done nothing wrong and owed his buyers nothing.
He's correct that he didn't do anything wrong. There is no test for this condition and both the dam and sire had been bred to other dogs before with no problems. This was just an unlucky pairing of two carrier dogs. The sire is a Valentine dog; he'll never be bred again. His owner is devastated.
The technical name is "bilateral angular front limb deformity". It can be caused by damaged growth plates or rapid growth in large breed puppies. When it's seen in multiple pups in the same litter it's almost certainly genetic. This litter is being studied at the Purdue Canine Genetics Research Lab, so hopefully they'll find markers and develop a test.
In these puppies, the ulna stopped growing prematurely. The radius continued to grow and became bowed and twisted. Their front legs are shorter than they should be; the radius sticks out laterally at the elbows and medially at the wrists (see picture). Sometimes early surgical intervention can correct it, but it wasn't discovered soon enough in these puppies. All were left furry and fluffy, so it just couldn't be seen. It was noticed in one of the conformation pups when her front feet started angling outward. All were diagnosed around 9 months of age. They are now 15 months old. All were purchased as performance dogs; two for conformation. Mine was purchased primarily as an agility dog. That dream is now gone. My dog was evaluated by two orthopedic surgeons and a sport/rehab vet. For now surgery isn't recommended, but I'll have to watch her for pain and lameness her entire life, and surgery could be in her future. She had signs of arthritis at 11 months.
I'm not blaming my breeder for her bone deformity. He couldn't have prevented or predicted it. But, once it was discovered he failed miserably to do the right thing. When I asked for a refund he accused me of trying to destroy the pure bred dog breeding community, suggested I'd subject my puppy to unnecessary surgery, and denied he'd sold me a dog for agility. (If you check his website you'll see he says all his puppies can be expected to excel at all performance sports.) I haven't heard from him since.
I've attached a pretty cringe-worthy picture of what her legs look like, one of her x-rays, and another picture that shows how cute she is. Crooked legs or not, she's a lovely little dog and we will just have to find things other than agility to do together.
Deb -- I am so sorry for the devastating loss of your dreams of doing agility with your dog, and for the need to deal with what sounds like life-long mobility problems and possible surgery in the future. What a huge disappointment.

But I'm not in agreement with you and others on this forum about the breeder's responsibility. You say quite clearly that the breeder did not know and could not have known about this problem. Whenever someone buys a dog, there is a risk of illness -- genetic illness and other illness. Things sometimes go wrong. So the question is, whose responsibility is it if things go wrong?

If you have a contract where the breeder specifically guarantees that there will be no genetic illnesses, then of course the breeder would have to compensate you in whatever way that the contract specifies. But if there is no such clause in the contract, then I really don't feel that it is up to the breeder to pay. (Sorry to disagree with you on this.) It sounds to me like the breeder is taking responsible steps to have the issues studied and to not breed the sire again (and I assume that the dam will likewise not be bred again?). I think we need to hold breeders responsible for testing for things that can be tested, and for knowing the general health of the lines they are breeding. But holding them responsible for something that they did not know and could not have known seems like it is going too far.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
peppersb, I appreciate your view point, and I can't say I completely disagree. The contract has a genetic disease clause for a couple specific conditions. This condition wasn't named, probably because it was a completely unexpected problem. I asked my breeder to consider a refund as an extension of this genetic clause. I would have accepted a partial refund, especially since I made it clear I wanted to keep the puppy. I also made it clear I would be responsible for her past and future medical bills. I would have accepted anything to help mitigate my expenses. This wasn't intentional and caught all of us completely off-guard. But, whether it's in the contract or not, how fair is it for the breeder to keep 100% of what I paid for this dog that was sold for an understood purpose, and leave me to bear all of the financial consequences? Whether it's in the contract or not, a truly caring and responsible breeder would have made some effort to at least share the loss. Instead he lied, accused me of ridiculous things, and lectured me on the costs of breeding dogs.
Also, the breeder had nothing to do with the research into this litter. I initiated that. The breeder and owner of the stud are cooperating by sending samples. I'm quite sure the sire won't be bred again. I'm not at all sure about the dam (owned by the breeder). His attitude thus far leaves me with little confidence in him or his judgement.
Thanks for your comments.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Update: I've had another email from this breeder. There won't be any resolution to our difference of opinion and our future lack of communication will be mutual. He is technically following the terms of our contract and he believes that's all he needs to do. He did offer to take my puppy back at 9 months and replace her with another puppy. I was pretty attached to her by then and didn't want to do that. I had hoped we might find some compromise. He disagrees, so nothing will change.
I know there are breeders out there who either have more inclusive health guarantees or will go beyond their stated health guarantee when things go terribly wrong. This experience has taught me that things CAN go wrong and to read the contract with that in mind. With my next puppy I'll look for a breeder who will, either through policy or ethics, do what they can to help offset the losses of their buyer.
 

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This makes me feel so sad. That you are willing to still love and keep your dog, and yet he will only take the pup back at 9 months? If you were to return your pup, what would he do with her? I almost hate to ask.

I am so disturbed by this that I am willing to send the thread to my breeder to see what their opinion is. I really want to know what they might do in this situation.

Is this an ok thing to do per the guidelines of Poodleforum, and of the posters and thread originator here?
 

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...This was just an unlucky pairing of two carrier dogs. The sire is a Valentine dog; he'll never be bred again. His owner is devastated... The technical name is "bilateral angular front limb deformity"... This litter is being studied at the Purdue Canine Genetics Research Lab, so hopefully they'll find markers and develop a test...
...Since both sire and dam have been bred to other dogs with no apparently affected pups it sounds like it is probably an autosomal recessive pattern of inheritance. Each parent should have one copy of the disease allele and the affected pups should each show two copies of that allele.

...If you have a contract where the breeder specifically guarantees that there will be no genetic illnesses, then of course the breeder would have to compensate you in whatever way that the contract specifies...

I think we need to hold breeders responsible for testing for things that can be tested, and for knowing the general health of the lines they are breeding. But holding them responsible for something that they did not know and could not have known seems like it is going too far.
... I asked my breeder to consider a refund as an extension of this genetic clause. I would have accepted a partial refund, especially since I made it clear I wanted to keep the puppy. I also made it clear I would be responsible for her past and future medical bills. I would have accepted anything to help mitigate my expenses...
Today: He is technically following the terms of our contract and he believes that's all he needs to do. He did offer to take my puppy back at 9 months and replace her with another puppy. I was pretty attached to her by then and didn't want to do that. I had hoped we might find some compromise.
I find this situation interesting especially from a communication and legal standpoint.

The first thing that strikes me is this: If for example your puppy cost $2K, and the breeder was willing to swap it for another one of equal cost, then the breeder would have been out of $2K either way. Chances are, the breeder could not ever resell your dog for anything close to the original price. It would likely be rehomed for close to free.

A smarter solution, I think, is if the breeder had offered to refund your money and you get to keep your dog. Why he/she didn't think of this, I don't know.

The smartest solution, however, would have been if the breeder offered you the partial refund you asked for to offset medical costs. This would be much less expensive than giving you replacement pup which he could sell for full price.

I wonder if Gladystar had an overly cautious attorney advising them to not give you a partial refund to offset medical costs as this could be interpreted as knowingly selling you a defective puppy.

If so, that can be remedied by having a short contract drawn up stating that the partial refund in no way implies nor burdens the breeder of past, present, or future medical liability. It may be worth your time to make one last attempt communicating with him. I would draw up a simple contract stating this, with a short, non-emotional letter explaining that rather than doing the puppy replacement that he suggested, you will accept partial refund would be more financially advantageous to him.

Per the contract, he is in no way obligated to respond; he has done is due diligence. He also offered you another pup, and is contributing to the DNA Purdue project. These are positives and to me, a sign of a good breeder. So presented this way and to put the matter at rest, he might accept, so allow for some time for him to think it over. I'd also mail it certified with receipt.

Lastly, see if your dog can be part of the Purdue study if not already in enrolled. While your puppy sadly has this genetic condition, you love her and what her DNA contributes to science may turn out to be invaluable, making her a winner in a very unexpected way. Good luck.
 
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