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What can a breeder be held responsible for?

1190 Views 9 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Ladysmom
This is not pertaining to my Chloe, thank goodness, but I am trying to get some opinions for a friend.

What if a dog is diagnosed with something non life threatening but certainly genetic such as luxating patella. How much is the breeder responsible? My friend was given a health gaurantee, one sentence written on her receipt that said, health guranteed for one year against anything life threatening. The guarantee was up two weeks prior to her dog being diagnosed with luxating patella, not that this would be considered life threatening anyway. This dog apparently has always skipped on her back leg while running, and my friend had no idea that it meant something was the matter, recently she started doing it more so she made an appt to have it checked out. Now an expensive surgery has to be done to keep the quality of her life. Shouldn't the breeder be responsible for some of this cost? Can anything legally be done if the breeder refused? As I said, the dog showed signs of this from the time she was brought home, the breeder would have known about it, wouldn't she have?

Please give me your opinions on this. My friend is calling the breeder on thursday to talk to her about it, she has not told the breeder about it yet as she wanted to do some research and think about what she should say first. What are your thoughts?
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I don't know much about a health guarantee at this point. But I think that if the breeder refuses to help with surgery expensive, she may be wasting more money by going to court. An attorney can be costly and what if she doesn't win her case.

I wish them well and hope her doggie is better soon.
Just my opinion here...if the guarantee was only for life threatening conditions then I don't think the LP surgery should be the breeder's responsibility. That is if there were no claims made, like my lines do have that problem, or I've bred that out of my dogs. I think it's fairly common for breeders not to cover LP in their contracts. Maybe one of the breeders can chime in here. Personally, I think that the breeder should be told of the problem.
The contract states life threathening health issues, this is clearly not so your friend shouldn't be expecting anything. I have heard people deal with much worse problems without receiving a cent from the breeder.
When we bought Scooby we also had the health guarantee, limited to life threatening conditions, but if we were concerned about anything that was a health issue the breeder was willing to take a pup back and refund the cost of the purchase only. Returning Scooby was never an option for us, we love him too much to part with him.
We found out that Scooby has a slight LP which would slip out if he did his little spin that they are so good at doing. We took him to the vet and she confirmed the LP and suggested a visit to a specailist for surgery. She also suggested anti inflams for a short period to see if he improved, which he did, but the problem did bother him on one more occasion so he was given another short course of anti-inflams. Since then I have had him on GF11 300 which is Glucosamine and Perna Mussels which is good for ligaments and he has had absolutely no further problems. This preparation is made by Drs. Foster&Smith and it is for small dogs with LP problems.
Perhaps your friend would like to try these first to see if it helps without the surgery. The web site for purchase is
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Thank you for your responses. What bothers my friend most is she thinks the breeder knew about it before selling her. So it's a moral issue. But I think you are all right. Just wanted to check what others opinions were.
I understand that in this case it was specifically stated "life threatening problems" in the contract and LPs are not life-threatening problems. But in general, should breeders be responsible for LP? I guess I feel obsessed with this topic -- but only because we spent so much $$ and had to put our baby through rough surgery for something that could have been prevented with careful breeding, right? I remember JMM mentioning that in larger breeds, hips and knees are OFA (?) certified. In fact, I think even if you look into newspapers for adds for puppies for sale (I know, that's not a place to get a puppy) the sellers often state that. I am not on a crusade or anything but since I will at some point be getting another puppy, I would love to know more about this.

And in case anyone is wondering...we didn't ask Miko's breeder for a dime. We were young and naive and bought Miko w/o research or any health contracts. So, I knew we had no case and didn't bother to even contact him.
the vet shoulda picked up the LPs at the initial exam and told ur friend...then your friend could have gone to the breeder to exchange the pup or get her money back. but like everyone says its not a life threatenting prob so i dont think the breeder is responsible for the costs. not all breeders know how to check..but all vets should. im not a vet yet and i can grade patellas with pretty good acuracy.
When we got chester and chesley from the breeder and did the check up with the Vet this was the first thing the warned us about with these two breeds they also informed us to look in to insurace as it could happen later in life. They also check for it as well.
I don't think the breeder should be reponsible for this happening one year after the fact and also our vet told us to make sure that we do not allow them to jump down from things which is very hard to do with chester he love jumping even off the floor.
What the health guarentee covers varies from breeder to breeder. A reputable breeder will often guarentee a puppy for its lifetime. An unscrupulous breeder basically takes the money and runs, so there is usually a very limited health guarentee like a few days or weeks.

Some states have "puppy lemon laws" which may cover certain diseases or hereditary illnesses. You can look up your state here:
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