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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 18130
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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I'm about to purchase a Shih Tzu puppy ( 7/8 weeks old)

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Hi...I'm about to purchase a Shih Tzu puppy ( 7/8 weeks old) ..the breeder has had a second vet check today on litter and they are fine with no hernias, however , they have some issues with their nose and eyes and have been told cannot be used for breeding.....when I questioned breeder 'what sort of problem?' Her answer was he may just need a op on his nose later on but pet insurance would cover the cost, but surely knowing he has slight problems would invalidate any insurance claim.....I've seen regular videos of the litter & mum and they are lovely looking chunky healthy looking pups, However,, I would like some impartial advice as to whether I should go ahead with the sale or walk away? ......thanks Lesley
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I understand that you are interested in purchasing a puppy and are concerned to hear that they have been deemed to have a problem by their veterinarian which should preclude them from being used as breeding dogs.You are correct that insurance will not cover a pre-existing known medical condition. The breeder's inability to be honest with you about what the exact problem is with these pups, and telling that insurance would cover the surgery when they likely won't cover a pre-existing problem would make me inclined to advise you to walk away from this. Shih tzus and other flat faced breeds are known for having a complex of issues that can make breathing more difficulty, called brachycephalic syndrome. These issues include an overlong soft palate, stenotic (small, closed in) nares, and parts of the larynx that evert out when breathing called everted laryngeal saccules. These problems may be able to be corrected with surgery, but surgery may not be inexpensive depending upon what needs to be done.Dogs that don't have these problems corrected surgically can suffer from exercise intolerance and easily suffer from heatstroke because they cannot breathe properly. Long term they can suffer from tracheal collapse and secondary heart disease from their struggle to exchange oxygen. If the abnormalities are corrected surgically the pup can have a normal life, but should not be used for breeding because they will pass on this predisposition to their progeny.Surgery is best done by a very experienced, board certified surgeon to have optimal results. Here is a link to a webpage that discusses brachycephalic syndrome if you'd like more information: the meantime I recommend making sure any pup with brachycephalic syndrome does not get overheated or exercise too strenuously. In short these pups may be fine pets, but I would not trust this breeder, and you may be setting yourself up for a fair bit of expense. It may be best to find another breeder.Best of luck with your decision, please let me know if you have any further questions.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
many thanks for your reply which has reassured me that I've made the right decision not to purchase this puppy, I do understand that this breed can have problems due to their flat noses so its important I have a puppy who starts with a clean bill of to get my £100 deposit back!
Wish me luck
I do wish you luck, but I think that you have good grounds to stand on as I suspect that you were buying a breeding quality pup, which is now no longer the case!