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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello dog people!

I am new to the forums here, I have kept dogs in the past but never needed to ask a question on line! :)

We lost our 12 yr old Maltese to Congestive Heart Failure last year and have now decided to bring a puppy into our lives!

I did as much research as I could on a breeder of Morkies, (Maltese/Yorkshire Terrier mix) and picked out a puppy.

A few days before the puppy was ready to pick up at 10 weeks old, the breeder called and said one of the puppies was sick, he did not want to sell anyone a sick puppy and the pick up date was to be delayed.

It turns out the sick puppy, (not the puppy I chose) has distemper. This breeder has been very honest with me the entire time assuring all his puppies have had 2 distemper/parvo shots along with being wormed and he seems genuinely concerned. The other puppies show no signs of illness.

So my question is, is it safe to purchase one of the puppies in this litter, will this puppy develop distemper over time? What would you do in this situation?

Thank you!
 

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Honestly, while I do applaud their notifying you of the fact that they have distemper, even if they survive, I would NOT get a puppy from this litter, since it can cause long tern issues. Although at one time, before vaccines became routine for puppies, the fact that the litter was over distemper was a major selling point.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you LeoRose!

Yes, many breeders might have tried to sell sick puppies anyway, I do give this breeder this much credit. I have a feeling he may not even sell the remaining puppies knowing the possibilities.

I am sure the remaining puppies will be carriers of Distemper and it could pop up months down the road, there is just no telling.

We just buried our beloved 12 yr old Maltese, I don't think I can live through another death right now. So I think we are going to pass on this breeder/puppy.

Thank you so much for your input!! :)
 

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Sounds like you already made your decision! I want to chime in and say that one puppy in the litter having distemper does not necessarily mean all the other puppies have it. And if the puppies are negative, or positive and asymptomatic, and then continue with vaccinations and maturity... They won't suddenly have distemper or symptoms later in their life. It is different if a puppy has distemper, shows symptoms, and survives. In those cases you may see long term symptoms. The distemper vaccine is VERY effective, within hours, if the puppies are within the window that maternal antibodies drop off enough. Years ago they did crazy (and arguably unethical) studies to determine this. Think, putting litters of healthy puppies in a room contaminated with distemper. There are many reasons why one puppy in the litter would have it or show symptoms, while the others don't.

If I were in your shoes and everything else about this breeder checked out, what I would ask is that the breeder continue monitoring the other puppies and also ask if they will do multiple distemper tests. What I would want to see before purchasing is a record of 'my puppy' being asymptomatic and testing negative for distemper twice, consecutively, within a period of time determined by the vet.

I have experience working with distemper outbreaks and with people who communicate with the leading experts on this disease. Call it an occupational hazard.... But yeah, if distemper was a 'death sentence' then shelters would be euthanizing entire litters with every positive test. And that is no longer the only viable outcome. More anecdotal... I know a dog who was a distemper survivor and has a head tilt, but it's so mild that you would need to look for it to see it. And she is otherwise a completely normal dog. She's even gone on some crazy backpacking trips with her family. I know many more dogs who were either distemper positive but asymptomatic as puppies, or negative but came from a litter that had a positive. And they are entirely normal dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks everyone! I have decided to pass on this puppy, the breeder has returned my deposit.

Thanks again and have a fabulous day!
 
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