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I purchased Chloe, a five month old 4 pound Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy advertised on puppyfind.com website from "enchanted babies by lisa" an online breeder in Indiana (enchantedbabies.com). The puppy was shipped to me with a cough. When cleaning out the carrier I found a syringe of meds taped to the bottom of the carrier. When I contacted the breeder she told me that it was a doxycycline combined antibiotic for Chloe's "cold" and it was just a little cough. I was sent a health record showing a series of four vaccinations. From the moment I got her, people told me the puppy looked tired and sad. She had coccidiosis and was treated for it. The cough never went away despite veterinary care. I stayed up with her nights with the coughing. Eventually she had clear fluid from her nose and eyes. She had pustules on her abdomen. She was diagnosed with a grade 2 heart murmur and arrhythmia. Even so she had a period where she seemed to get better for a while in the midst of all this. Then she developed pneumonia. She had a tracheal wash which showed she had 3 bacteria including E. coli. She was being nebulized daily. Distemper was suspected but she had had 4 vaccinations so how could it be that. Finally just before she died she had hyperkeratosis (hard nose and pads). Her breathing became more and more labored over her last two days. Just before she died she wagged her tail and gave me a little lick on the face. She was 9 months. She died May 1, 4 1/2 months after I purchased her and the autopsy shows she had distemper. She tried so hard and she was so sweet through out this terrible ordeal. She had splayed hind legs that were so funny and endearing. I am heartbroken and devastated. I called the office of the vet who signed the health certificate but he only vaccinated a cavalier puppy for rabies and did not see a puppy with a cough or wouldn't have signed a health certificate. I contacted the breeder to find out the name of the veterinarian who attended to the cough and gave the meds and the name of the vet who gave the vaccinations as there is no vet listed on the health record. I want to talk to Chloe's vet to see what could have gone wrong with the vaccinations. So far the breeder has not been able to provide this information but she has her own troubles with an illness in the family again. The breeder says she has never had a a dog with a virus and it is impossible for a dog to get distemper and die months later. In 50 years living in the same place with lots of dogs over the years I have never had one with distemper. It is so baffling but I have been told that while distemper often runs quickly as an acute disease it can linger some months. I read a study which states hyperkeratosis of the footpad has been reported to occur around 1 to 10 weeks after onset of clinical signs or exposure. I don't understand how a puppy who was vaccinated with a series of four vaccinations could contract distemper. What was the cough she arrived with that never would go away despite all kinds of antibiotics? Was it part of the distemper or another illness altogether? I am sick with worry about how this could have happened and about all the pups she played with or came into contact with. One pup she was in contact with has a cough and as a precaution blood has been taken to test the titers. I am praying my puppy did not infect others. And why did she have to suffer needlessly? If anyone has any input or advice I would really appreciate it and thank you.
 

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I am so sorry for your loss.

Distemper CAN take a long time to kill a puppy and vaccines provide some protection but are NOT foolproof, it is also very likely that the pup had been exposed early in the vaccination protocol before her immune system could "take" the vaccine properly.

I'm curious to know if the vials of medicine that were in the kennel had a dispensing label on them to show where they came from.
I would certainly speak to a lawyer about this purchase. If you were not made aware of the "cough" before she was sent to you then you may have protection under a lemon law in your state.

And yes, I'm afraid that buying from online sites like this is not the best way to purchase a pup. I'm sorry that you, and your pup, had to learn this the hard way.
 

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I am so sorry that you lost your puppy to distemper. I lost a pup to distemper not too long ago. It was a totally different set of circumstances as mine was a stray that I took in and I only had him a week before he started showing symptoms but we fell in love with him instantly and it broke our hearts nonetheless.

It's a horrible thing to watch a puppy suffer needlessly from such a terrible disease, and I am so sorry that you and Chloe had to go through that.

I am not a supporter of puppy mills or obtaining puppies through less than reputable breeders OR by receiving a puppy through shipment; however, regardless of how you obtained your Chloe, your feelings for her were very real, and her pain and suffering were very real, and it was all something that neither of you should have had to endure. And for that I am very sorry.

I do agree that the distemper quite possibly was incubating and weakened Chloe's immune system before the vaccines could take hold and build the antibodies necessary to fight it, and therefore resulted in a compromised immune system that was unable to adequately fight off any infection, since you named so many illnesses that she got during her short life.

Again, I am so sorry for your loss. It's very little consolation, I'm sure, but as Cracker said, it may be worth pursuing the lemon law in your state and the state where Chloe was purchased to at least recoup some of your monetary loss. Even if you don't care about the money, taking it back from the breeder will be some sort of punishment to them for doing you wrong, and if you don't care about the money, you can donate it to helping shelter dogs or to animal disease research to help find cures for deadly diseases such as parvo and distemper. And I certainly don't mean to make assumptions about whether or not the money means anything to you, it's just that in many cases that's the least of people's worries when they've lost a loved one, be it human or animal.

Best wishes to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I am so sorry for your loss.

Distemper CAN take a long time to kill a puppy and vaccines provide some protection but are NOT foolproof, it is also very likely that the pup had been exposed early in the vaccination protocol before her immune system could "take" the vaccine properly.

I'm curious to know if the vials of medicine that were in the kennel had a dispensing label on them to show where they came from.
I would certainly speak to a lawyer about this purchase. If you were not made aware of the "cough" before she was sent to you then you may have protection under a lemon law in your state.

And yes, I'm afraid that buying from online sites like this is not the best way to purchase a pup. I'm sorry that you, and your pup, had to learn this the hard way.
Thank you so much for your reply and advice about distemper. So it can take a long time.

Unfortunately the syringe of meds had no label on it.

I did realize this was not the best way to get a puppy but I live on a small island and hardly ever leave so it was the only way for me to get a cavalier which I really wanted. I rescue animals of all kinds. Most of my dogs have been dogs I have rescued and never one case of distemper. I live in a pretty isolated situation so it was a shock to me to find out the puppy had distemper.
 

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I am so sorry that you lost your puppy to distemper. I lost a pup to distemper not too long ago. It was a totally different set of circumstances as mine was a stray that I took in and I only had him a week before he started showing symptoms but we fell in love with him instantly and it broke our hearts nonetheless.

It's a horrible thing to watch a puppy suffer needlessly from such a terrible disease, and I am so sorry that you and Chloe had to go through that.

I am not a supporter of puppy mills or obtaining puppies through less than reputable breeders OR by receiving a puppy through shipment; however, regardless of how you obtained your Chloe, your feelings for her were very real, and her pain and suffering were very real, and it was all something that neither of you should have had to endure. And for that I am very sorry.

I do agree that the distemper quite possibly was incubating and weakened Chloe's immune system before the vaccines could take hold and build the antibodies necessary to fight it, and therefore resulted in a compromised immune system that was unable to adequately fight off any infection, since you named so many illnesses that she got during her short life.

Again, I am so sorry for your loss. It's very little consolation, I'm sure, but as Cracker said, it may be worth pursuing the lemon law in your state and the state where Chloe was purchased to at least recoup some of your monetary loss. Even if you don't care about the money, taking it back from the breeder will be some sort of punishment to them for doing you wrong, and if you don't care about the money, you can donate it to helping shelter dogs or to animal disease research to help find cures for deadly diseases such as parvo and distemper. And I certainly don't mean to make assumptions about whether or not the money means anything to you, it's just that in many cases that's the least of people's worries when they've lost a loved one, be it human or animal.

Best wishes to you.
Thank you so much for your advice. It certainly is a help. I am very sorry for your loss as well. It is a horrible disease. I did not want to get a puppy this way but I had wanted a Cavalier ever since loosing my favorite dog (small rescue) to heart disease. I wanted another little dog and I did try shelters and rescues first. But I live far away from anywhere and so any dog rescued or not had to be shipped. All the dogs available where I live are larger dogs. So a friend kindly made it possible for me to buy this dog. I have rescued animals of all kinds most of my life. Not one of the many dogs I have rescued over the years has had distemper and I have rescued dogs in terrible conditions. So this was a shock to me. I take care of quite a lot of animals in my area. I go through 20 pounds cat food and 50 pounds dog food every three days not including canned food. Then there is the feed for all the other animals including pigs horses. I try to get all animals in my area neutered. I trap and release feral cats and feed them as well. I work closely with the humane society.
 

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I am glad you have learned why not to buy from puppy mills
I did try shelters and rescues before getting this puppy but there was the adoption process from long distance and no shipping. I have rescued animals of all kinds most of my life and all my many dogs for the past thirty years all rescues and never one case of distemper or parvo. I wanted a Cavalier and cannot travel so a friend found this, I don't think breeder is a puppy mill. But I do think any one who breeds animals in this day and age is probably doing it for the money.
 

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But I do think any one who breeds animals in this day and age is probably doing it for the money.
Although very sorry for your loss, I do have to disagree with the above statement. Responsible breeders care about their breed. They have their dogs health tested for congenital issues the breed can suffer, so that it isn't perpetuated.

There are good breeders and bad breeders. If not a puppy mill, I would say your breeder was a backyard breeder at best. Selling pups online and accepting payments via paypal is a huge flag. Shipping a sick pup off with meds taped to a carrier, no mention of health testing on her site (a health certificate isn't health testing), selling a pup with structural issues (if the pup had splayed legs), not to mention several glaring spelling issues on her site. Bad spelling is not the end of the world, but not a great way to make yourself come off as professional.

If you want a Cavalier pup, there are ways to get into contact with responsible breeders. Start by contacting the breed club, and someone can likely point you in the direction of a responsible breeder.
 

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Although very sorry for your loss, I do have to disagree with the above statement. Responsible breeders care about their breed. They have their dogs health tested for congenital issues the breed can suffer, so that it isn't perpetuated.

There are good breeders and bad breeders. If not a puppy mill, I would say your breeder was a backyard breeder at best. Selling pups online and accepting payments via paypal is a huge flag. Shipping a sick pup off with meds taped to a carrier, no mention of health testing on her site (a health certificate isn't health testing), selling a pup with structural issues (if the pup had splayed legs), not to mention several glaring spelling issues on her site. Bad spelling is not the end of the world, but not a great way to make yourself come off as professional.

If you want a Cavalier pup, there are ways to get into contact with responsible breeders. Start by contacting the breed club, and someone can likely point you in the direction of a responsible breeder.
Yes you are right and I am sorry for the general statement. I had been thinking about it all morning and meaning to clarify it. Certainly there are breeders who breed to improve the breed and breed out health issues their particular breed is prone too. They would be careful who buys their dogs and be certain the dog is not breed. But I feel that the majority of breeders people buy dogs from are not trying to improve the breed. I had never bought a dog before this and I doubt I will ever again.
 

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I am sorry for your loss and I know it might not even be about the monitary loss in the end BUT I would pursue actions against the breeder AND the site for the money you had to spend trying to save your puppy for 4 1/2 months. I can't even imagine how much that all cost. Depending where you are (as you said you live on an island BUT it would be HUGLY helpful to me if you could give a location even in a private message to me if you prefer so I can post your local consolidated dog laws) there are consumer protection acts of one kind or another. Several states in the US have (like cracker mentioned) the "puppy Lemon Law" or "Pet Purchaser Protection Laws" http://www.animallaw.info/articles/ovuspetprotectionstatutes.htm

In the end if you gain none of your money back, no big deal. The ultimate goal of doing this is now there is a record of this breeder and this site with the better business bureau, your local attorney general's office and whatever internet fraud agency might be in charge of web crimes. Also contact the USDA (if you're in the USA OR a US territory) and see if this place has a kennel license. Most states in the US have laws regarding the amount of dogs you can sell/barter/trade before you have to have a kennel license.

In the long run you couldn't help your pup, but maybe you can help those that come after her. I have no doubts this came from HER kennel or why else would the pup be on meds. I think she forged or has a vet who doesn't care (because he's getting paid) to process the health certificates (which only menas that upon physical exam this dog presented with no external symptoms of illness). I think that she did her own shots so that's why she can't provide you vet records for that, and why the vaccine may have been insufficient (if she was diluting them to get more shots out of a bottle), and EVERY TIME A BAD BREEDER is told that their pup died because of this disease or that illness or whatever genetic defect they ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS say "well this is certainly a first for me, or "this has never happened to any of our other pups". Sorry gonna call BS on that one. It's likely happened several times before.

Well that's it. Sorry again for all the ordeal you've been thru. No one should ever have to endure being scammed like that, esp. some one like you who does so much for animals.

Good Luck.
 

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Sunadora, I am so sorry for your loss.

I know the Cavalier breed well. I understand how difficult they are to find in rescue, and how hard it is to approach and ask breeders all the right questions for this particular breed.

I just googled the breeder name mentioned in your op. I happened across her page of sires and as well happen to know the breeder photographed showing one of her stud dogs on the site.

I would suggest these dogs are not really "mill" dogs, but they are dogs often in kennels (I know this of that one sire). These kennels do pass inspection and these breeders are kind enough people who somewhat socialize puppies, but they do not follow the heart/sm breeding protocol. I know that the specialist testing required of breeders in this breed is not done, or is rarely done by that one breeder (a long time CanKC breeder)that supplied the stud dog.

This situation is the most common situation you will find for breeders of Cavaliers in North America . . . unfortunately. The two clubs still do not provide proper information about MVD and SM on their sites, and they do not have information on the protocol (or the recent information put up is incorrect.) These breeders are often not illintentioned, but they are uninformed (and some deliberately are staying that way.)

IF you are determined to find another pup, you will find a breeder that is doing all the testing they should, and caring for the pups as they should . . . and most often they will have a waiting list.

Premiercavalierinfosite is a place to start in the USA.

As a guide for approximate price: In the NorthEast of USA pet pups will be priced, usually, above $2500, and some up to $3500. The West coast is slightly lower, and in the midwest some great breeders can't get $2000 for a puppy with a ton of breeding care and expertise behind it.

I encourage you, in honor of your lost pup, to pursue this further with her breeder. It might have been a one-off for her to have an ill pup (somehow I doubt it though), but that pup should not have left her premises ill.

SOB
 

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I would like to apologize for my above post as it probably came of very harsh and uncaring, I do feel bad for what your and your pup went thru it must have been heartbreaking. But I do hope you don't try and go the easy route to get another dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Re: Loosing Chloe to distemper: Vaccinations

I purchased Chloe, a five month old 4 pound Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy...........

The breeder sent me a scan of a card with 4 vaccinations stickers on it for the puppy. She said she called Galaxy and they say there was nothing wrong with that batch. She said her vet hasn't seen distemper in years and was wondering if there were racoons or some other wildlife where I live. There isn't. Then she thought there might have been an exotic animal on the plane when Chloe was sent. I have rescued dogs 40+ years here and never had one with distemper. 4 vaccinations should have protected her from canine distemper which the autopsy shows she had. It is such a mystery.
 
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