S'Dandi Shih Tzu
All Rights Reserved
2000 - 2008
Sally and Dick Watkeys
8235 Outer Drive South
Traverse City, MI 49684
Graphics courtesy of:
S'Dandi Shih Tzu
Just BePaws . . .
A Lesson
What would the animal community do without the many wonderful veterinarians available to us on a routine basis and, especially, when a crisis arises? I recall some occasions when I’ve had an emergency with my dogs. Thank God, I have some caring professionals to call for advice and, believe it or not, to meet at the clinic at all hours of the night. They’ve never complained, just treated whatever problem brought us out and sent us on our way. Wonderful doctors who have the best interest of the animal in their hearts. This article is not intended for those dedicated men and women. They are lifesavers, both mine and my precious Tzu. I am extremely grateful for the expertise, caring, sympathy, love and friendship that have been extended to me through my association with these wonderful people.

However, this week, a new, puppy buyer had a different kind of experience as she took her two, new 14-week-old babies for their healthy puppy check, a condition in my contract. Having had a Shih Tzu previously, she returned to the vet who had cared for him. On her way to work, she left her new babies for their examinations. She took along all the health records supplied by me which included their shot records, weight, vital statistics and signed contracts. Confident that they were well cared for and would be checked by a trusted vet, she left for work (a phone call away.) She picked them up on the way home and was handed a bill for over $200.00. Looking at the invoice, she questioned why they had been wormed and was told that it was standard procedure with new puppies. She paid the bill and left with her puppies.

The next day, she called me to ask my opinion. I was shocked when she told me the cost of the visit. I asked her to itemize the invoice for me. It included: Vaccine booster with Lepto (I had just given them their third shot 8 days ago,) Bordetella, worming without a fecal check, and, of course, the cost of the office call ($29.00 for the first puppy and a reduced rate of $20.00 for the second.) Heartguard medication was dispensed with directions to begin right away. It was March. We live in Michigan where there are no mosquitoes until May. She also had instructions to return the puppies in two weeks for their next booster.

For the life of me, with the increased incidence of reactions to vaccines, I can’t understand why these puppies had to undergo an unnecessary shot. According to Dr. Dodds’ article in the March/April 1999issue of The Reporter, a strong antigenic challenge to the animal’s system can “overwhelm even a healthy host that is continually bombarded with other environmental stimuli and has a genetic predisposition that promotes adverse response to viral challenge. This scenario may have a signigicant effect on the recently weaned young puppy that is placed in a new enfironment.” They are in a naturally stressful situation in the first place. Why put them at additional risk?

Why were they automatically given worm medicine before it was determined if they had worms or not? Worming is just feeding them poison. Granted, it is often a necessary evil, but these puppies were fat, active, clean, bright, alert, well-socialized, healthy babies. It was obvious they were not raised in a puppy mill or pet store. Nothing externally would have indicated the presence of worms. A simple stool check, which would have been less expensive, would have determined if they had any type of parasite. Remember, these babies were there all day. Surely, as we all know, puppies give us plenty of stool during an 8-hour period. How difficult would it have been to collect one and float it under the microscope?

Why was heartworm medication dispensed in March with instructions to begin immediately while temperatures hover in the twenties and thirties? The owner was expected to return for her next visit in two seeks and subsequent visits for rabies and neutering in the next few months.

I turned to my trusted professional in this situation and related the above scenario. She could think of no reason to expose these puppies to such aggressive treatment.

The only answer I can possible imagine is the unthinkable one of monetary gain. The more things that can be done to the uneducated client and undeserving puppies, the more charges can be added to the bill and ultimately put in the cash register of the clinic.

If I am wrong in my outrage, I hope a professional will respond to this article and attempt to influence me that ethical practice was carried out here.

My comment to this wonderful, new puppy mama was, “It certainly was lucky these babies were so healthy. All the extra medication just might have killed any other puppy. We were both lucky.”

For those of you placing our babies in their new homes, please take an extra minute or two and include a short course in health care. Be specific about what the new owners should expect in vet care and what the puppy needs next. Since this experience, I plan to put more in writing than I have before for the new, puppy buyer. Obviously, my health record was not enough in this particular case. (See the following letter to new vets telling about the puppy and its early life.) Another lesson learned.

I told my new owner that all her puppies needed was a healthy puppy check, which is what she expected. We had already made arrangements for them to get their next shots from me. Neither of us expected to have the puppies’ health compromised. She trusted this vet and was let down. Don’t let it happen to any other caring owner or baby. We certainly need the vet community and cannot do without them. However, we need to compare care and ethics and make decisions for ourselves just as we would in a situation involving our own health care. There are plenty of extra-special vets around. Be sure to check, compare, and educate yourself to find the one that works best for you keeping the best interest of the puppy in mind.

Once again, I must state how much I respect the fine men and women in the vet community who are dedicated to their work. They spend exhausting hours with many a sick animal. They are to be commended. I am very grateful for those with whom I am associated. They are my friends and trusted professionals. Thank you for your dedication. Keep up the good work!

Sally Watkeys
S’Dandi Shih Tzu
8235 Outer Dr. Traverse City, MI 49684
231-929-4213 sdandi@mich.com

Dear Dr. _______________________,

___________________________ has just purchased a Shih Tzu puppy from my home kennel. This puppy comes with a health guarantee and two or three vaccinations. The new owner has a complete record of vaccination dates for you to check. The last vaccine should be given at sixteen weeks of age. Due to the complications associated with vaccines recently, my puppies have been given the Progard brand without Lepto.

Please do not administer several vaccines at once. This is such a shock to their little systems when they are already stressed by moving to their new home. If you feel that a kennel cough vaccine should be given, please do it separately.

This puppy has been vet-checked and declared healthy. However, a fecal check is always a good idea when going to a new home.

Since this litter was born in ______________, they should not need any additional blood testing for heartworm medication. I prefer the Interceptor brand for my puppies as it comes in dosages more in sync with their small weight factor. I suggest new owners begin the first of June in the Michigan area as the medication works retroactively for 45 days, which should cover any exposure to the spring mosquito.

When this puppy reaches five to six months old, the owner has agreed to a spay/neuter contract. At that time, and upon receipt of a statement from you, the owner will receive the AKC registration for said puppy.

This puppy has been loved since birth and cared for to the best of my ability. Please help the new owner give him/her the best possible life and care.

Thank you for your concern,
Sally Watkeys