The short answer is yes!
This is one of several keys we look for when determining if a breeder is reputable or not. Another key is that puppies should receive their first round of vaccinations at around 6 or 7 weeks of age. However, many breeders opt to vaccinate and/or microchip their puppies themselves so it is important that you as a buyer make sure to inquire about the puppy’s vet check.
The vet check before buying is just one more step that a reputable breeder takes to ensure that their puppies are healthy.
A reputable breeder likely knows a lot about their puppies’ health, but still a check by a licensed veterinarian is an important safeguard for both breeder and owner when it comes to vouching for a healthy pup.
What Vets Should Have Checked Before You Bought a Puppy
Eyes, ears, heart, lungs, and overall skeletal structure should all be given an all clear from a licensed veterinarian. Any issues related to these organs should be more thoroughly investigated before the purchase of the puppy. However, there are some rather common puppy problems that you may see on the vet report from your puppy’s breeder and you may wonder if you should be concerned or possibly even avoid purchasing the puppy.
Intestinal parasites are an extremely common condition in puppies. Even puppies raised in very sanitary environments with every precaution taken can still develop worms from their mom because some worms stay dormant in the mom’s body until hormonal changes brought on by pregnancy activate them.
Deworming puppies is an ongoing battle for every breeder. Any reputable breeder should be following a deworming protocol, but even when dewormed appropriately, some puppies may still have a few pesky parasites hanging on for dear life at 8 weeks of age.
As long as your puppy has been dewormed previously and has a healthy body condition (underweight puppies experiencing severe diarrhea may have a much more serious infestation), there is no reason to be alarmed by a positive fecal sample at his vet check. He or she will likely just need another round or two of a vet recommended dewormer to get rid of those last few worms!
Other Common Puppy Problems to Vet Check Before Buying
Another common condition cited in puppy check-ups is an umbilical hernia. An umbilical hernia is a bulge where the umbilical cord is—often the result of being pulled on a bit too hard by the dam during delivery. Some more mild cases resolve on their own as the puppy grows.
Those that do not self-correct are generally easily surgically corrected at the same time that a puppy is spayed or neutered. Still, it is good to follow up with your breeder on the severity of the hernia. A particularly large hernia does pose a risk if it becomes strangulated and in this situation would require emergency surgery.
If you are getting a male puppy, you may initially be concerned by seeing the word “cryptorchidism” on his vet check report. It sounds alarming, but undescended testicles are common in puppies at 6-8 weeks of age.
Many times, if they are receiving a vet check as young as 6 weeks of age, the puppy simply has not matured physically yet and often the testicles will descend in the new few weeks. If, however, the testicles have not descended into the scrotum by 16 weeks of age, there is a good chance that they never will. This is the case in approximately 1-3% of dogs.
In this case, your veterinarian will want to surgically remove the undescended testicles (which are more prone to cancer and other complications). Similar to a spay for a female dog, the surgery to remove undescended testicles is a fairly routine and mild surgery.
Cryptorchidism is really only a major concern if you are planning on obtaining a male dog with breeding rights for future breeding possibilities as dogs with undescended testicles should be neutered and are often sterile. If, however, you plan on simply keeping your doodle as a pet, then a report of undescended testicles is generally not cause for too much concern.
Teeth misalignment is another common issue, particularly among doodles and poodles as their narrow faces allow less “room for error” when it comes to teeth misalignment. Overbites and underbites can be a concern for some breeds. But base narrow canines is the most common orthodontic issue related to doodle puppies.
In this condition, the lower canine teeth grow at such as angle that they make contact with the upper palate when the dog closes his mouth. In most cases, the contact made with the upper gums is mild and not painful for the puppy. And in many cases, the issue resolves itself as the puppy’s mouth grows and he/she loses the baby teeth and grows his/her adult teeth.
Using something as simple as a tennis ball, can slowly help shift the misalignment. This is particularly the case when your puppy is growing his adult teeth (Generally around 5 months). Encouraging your puppy to hold the right size ball in his mouth just behind the canine teeth will apply a gentle pressure on the lower canines out towards the lips and encourage these teeth to shift into proper position as they are growing in. It is recommended to do this “ball therapy” roughly three times a day for ten to fifteen minutes at a time.
While many orthodontic issues do self-correct or are mild enough to not cause any pain or chewing issues for the pup, some are of a more severe nature. If your puppy has base narrow canines and the contact points are clearly painful to the dog, surgical intervention may be required.
Reputable Breeders Always Vet Check a Puppy Before Selling Them
In conclusion, every puppy should be vet checked by a license veterinarian prior to purchase. There are a number of common issues in doodle puppies, that are usually not a cause for concern and not a sign of an irresponsible breeder. However, any of these previously mentioned conditions can take on a more severe presentation that would require additional veterinarian intervention.
So it is important to discuss your puppy’s vet checkup report with your breeder. A reputable breeder should be forthcoming and take the time to explain any condition cited at the vet check.
Furthermore, reputable breeders sell their puppies with contracts and health guarantees. It is important for you as a buyer to read these documents carefully to understand what health issues will be covered by the guarantee. In many cases, the puppy receives a vet check with their breeder, and is also contractually required to see a vet with his new owner within a certain time span of coming home.
This ensures on both the breeder’s end and the new owner’s that you have indeed received a healthy puppy!
A breeder who sells their puppies without a vet check or without disclosing any veterinarian reports/concerns to the new owners or a breeder who sells their puppies without a health contract is one who should be avoided.
Jenna and the JLDD Team