What We Do If There is a Health Problem at the 7 Week Check Up
If there is a health problem with your puppy at the 7 week check up, you will be notified as soon as possible. We do these check ups between 6 weeks 5 days and 7 weeks 1 day unless there is a holiday that makes this time-frame not possible. If the problem is something that could have long term implications, you will have the opportunity to forego your puppy and get a complete refund. I will discuss below the problems that could be discovered at the exam and how we handle them.
The most common thing that we discuss with families about our 7 week check up is undescended testicles. Probably about 25% of our male puppies do not have both testicles descended at the 7 week check up. Most of these 25% have both testicles down by the time puppies are taken to new owner vets at 8 weeks. A few will take as long as 10 weeks to descend. This is within the range of normal development for Golden Retriever puppies. Since we have been breeding, we have had 3 puppies whose testicles never descended. In the event that your puppy's testicles don't descend, nothing needs to be done until he is neutered at one year of age. At that time, the testicle will be taken care of. We have checked with both of the vet practices that we use as to the additional cost of this minor procedure. One practice charges an additional $50 for the neuter when there is an undescended testicle. The other charges just under $100. I have talked to other breeders to see what their vets charge and these charges are fairly consistent across most of the country. We will refund $150 to more than cover what most vets charge. If your vet should insist on neutering early because of increased possibility of testicular cancer, please read these links where you will see that studies have shown that these risks are very small for young dogs. The benefits of late neutering far outweigh this small risk of testicular cancer. We recommend neutering these dogs just over a year. Here are the links: http://www.caninesports.com/uploads/1/5/3/1/15319800/spay_neuter_considerations_2013.pdf and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/43317
A less common problem that we have had is a heart murmer. We have sent home 3 puppies with benign heart murmers (grade 1). All 3 of them outgrew it by 6 months. We have never had a puppy with a true heart problem. However, benign heart murmers are fairly common in Golden Retriever puppies. These murmers are caused by the sections of the heart growing at different rates. When vets hear a grade 1 murmer in a young puppy, waiting is usually the first recommendation as long as the puppy is playing and acting normally. We have never had a murmer that was more than a grade 1. If your puppy should have a murmer, even if it is only a grade 1, we give you the option of forfeiting the puppy and getting a full refund. We will keep the puppy and train him until he outgrows the murmer and then sell him to someone else as a trained puppy. If you take the puppy and then the murmer becomes something serious, the terms of our contract apply.
There is a broad range of health problems that COULD happen. Any health problem that we are aware of will be made known to families getting our puppies and it is the owners choice as to how they want to procede. We are aware that many people fly in to get our puppies and that flights have sometimes been reserved. We do all we possibly can to provide a healthy puppy to families at the time that they plan on picking up their puppy. However, in the unlikely event that there is a problem, here are the choices families can choose between. First of all, if there is a health problem, a family can get a full refund of deposit and forego the puppy. Secondly, a family can choose to go ahead and pick up during our regular pick up days if the puppy has a minor issue. We determine if the issue is minor enough. An example of a minor issue would be loose stools caused by something that is easily fixed with medicine. Thirdly, a family can choose to leave their puppy with us for free for up to 3 additional days past our normal pick up window. (No training will occur during these free days.) Fourthly, a family can leave their puppy with us for longer than these additional days for training. (Normal training fees would be incurred.) Again, we do all that we can to keep our puppies healthy but with anything living, no one can totally control all the possibilities.
If there should be a problem found before puppy selection of any significance, it will be the last person on our list for that particular gender who would be given a refund and forfeit getting a puppy.