I purchased my German shepherd from Omega Shepherds In February 2009. Within the first few days I noticed my puppy would make a very odd gurgly noise in her throat, it sounded as though she was preparing to vomit. When my puppy was making this noise her throat also would appear to be extending out, it reminded me of a frog when they puff out their throat. I contacted the breeder and explained my observations and inquired as to whether there were any issues with other littermates or the mother or father of my puppy. They denied any health issues with their puppies.
In the coming weeks the issue became more apparent and would cause my puppy more issues after she was eating. After several tests (to include x-rays and a barium swallow test I was informed my puppy had a severe case of esophageal dysphagia. The veterinarian explained that this issues was sometimes seen in a much older dog but had never been observed in a puppy. The vet further explained the concerns I noted (the throaty, extending throat, and issues after eating) was a result of this condition. In essence my puppy had a lack esophagus muscle which is what allows a dog to push their food down from their mouth to the stomach. This also leads to issue with digestion, vomiting, possible choking on food, and bloat issues. Due to the fact that we were dealing with such a young puppy the prognosis was not good. I was informed in older dogs a surgery can be done which is basically a surgical scraping of the dogs esophagus which then forms scar tissue and helps tighten up and decreases the looseness of the esophagus. This procedure was not an easy fix as in older dogs it sometimes has to be repeated after time. I was informed a dog suffering from this condition will require lifelong care to help in the ingestion and proper digestion of food and water. (such care was needed to help make up for what the esophagus was not doing which was pushing down and holding down the food, elevated feedings, soft food, and limited amounts of food and water at a time.)
The veterinarian informed me the puppy would have a very poor quality of life and could likely choke on its own food and water if not always supervised. I called the breeder after learning such terrible news and after she adamantly denied any health issues with her dogs her answer was to have the puppy put down. My daughter had already begun to bond with the dog and I could not bring myself to euthanize such a young puppy that could have a chance at life. The next night I was up all night with my puppy and realized the condition she was suffering from was not only problematic but caused her to suffer. I came to this realization after she was done eating and she was having difficulty getting the food down. You could see a bulge in her esophagus where the food was stuck and would not push down into her stomach. She appeared to be in pain and was restless and uncomfortable. She was pacing uncontrollably, panting, and attempting to vomit repeatedly. I frantically called the vet and was informed this was to be expected due to her diagnosis and if the puppy was having such difficulties the incidents and issues would only increase with time. When I spoke to the breeder her answer was again to euthanize the dog and she would "replace" her with a new puppy. I consulted with my vet the following day and determined the puppy had such a severe case of dysphagia that euthanasia was the "best option." (This was a traumatic and emotional decision but it was either this or allow the puppy to suffer and possibly die from choking at anytime.)
Although the breeder did "replace" my puppy with one from another litter she was difficult to work with. It was obvious the recent events had caused me and my daughter to be emotionally drained and she still refused to bring the new puppy to me (approximately 4 hours away). I explained I did not believe I should have to drive the 4 hours again since I had just made the trip less than 3 weeks prior to pick up my sick and now euthanized puppy. I explained I had a young child and was unable to make another trip to pick up the puppy. She refused to make the trip. .
After receiving my new puppy I immediately took her to the vet for a check. At the check-up I was informed the puppy had a severe overbite which would cause her issues in the future. The vet informed me this was a major defect and would require her bottom canines to be shaved down to prevent them from protruding into the roof of her mouth.
When I called the breeder to explain the recent discovery at my vet she again denied any such issues with her puppies. I asked what the odds were that I would have gotten the only 2 puppies with health issues.....of which were from 2 separate litters. The breeder's only answer to this was to offer to exchange my puppy for yet another. I explained this was the 2nd puppy I had received from her with health issues and was certain another puppy would only have further issues. She refused to return my money. I further explained that the recent veterinarian visits with the previous sick puppy had cost me over $500 on top of the $1500 I had just paid for the puppy. The breeder eventually agreed to return $500 of my money but under the agreement that my new puppy would not be allowed to be registered and would have to be spayed. As I was only interested in a family pet this was easy for me to agree to. I had to make other arrangements for the puppy to be brought back to me as the breeder still refused to bring her to me.
My "puppy" is now 2 years old is a part of family and is very much loved but there are ongoing issues. Her bottom canines were shaved down and are approximately half the size they should be. She has difficulty eating and drinking due to the gap between her upper and lower jaw. She also has a significant limp in her right front leg, which started over 6months ago and will continue to cause her pain and issues throughout the rest of her life. At such a young age she should not be suffering from any such ailments and I only hope she will not have further health issues to endure.
When I bought my puppy from Omega Shepherds I was misinformed and apparently improperly researched their puppies and breeding standards. I believed by paying such a high dollar amount for such a breed I would be able to limit the health issues and be guaranteed a pure and true shepherd, in character, appearance, and health. I am saddened that they continue to breed dogs that they then sell to families that become attached and must deal with the financial and emotional strain of having a dog with such poor health and breeding standards.
Monetary Loss: $1500.