I received an email from a puppy owner the other day. In it, the person stated that the puppy had developed a skin allergy and was on antibiotics and antihistamines. The puppy also has a Persistent Pupillary Membrane which was disclosed to the buyer since the puppy was given an eye exam before leaving by an ACVO. Unfortunately, the individual blames me for the issues with the puppy.
We do not offer a long-term guarantee in our contract, largely because it isn't possible to determine what problems may develop over time. Nor is it possible to determine what is inherited and what may have occurred because of environmental problems. We do guarantee that the parents have clearances for hips, elbows, and eyes. We also have the puppies checked by a vet the week prior to being placed in their new homes. When dealing with living beings, there can be health issues and these are discussed with regard to the Labrador at the time the puppy is picked up. I explain to potential buyers that genetic disorders can not be eliminated from any breeding program.
Just as with people, there are things that can occur but they usually aren't so debilitating that the animal can't live a life as a companion. After all, we are not dealing with machines. We have imported dogs that haven't worked out. It just happens and isn't anyone's fault. There are phenotypic clearances that can be done and the genetic test for PRA but largely it is still a crap shoot as to what recessives may crop up.
PPM's can occur in Labradors although the mode of inheritance is unknown. Every puppy has pupillary membranes and most go away. For some reason, some will persist and can occlude part of the lens. There is a good article on PPM's at http://www.labbies.com/eye.htm
As far as allergies go, I am baffled as none of the other puppies have an allergy. I have two litter sisters who are in the kennel but who are fine. The Lowcountry is tough on Labradors who can develop staph infections from having damp coats from either swimming or the high humidity. Because our dogs are misted daily, it would seem that allergies would develop or at least staph would occur. We haven't had that except when there has been a flea outbreak. Luckily, with Frontline Plus, we are able to keep the dogs free of fleas.
I'm sorry that the puppy owner is unhappy. I certainly want all the dogs that we breed to be healthy. Unfortunately, there are things that are beyond my control.