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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-14-2012, 12:29 AM Thread Starter
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Puppy Health Issues

Hi, I've been reading this forum for a while but this is my first post.

We have a 15 week old puppy named Bailey. She's very cute, smart and we love her to bits, but I'm getting a bit worried about all the health issues she's had already. She has a hernia, an overbite, blocked tear ducts, and her top front teeth still haven't come in. She's also just recovered from a urinary tract infection that took 2 courses of antibiotics to treat.

Her hernia is quite small (about the size of a blueberry) but it sometimes gets larger and firmer feeling and is harder to push back in. When we told the vet this today, she said that if it is getting larger and firmer then we would need to spay her earlier than 6 months and fix the hernia then. We may even have to spay her in the next few weeks (it wasn't bulging out during the appointment so she wasn't able to see exactly what we meant). I'd really like to get to as close to 6 months as possible but obviously don't want to cause any damage to her intestines either if they are coming out too far. Would it be ok to spay her as early as 4 ½ months in this situation? Are there any issues from spaying too early?

At Bailey's first puppy visit, at 10 weeks old, the vet said her overbite could correct itself as her jaws grow, but today she could see that it's gotten worse. I had also thought that it it was getting worse – at first I could get about half my little finger in the gap, now it's as big as my index finger which I just measured as half an inch. Does any one have any experience with an overbite of this size? I'm not even sure if this is a large or small overbite. The vet said she may need to have her bottom teeth filed if her bottom jaw doesn't catch up. The adult bottom teeth could hit the top of her gums, she didn't want to guess what the cost would be but said that for an older dog she had referred with this problem the specialist had charged $1600 to file and cap his teeth. For now we just have to wait and see how her jaws grow.

Also, her puppy teeth have been very slow to come in, the bottom front teeth came in when she was about 13 weeks and the top front teeth still haven't come through, although you can see them through the gums. Does anyone have any experience with baby teeth coming in this late or know if it's a problem? Bailey is 4lb 14oz now so she's not developing slowly in general, just her teeth are.

Bailey has terrible tear staining so the vet did the dye test a few weeks ago and her tear ducts were completely blocked. She gave us antibiotic/steroid eye drops, however the wetness, gunk and staining haven't reduced at all so I don't think it's worked. I clean her eyes with wipes with Eye Clear sterile eye wash pads morning and evening, wash her face with Spa Lavish Facial Cleanser nearly every day, and get the eye gunk out and dab below her eyes dry with a paper towel several times a day. I also put a bit of cornstarch in the area to try and keep the hair drier a bit longer, but it's still soaking within an hour. She eats Acana Grasslands which is grain free and we also give her a spoonful of probiotic yogurt with a ¼ teaspoon of buttermilk powder. She drinks distilled water with a tsp of apple cider vinegar per gallon from a stainless steel bowl. Even with all this the staining still gets worse every day. I've read most of the tear staining threads on here, but I was wondering if anyone has a Havanese with blocked tear ducts and if so were they ever able to get rid of the staining and just have clear tears. I don't want to be doing all this stuff to her if it's not going to make a difference anyway but I'm scared if I stop, it will get even worse and be a breeding ground for yeast and bacteria. The vet will flush her tear ducts when she is spayed so I'm really hoping that will resolve or at least reduce the problem and that it's not because her tear ducts aren't fully formed.

On a more positive note she's doing really well with her potty training, even with the uti, and runs to the door every time she has to go with no accidents in a week now!

I think that individually all these problems are minor, it's just all together it's pretty overwhelming and we seem to get more bad news at each vet visit!

We tried to get a picture of the overbite.

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File Type: jpg BaileyOverBite.jpg (183.2 KB, 272 views)
File Type: jpg BaileyTearStain.jpg (184.6 KB, 270 views)
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-14-2012, 08:18 AM
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I've never heard of any puppy at 15 weeks not having a complete set of teeth. Did the vet give you any indication as to why this was happening? The excessive tearing could also be from that situation. I know my dog teared lots more during the teething process.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-14-2012, 08:35 AM
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What is her background history? What are you able to live with?

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-14-2012, 09:39 AM
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Have you talked to her breeder about these problems? This is a LOT of problems in such a young puppy. If she came from a good breeder, they would surely want to know about all the problems you are having. While it is late for her not to have all her puppy teeth, if you cans see them through her gums, at least you know she has them. They will probably push through sooner or later. Some lines DO get their teeth later than others (though this seems REALLY late) and your breeder could reassure you on this front if this is common in their lines.

You will always have a tear staining problem as long as her tear ducts can't empty normally. As far as the overbite is concerned, while it's incorrect, (and, again, should be reported to the breeder) I've seen dogs with an overbite that size that have never had any problems.

While I am not a fan of early spay, there are MANY puppies in shelters who are spayed even earlier than this and do fine. I would never suggest it JUST for the sake of spaying, but I sure wouldn't want her to have to go through two major abdominal surgeries. If she has to have the hernia fixed sooner, I'd certainly do both at the same time.

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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-14-2012, 11:07 AM
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Welcome to the forum!
Wow, poor little puppy! I'm sorry you are having to deal with so much!
How did you get her? Do you know where she came from? Who her breeder is??

Glad to hear potty training is coming along so well!

Tammy and Tillie
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-14-2012, 12:24 PM
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Welcome to the forum, Bailey is a doll. Some of the problems your are talking about are very common in both shih Tzu and Lhasa Apsos, with the exception of the overbite. My first thought is you may have bought this puppy from a pet store, inexperienced breeder or some other source, because the tear ducts problems and uti's in such a young puppy can come from unclean conditions. Once we have a puppy it's ours and we love it, so what is important if you do not have a Breeder who will give you advice and counsel on Bailey, is to get her as healthy as possible. If you got her from someone you still feel is a good source get in touch with that Breeder.

The UTI is going to clear up with the treatment so thats covered. The eye staining, teething puppies have staining, the clogged eye ducts can be from an acute or chronic infection in the sinuses, hopefully it was acute you can help the drainage my using your finger to massage the bridge of her noise three times a day for about two mins., I am only guessing your vet does not think she has an infection at present, Bausch and Lomb has a eye wash called advanced eye Relief I use this for cleaning the eye area of my dogs, if it gets in the eye it is safe, the eye specialist at NC State recomended it, it is not costly and I have been using it on all my dogs for 7 yrs. Be very careful with cornstarch in the eye area if it gets in the eyes it drys the fluid and can also cause clogging. You will know the eyes are draining when her face is not as smelly and the hair in the eye area starts to grow it will not be stained, this not likely to happen until the teeth come in.

I really do not have experience with an overbite, I bred Shih Tzus and they have under bite problems and wry mouth. My male Havanese has a slight wry mouth we took him to a specialist, who recomened to wait, this problem is when one side of the jaw grows at a different rate then the other, it causes a soft bite and can cause chewing issues and a weak under jaw. He is fine and most people would not notice his teeth mash together fine. Lhasa Apso's are notorious for not getting a full set of adult teeth until up to 6 months, a Lhasa dam will nurse her puppies up to that age if they are left with her. I just don't know about the Havanese.

As for her hernia this is common in a shih tzu and more often then not corrects, but for a Havanese I would not wait, four months is not too young if you have a health issue, we all want to do the right thing, but what is possible for some is not for for others, where some wait, if there is a medical issue I think most breeders would agree early spay is the right course, some times dogs are spayed early because the owner is relying on a spouse or children to keep their pet safe during their first heat at 6 or seven months and we all know how risky that can be. My point is there are many reasons why people spay or neuter early.

I am so sorry to hear little Bailey and you are dealing with this. Hopefully these issues will get resolved in time. I hope some of the Havanese breeders who are on this forum will address the over bite. Please Keep us up to date on Bailey and more pictures of your adorable pup.

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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-14-2012, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
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We got her from a breeder who we thought was reputable. The breeder hadn't mentioned the overbite or the hernia to us, and they weren't on the report from her vet. I emailed her after we had taken her to our vet and asked if she or her vet had noticed either of them or had any experience with them. She replied that Bailey does NOT have an overbite, she had checked the bite herself, as had her vet and that she didn't have much faith in our vet. She said the hernia must have developed in the 5 days between her vet visit and us picking Bailey up. She also said "If you are not happy with her, please bring her back. I will give you a refund as soon as I resell her. She is a sweet, affectionate, lovely puppy and she deserves a home that loves and adores her. If that's not with you, please let me find her the home she deserves."

I was very upset by her reply so I emailed her back saying that we did love Bailey and asked if she had any recommendations for a vet with more Havanese experience in our area and she never replied. We will email her to make her aware of these new developments and to ask how the teeth usually develop in her lines.

The vet said that her not having her teeth was abnormal but sometimes it's congenital that the teeth buds for the puppy teeth don't develop. I asked if this would mean she might not have adult teeth there either but she said it usually isn't related. We can see some teeth through the gums but I don't know if they're the puppy teeth or adult teeth. (I've attached a clearer picture of her mouth in case anyone can tell)

I think we will spay her early then, we were trying to balance the risks between an early spay and having a problem with the hernia. The vet said that the risk for the hernia causing a problem was small (but when she felt it it wasn't bulging out like it sometimes does - we checked to see what she was feeling) but the risk is still there so I think it outweighs the risks from an early spay.

Thank you for the advice about the tear staining, I'll look for that eye wash today. I'll also stop with the corn starch because I definitely don't want to risk causing any damage. The area doesn't actually smell and the vet didn't think it was a yeast infection. From what I've read though, if it's reddish brown then it is caused by yeast so I don't really know.

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File Type: jpg BaileyTeeth.jpg (149.4 KB, 258 views)
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-14-2012, 02:52 PM
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I am so sorry your Breeder responded the way she did. Often new owners have or see problems that might not concern a breeder, but it is important to understand the person with the new puppy is very concerned, and to offer advice and comfort no matter if it is serious or not. Just know not all Breeders are like that and it's become very difficult for puppy buyers that have not been in the dog world to know the difference.

The pictures of her teeth look exacty like some Lhasa's do, I have not seen it in Lhasa's bred here but in India it is common in the Lhasa's that come from Dharamsala as the monks allow them to stay with their Mothers, so there is no need for teeth until Mom says no. If the Vet is not worried then, I would not.

The eye stains can come from the teething and structure. If the Vet felt there was an infection she would have given drops. Try the massage on the bridge of the nose, it really works for blocked tear ducts, there are other reasons tear ducts can block but no need to go there as your puppy is young and still growing and being in her new environment can hopefully resolve it.

I have friends who have Yorkies who were spayed at 4 months due to not growing they grew a bit after and now weigh 4 pounds, the specialist did not want the hormones to kick in as they might have stayed at 2 pounds, those dogs are healthy and happy.

Bailey looks happy and I know you adore her.

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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-14-2012, 05:40 PM
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Sorry to hear about all the problems your pup has. I feel bad for you that the breeder had such a cold response. Kinda makes me mad! My Bella came with so many issues. She had teeth issues and a liver shunt. I discovered the teeth problem withn 5 days of getting bella and the liver a year later. There was no way I was going to give her back, so the breeder offered to give me every penny back that I paid for Bella. It was helpful and covered all the dental surgery and part of the liver surgery. Maybe your breeder would be willing to do that for you? It wouldn't hurt to ask. Good luck! She is a cute puppy!

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-14-2012, 08:08 PM
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Hey! So sorry yours having such a worrysome start with your adorable pup! I can't speak to all of the health issues but I can relate to the overbite. We got our amazing pup from a reputable breeder who had a litter for five healthy boys, one with a severe overbite. It had never happened to her before and it was only one otherwise healthy pup. She was offering him at a discount to compensate for the potential dental expenses. When we went to see him, all of the other pups were gone from the litter- no one wanted this little guy with the mouth defect but we thought he was just perfect. 6 months later we couldn't be happier with our decision. He chews slower than most dogs and lops up water a little messier but otherwise we don notice his overbite and neither does he. He did have some issues losing his puppy teeth when his adult ones came in (he had like 6 k-9'sfor awhile-quite a sight!) but we got those pulled when he was under for neutering and he's been fine ever since. I wouldn't worry too much about his bite (and maybe not even his teeth) as long as your pup can eat and drink and is being monitored by a vet I'm sure it will work out. I am so glad we picked our little clearance puppy!

Also, while we didn't have the same health issues as you are experiencing, we did have a few in the first two months- giarrdia, a bad stomach bug with vomiting and bloody stool, and chronic ear infections. We just stayed on top of everything, followed the vets advice (and the advice from this forum), and found a food that agreed with him and we have had a very healthy, happy pup for the past 4 months. I feel there's bound to be some health issues up front but you'll be so glad you stuck it out and took such good care of her!
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health , hernia , overbite , tear staining

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