I've seen several posters on here refer to their dogs as “million dollar dogs” and I just wanted to ask to join the club.  Our pembroke, Jerry, has been full of infection since we got him.


The list includes:

  • unknown intestinal distress (2mo)

  • severe case of pneumonia (7 days of hospitalization and oxygen) (5-6mo)

  • Kennel Cough

  • undescended testicle and resulting complicated neuter surgery

  • seroma after surgery

  • conjunctivitis

  • UTI and crystals in bladder,

  • giardia


Currently, he is suffering from a limp in his front leg that is unresolved (probably a strain; he’s a brave and active boy), finishing up his conjunctivitis meds and about to go on his giardia treatment.  


The first thing everyone seems to ask me is, “Was his breeder reputable?”  Supposedly.  They’re listed on the Northern California corgi organization’s website.  We met two return customers when we picked him up.  I’ve met several of Jerry’s relatives from the breeders while at various corgi events in my area.  No one seems to have the problems we have.  I will say that his has a GREAT attitude.  I don’t know what percentage of that is our training and care vs. nature, but he has always been brave, headstrong and plucky.  I could never complain about his corgitude.


I’ve communicated with our breeders over the first year, letting them know about his pneumonia, specifically.  They were never very helpful or supportive and ended up being quite accusatory.  While I was in the midst of having my first puppy, dealing with all of THAT, and a sick puppy, it was incredibly disheartening.  Most recently, I emailed them to let them know about the rest of his health issues we’ve encountered and to share my disappointment. They completely blasted me for not taking responsibility for my dog’s health.  “Honestly I feel sorry for the puppy, but I don't accept the responsibility for the health issues I feel you have created.” It was a terrible and hurtful email conversation and I refuse to support or acknowledge them as responsible breeders from here on out.


The point of this post is to see if anyone else has had to go through a gambit of seemingly endless health issues with their pups.  Is there an end in sight?  Will he be forever ill?  Also, does anyone have experience with urban life vs. suburban life and that correlation with illness?  We live in San Francisco and I can understand how there would be a lot more disease around here than in a less populated area.  The problem is, I can't NOT take him public places where there could be a great number of germs about.  We don't have a backyard so dog parks are our reality.


So far, I've LOVED having a corgi.  I love their personality, I love his flaws, I love his short stature, and I love people on the street loving my dog.  The only problem is, at this point, having a purebred dog has been miserable, and I would never do it again.  I LOVE my dog, but the whole experience has been incredibly emotionally (and financially!!) taxing.  Any feedback, experiences, or advice is welcome.

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Comment by Judith Andre on February 13, 2015 at 11:58pm

What a cutie!  Great comments by Beth.  I don't think you can in any way blame this on the fact he is purebred rather than a mutt.  Sometimes shit happens.  Hope things start going better for him.

Comment by Marina Holshevnikoff on February 13, 2015 at 9:46pm
Rebecca, I apologize. I was browsing this post on my phone and I accidentally deleted your comment! Thanks also for responding. Breeder was Faerie Glen waaaaay up north in CA.
Comment by Marina Holshevnikoff on February 13, 2015 at 9:44pm

Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. I was trying not to be too long-winded in my post and I left out a lot of the facts of my exchange with my breeder. I was emailing her with an update on the dog (for his 1 year birthday) and mentioned out concern with his health. I'd asked if any of their dogs had had any of these issues and her response was totally abrasive and accusatory. She sort of jumped down my throat and I wasn't even really accusing her of anything.

I do understand that viruses and parasites aren't anywhere near the breeder's fault. I was upset that she responded with an offer to take my dog back if I didn't want him and wasn't taking care of him.

Anyway, thanks again for taking such time to respond to my concerns. If he wasn't such a plucky guy it would make the whole thing more difficult. It's nicer to have a dog who's ill that doesn't ACT ill. I'm sorry to hear about Jack having more intestinal issues. I know that's been going around in your household for a while. I hope it clears up soon!
Comment by Beth on February 13, 2015 at 9:24pm

I am so sorry for your horrible run of luck.  I can sympathize!   We've been dealing with some health issues ourselves for the past year and a half or so.   Breeders should always strive to be helpful and informative, but they are only human and have very busy lives of their own.  I can't say anything about whether your breeder is good or bad, but when it comes to diseases it's important to differentiate between preventable genetic diseases and infectious or other diseases.  So shame on the Corgi breeder who breeds a dog with von Willebrand's--- a simple recessive for which there is a genetic test.   But a breeder can't possibly be blamed for a dog out of her care drinking from a puddle with Giardia in it.  And it's hard to blame a breeder of Corgi's for something like spinal arthritis-- like my Maddie has-- when the dwarfism that makes a Corgi a Corgi also leads to increased risk of degenerative joint issues.  So let's go down your rotten luck list of maladies and see which is which:

Intestinal distress-- part of owning a dog.  I don't know a single dog owner who hasn't had multiple bouts of doggie diarrhea.   We've been dealing with never-ending cycles of Clostridium Perfringens.  What a nightmare.  But dietary indiscretion, stress, empty tummies, and a host of other things can cause this, as well as infectious diseases.  100% not the breeder's fault.

Pneumonia--- so scary!  Again this is normally infection.  I've never dealt with it but a google search assures me pneumonia is not uncommon in dogs.  Very little chance this is the breeder's problem, unless pup has congenital breathing issues that increase the likelihood of infection.

Kennel cough--- there's a reason why boarding kennels require a vaccination against this, though there are many diseases that cause "kennel cough" and only a couple that we vaccinate for.  Very contagious.  Rare in dogs who don't socialize with other dogs, common in dogs that are regularly around others in close quarters.  I've never dealt with it but know several people who have, in both mixed and purebreed dogs.

Undescended testicle--- may or may not be hereditary.  If it is, it is likely polygenic recessive, meaning it can show up suddenly in a line of dogs where the problem never happened on either side. The breeder SHOULD have told you if it was not down when he came home.  On the other hand, rarely they come down and then pop back in.  The breeder we used told me she had one that she kept herself to show.  Both testes were down, vet confirmed both testes down, then one day a judge said "He only has one testicle down."  Sure enough, it had gone back up.  She petted him out on on neuter contract.  Says he was one of her favorites and she was very disappointed.  Anyway, this is the one where the breeder should have taken some responsibility.

Seroma after surgery--- this happened to my feral kitten when she was spayed.  Very alarming, I thought it was infected.  Vet told me to keep her quiet.  I said "YOU try to keep a six-month-old kitten quiet!!!"   Again, bad luck but totally not the breeder's fault.

Conjunctivitis--- Maddie had this.  I've had this.  My husband may or may not have this now.  Very contagious, can also be environmental.  Bad luck that you've had this on top of everything else.  Not the breeder's fault.

UTI--- this is complex.  It can be 100% environmental.  It can be caused by some other issues that may or may not have a hereditary component.  But not something breeders can foresee.  Not the breeder's fault.

Giardia--- caused by drinking from a puddle or pond or stream that's contaminated, or licking a damp spot on the deck where an infected bird dropping was, or who knows what else.  Super contagious.  We had an outbreak among people in my city many years ago when a water supply got infected.  This is well known to outdoorsy types;  many a camper or hiker has spent some miserable days with this infection.  Unfortunately common in dogs due to their tendency to stick their noses and mouths on everything.  Absolutely positively not the breeder's fault. 

You have had a terrible run of luck but of all the things you list, the only one that can possibly have anything to do with his genetics is the undescended testicle, and that can and does also happen in mixed breed dogs.  His being a purebred dog has nothing to do with any of these problems because none of them are genetic in origin (except MAYBE the testes thing).    While some purebred dogs who are very inbred have weaker immune systems,  that would not account for the diseases you list which are very infectious and highly pathogenic.  

You may try adding a probiotic as some research indicates that can help rebuild health, especially after having been on antibiotics more than once. 

I hope your luck improves.  I do feel bad and sympathize, after having just dealt with yet another round of Clostridial infection (this time it was Jack).

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