Thoughts?

ameezers

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So a few months ago I brought home a new stud boy that ended up with conjunctivitis and tested positive for mycoplasma after doing a full respiratory PCR panel. Very very long story some what short, during his quarantine period he was accidentally exposed to one of my queens. She ended up with conjunctivitis but tested negative for everything on the full respiratory PCR. Both were treated for conjunctivitis, my vet said they could come out of quarantine.

I had a litter of kittens at the time, and despite my best efforts (and the fact that my vet said the two originally infected cats could come out of isolation because they were fine), two kittens from the litter and two of my queens ended up with mild congestion and one kitten ended up with conjunctivitis.

I decided that in order to be on the safe side, I would treat all cats/kittens in my cattery with antibiotics in order to prevent them from passing around the bacteria. The antibiotics cleared ever one up and I have since not had any issues with my cats.

Because I didn't want to risk sending kittens to their new homes with the bacteria, even though they were no longer showing symptoms, I opted to have each individual kitten tested for mycoplasma (and all adult cats in my cattery too because I wanted to make sure the bacteria was gone before I resumed breeding).

The company that did the testing accidentally lost the original kitten swabs, so they had to be redone and sent back in. My kittens usually leave at 13 weeks, but because I was having issues getting the results of the swabs they left as 17 weeks, so I did their 16 week vaccinations at no cost to the new owners because I had to keep pushing back their go home dates.

All kittens came back negative for mycoplasma. But 6 days before kittens were supposed to leave, the kitten that had both conjunctivitis and mild congestion initally, started doing this weird coughing/gagging thing. Almost like she was trying to cough up a hairball. I brought her back to the vet, the vet said she thought she may have eaten something she shouldn't have because her symptoms were different than before. She prescribed a med (can't remember the name now) to coat the kittens throat. Two days later I found a small pile of vomit with a tiny piece of plastic it. The coughing/gagging stopped.

I spoke to my vet, she said because there had been no more issues that kitten should be fine to go to her new home. I explained what had happened to the new owners and they seemed fine (unfortunately this stuff does happen despite our best efforts).

Well I guess after she left she started with the coughing/gagging thing again. I never would have let her leave if I didn't think this issue was resolved.

She has been back and forth to the vet MANY MANY times since they got her for this issue. The vet asked for a video of the coughing/gagging (because of course the kitten would act fine at the vet!). New owners were having a hard time getting the video. Vet prescribed probiotics initially. Then L-Lysine because they thought the mycoplasma initially weakened the kittens immune system and she then caught a virus (I am SO careful when I take my cats to the vet, like I wont put the carrier on the floor, they are only allowed on the sanitize table and I wipe all carriers down immediately with lysol wipes when I get home). So once they finally got the video the vet prescribed prescribed another round of antibiotics (because they initially didn't think the issue was as bad as it was..) however they prescribed the same antibiotics the kitten initially had, just with a different name.

Kitten seemed to get better with the antibiotics but now that they are finished she has started to wheeze and cough and now has a possible ear infection.

I am a new breeder (I have been doing this for about 3 years now) and I have never had a sick kitten. Especially not like this. And on top of everything, the owner took two kittens from the litter. They came home a few weeks ago to the other kitten limping, turned out she had some how broken her leg in 3 places. Thankfully the pet insurance I send with all my kittens with was able to be renewed with no wait period so the new owners won't have to pay out much for the cost to fix. But they have been back and forth to the vet with her too because the kitten put her cast in the water dish and it dissolved and then she removed the cast somehow the same day she had a cast change...

So between both kittens they have pretty much lived at the vet. I honestly can't believe it. Out of all of the kittens that we have produced not one has had any issues and this lady ends up with TWO!!

Her two resident cats haven't had any issues, however the kitten with the broken leg ended up with mild conjunctivitis at one point that was cleared with eyedrops.

This lady's vet had actually recommended me and got my info from another person that had two of my kittens, because apparently the vet was impressed with their health/temperament. I bet they are regretting that now.. FML

I am curious of what y'all would do in this situation?

I was planning to email her the cost of the kitten to help with vet bills for this issue. Once the owner has sent me copies of the vet bills (I don't think she is lying, but I thought they would be a good thing to put with the kittens contract)
My boyfriend hates this idea because my contract covers congenital/hereditary issues and not viruses (plus I am over $4,000 in the hole since all this started in July and my hefty savings has quickly depleted). However I think it's the right thing to do regardless.

Any thoughts?
 

Furballsmom

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my contract covers congenital/hereditary issues and not viruses
I think what I'd do is keep the whole thing very formal, and add to the email something that says you aren't revising, changing or updating your original contract.
 

lutece

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That sounds like a difficult situation for both you and the kittens' owner. I'm sorry this is happening!

You said, "Her two resident cats haven't had any issues," does this mean she already had two adult cats?

If that is the case, I would actually wonder if the two kittens might have picked up something from the two other cats, since it sounds like both of the kittens eventually developed upper respiratory symptoms. One of the adult cats might have been shedding herpes or another virus.
 
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ameezers

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Thankfully she hasn't asked for any money, and has been very diligent in keeping me updated on everything. However I feel absolutely awful that she is going through this.

This isn't how getting a kitten is supposed to go, especially from a breeder. Most of my kittens are sold by referrals. Obviously she won't be singing my praises given the circumstances, but I want to make sure that I am doing things the right way.

I was just wondering how others would approach this situation? Would you stick to the contract or would you help pay for vet bills?

Yes she has two older cats, but the kitten was having the gagging/coughing symptom prior to being introduced to them. However it has now turned into more of a wheezing/sneezing/conjunctivitis type problem.

I suggested doing a full PCR panel on the kitten to figure out exactly what is going on (and that way it can be treated appropriately). But apparently their vet doesn't think it's needed. And prescribed another round of the exact same antibiotics that she has already been treated with twice previously (and it hasn't fixed the problem), but gave a higher dose this time around.. Hopefully this will fix whatever the issue is, but I have my doubts.
 

lutece

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If I felt certain that the kitten was sick or carrying a disease when it left my house, I would offer to help. However, from your messages, I am not certain that the kitten's illness originated from your house.

As a caring and responsible breeder, you do everything you can to make sure your kittens are completely healthy when you place them in their new homes. You hope this will mean they will be healthy throughout life... but sometimes they do become sick in their new homes. It's incredibly stressful and upsetting, I know!!!

When kittens are in their new homes, you can't control their environment any more. Kittens in their new homes may be exposed to environmental factors such as chemicals, mold, allergens, etc. Other animals in the new homes may be carriers of disease or parasites, even if they don't appear sick.

New owners' veterinarians aren't always going to do what you or your vet might recommend. Sometimes a new owner's vet will order lots of treatments or tests that you don't agree with. Sometimes new owners will then call you up and ask you to pay a huge bill for this. I know these owners haven't asked you to pay... at least they haven't asked yet (although it sort of sounds like they might be hinting at that). But if you breed cats long enough, this will happen to you, too.

That's why you have a contract that limits your liability. It is appropriate for you to offer advice and suggestions, and provide honest information about the kitten's history to the new owner and their vet. You are doing these things.

But I would only offer money to help with vet bills if I felt reasonably sure that I was responsible for the kitten's illness. And in this case, I'm not convinced by what you wrote that you are responsible.
 

Tik cat's mum

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If I felt certain that the kitten was sick or carrying a disease when it left my house, I would offer to help. However, from your messages, I am not certain that the kitten's illness originated from your house.

As a caring and responsible breeder, you do everything you can to make sure your kittens are completely healthy when you place them in their new homes. You hope this will mean they will be healthy throughout life... but sometimes they do become sick in their new homes. It's incredibly stressful and upsetting, I know!!!

When kittens are in their new homes, you can't control their environment any more. Kittens in their new homes may be exposed to environmental factors such as chemicals, mold, allergens, etc. Other animals in the new homes may be carriers of disease or parasites, even if they don't appear sick.

New owners' veterinarians aren't always going to do what you or your vet might recommend. Sometimes a new owner's vet will order lots of treatments or tests that you don't agree with. Sometimes new owners will then call you up and ask you to pay a huge bill for this. I know these owners haven't asked you to pay... at least they haven't asked yet (although it sort of sounds like they might be hinting at that). But if you breed cats long enough, this will happen to you, too.

That's why you have a contract that limits your liability. It is appropriate for you to offer advice and suggestions, and provide honest information about the kitten's history to the new owner and their vet. You are doing these things.

But I would only offer money to help with vet bills if I felt reasonably sure that I was responsible for the kitten's illness. And in this case, I'm not convinced by what you wrote that you are responsible.
I agree with with all of the above sounds like you've done everything possible by keeping the kitten's longer to make sure they were in good health. I know you feel awful but remember they did have the all clear to go to new homes from your vet. Stick to your contract it's there to protect you too.
 

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