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Ask a Vet: Research breeds before buying dog

POSTED: August 10, 2014 1:05 a.m.

The time is nigh and fantasy football approaches!

With it, my annual obsessive period of analysis and paranoia. Do I take a running back in the first round? Do I take Peyton with the first pick? And what do I do when my traditional first-rounder season-ending injury occurs?

But still, I bury myself in research. Not because fantasy football is important, but because fantasy football is important to me.

Persons considering purchasing a purebred puppy or kitten can learn from my example.

If you’re going to spend more than a thousand dollars on a mammal, surely you want to know about its breed, right? I’m frequently shocked by the lack of preparation some clients put in prior to purchasing.

I often see clients spend more than twice what my college car cost on a puppy that may be predisposed to some serious health problems. Then one of my pet peeves begins to howl for attention.

I love most pure breeds and appreciate their place in the pet world. If you’ve never known a collie, you don’t know what quiet grace is. But they have tons of dental problems and way too much cancer (as if there’s a good non-zero amount).

But I feel better knowing the risks.

Golden retrievers? Lots of ear problems, allergies and cancer.

Persian cats? Kidney issues. I live with one, and she has kidneys that may some day break my heart. But at least I know.

Beagles? Obesity, ear problems, obesity and disk problems in the spine. Did I mention obesity?

And please, never tell your veterinarian you can’t treat parvo because you spent all your money buying the puppy that has it.

So as my fantasy football draft looms, consider the importance of research before selecting your next pet. Knowing what the breed may be prone to can help weigh the risks of spending money and investing your emotions. It’s not a guarantee or condemnation, but it gives you an idea of what might happen.

I’d rather not talk about what happened in 2008 when I took Tom Brady with the first pick.

Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at


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