I think all of us would say "Spare no expense!" if it were a family member who was ill, hurt or suffering because it's in our human nature to do the best we can for those we love. As hard as it may be for some to imagine or accept though, there IS a line in the sand when it comes to our pets. For some that can mean thousands of dollars while for others the first $500 vet bill they get has them re-examining their decision to get a pet & often times turning that animal over to the humane society.
"It's just not fair!"
Not fair indeed...but to whom? The owners who had to re-mortgage their house to pay for bilateral hip replacements or elbow surgery due to dysplasia, when a little more research might have saved them the heartache & financial burden... or the dog who is in chronic pain & barely able to move around without his hips giving out on him?
"How could they do that?"
How could they do that?? I do not in ANY way condone irresponsible animal ownership, though I could understand the helpless feeling of "I just don't know what to do now, I have no more money!" Dare I say, "How could the person getting those 2 animals together (I shy away from calling this "breeding") do that?? Breeding requires knowledge, foresight, research and an iron will... not just the desire to get Mutt & Lady together so the kids can experience the miracle of birth & the puppies can be sold for a few bucks.
"Poor dog, it's not his fault!"
Definitely NOT the dogs fault! In all of this, the dog is the only inculpable party. It is all of our responsibility as their pack leaders & legal guardians, to see that whatever animal we bring into our home & lives is given the same chance for a healthy, well adjusted life as any other member of our family.
Mastiffs as a breed are prone to a number of crippling skeletal problems, as well as visual, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular & oncological diseases. This is where health testing comes in. Health testing provides a breeder with 'baseline values' to work from in their breeding program and allows a breeder to weed out the dogs that could otherwise unwittingly carry on diseases to the next generation. Proven health testing(in the form of regulatory body certificates - NOT a vet's note!) also gives a buyer a greater degree of confidence that the animal in question is genetically healthy & should remain that way throughout it's life.
Then there are other systemic diseases popping that have almost never been seen before and are being attributed to over-vaccination of our animals(the same is true in humans), poor diets and over-medication. Did you know that some of the vaccines we give our animals AND our children, are changing our very DNA structure? Scary stuff!!!
In the following links you will find articles about the diseases facing our breed today & what is being done to combat them. If I were to try and sum it all up in a sentence or two, I would say "Please, make sure that whomever you buy from has not only done the recommended health testing(as listed on the CMC site) on the stud and bitch, but can produce proof of that testing as well. Remember that a veterinarian's annual exam does not constitute health testing, and cannot provide any assurances that the the puppy you are about to buy comes from genetically healthy lines."