Every year, we see a number of little furry holiday puppies and kittens in for post purchase checkups. This year was no exception! People pay large sums of money for pets without Health Certificates! Whether a person pays a penny or thousands of dollars for a pet, a Health Certificate is required by law, in Florida, to be provided to the buyer from the seller. This document certifies a pet is 8 weeks old, had its first vaccinations, been checked for intestinal parasites and dewormed if necessary, is free of any contagious disease and congenital defects and examined by an accredited veterinarian. (Accreditation means the doctor has met certain requirements by the state which enables them to sign Health Certificates; not all doctors can sign Health Certificates.)
Unfortunately, Health Certificates are not required in Mississippi or Alabama. This year, I saw a Boston Terrier puppy with mange, an eye ulcer and heart murmur bought for $600 from Mississippi; a Persian kitten from a pet store locally covered with Ringworm which is extremely contagious (the new owner had it) bought for $650; a Bichon puppy with a ectopic ureter (tube from kidney bypasses the bladder so the pet dribbles urine continuously) bought in Alabama for $350 which will be surgically repaired at a cost of $2300; plus a few others! As you can see, it is best not to buy a pet without a Heath Certificate! It is always heart breaking to destroy a new owners excitement and joy with bad news of a serious and potentially fatal health problem. If the state you a purchasing a pet from does not require a Health Certificate, make sure there is a clause in the purchase contract that allows you to have the pet examined by your veterinarian and returned for a full refund if there is a problem!
Please feel free to contact the office if you have any questions about breeds or breeders. Most of our clients have very good examples of certain breeds and we will be glad to direct you to the breeder they know and trust.