A Badly Bred Pet Store Puppy and His Unbelievable Disease Progression

December 3, 2021

White dog with no eyes

Submitted by Kimberly W., Las Vegas, NV

I purchased Trevor not knowing about the problems with buying puppies from pet stores. Trevor is a Basset Hound, and he is five years old now. I bought him in 2016, and I paid around $3,000 for him.


Trevor seemed pretty healthy, but he started getting bald patches on his back. He tested negative for mites or any other reason, so the veterinarian diagnosed alopecia. When he was two years old, he woke up one morning with severe pain in his eyes. That started a journey over six months and led to an ophthalmologist recommending he have both his eyes removed.

White dog

Trevor had lost pigmentation in his skin and eyes.

Ultimately, it wasn't until we did diagnostics on his removed eyes that he was diagnosed with uveodermatologic syndrome, an autoimmune disease where antibodies form against pigment cells in the skin and eyes. It causes painful, red eyes, lifelong skin issues on the face and paw pads, premature whitening of the fur, and blindness. His medicine to keep his skin healthy is $150 a month, and the medicine that saves his skin causes his gums to overgrow, which has led to increased dental problems. 

In addition to Trevor’s eye removal, he had to undergo a Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) surgery in his knee, and he got an infection in his ocular implant, so he has had to have that removed too. Now he has lost all of the pigment in his skin and fur, and he is blind.

While Trevor is a happy dog and the best dog in the whole world living his best Basset life, he has suffered so much, and I can't help but think it is due to bad breeding practices. I have spent well over $20,000 on his medical care, and he will need expensive medication to manage his condition for his entire life.

White and brown dog

Despite his health issues, Trevor is happy and loved by everyone he meets. 

I don't regret getting Trevor, but I do want to help prevent any future puppies from suffering the way Trevor has suffered in his life. I try to share his story when I can because no puppy should have to deal with the pain he has in his life, and I am trying to learn more ways to help with the problem.

Trevor’s autoimmune disease is hereditary, and his breeder should have never continued to produce dogs with this genetic disease. But, pet stores that sell puppies don’t get dogs from responsible breeders. They often present a spotless, wholesome image so customers won’t think about where puppies are born, how breeding dogs are treated, or if there are genetic problems passed on to puppies.

Pet stores source puppies through a pipeline of commercial breeders and middlemen who ship them from out-of-state puppy mills. These facilities are licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) but rather than protect the animals, the USDA’s policies protect commercial breeders, and violations go unreported and unpunished. It’s time for the USDA to do more

Legislation was introduced on December 1, 2021–Goldie’s Act–named in honor of Goldie, a dog who tragically passed away in a horrific USDA-licensed puppy mill. If passed, Goldie’s Act would result in better inspections of breeding facilities, more immediate help for animals who are visibly suffering, and meaningful penalties for violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

It is too late to save Goldie, but we can prevent other dogs from meeting her fate by passing Goldie’s Act. Learn more and urge your U.S. representative to support Goldie’s Act.