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Puppy Bought Online Dies From Killer Virus Six Days Later

Author: Grove Lodge Vets
Posted: Wednesday 23rd January, 2013. 11:14:53

The cocker spaniel pup in its new home shortly before she died of parvovirus

The cocker spaniel pup in its new home shortly before she died of parvovirus

How a cocker spaniel pup succumbed to its illness despite intensive treatment by emergency vet

Everyone loves puppies. They’re cute, fun, and sadly these days, all too easy to get hold of. When a family (who wish to remain anonymous) in West Sussex made the difficult decision to add a four legged friend to their family after their last dog died a year ago, they had no idea what emotional trauma they were all about to endure.

On the lookout for a medium sized active dog they started looking at websites peppered with seductive pictures of little fluffy bundles of joy with huge ‘buy me’ eyes, eventually deciding on a black and white working cocker spaniel costing £350 from a breeder in Hampshire found adverting on popular puppy selling website www.pets4homes.co.uk.

Excited about meeting their prospective brand new pet, the family called the number on the advert to arrange a meeting with the breeder, who instructed them to rendezvous at her local pub first, a possible tactic to stall them, before inviting them to follow her to her farm hidden away behind some big locked gates.

A family member recalls “We never asked to see the pup’s mother. We didn’t ask all the questions we’d carefully prepared beforehand as we got totally carried away in the moment. Looking back the place looked like a junkyard - there were so many danger signals.

“We collected the puppy and it easily settled, happily running around the house with its tail still wagging and enjoying playing with its exciting new toys. We booked it in for the first lot of injections at the local vets 3 days later, who after examination, found it was severely underweight, in extremely poor condition, was suffering from a severe worm infestation, and possibly something even more sinister. So we started worming treatment. The puppy then started to deteriorate quickly, repeatedly vomiting, passing bloody yellow mucus, and hunched-up painful-looking swollen tummy.”

The puppy was rushed over to Grove Lodge Vets 24 hour emergency hospital in Worthing and immediately put on a drip, given urgent medication, and blood samples were taken diagnosing amongst other things that the puppy was infected with killer dog virus ‘parvovirus’ – a highly contagious disease often lethal to young dogs like this puppy.

Grove Lodge Vets’ senior veterinary clinician Nicola Bromley says “The puppy arrived at Grove Lodge Vets in a sorry state. Weighing less than one kilogramme she was severely dehydrated, anaemic, and with an extremely painful abdomen. After being diagnosed with parvovirus the puppy was carefully transferred into our purpose built isolation ward for intensive round-the-clock monitoring and care.

“Its treatment included the latest antibiotics, anti-vomiting drugs, gut protectants, intravenous fluids, painkillers, fresh frozen plasma, and even a special injection that can sometimes act as an antidote to the virus, but tragically the puppy’s condition continued to deteriorate, passing watery diarrhoea, and becoming even weaker.”

Fading fast and unresponsive to treatment the emergency team at Grove Lodge Vets decided the only option was to prevent any further suffering by the puppy, and with the family’s consent, euthanized it.

Vet Nicola explains “All the team here at Grove Lodge Vets are terribly saddened by the loss of this lovely pup. Sadly we’re now seeing this similar pattern frequently but it can be avoided by choosing your dog responsibly. Parvovirus is a killer disease that is prevented by vaccination and a clean breeding environment.

“Thousands of happy looking pups just like this one are bred in horrific conditions e.g. puppy farms, then transported cross country to these puppy sellers or ‘dealers’ and sold every day already carrying this deadly virus, which usually manifests itself a few days after settling into their new home when any natural immunity provided by their mother’s milk has worn off.”

Vet Nicola concludes “If you’re looking to buy a puppy then please do your research. Always ask to see the mother and never buy online, from a pet shop, garden centre or anywhere that doesn’t feel right. With so many rescue centres overflowing with unwanted pets why not consider adopting a rescue dog instead – most have happy healthy puppies eagerly awaiting loving homes.”

A saddened family member says “The whole family’s devastated. It’s taken us a year to get over the loss of our last dog that we had for 17 years. We purposely chose a private seller as we did this with our first dog 30 years ago who lived happily for 12 years and we had no idea this puppy farm culture now exists. There are some really hideous people out there where money is more important than animal welfare. We’ve completely lost faith in private sellers so in future want to help a dog from rescue home instead.”

As well as dealing with the loss of puppy death their whole house is now an environment heavily contaminated with the deadly virus so every sofa, carpet, etc needs disinfecting as it’s a serious health risk to any future dog coming into their house.

A written statement from another family member says:

“We were completely taken in by the online advert; we were taken in by the breeder’s story. We were gullible and naive, but we can’t let our embarrassment of being duped stop us from telling our story.

“3 days after we got our puppy we went to the vets for its first jabs but we were already concerned as it seemed to be off colour but we thought it might have been the change to its diet. The vet found it to be full of worms and said that he doubted that it was eight weeks as we had been told. He gave us some worming medicine for the pup and said for us to return next day if we were worried and God were we worried next day.

“Our little pup went straight into the veterinary hospital where they quickly diagnosed Parvo. The vets have spent all this time trying to save the puppy and sadly we had to let the puppy go at 10.45 tonight, 6 days after welcoming it into our home.

“We do not regret having our pup, we were able to give it a lot of love during the short time it was with us but our family are completely traumatised by the last 6 days.
It would seem that our little one had almost certainly come from a puppy farm and its mother had not been vaccinated against Parvo and had passed it on to her pups. Somewhere if they are still alive the other 5 pups have this Parvo virus brewing and their new owners are experiences the same hell as us.

“If you are thinking of getting a pup please be careful, I would not want anyone to go through this. All of the dog owners I know vaccinate their dogs, but if you haven't please reconsider as Parvo is a killer and it is not an easy death for them.

“DO NOT BUY FROM A PUPPY FARM, FOLLOW THE ADVICE AND GUIDE LINES FROM THE KENNEL CLUB AND VETS WHEN GETTING A PUP. One of the awful things for us is apart from the suffering of our little dog, we have contributed and aided this despicable trade and hope by someone reading this we may help to stop it. Puppy RIP. Xx”


The Pup Aid website provides some useful advice.

What Can I Do To Ensure I Don't Buy From A Puppy Farm?

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