February 9, 2013

Scarborough pet shop quarantined after puppy death

By Gillian Graham ggraham@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

SCARBOROUGH — State officials have ordered a pet shop in Scarborough to quarantine its puppies because a young Siberian husky tested positive for parvovirus and died soon after it was purchased from the store.

click image to enlarge

In the front, Shelby, a Siberian husky from a Scarborough pet shop that died of parvovirus. Little Paws Pet Shop has been quarantined following Shelby's death.

Provided photo

click image to enlarge

The state has put Little Paws Pet Shop in Scarborough under quarantine because a puppy sold there died after testing positive for parvovirus and giardia. Above, a sign on the store's front window on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013.

Additional Photos Below

The animal welfare division of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry was notified Feb. 1 that a puppy sold at the Little Paws Pet Shop on Payne Road had parvovirus, said Liam Hughes, the state's director of animal welfare.

Parvovirus is a highly contagious and potentially fatal disease for dogs. The young dog also tested positive for giardia, an intestinal parasite.

The store's puppies are under quarantine until at least Monday, Hughes said. A veterinarian will visit the store Monday to retest the dogs and decide whether the quarantine can be lifted.

The state did not order the store closed during the quarantine, although it was closed Friday because of the snowstorm, its owner said.

Julie Thomas of Madison, N.H., said the Siberian husky puppy, Shelby, was fine when she brought her home from the pet shop. Thomas said she continued the dog's booster shots on schedule.

On the fourth night after she brought Shelby home, Thomas said, the puppy was lethargic and throwing up.

The next morning, she brought Shelby to a veterinarian in Fryeburg who diagnosed the puppy with parvovirus and giardia.

"I was in tears because I know what (parvovirus) can do to a puppy," Thomas said.

Shelby stayed at the veterinary clinic, but was so sick two days later that Thomas knew the puppy probably wouldn't recover.

While Shelby was being treated, Thomas contacted the Little Paws Pet Shop and the state's animal welfare division.

Thomas said the pet shop told her she could bring the puppy back for a full refund of the $1,299 purchase price, but she couldn't do that because the dog was too sick.

State officials then told Thomas that she could surrender the dog to the pet shop without removing her from the veterinary clinic, she said.

Thomas did that and was notified the next day, Feb. 2, that Shelby had died.

"I know seven days doesn't seem like a lot, but Shelby was already part of our family," Thomas said. "It just tore us apart."

Hughes, the director of animal welfare, said the state contacted 12 to 15 people who bought dogs from the Little Paws Pet Shop recently.

"We wanted to let them know the puppies they have recently purchased were in the store at the same time the sick puppy was," Hughes said. Owners were advised to contact their veterinarians to discuss vaccines and symptoms.

Barbara Cross, the shop's owner, said she also contacted customers who bought puppies in the past few weeks, to find out whether the animals were sick. No other owners reported sick dogs, and the 23 dogs in the store are not sick, she said Friday.

The puppy that died left the store on Jan. 23 and became sick on Jan. 30, she said. The puppy had been vaccinated, Cross said.

"If that dog did have parvovirus, perhaps it caught it under the care of its owner," she said.

Cross and her employees have sanitized all kennels, equipment and surfaces, she said.

Hughes said the state will try to find out where the puppy got exposed to parvovirus and giardia so officials can try to stop it from spreading to other dogs. Canine parvovirus does not spread to people.

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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The state has put the Little Paws Pet Shop in Scarborough under quarantine because a puppy sold there died after testing positive for parvovirus and giardia. Photographed on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013.

Derek Davis / Staff Photographer


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