February 9, 2013

Scarborough pet shop quarantined after puppy death

By Gillian Graham ggraham@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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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

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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.

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Parvovirus appears to be more common in warmer climates, but it is seen in Maine, said Dr. Carolyn Radding of the Freeport Veterinary Hospital.

Radding said parvovirus is highly contagious and can spread from animal to animal through fecal-oral contamination. Puppies younger than 16 weeks appear to be most susceptible.

Infected dogs often require "very intensive and very expensive" medical intervention to keep them alive, she said.

"It's such a worry because it causes really severe bloody diarrhea and vomiting. Dogs can often die of dehydration and blood loss and other complications because of the severity of the illness," Radding said.

The best way to protect dogs against parvovirus is through vaccinations, Radding said.

Dr. Nellie Savage of the Brackett Street Veterinary Clinic in Portland said puppies begin showing symptoms of parvovirus within three to five days of being exposed.

She said owners should avoid bringing young puppies to dog parks or around large groups of dogs until they are fully vaccinated.

Giardia, an intestinal parasite, also can cause severe diarrhea and dehydration in dogs, but it is rarely fatal. The parasite can spread to humans and cause health problems in people with compromised immune systems.

Savage said people can be exposed to giardia when they handle dog feces.

Lynn Farcassi of Maine Citizens Against Puppy Mills said members of the organization regularly protest outside pet stores, including Little Paws, saying they buy puppies from large-scale breeding facilities -- often called puppy mills -- in the Midwest.

"The veterinary care at these places is nonexistent," she said.

Cross, the owner of Little Paws, said she avoids puppy mills by interviewing breeders about the conditions in which they breed dogs and getting photos of those facilities.

"I don't believe any of my puppies come from puppy mills," she said. "I would never want to support them. I try my best to make sure I'm not."

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

ggraham@pressherald.com

Twitter: grahamgillian

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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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