Nasty illness striking down pet shop puppies

The Age, July 17th, Marika Dobbin

A PUPPY virus outbreak  has claimed the lives of at least four pups at Melbourne pet stores.

At least one pup has been confirmed dead at pet shop franchisor Pets Paradise while another three puppies from pet chain Passion For Pets are dead from the highly contagious canine parvovirus that causes bloody dysentery.

Panic about the virus that attacks the intestinal lining, causing ulcers in puppies has spread over Facebook and animal-lover internet sites.

Maroondah City Council confirmed it had put a three-week ban on Pets Paradise in Eastland shopping centre in Ringwood selling puppies and put sick animals in quarantine.

There are also reports of sick puppies at Pets Paradise in Fountain Gate, Narre Warren, and Southland, Cheltenham.

Passion for Pets at Carrum Downs confirmed it had six puppies of different breeds infected this month, three of which died, and a further two that were sent back to the breeder.

Animal advocates have used the outbreak to call on the government to ban the sale of animals through pet shops, which they say are the retail front to inhumane puppy factories.

Managing director of Passion for Pets Chris Blackwood said the virus came from a puppy wholesaler.

“We were very quick to get on top of it,” he said. “It’s very rare to see parvo out in society but we vaccinate everything that comes in.”

Several councils are investigating the cases, some of which link back to a Gippsland breeder that supplies the shops and which animal campaigners have labelled a “filthy puppy factory”.

Pets Paradise yesterday confirmed a puppy sold at it Southland store last month had died and said the customer had been given a refund.

Animal advocates Oscars Law produced medical records that showed nine-week-old cavoodle puppy Harvey died at a Malvern East emergency centre of the virus and that another puppy from the same pet shop pen was also diagnosed.

Group founder Debra Tranter showed The Age an email exchange with Pets Paradise business manager Kristy Humphreys in which the company acknowledged other puppies were treated by the South Eastern Animal Hospital.

“All the other puppies made a full recovery and are now home enjoying their new families,” Ms Humphreys wrote. She wrote that she would visit the Gippsland breeder as a matter of “high importance”.

City of Casey confirmed it was investigating the Fountain Gate case, “in full co-operation with Pets Paradise”.

Frankston City mayor Brian Cunial has asked officers to investigate the Southland report.

Pets Paradise would not comment on the Fountain Gate or Southland cases.

“It is of some concern that such serious allegations are being made without any particulars,” lawyer Omar El-Hissi said. “We reserve our right to respond to any specific allegations made once you are in a position to provide details.”

Senior veterinarian at the Melton Veterinary Clinic David Chang said young puppies and dogs that had not been vaccinated were susceptible.  It can live for a year in the environment, including on concrete, making it highly contagious.

“In confinement, hygienic conditions aren’t ideal with all the defecation and urination and also the stress,” he said.

He said it cost at least $1500 for Parvovirus treatment. Vaccination costs about $90 a visit.

“These dogs have profuse bloody diarrhoea and what kills them is the shock and dehydration.”

Original here



Filed under Oscars Law, Pet shops, Puppy Mills, Victoria

3 responses to “Nasty illness striking down pet shop puppies

  1. sharon chamberlain

    Chris Blackwood from Passion for Pets is either uninformed (in which case he should not have commented) or totally dishonest with his statement that parvo virus is rarely seen in society today. I am a vet nurse and we see it constantly , in fact until 2 years ago we had a parvo season from about november to february, the last couple of years we have seen it all year around indicating that the virus is mutating. Vaccination needs 7 to 14 days to be effective, especially the C3 the first one given at 6 to 8 weeks so to be protected puppies need to be vaccinated BEFORE the pet shop takes them, also for learning behaviour reasons puppies should not leave their mother and litter mates before 8 weeks, it is up to the pet shops to only take pups
    that have been vaccinated at 6 weeks and then have 2 weeks to build up a immune response before being put up for sale. Parvo virus emerges when the pups are stressed usually going to a new enviroment I cannot imagine
    a more stressful , bewildering time than leaving their mother and going to a pet shop, with constant people traffic (who help to spread the virus). The puppies that have gone to new owners and have recovered will shed that virus in their bodily fluids for 12 weeks into the enviroment where it can survive from 9 months plus infecting many more dogs. Pets Paradise comment that the owner was given a full refund reflects the truth of what they are all about , dollars not compassion and clients welfare. Those owners who have had the heartache of watching their little pup suffer and die have not only been traumatised (many of who may still be getting over losing their last dog) but now have an infected house and garden which can contaminate a pup later on. Vaccinations are the best protection we can give them but they are not 100% caution still needs to be taken . When we have a parvo case in the vet clinic we have an isolation room. we boot, gown and glove for all contact, we have disinfectant baths at all the doorways . we dispose of the rubbish separately and we never reuse anything that not plastic or metal and even then this is kept in the isolation room never used in the general clinic, pet shops cannot come anywhere near to this ergo they cannot prevent cross contamination. The health warranty for
    pet shop animals in usually 24 to 48 hours, parvo virus has a 7 to 10 day
    period before it shows clinical signs so do not count on the warranty covering any costs. The puppy that is the healthiest and has the best outlook for the least behaviour problems is one that has been bred and raised in a private home and stayed with its mother for at least 8 weeks. I have just purchased a puppy and that is exactly the enviroment I looked for
    and achieved. Sharon Chamberlain (V.N) behaviour consultant and dog trainer.

  2. Jan Baker

    I have seen Parvo virus in a Pets Paradise store in Westpoint Blacktown NSW…one dog died & his litter mate was moved to another part of the glass kennels…..the cleaning process would not have been done properly as no dogs were were moved from these glass boxes so that the cleaning process could be done properly….I got in touch with PP in Melbourne…I was treated like an idiot….these Pet Paradise stores should not be allowed in these large shopping centres where people shop as they are not responsible enough to run a proper pet shop….they should not be allowed to sell dogs or cats at all….they get their stock of puppies from puppies farms that have dogs that are not immunized or fed properly thus making the mother’s immune system very low…which then makes the puppies very vulnerable to any disease…..

  3. Claire Hitchon

    It is amazing that these shops are getting away with selling sentient beings exposed at shop windows. These shops always refuse to tell you where the puppies come from – too much to hide. Please keep fighting to stop this industry so no more animals suffer in silence (puppy farms).

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