Lubbock woman buys dog online that dies from Parvovirus days lat

Lubbock woman buys dog online that dies from Parvovirus days later

LUBBOCK, Texas -

Lubbock's climate and overpopulation of stray non-vaccinated dogs provides the perfect breeding grounds for an intense Parvovirus outbreak.

The city currently has the highest widespread Parvo cases, with vets seeing multiple puppies each week for the disease. 

This is a huge problem for dog owners, especially those with a new puppy in the house.

Abraxas Mason lost her puppy to the deadly disease just a week after adopting her off Craigslist.

She had bought a Lhasa Apso for her mother on the internet, which is a common way to find a new furry friend. Adopting from animal shelters, rescue organizations and breeders are also popular ways.

"I paid the money and she delivered the dog and a few days after that is when I started noticing that it was sick," Mason said.

Mason said she had a vaccination appointment at the vet scheduled the week after making her puppy purchase, but it was too late.

"I mean she just made herself right at home with our family, and I've got a 17-year-old kid at home and he had to go bury her and that was traumatic. It was really devastating."

The dog was infected with Canine Parvovirus: a contagious virus affecting the abdominal tract spread by dog-to-dog contact in a contaminated environment. When a dog is infected, they start showing symptoms of lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea within 4-7 days. If untreated, they will likely die.

Dr. Ishida at Above & Beyond Pet Hospital warns some people might have the wrong intentions when selling dogs online.

"One of the biggest things that's going to spread Parvo is somebody who is just letting all these dogs interact that's not vaccinating dogs, and that's possibly just doing it just to sell you a dog."

Madison Luscombe, a board member for South Plains SPCA said be on the lookout for red flags when buying puppies online, since they might not come with papers and shot records like you get when adopting from credible sources like animal shelters, humane societies, or the SPCA.

"My number one thing would be if they don't have some kind of documentation of vaccinating the animal, that would be a red flag."

If you're in the market for a new pup, and looking online like Mason did, look for those already vaccinated against the Parvovirus.

"Parvo isn't a death sentence necessarily, you're going to pay for it in the end. It's a risk you take when you adopt from a non-credible person."

Luscombe noted plenty of people buy dogs off Craigslist, but she warned that it's better to have those shot records, so you know what exactly your dog has. She said to continue with vaccinations, vets usually have to have the pets papers and proper documentation.

Vets said residents and dog owners not vaccinating their puppies is the reason Lubbock has been hit so hard with this Parvo outbreak this year.

"Mortality rates can be as high as 90 percent in the dogs that get infected with it. It's a situation where if everyone vaccinated their dogs against Parvovirus, we'd probably get rid of it to be honest."

Luscombe said not only Parvo, Lubbock has quite a few animal problems. Overpopulation of strays is heavily present here, due to owners not spaying or neutering their animals.

Since Parvo is such a quick killer, keep your pups out of contact with others.

"Don't take you dog to PetSmart, don't take your dog to the park until they are fully vaccinated, which is about five months old," Luscombe said.

Avoid buying puppies under six to eight weeks of age, and use good judgment when searching online.

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