CHICAGO (CBS) — A family brings home an adorable puppy and within days they are devastated when their little dog gets sick with a potentially deadly virus.
As 2 Investigator Pam Zekman reports, the outbreak happened this year with dogs from a local breeder.
Puppies for sale at Mittelwest Shepherds in Wonder Lake are either bred on site or imported from Germany.
“The finest world class puppies” their website says, adding that they are “strong, sound and healthy.”
But Kale, the $4,500 puppy Tanya and Tim Barry bought, got sick a few days after they brought him home.
“(He was) very lethargic, was vomiting, had diarrhea,” said Tim Barry. “He did not want to eat, did not want to drink. And my only thought he was gonna die.”
The dog tested positive for the parvovirus and was hospitalized for five days at a cost of $1,334.
“It was just a nightmare,” said Tanya Barry. “When she said if you take him home he could die and I said ‘are you serious?'”
When Kale’s owners told the breeder that he had a serious case of parvo, she said it could not have happened in her facility. Mittelwest’s owner Julie Martinez blamed the German breeder that the puppy originally came from.
“Puppies come in from Germany with parvo. It’s not something that could have been foreseen,” said Martinez.
McHenry County Animal Control reports include a violation warning for “failing to provide veterinary care” for two puppies. It gave the breeder 24 hours to take the puppies to a veterinarian. They were taken to the vet and tested positive for parvo the next day.
Experts say getting puppies with parvo symptoms to a vet fast is critical because it’s highly contagious.
“You see puppies in extreme pain and agony even with treatment,” said Dr. Tracey Maione, president of the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association.
Seven puppies in one litter all died at Mittelwest this year.
“They weren’t saved but the effort was made,” said Martinez.
In all CBS 2 can confirm more than a dozen puppies got parvo.
In February, the Illinois Department of Agriculture placed a quarantine on the facility that meant none of the dogs or puppies could be moved or sold.
That quarantine was lifted 18 days later by the Department of Agriculture due to the puppies “not showing any signs or symptoms” and Mittelwest “being cleaned and disinfected.”
When asked if there are other puppies out there that were sold around the time this happened that have parvo, the breeder doubted it.
“No it’s not possible,” said Martinez.
But, Megan Swiechichowski purchased her puppy after the quarantine. Three days later it tested positive for parvo.
“They need to make sure there are no more sick dogs and that they’re all being treated,” said Swiechichowski.
Martinez says she believes Megan’s puppy got a false positive, but agreed to pay for the vet bills and refund half Megan’s money and all of the Barry’s.
She also says she routinely provides vet care. Inspectors revisited Mittelwest last week and found no evidence of parvo.