BOISE, Idaho — Chew toys, treats, plush bedding… these are all things new puppies get when they go home to their new families. But for one 8-week-old Yorkie Pomeranian named Luna, she got more then she bargained for.
Adopted by the Holden family on April 6 in a Cabela’s parking lot, all seemed well until Monday when the Holden’s noticed their new puppy’s behavior was off. They excused her behavior and chalked it up to adjusting to a new environment. Come Tuesday, Ashley Holden knew something was really wrong. After two trips to the vet, Luna tested positive for Parvovirus. Parvovirus, known as Parvo, is extremely contagious and very dangerous. The gastrointestinal virus is so dangerous that if left untreated it is fatal. On Thursday, April 11, Luna died from Parvo in the care of her veterinarian. The Holdens had only had her for six days.
Luna's owners now want to raise awareness about “backyard breeders” and educate the public about how to avoid purchasing a sick puppy. According to Dr. Curtis Brandt, a veterinarian at WestVet who did not treat Luna, Parvo is “highly preventable--probably along the lines of 98-99% preventable” when vaccinated accordingly.
The virus is transferred through oral or fecal contact with an infected animal. And while the virus does not affect humans, humans can carry the virus on their shoes, clothes, and skin. Dr. Brandt says this illness is so severe because of it’s persistence noting, “Parvovirus is going to persist for many months, maybe even a year even with exposure to rain, sunlight, ice, snow, that kind of thing.”
The only known chemical to sanitize Parvo is diluted bleach or medical grade disinfectant.
Since news broke, Tyler Holden contacted Cabela's and the owners of Franklin Towne Plaza, Hawkins Cos. with hopes of preventing the same fate for another family and puppy. Hawkins Cos. has banned the sale of puppies on their property.
If you have not vaccinated your puppy or dog against Parvo and you are concerned about a possible exposure to it, contact your veterinarian or Westvet 24/7 Animal Emergency & Specialty Center.