12 On Your Side: Woman says she bought puppy with contagious parvovirus

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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Aug. 19, 2013

12 On Your Side

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- A viewer sent News 12 an email after she says she bought a Pekingese puppy for $400 from someone selling them in a mall parking lot. She says four days later the puppy got sick and began vomiting.

Soon after she learned from a veterinarian that it had parvo.

"A lot of times we'll see diarrhea and lethargy and vomiting as well. Usually really loose liquid stools, that's kind of a giveaway," said Highland Animal Hospital Veterinarian Dustin Hawkins.

However, Hawkins says puppies under 6 weeks of age may be too young to show parvo symptoms.

"You want to start vaccinations at 6 weeks, 9 weeks, 12 weeks and 16 weeks. The reason being is the mother's maternal antibodies are starting to go away as the puppy is developing its own antibodies," Hawkins said.

If you decide to buy a puppy from someone on the street, Hawkins has another suggestion.

"The first thing you should do is the same day take it to the veterinarian and have the vaccines performed."

He says this is to try and rule out parvo.

Hawkins also says if you decide to buy a puppy you may want to choose one that has reached vaccination age and one in which the owner can provide the puppy's medical records.

Hawkins says it could save you the heartache.

"Usually when you find out about parvo it's usually the hard way," he said.

Meanwhile the viewer says the seller asked her for the Pekingese puppy back in exchange for a refund of her $400. She tells News 12 she is still waiting after more than a month.

Hawkins says even after treating a pooch with parvo, your problems may not end there.

"The problem with parvo is it can stay in the environment for months," he said.

Other veterinarians we spoke to say buying pets on the street has several risks, including potential health issues like parvo as well as pet scams and the possibility that your pet could be from a puppy mill.

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