At least 60 sick puppies purchased off Craigslist: Outbreak of distemper

It’s an epidemic in Las Vegas in “an outbreak of distemper” as more and more victims come forward with sick puppies purchased off of Craigslist. The owners of at least 60 sick puppy have come forward to tell their heart wrenching stories.  And what could hurt a heart move than to hear a six-year-old child describe the loss of her two-month-old puppy?

“It was something he couldn’t fight. It was a sickness. It was worms, it was seizures,” young Lucille McCall told News3LV, whose puppy Titan died this week despite the medical intervention trying to save him.

For the Nevada Voters for Animals, who have been helping families pay for the expensive treatment trying to help the sick puppies, the sad announcement about Titan rang through the organization’s Facebook page with the sad news of another lost puppy:

“RIP TITAN Sadly, Titan was suffering so badly from the effects of DISTEMPER that the only humane option was to euthanize him this afternoon. Our hearts go out to his family and all families suffering heartbreak with sick and dying puppies. We have been working non stop for the past 4 days to get justice for all the puppies who have suffered and died because of greedy Craigslist sellers who knowingly sell diseased and sick puppies.”

Many of the victims describe the same person who sold them their puppies from Craigslist; he allegedly pulls up in parking lots in the southwest part of town driving a gold BMW with no license plates. It is not known where this man is finding the puppies, but almost all of them have come down with distemper or parvovirus. According to veterinarian, Dr. Dennis Arn, four dogs presented with distemper in the last week just in his clinic – three of them have already died and only a collie-retriever puppy named Bella is still alive. Distemper vaccinations are so effective that it’s rare dogs even come down with the disease nowadays Dr. Arn explained.

Distemper and parvovirus distemper are highly contagious to dogs.

Symptoms of parvovirus:

  • Dogs that have contracted parvovirus will begin to become symptomatic within 3-7 days of exposure. The symptoms that accompany the condition usually include:
  • Listlessness and lethargy.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea, which may contain blood.
  • Dehydration.
  • Shock.
  • Toxaemia due to the destruction of the colon, and the associated toxins from this entering the bloodstream.
  • During the later stages of the condition, the entire body of dog will develop a very distinctive and foul smell.

Symptoms of distemper:

  • A high temperature and associated fever is generally the first symptom of canine distemper, although this may be overlooked in the earliest stages of the infection.
  • Listlessness and lethargy generally follow quickly.
  • Loss of appetite is common.
  • Symptoms such as a cough, sneezing and a runny nose also develop.
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea are also common.
  • Later, seizures and fitting may be present.
  • One of the core and most noticeable differences between parvovirus and canine distemper is that the pads of the dog’s paws usually become hardened and thickened in canine distemper infection, but not in parvovirus.

To read more about these diseases and treatment, click here.

Thinking about buying a pet from Craigslist? Consider the following before making a possible heartbreaking purchase. Puppy sellers from Craigslist come from private homes where their operations fly under the radar – they don’t need to use veterinarians or conform to local ordinances for preventative vaccinations or health certificates. These unscrupulous breeders often arrange to meet their clients at parking lots to avoid detection and any local laws. Often inbred, unhealthy, full of worms and sick, stories just like Titan’s or the other 60 sick puppies are not unusual. And just as concerning, these puppies can be the products of puppy mills where they are bred and re-bred until they are no longer useful when they are either killed or abandoned.

Read the previous article about other puppies purchased off of Craigslist.

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