He wasn’t a Labrador, and he wasn’t healthy.
Eleven days before Christmas Day 2016, a couple purchased what they thought would become a much-loved pet; a Labrador puppy, fit and ready to go home, up for sale on a classified advertising website. They agreed to meet the breeder (or so they thought) in a car park. Money changed hands, and the wriggly ball of fluff named Rocky came home with them.
Within hours of bringing him home, Rocky, was flat, floppy and very ill. There was clearly something very wrong. He had vomited several times during the night and had an upset stomach too. He wasn’t interested in food, and although he tried to drink water, he could not keep it down. Desperate for help, the owners rang the breeder, but there was no reply.
Less than 24 hours after he was bought, Rocky was at the nearest vet. He would need special intensive treatment if he was to survive. Caught totally unprepared for a very sick pet and unable to afford private vet fees, his owners rushed him to our Victoria animal hospital and made the heartbreaking decision to part with him, asking that we find him a new home should he recover.
“Rocky was at death’s door when he arrived in our care,” said Amanda Marrington, Blue Cross Animal Welfare Officer. “He was weak, emaciated and suffering from parvovirus and we didn’t think he would survive the night.”
Parvovirus is a highly infectious disease that can kill puppies quickly. It is entirely preventable with a simple vaccination. It is very contagious in unvaccinated puppies, especially where hygiene is poor, so sadly, the other puppies in Rocky’s litter are likely to have suffered a similar fate.
The advertising of puppies online, before completing the sale at a public location, is an increasingly worrying trend, and more and more dangerously ill pets who have been bought in this way are being treated by Blue Cross vets.