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Quarantine lifted at Scarborough pet store

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Quarantine lifted at Scarborough pet store

SCARBOROUGH — Puppy sales have resumed at Little Paws pet store at 456 Payne Road after a state-ordered quarantine was lifted last Friday.

Liam Hughes, who directs the Maine Department of Agriculture Animal Welfare Program, announced that the ban on sales and bringing dogs in and out of the store was over, because all puppies in the store tested negative for parvovirus and giardia.

Both are potentially fatal, but treatable, conditions affecting canine digestive tracts.

Store manager Larry De Angelis said the store reopened last Saturday after owner Barbara Cross and staff removed rugs and sealed floors and surfaces to enhance sanitary conditions at the store. Rug removal was suggested, but not demanded by state officials, he added.

He said customers seeking purebred puppies have returned, but staff are taking a more deliberate approach in assessing breeders from which the store buys.

"If anything, it has made us all the wiser," he said. Staff will also try to separate puppies for sale from dogs brought into the store by private owners, he added.

A ban on sales was made Feb. 1 and was expected to be extended through the first week of this month after a puppy sold at the store Jan. 23 was diagnosed with parvovirus a week later at Fryeburg Veterinary Hospital.

The husky puppy, sold to Julie Thomas of Conway, N.H., died Feb. 2. It came from Kansas-based breeders John and Lynda Fromm, and arrived in the store Jan. 16, Cross said.

The order required Cross to have 22 puppies at the store tested by the store veterinarian. On Feb. 22, state veterinarian Christine Fraser announced an extension of the quarantine because of another positive test for parvovirus.

Parvovirus, according to the Human Society of the United States, is a virus transmitted through dog feces and vomit that can incubate for three to 12 days after exposure. The treatable virus can also exist in an environment for months and can cause diarrhea, dehydration and fever among other symptoms. Giardia is caused by intestinal parasites.

Fraser said her office had not received additional reports of parvovirus or giardia in puppies sold at the store before the quarantine order.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.