Puppy dies in first case of parvo in 2016 at Montgomery Co. ARC

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A family is mourning the loss of their pet three days after it was adopted from the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center (ARC).

Lisa Cusick and her boyfriend spent months searching for the right dog to bring home. In August, they found Murphy, a 5-month-old black lab at the ARC. Murphy was a stray and Cusick says they needed him as much as he needed them.

“When we held him and he put his little head on our shoulders, we just knew,” said Cusick.

The facility executive director, Mark Kumpf says on intake every animal gets several vaccinations, including for parvovirus (parvo). Parvo is a highly contagious virus that is most common in intestinal form. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and lack of appetite.

Before a family adopts a dog from the ARC, it gets spayed or neutered. A couple days after Murphy’s surgery, Cusick took him home.

“He was great. We took him home for walks and he didn’t pull, he didn’t chew anything, he slept in his bed and he went to the bathroom outside. He was perfect,” said Cusick.

The next day Cusick says Murphy seemed lethargic and wouldn’t eat or drink anything. She assumed he was adjusting to his new environment. The following day, Murphy began vomiting and wouldn’t move. Cusick took him back to the ARC where the puppy was diagnosed with parvo.

“It was like being hit with a ton of bricks. I never thought we would have that experience. You hear about it, but I didn’t think it would be something we would go through or our dog would go through.” said Cusick.

Cusick says treatment for parvo symptoms would cost thousands and there wasn’t a guarantee treatment would work. She and her boyfriend decided to euthanize Murphy. A tough decision she doesn’t want anyone else to go through.

“Getting a puppy home and thinking he’s healthy to only walk into the ARC and leave with an empty leash,” said Cusick.

2 NEWS asked Kumpf why Murphy wasn’t tested for parvo before he was adopted. He said, “There is no reason to do a parvo test because a parvo test is only going to show a positive result if the animal is symptomatic.” This means, a parvo test would only show a positive result when the dog is exhibiting actual symptoms of the virus.

He says the majority of cases are seen in puppies that are between six weeks and six-months-old and vaccinations are the best way to prevent the virus.

Parvo is commonly contracted through direct contact with an infected dog, or indirectly, through feces.

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