OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- The Centers For Disease Control is investigating a multi-state outbreak of human campylobacter infections linked to puppies sold through Petland, a national pet store chain.
People from both Kansas and Missouri have contracted illnesses due to this outbreak.
“You would expect the dog to be healthy, completely, for the price that you pay,” said Brenda Douglas.
Douglas got her Victorian Bulldog, Zigg, April 1st, 2017, at Petland in Overland Park. He was about 8 months old, but Douglas gave him back at the end of September.
“He was sick and everything that they tried was not working,” Douglas said.
Zigg was vomiting, having diarrhea, and the clean-up was just too much – especially in a home where there are young children.
“Having the kids in the house, and the possibility that one of them could catch whatever, you know, from my dog, Zigg, it was just scary,” Douglas added.
The CDC says campylobacter infections –bacterial infections which can cause abdominal pain, fever, and diarrhea -- initially linked to contact with puppies from Petland has spread to dozens of people in twelve states, Kansas and Missouri included.
The CDC says it is resistant to common antibiotics.
“Zigg was one-of-a-kind to me, he was just what I wanted, that’s why I even expected to pay more, but I also expected to get a healthy puppy,” added Douglas.
Douglas says Petland told her Zigg had a clean bill of health.
“When you purchase a pet, you have three days to take him in to their veterinary center. I took him in, and he tested positive within that three-day period, for Giardia,” says Douglas.
Giardia is a diarrhea-causing parasite.
She says they didn’t test him for campylobacter at that time, and he kept getting worse despite being on antibiotics and eating special prescription dog food.
“The dogs should be checked for both, Giardia and Campylobacter, especially at this point, when they know they have those dogs that are sick with these diseases,” Douglas said.
In a statement from Petland, the CDC posted an update announcing it has expanded the investigation and confirmed that it found campylobacter in puppies sources other than Petland. Since the initial contact, Petland has re-doubled its efforts in educating staff and customers about proper hand sanitization.
“He was actually part of the family, he was trying, you know, he would have occasional accidents, but I couldn’t fault him for it, it was because of what was going on with him internally, but it was upsetting because even the kids enjoyed him, and he was a part of the family,” Douglas said.
Douglas says Petland gave her a hard time about giving Zigg back, but thanks to FOX 4 News – the problem was solved and she got her money back.
Dr. Christina Belew, the Medical Director Of Union Hill Animal Hospital, and a veterinarian, says campylobactor is something your pet can pass to you.
She says they carry it in their GI tract but don’t typically show symptoms after six months. Some symptoms include diarrhea, loss of appetite, sometimes a fever.
Dr. Belew says campylobacter lives in the environment, it’s a fecal, oral transmission. You can even get it from undercooked meat. She says about 49 percent of both dog and cat populations harbor it.
“It will pass in their feces, so when they’re out in the backyard and they go to the bathroom, they are potentially putting some campylobacter out there,” Dr. Belew said.
She says it’s important you always pick up the stools, clean the litter box, using good hygiene, washing hands, and make sure your dog or cat is checked out by a vet to ensure they are in good health.
“The difficulty is that dogs can reinfect themselves all the time. So if they’re out in the backyard, out on the trial, the dog park, they can pick it up,” Dr. Belew added.