December 1, 2017
A tiny six week old puppy, who was sold online despite having suspected mange and being underage, has ended up at Mayhew.
The Jack Russell Terrier, named Luna, was illegally sold underage via a buy and sell website. The breeder arranged for the buyer to meet the little pup in a car park, where the puppy’s mother was not present and she had no other siblings around her at the time.
Mayhew’s Dog Adoption Officer, Lisa Guiney, said: “The breeder had told the owner that she was 10 weeks old, but in fact she was approximately six weeks old. It’s illegal to sell a puppy under the age of eight weeks old. After meeting the breeder in a car park, the ill-informed owner took Luna home with them that day.”
“Unfortunately as soon as they got Luna home, the owner noticed she was scratching herself all the time and had severe diarrhoea, so they decided to take her to their local vet to get her checked over. The vet suspected that Luna had mites, but sadly the owner couldn’t afford the tests to determine what was wrong, so Luna was brought into Mayhew.”
Luna is just one of the many animals that have been bought online on a whim without owners taking into consideration the responsibilities and needs of the pet. As a part of Mayhew’s Christmas campaign, ‘I am NOT an Impulse Buy’, we are raising awareness of the worrying trend of many pets ending up in rescue shelters due to impulse buys. We are urging potential owners to be responsible and consider adopting an animal from a rescue centre instead, where the responsibility and long-term commitment can be discussed and advice given.
Though they might have had good intentions at first, Luna’s owner had clearly overlooked the costs and responsibilities which ultimately come with owning a pet.
At Mayhew’s onsite Community Vet Clinic, our experienced team got straight to work finding out what was wrong with Luna. They suspected she had sarcoptic mange, which is a highly contagious skin disease that can be passed onto other animals and humans.
Mayhew’s Vet, Dr Emily Richardson, said: “Luna was presumed to have sarcoptic mange due to skin lesions on her outer ear, hocks and elbows. We conducted a full dermatological examination, but no parasites were observed with a microscope following skin scrapes. Sampling can sometimes fail to show parasites in infected dogs and due to the fact that this parasitic infection can be highly contagious and spread to humans, we decided to treat her for sarcoptic mange.”
“Luna was treated with a topical drug that kills mites. She was also given a course of antibiotics due to a secondary bacterial skin infection, which was a result of skin damage from scratching. After three weeks, her skin condition improved and she is no longer considered infectious. Luna has now fully recovered and is a very healthy and happy puppy.”
Dog Adoption Officer, Lisa Guiney, added: “The previous owner said they had also developed itchy skin lesions since buying the puppy. Luna’s story not only highlights the risk of buying a sick puppy online, resulting in unexpected vet fees, but also the health risk it poses to the owner, family members and other animals.”
“We urge people to think responsibly about where they get their pets from and consider adopting a rescue dog from a reputable shelter, as they are full of gorgeous canines waiting for loving homes.”
After receiving ongoing care and medical attention from Mayhew’s Vet Team and love and kindness from their Kennel staff, Luna is fully back on her paws, has been neutered and vaccinated and has now found the perfect new home.
This year, we have collaborated with Ravensbourne University to produce a campaign video, ‘I am NOT an Impulse Buy’, to raise awareness of the increasing trend of buying pets impulsively online and via apps and later ending up in rescue shelters. The video tells the story of a fictional young man purchasing a puppy on an app as a present. As is often the case, the seller offers no background information on the dog, so it isn’t apparent it has a pre-existing health condition. After discovering the condition is likely to require ongoing, long-term treatment, the man comes to the difficult decision that it would be best for the dog’s future to be given up to Mayhew.
Lack of research before getting a pet means many owners have an incomplete understanding of what a pet needs for a healthy, happy life. They should be aware of the five animal welfare needs that must be met, which include the need for a suitable diet and environment and to be protected from pain, injury, disease and suffering.