Friday, July 9, 2010

Pet Company Dogs Test Positive For Parasite That Can Spread to Humans

Submitted by Nordia Epps on July 7, 2010 - 8:52pm.

Well over half the dogs confiscated from the Pet Company at the Hamilton Place Mall test positive for a highly contagious parasite that can spread to humans.

That's according to the McKamey Animal Center who will care for the animals with Giardia.

And we learn of an outbreak of this same parasite at six Georgia Pet Company stores in 2006.

The test results bring worry for McKamey Animal center.

Director Karen Walsh reports 22 of the 32 dogs confiscated have Giardia.

The highly infectious parasite can be transmitted to other dogs and to people.

Karen Walsh, McKamey Animal Center, "It's a large percentage of the population. It certainly gives us grave concern as to where this population ends up and that they don't contaminate other people's pets or people themselves."

Giardia causes symptoms like diarrhea, stomach cramps and nausea that often appear one to two weeks after infection.

It's caught through contaminated water, food, or poor hygiene practices.

Walsh suggests people who've purchased a puppy from the Pet Company have it tested.

Walsh, "They have been isolated here as a separate population from our dogs that come in but they are exposing themselves to each other and we know that there's dogs in that group that were on the sale floor that are positive."

The Attorney for the Pet Company has maintained his client followed federal regulations.

Andy Pippinger, Pet Company Attorney, "Our client took care of these animals... made sure they had plenty of water, plenty of food. They were well taken care of. They were provided vet care once every 7 days and they cleaned the kennels appropriately."

Judge Sherry Paty ordered the dogs that did not test positive for the parasite along with the rest of the pets to be returned to the Pet Company.

It will now house them at the Companion Animal Hospital in Chattanooga, instead of its Georgia store.

Walsh, "The Georgia state vet was not comfortable with them coming"

Back in 2006, six Pet Company stores in Metro Atlanta got quarantined after all but 13 of the 150 puppies tested were positive for giardia.

The company did not return our calls for comment.

Judge Paty will rule next Wednesday on what will ultimately happen to the animals and the Pet Company.