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Family devastated after dog purchased from pet store suddenly dies

LAKE ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- A family hopes to warn others after their new puppy bought from a store in Missouri died suddenly of parvo.

Mariah and Jake Reichenberg bought a Siberian Husky from Petland in Lake St. Louis. They brought him home and named him Maverick.

"I've seen my daughter laugh but I've never seen my daughter laugh like that with him, I think that's what kind of sold us on him," Jake Reichenberg said.

The puppy started getting sick two days after the family brought him home. That's when they took him to the vet.

"He was positive for parvo," Reichenberg said.

The veterinarian hospital did everything they could, but Maverick died just a few days later from the extremely contagious virus.

"It affects the intestines of a dog and it affects primarily puppies because they're the ones with immune systems that aren't as well developed," said Dr. Julie Brinker, of the Humane Society of Missouri.

Brinker said between 80 to 90 percent of treated dogs survive the disease, but the rest don't make it.

She said the disease is more common at pet stores and puppy mills but it can be found anywhere.

"It's next to impossible to completely prevent exposure, the best thing to do is take care of your puppy and if it starts looking sick take it to the vet," she said.

But the Reichenbergs feel they were not given adequate education about the risks of the disease and are frustrated by the way the store handled the situation.

"I think what bothered us the most was when we called Petland and told them what was going on they told us to call claims and warrant as if we were talking about a TV. We're talking about a family member, a pet," Reichenberg said.

The manager at Petland said he is very sorry for the situation.

"There was no negligence, we've done everything we can do," said Jeff Hartman, the store manager.

Hartman said the puppy was vaccinated but that it wasn't enough. He says the dog's sibling is doing OK and not showing signs of the disease.

"We always have protocols in place," Hartman said. He says they disinfect everything and right now are keeping puppies longer so that they know for sure if they are going to show symptoms of parvo.

They refunded the family's $2,500 but the Reichenbergs say they don't care about the money. They just hope their story helps prevent another family from going through their pain. They have filed a complaint with the attorney general's office to report the disease.

Source: KMOV