Arlington woman warns prospective pet owners after contracting disease from new puppy

Virginia

ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM) — An Arlington mother and daughter are warning those interested in purchasing a new pet about a disease called campylobacter.

Audrey Glitt was thrilled when her mother, Katrina Metzler, brought home a new puppy named Fernweh as a surprise — but shortly after the dog’s arrival, the excitement quickly faded to worry.

“I think it was about, a week later after we had gotten her, I started getting really sick and I couldn’t get out of bed,” said Glitt.

Glitt initially thought she had COVID, but after some tests, doctors confirmed she had Campylobacter, a bacteria found in animals. As a result, Glitt underwent two blood transfusions and suffered from anemia. Then, Fernweh started to show symptoms.

“We decided to get Fern checked at our vet, and they tested her and they were like, ‘Yeah, she’s got Campylobacter as well,'” said Glitt.

The disease can be easily transmitted from pets to humans. Loudoun County Animal Services Director, Nina Stively, says the disease is found in animal feces.

“If they have any waste material on them, and you get that on your hands, and then touch your face or mouth it can be transmitted in that way,” said Stively.

The CDC conducted an investigation into an outbreak of multi-state Campylobacter infections in pet store dogs in December of 2019, advising that new puppies be taken for a check-up within days after adoption. However, the disease is not commonly tested for in dogs, something Metzler says she wishes she had known.

“Ask more detailed [questions] before you purchase a puppy from anywhere, and know what tests need to be run before you bring that puppy home,” she said.

The CDC says that most people will begin showing gastrointestinal symptoms roughly 2-5 days after exposure. However, the organization also reminds potential owners that any dog can contain the disease, regardless of whether you purchase them from a pet store.

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