A B.C. woman is raising the alarm after paying $1,200 for a puppy that became extremely sick from parasites and disease soon after she brought him home.

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Tanya Oliva says her $1,200 puppy Caspar was extremely sick when she got him from Maple Falls Kennel. (CBC)

Tanya Oliva says Casper, who turned 12 weeks on Friday,  became so sick 48 hours after she brought him home from a Fraser Valley breeder earlier this month, that he would have died had he not quickly gotten treatment.

"I really didn't think he was gong to make it," said Oliva. I kept my hand on his pulse throughout the night just to make sure he was still breathing."

The Wheaton Terrier-Poodle cross, was rushed to the vet where he was found to be 40 per cent under weight. 

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Oliva took this picture of Caspar shortly after he arrived from Maple Falls Kennels. (Tanya Oliva)

There he was diagnosed with giardia and coccidia, intestinal parasites that left him dehydrated from constant diarrhea. He was also infested with ear mites.

The vet bill was nearly $800. Oliva says she thought she had done her research, checking out the seller, Maple Falls Kennel, which claimed to be nestled in an "emerald valley next to the Pacific" and promised its puppies, "play in our backyard ocean bay."

Maple Falls says it has reputable business

The owners of Maple Falls Kennels told CBC they only operate out of locations in Chilliwack, and Idaho. Business records list the enterprise at an address at the eastern edge of Langley — some 30 kilometres from the Pacific. 

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Caspar enjoying his new home after Oliva says she spent nearly $800 at the veterinarian. (CBC)

Kennel co-owner James Shively declined an on-camera interview but says he operates a reputable business. He issued a refund for Casper's vet bills after being contacted by CBC News.

The B.C. SPCA says before buying, you should know exactly where the puppies are coming from.

"The first thing you want to do is you always want to look for a breeder that is going to allow you on their property," says spokesperson Lori Chortyk.  "If they ask to meet you off-site, or bring a puppy off-site, that's a warning sign."

Chortyk says reputable breeders will always provide veterinary records for puppies. Prospective buyers should make sure the sellers provide a certificate from a veterinarian that the pet has been:

  •  examined
  •  vaccinated
  •  treated for parasites

It's a lesson Oliva says she's learned — even if it had to be the hard way.

With files from Eric Rankin