The pandemic has led to an explosion in pet ownership. It's also helped fuel the number of puppies being purchased at makeshift stands — especially in the East Bay.

People have taken this moment in history — one marked by social distancing and an ungodly amount of time spent indoors — to pick up hobbies and activities. Amid the uptick in at-home fitness routines and all things Zoom, Bay Area locals (and people elsewhere in the country) have taken the pandemic to adopt dogs and cats at record rates. But a side-effect of this inflated interest with pet ownership is that the number of sick dogs being sold at roadside stands has considerably grown.

As reported by KPIX, the number of people selling puppies out of their vehicles on the side of the road and in parking lots is on the rise. While seemingly innocent, a good amount of these dogs sold have proven to become incredibly sick after being taken home. (This is why credible veterinarians always suggest you buy from a reputable breeder — or better yet, to rescue an animal from a shelter or rehoming organization.)

“A couple of days [after bringing your new dog home], you might find that you have a very sick puppy on your hand,” said Dr. Coleen Dossey with Town and Country Veterinary Hospital to KPIX, warning people of the risk that comes from buying dogs at roadside stands.

The news outlet notes that animal control officials said a recent incident happened along Airway Boulevard in Livermore; a litter of Maltipoo puppies that were sold for $450 a piece turned out to be infected with canine parvovirus, which is known more broadly as "parvo."

”Parvo is highly contagious and can be a very deadly virus and spread from dog to dog,” added Dossey.

This sometimes fatal illness can swiftly infect an entire litter if their living conditions are not carefully monitored and cleaned accordingly. (Many other "parvo puppies'' have turned up at local clinics suffering from canine parvovirus, as well.)

If left untreated, parvo leaves dogs, especially smaller ones, unable to recover from the severe vomiting and diarrhea caused by the disease. The illness can eventually lead to life-threatening dehydration  — which could introduce a bacterial infection into the dog’s bloodstream that might give way to septic shock and death.

A dog suffering from parvo is considered a veterinary medical emergency; a particularly virulent strain of parvo can cause a young dog to die in as short as three days after the onset of symptoms. But if a sick dog is seen by a veterinarian and put on an appropriate treatment plan, there's around 70% chance the dog will make a full recovery.

So, yea: Buy from a reputable breeder if you must… but preferably look through the animals at your local shelter or rescue organization for your next fur child.

For more information on parvo, including symptoms to look out for in dogs, click here.

Related: Muttville Encourages San Franciscans to Adopt a Senior Dog While In Isolation

San Francisco SPCA Needs More Foster Families To Look After Cats and Dogs

Image: A puppy infected with parvo that's being treated with an intravenous line help keep it hydrated. (Photo: Getty Images/kozorog)