Leptospirosis in Arizona
With the steady increase in the number of dogs diagnosed in Arizona with Leptospirosis, we wanted to give you the most up-to-date information available.
Leptospirosis is a flu-like illness caused by bacteria that can affect people and animals, including dogs. It is spread through contact with infected urine, water or wet soil contaminated with urine.
On Wednesday May 31, we confirmed a case of Leptospirosis at Briarcrest Veterinary Care Center. The owner indicated that she and her dog frequent a local neighborhood dog park.
There have also been at least 4 reported sick dogs in the Tucson area that have been confirmed to have Leptospirosis and several others are suspected.
Pet owners should watch for the following common signs of Leptospirosis in their dogs:
. Drinking more than usual
. Urinating more than usual
. Lack of urination
. Redness in the eyes
. Reluctance to eat
. Fever over 103.5 F
If your pet shows any of these signs or you are concerned about Leptospirosis, please contact our office at 520-298-4123. We may recommend vaccinating for Leptospirosis depending on the level of risk your dog is at. Some pets do not get sick.
Dogs at high risk include:
. Outdoor dogs that engage in hiking and swimming in natural waters
. Dogs with contact with other animal species (ie. farm animals or wildlife)
. Hunting dogs
. Dogs that are exposed to areas of standing water or flooded areas
. Dogs that have frequent exposure to other dogs in high density areas (ie. dog shows, dog parks, pet boarding facilities, pet day cares, etc.)
. Dogs that travel frequently or have contact with dogs that travel
. Dogs frequenting local dog parks
Pet owners should be aware that Leptospirosis can infect humans. Although infection of humans is rare, there are precautions that owners should take:
. Wash hands after taking your dogs for walks
. Wash clothes that may have come in contact with pet urine
. Wear gloves when cleaning up after your pet to avoid contact with urine
. Designate an area for your dog to urinate that is away from areas where people/dogs frequent
. Use a household antibacterial cleaning solution to clean areas in your home if your dog urinates inside (ie. 1:10 bleach/water solution – 1 part bleach – 9 parts water)
Briarcrest will be requiring all dogs staying with us have proof of the Leptospirosis vaccine within the past 12 months. Most Arizona dogs have not been vaccinated for Leptospirosis. If your pet has not been vaccinated for Leptospirosis you should consider doing so. Our staff can help you with this decision. Your dog will need an initial vaccine followed by a booster in 2-4 weeks. Your pet will be not fully protected until after the second vaccination.
Ask any staff member for recommendations and further details.