For pet owners, this is a scary time. Last week news outlets across the Valley reported a leptospirosis outbreak affecting more than 50 dogs.
Leptospirosis is a highly contagious bacterial disease that can be spread to both humans and dogs.
The bacteria is found in soil and water, and is mainly spread in climates that are warm with high amounts of annual rainfall, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
However, the bacteria can be spread anywhere, and so far cases have been reported in Scottsdale, Gilbert, Phoenix, Gilbert, Litchfield Park, Avondale, and Fountain Hill, according to WCNC.com.
It’s spread through mucus or an open cut that comes into contact with infected urine, soil contaminated by infected urine, food, water or even bedding.
Which means dog owners who take their pets to dog parks need to be extra cautious since this is a prime place to spread the bacteria.
Signs and symptoms include fever, shivering, muscle tenderness, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. People infected by the bacteria report symptoms similar to the flu, according to the AVMA.
The bacteria is treatable with antibiotics and preventable with a vaccine, but is deadly if left untreated.
The Arizona Animal Welfare League, a local shelter in Phoenix, is holding two events in March where they will provide the vaccine for $20, according to ABC15. You can visit their website for more information.
If you or your pet experience any symptoms contact your medical professional immediately. If you’re worried your pet could have come into contact with leptospirosis contact your vet to schedule an examination. Click here for a list of low-cost veterinary clinics in the Valley.