Safety warning for pet owners as 3rd dog tests positive for Lept - Tucson News Now

Safety warning for pet owners as 3rd dog tests positive for Leptospirosis

(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
PIMA COUNTY, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Pima County is issuing a warning to pet owners after a third dog tests positive for Leptospirosis, advising owners to get their pets vaccinated. 

According to a Pima County news release, officials with county health and animal care received a notice from the veterinarian treating the dog.  Thankfully the dog has fully recovered from the illness, but it had not been vaccinated before getting sick. 

“We’ve seen Leptospirosis outbreaks in other cities that have caused 50 to 70 infections at a time,” said Kristen Auerbach, Director of Pima Animal Care Center. “We want to encourage our community to help us take simple steps to prevent the disease here in Pima County.”

Leptospirosis is caused by a bacteria spread through soil, water, and the urine of infected animals, and if not caught early it can be deadly. In some cases, a canine leptospirosis infection is asymptomatic. When symptoms do occur they can include fever, muscle pain, vomiting and diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, depression, and blood in the urine.  Lepto is zoonotic, meaning humans can pick up the bacteria from contact with the urine of an infected dog. 

Leptospirosis Vet Fact Sheet 2.3.17 by Tucson News Now on Scribd

Pima Animal Care Center officials say that following these simple steps can help prevent your pet from getting and spreading dangerous illnesses like Leptospirosis:

  • Make sure your dog’s vaccines are current before coming to the dog park or boarding facility
  • If your dog seems sick, keep them out of the dog park or boarding facility
  • Do not let your dog drink from communal water bowls or puddles 
  • If your dog shows signs of illness or abnormal behavior, take it to a vet immediately
  • Do not touch or let your dog interact with dogs that appear to be ill

As part of the effort to remind pet owners, Pima County is also putting information about preventing illness in places where pets most often interact – dog parks and boarding facilities. Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation officials are posting signs reminding owners to vaccinate the pets they bring to enjoy the park and to encourage them to practice safe watering and play while there. 

“We want people to enjoy our great facilities in a way that does not put their pet or the pets of others unnecessarily at risk,” said Sherrie Barfield, NRPR Assistant Operations and Maintenance Manager. Officials are also providing reminders about preventing infectious disease to pet boarding and healthcare providers within the County.

“Vaccination is one of the most important things a pet owner can to do protect their four-legged family members,” said Auerbach, in the release. “The cost of treating an illness and the distress placed on your pet when they are ill is much less than the cost of keeping their vaccination up to date.” Pima County has numerous low-cost vaccination services throughout the County. These resources can be found by searching online for pet vaccination in your area.

[READ MORE: Potentially deadly disease making its way around dogs in Pima County]

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