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Leptospirosis Outbreak in San Diego

Leptospirosis Outbreak in San Diego

The San Diego area has been experiencing an outbreak of a harmful disease called Leptospirosis in recent weeks. This disease, commonly referred to as Lepto, is usually carried by rats and other rodents that are common in Southern California. Because of this, dogs can be at risk of contracting this potentially deadly disease if they come into contact with an infected animal or the urine of an infected animal. Dr. Michele Drake offers some tips on how to protect your pet and discusses the Leptospirosis Vaccine in our latest video.

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Featured Quote:

But our bigger concern is that it's a zoonotic disease, so humans can also pick this up. So the problem is that quite often someone doesn't know that their dog has lepto and then they've been exposed from their dog. So we do recommend the vaccine for dogs.

 

Video Transcript:

Hey everybody, Dr. Michele Drake here and I'm here to talk to you today mostly about dogs with leptospirosis. We've had an outbreak of leptospirosis in San Diego. That's a bacterial disease that's transmitted mostly by the urine from rats, but other wildlife can also transmit it. And the way your dog will pick it up is from walking through the rat urine, which with a high moisture content, the rat urine will stay moist for a long time.

We all have rats here in San Diego. It's a great place to be a rat. So the rats are causing this outbreak and other wildlife too. So any kind of stream or any place where there's water, but it can be as simple as the dew in your grass. If your dog walks through that, licks their paws, gets it in a cut or scrape on their body. Then they will be infected with the leptospirosis. And within about three to five days, they can show flu-like symptoms. They're just not feeling well, they're not eating, and it can lead to kidney and liver failure very quickly. These dogs get really sick and they can die pretty quickly, but it's very treatable. So if you get in here quickly after that, we can treat it.

But our bigger concern is that it's a zoonotic disease, so humans can also pick this up. So the problem is that quite often someone doesn't know that their dog has lepto and then they've been exposed from their dog. So we do recommend the vaccine for dogs. It's a series of two the first year, and then after that, it's annual. It's a safe vaccine and it's a very preventable disease. So we do recommend that all dogs be vaccinated for it. So next time you're in, let's get that brought up to speed too.

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