Leptosprirosis a concern for pets in Santa Barbara County as wet season approaches

Pet health alert

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The deadly bacteria known as Leptospirosis is affecting many dogs up and down the coast. The upcoming rainy season could possibly affect many more of your furry friends.

Lepto is spread through the urine of infected animals including rodents. Dr. Evelyn Brand, a veterinarian at Goleta Airport Animal Hospital, says the raining season can bring more concerns since many dogs walk through puddles and streams.

“Don’t leave a water bowl out in the backyard," said Dr. Brand. "Rats can come in and urinate in it and if your dog is drinking from that they will get sick. That is actually the most common source of infection most recently.”

There have been about 20 local cases of Lepto this year. If not caught early, the disease can lead to liver and kidney damage, and it’s very contagious.

“Most of the time we say its exposure to animals and humans from rodents, raccoons, and possums," said Dr. Brand. "The problem is that animals and humans can transmit it between each other so it is a disease that can be cross transmitted.

Good news for beachgoers, salt water kills the bacteria so the ocean water is not a concern.

Signs of leptospirosis is a decrease in appetite and or vomiting in your pets. If you see any of those symptoms you should call your veterinarian.

“There is a vaccine for it," said Dr. Brand. "The problem is there are six major ones that we see and only four are included in the vaccine.”

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