PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. — An outbreak of a potentially deadly bacteria has been found in dogs in the Kansas City area.
Local veterinarians are warning pet owners that they’re seeing cases of leptospirosis.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, leptospirosis is a bacteria found in water and soil. It’s more common in warm climates and spread through the urine of an infected animal.
Local veterinarians are starting to see cases, including veterinarian Kent Kraus with Tomahawk Animal Hospital says he’s seen cases in the past week.
“One animal was older and had kidney failure and the other one mysteriously came down with some kidney disease and checked for lepto and that came up positive last week,” he said.
Any dog can catch the bacteria, but the dogs at highest risk are those that drink from slow-moving or stagnant water sources like streams or ponds, dogs that have contacted with farm animals or wildlife, and dogs that have contact with other dogs in areas like dog parks or boarding facilities.
Leptospirosis can often have symptoms similar to other diseases, including loss of appetite, vomiting, lethargy, abdominal pain, diarrhea and jaundice. Although some dogs show no signs of illness, the disease can lead to lung disease, heart damage, bleeding disorders, and even death.
The bacteria can also infect people.
“Leptospirosis is considered a zoonotic disease meaning it could spread from an animal to a human being, whether that’s even from a rodent urinating on something, they can get it from their pets,” said Kraus.
People or pets who contract leptospirosis are treated with antibiotics. There’s also a vaccine for dogs. Veterinarians are encouraging pet owners to get their dogs vaccinated.