Dangerous dog disease: How to protect your dog

Posted at 7:09 PM, May 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-25 10:21:43-04

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - We have a health alert for you and your dog.

Pima County, in Arizona, has had two cases of a dangerous dog disease that can spread to humans.

The disease called Leptospirosis, or Lepto for short, is rare but Maricopa County had more than 40 cases over the past year and a half and now there are two confirmed cases in Pima County.

Both cases hit dogs that come to the Sit, Stay, Play dog daycare but the owner is confident the dogs caught the illness somewhere else.  She says veterinary experts said her sanitation is so effective there was no need for her to close but to be careful she has been closed since Sunday.

Instead of daycare she brought in veterinarians to examine her clients' dogs and give lepto vaccinations.

Lynn Davis feels a lot better about her friend Luther.

"I just think this is helping us a lot with any fears we might have.  Plus we get to see the doctor and have them evaluated to make sure they're not getting sick."

"You want to be especially careful if you take your dog places where other dogs gather like a dog park or a doggy daycare; and it may not be very obvious a dog is ill.  Dog urine is how that bacteria spreads but the good news is our hot, dry climate makes it tougher for that germ to survive for very long."

Veterinarian Doctor Kathryn Dennis of Monument East Veterinary Hospital was one of the vets giving vaccinations.  She says if you think your dog is ill, take it to its regular vet because they know the dog best.

She warns symptoms of Lepto can be subtle and easy to mistake for routine digestive trouble.

“It can be just your dog is under the weather; just isn't feeling very well, feels a little bit off. It may be something like vomiting or diarrhea in slightly more severe cases down to kidney failure where your dogs are drinking a lot of water, urinating large amounts and sometimes the whites of their eyes will turn yellow if their liver is affected."

Dr Dennis says discuss vaccination with your vet and understand it's not instant protection.  You dog will need a booster about two weeks after the first shot, then you should wait another 28 days before you head back to the dog park.


You can find more detail on Lepto and safety for you and your pet at the links below: 

Arizona State Veterinarian, Arizona Department of Agriculture

Arizona Health Department

Maricopa County Health Department