Bacteria common to county affects dogs - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Bacteria common to county affects dogs

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Posted By: Bayley Bischof Channel 8 Eyewitness News

With summer in full swing, dog owners probably spend more time outside with their pups.

But if you take them to lakes, rivers or even the local dog park... There may be hidden dangers you don't about.

One of those... Leptospirosis.

Pet Car Center veterinarian Amy Walton said Lancaster County is a hot spot for the bacteria.

Any dog can be affected.

"People used to think of it as a hunting dog disease– dogs that went out to lakes, watery type areas– but we're actually seeing a lot more in our city pets and our small lap dogs," Walton said.

Leptospirosis is caused by a bacteria found in the urine of wildlife and rodents.

She said major concerns are kidney and liver failure and lung infections.

So far this year, Walton has seen three confirmed cases at the pet care center- she said this is a little ahead of schedule.

"I usually see them more around springtime, fall when we have more rainy weather and people are getting water in their yards,” Walton said.

But with people heading out to lakes, rivers and cabins for vacations, the summer is a risky time.

"Be mindful,” she said. “If you go to lakes, rivers keep them out of standing, stagnant type water, don't let them drink from puddles."

Symptoms are legarthy, low appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, increased water drinking and urinating, bruising and swelling in limbs- though each case is unique.

If caught early, it can be successfully treated with antibiotics.

There's also a vaccine that Walton recommends.

"The biggest concern with lepto is if our dogs get it, if we come into contact with their contaminated urine, it can go to us, which can cause severe, if not death in people too,” she said.

While human infection is more uncommon, Walton said it can happen.

If you're having similar symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

Walton said luckily cat owners don't have to worry. Infections in cats are very rare and typically so mild they clear on their own.

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