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Your dog could be making you sick: Halifax vets see rising cases of rare infection

Multiple cases of leptospirosis have been reported, which can lead to organ failure in dogs and humans.

Halifax vets are warning dog owners to look out for leptospirosis.

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Halifax vets are warning dog owners to look out for leptospirosis.

Veterinarians are warning dog owners to take extra precautions protecting your pooch after a recent outbreak has landed dozens of dogs in emergency vet care.

Leptospirosis is a generally rare bacterial infection, so much so that veterinarian and owner of Sackville Animal Hospital, Tyler Hughes, will usually go all year without seeing a case— but this year, he said things have been different.

“I’m aware there is concern right now and that concern is mostly coming out of it is on the rise, a lot of these dogs get quite ill quite quickly,” said Hughes.

Most dogs will contract the disease from drinking out of a puddle that has been urinated in by some sort of infected wildlife, or if infected soil or water comes in contact with an open scratch or cut on the dog, Hughes said.

As a pet owner, Hughes said there are a few signs to watch out for.

“Typically they will present first with a fever, they may be lethargic, quieter, have a decreased appetite, increased drinking and peeing, joint pain or jaundice,” he said, “they can be quite vague that’s how this starts then it gets into the liver and kidney.”

Hughes recommends taking your dog to the vet if any of these symptoms appear and persist – especially because the infection is transferable to humans.

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, people can contract the infection by coming in close contact with infected urine or through contact with water, soil or food that has been infected by an animal.

The symptom list includes issues similar to those that would appear in your dog, and could eventually lead to liver or kidney failure, or meningitis if left untreated.

Hughes says it’s difficult to determine the source of the rise of leptospirosis, but it could come from an increased number of infected wildlife, or from a damper climate resulting in an increased amount of standing water. 

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