The nonprofit group, established by the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC), has launched a subscription service to notify veterinarians and pet owners about local outbreaks of Leptospirosis.
The disease, which can be fatal to unvaccinated dogs, spreads quickly and can be transmitted to humans, Pet Disease Alerts says.
“Because highly infectious diseases like Leptospirosis can spread rapidly, it’s essential for veterinarians and dog owners to have timely, local information about diagnosed cases” says the group’s CEO, Chris Carpenter, DVM. “With the immediacy of a text or email alert, the new service enables veterinarians and pet owners to proactively protect pets and their families.”
Unvaccinated dogs and people can contract the disease when in direct contact with stagnant water or soil contaminated with the urine of infected animals, such as racoons, rats, and other wildlife. Common sources of infection include puddles, creeks, ponds, shallow lakes, and rivers.
“Leptospirosis is a disease that can keep veterinarians up at night,” says Pet Disease Alerts board member, Emilio DeBess, DVM, MPVM, Oregon’s state public health veterinarian. “It can be challenging to diagnose in dogs because early symptoms are vague—lethargy, inappetence, vomiting, and diarrhea—and can correlate with other diseases. By the time a diagnosis is confirmed, it’s often too late, leading to acute renal or liver failure, and people in the household have potentially been exposed.”
In humans, Leptospirosis can cause symptoms such as fever, headache, vomiting, jaundice, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rash. Without treatment, it can lead to damage of the liver, kidney, or central nervous system.
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