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  • Writer's pictureCuyamaca Animal Hospital

San Diego Leptospirosis Outbreak in Dogs - The Info to Know

Updated: Dec 17, 2020

We like to keep you informed of all things happening in our community.

Unfortunately, this update is not a fun one and if you haven't heard, there's been a Lepto outbreak in canines across San Diego.

Note: The following information is accurate up to the time of this writing (12/16/20).

Here is what we learned from the County Veterinarian investigating these cases:

  1. 34 dogs have been diagnosed with lepto in San Diego in the last 3 weeks.

  2. Most of these dogs have mild to no signs. A few are sick. 1 has been euthanized.

  3. Most of these dogs went to two boarding facilities in the city of San Diego (Note: This has NOT been reported at our sister resort, Furry Friends Resort).

  4. The source of the outbreak has not been determined at these facilities. There was no standing water, no rodent issues. These were clean, well maintained facilities.

  5. 2 cases have been reported that did not take place at a boarding facility (one likely was from a dog park).

Here is some basic information on Leptospirosis:

  1. Basic disinfectants & chlorinated water kills Lepto. Lepto doesn't survive in salt water. Lepto dies once the urine has dried.

  2. Lepto is spread through contact with urine & it doesn't take much to get a dog sick. Typically dogs are infected by drinking water contaminated with urine but it doesn't appear to be the cause in these boarding facilities. Lepto is typically spread from rats, wildlife, & dogs.

  3. Outbreaks in boarding facilities is very rare & typically only affect a few dogs so we are unsure why this San Diego outbreak is so large.

  4. The vaccine for Lepto is very effective (this is a newer vaccine). It consists of 2 boosters 2 weeks apart then yearly moving forward. For our friends and community members who use Furry Friends Resort, we have NOT had any cases and do not anticipate that to change. Lepto is very preventable with vaccination, which is why we will also now be requiring the Lepto vaccine to aid in protecting your pets, other people's pets, our staff, and the community.

  5. Lepto is a highly contagious organism that causes liver and/or kidney failure in people & dogs if not caught early & treated properly. Lepto is very treatable with doxycycline but if left untreated people & dogs can die from it.

  6. Lepto can be diagnosed from a urine and blood PCR.

  7. Symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, fever, drinking a lot of water or urinating excessively.

If you have any concerns or questions, don't hesitate to give Cuyamaca Animal Hospital a call at (619) 448-0707.

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