A lot of pet owners in the Phoenix area are on high alert right now, because of a highly contagious bacterial disease.
Leptospirosis has already spread to more than 50 dogs in Maricopa County and humans can even get it.
Some pet owners at one dog park were learning about it for the first time.
“Oh, that’s kind of scary,” said Breanne Burry. “I think it’s definitely important to have your dogs vaccinated, especially if you’re coming to a dog park, you know we want to protect our dog, but everyone else’s.”
State and Maricopa County health officials say they’ve identified dogs with leptospirosis have in the Scottsdale area, but cases have also been reported in Gilbert, Tempe, Phoenix, Litchfield Park, Fountain Hills and Avondale.
“It’s kind of scary, especially since he’s such a puppy,” said Greg Ramirez. “He’s like so susceptible to a lot of things.”
“We have to get his nails clipped this week, so it’s probably something we’ll have the vet talk to us a little bit more about to see what we can do,” said Joshua Stearns.
Symptoms include fever, lack of energy, lack of appetite, red eyes, vomiting, diarrhea and signs of kidney or liver damage, which includes frequent or decreased urination, excessive drinking, yellow eyes and skin or abdominal pain.
Some dogs don’t show signs of illness. Maricopa County officials are investigating the outbreak.
“I’ve been trying to hit all the dog parks and just raise awareness, make sure that all the dogs are vaccinated and taken care of,” said Ashley Diaz, VIP Ambassador with VIP Pet Care. “They’re a big part of our family.”
Diaz is passing out coupons for preventative veterinary care, including vaccinations for things like leptospirosis and sharing more about the disease.
“It starts off like the flu and it can definitely end worse, death, possibly death, but those are ones that are untreated,” she said.
Experts say a set of vaccination shots can prevent leptospirosis and antibiotics can treat it.
For information about how and where you can get your pet vaccinated, you can visit VIP Pet Care.
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