Leptospirosis On The Rise In Arizona

Photo courtesy of The Humane Society of Southern Arizona

UPDATE: With the continued increase in the number of dogs diagnosed with Leptospirosis, the State Veterinarian, Dr. Peter Mundschenk, recommends dog owners consider vaccinating their pets. Dr. Mundschenk strongly recommends that dog boarding and day care facilities consider requiring proof of a Leptospirosis vaccination prior to boarding.

In Arizona, leptospirosis in both dogs and people is rare and sporadic, according to Dr. Cara Christ, director for the Arizona Department of Health Services. However, cases in dogs are now on the rise, with several groups of leptospirosis positive dogs  having been reported in Arizona in the past year, reports Christ.

The Arizona State Veterinarian’s office encourages dog owners to watch for common signs in
their pets:
• Drinking more than usual
• Urinating more than usual
• Lack of urination
• Redness in the eyes
• Depression
• Reluctance to eat
• Fever over 103.5° F

There are no confirmed cases of human leptospirosis associated with any of these ill dogs. The Arizona Department of Agriculture – Office of the State Veterinarian, Maricopa County Department of Public Health, Arizona Department of Health Services , and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working together to investigate the possible source and provide education to veterinarians and dog owners to prevent illness. Leptospirosis can be prevented in people and pets by following these recommendations:

•Wear protective clothing and shoes to avoid exposure to contaminated water or soil.
•Avoid recreational activities, such as swimming, in water that may be contaminated with animal urine
•Avoid contact with rodents and wildlife to reduce exposure to the bacteria
•Discuss vaccinating your dog against leptospirosis with your veterinarian

If your dog has been diagnosed with leptospirosis, be safe by following these recommendations:

•Wash your hands after handling your pet.
•Wear protective equipment, such as gloves, when cleaning up after your pet to avoid contact with the urine.
•If your dog urinates in your home, quickly clean the area with a household disinfectant, such as 1:10 bleach (one part bleach to nine parts water) solution.
•Encourage your dog to urinate away from standing water or areas where people or other animals go to avoid further spread.
•Avoid taking your pet to a boarding facility, daycare, or dog park until antibiotic treatment is completed and your veterinarian has been able to re-evaluate your dog.
•Visit your doctor and contact public health if you or a family member feels sick. Let them know your dog was recently diagnosed with leptospirosis.



More information

  • Local health department contacts:

Content courtesy of Arizona Department of Public Health & Maricopa County Public Health.