Bacteria outbreak affecting dogs

Massachusetts

(NEWS10) – A new warning over a reported outbreak of a potentially life-threatening bacteria that’s affecting dogs.

The outbreak is happening in Boston and the Animal Rescue League has now diagnosed three positive cases of leptospirosis.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, symptoms may include:

  • fever
  • shivering
  • muscle tenderness
  • reluctance to move
  • increased thirst
  • changes in the frequency or amount of urination
  • dehydration
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • loss of appetite
  • lethargy
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin and mucous membranes)
  • painful inflammation within the eyes.

The disease can cause kidney failure with or without liver failure. Dogs may occasionally develop severe lung disease and have difficulty breathing.

Leptospirosis can cause bleeding disorders, which can lead to blood-tinged vomit, urine, stool or saliva; nosebleeds; and pinpoint red spots (which may be visible on the gums and other mucous membranes or on light-colored skin).

Affected dogs can also develop swollen legs (from fluid accumulation) or accumulate excess fluid in their chest or abdomen.

The bacteria spread through the urine of infected animals and can be transmitted to humans, putting people at risk for kidney damage and liver failure.

In Boston, the bacteria is usually spread by rodents in the city’s parks and fountains.

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