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N.S. veterinarian warns pet owners about dangers of deadly leptospirosis
HALIFAX -- It's not a full-blown outbreak, but a Halifax-area veterinarian wants to raise awareness of leptospirosis -- a potentially deadly bacterial infection that affects people and animals.
This comes after a dog died from "lepto" this past weekend at the Russell Lake Animal Hospital in Dartmouth, where veterinarian Dr. Samantha Wambolt works.
"Leptospirosis is a bacteria," Wambolt says. "It travels in wild animal urine."
Wambolt says changes in the urban landscape are putting pets at risk.
"With all the new building changes and construction, rats and raccoons are kinda leaving those abandoned areas," she said.
The main carriers are rats and raccoons, and when their urine gets into water and soil, it can cause transmission of the bacterial infection.
"Basic symptoms would be vomiting, diarrhea, trembling, and drinking lots," Wambolt says.
For pet owner Brenda Potter, her dogs are the main passion in her life.
"I do agility, I do obedience and I do therapy dog work," Potter says.
Two years ago one of her dogs became very sick.
"He went off his food and I had him off to the vet as soon as he went off his food," she said.
He had leptospirosis and died within hours.
Two other dogs survived the scare, but were in the hospital for a week.
Potter has a message for all pet owners: "Get your vaccinations," she said.
"It's a basic vaccine with one booster three to four weeks apart and it's yearly from there," Wambolt say.
She adds that seeing symptoms of leptospirosis does not mean it's too late to save the animal, but a trip to the vet should be made right away.