Several puppies brought to New Hampshire and Vermont from Puerto Rico tested positive for leptospirosis after getting sick. Individuals who interacted with the infected puppies are advised by authorities to consult their healthcare providers.
Puppies From Puerto Rico
On Nov. 9, a Vermont dog rescue non-profit brought 10 puppies to Vermont and New Hampshire from hurricane devastated Puerto Rico in hopes of finding a good home for them. A couple of days later, the puppies were taken to the outdoor patio at Ramunto's Brick and Brew Pizzeria so that the patrons and customers could interact with them.
Soon after, five of the 10 puppies had fallen ill, with one of them testing positive for leptospirosis. That said, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) states that the puppy that tested positive for leptospirosis was not at the restaurant, and as they were merely stationed at a designated area outside the facility, the restaurant is deemed as safe. Out of the five puppies that got sick, two have been euthanized.
As such, DHHS are investigating and contacting the households which received any of the puppies. What's more, they are also encouraging any persons who may have been in contact with the puppies to contact their healthcare providers. Those who were at the pizzeria but did not come in contact with the puppies are not at risk of infection as it takes direct contact with the infected animal's urine to be infected.
Leptospirosis In Animals And Pets
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that can infect humans and various kinds of wild and domestic animals including dogs, horses, cattle, and rodents. The bacteria that causes leptospirosis, Leptospira, is spread through the urine of infected animals which may seep into soil or water where it can live for up to weeks and even months. Animals that are infected by the bacteria often do not display any symptoms but may continue to excrete the bacteria once in a while for up to several years.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests taking care of rodent problems to protect the household from contracting leptospirosis, and even having pets vaccinated. But if a veterinarian has confirmed that your pet does have leptospirosis, antibiotic treatments are available. Early treatment may allow your pet to recover faster and prevent more serious damage to your pet's organs. Direct contact with your pet's blood, urine, and tissues during the infection must be avoided.
Although leptospirosis is quite rare in the United States, it is the most widespread zoonotic disease in the world, with 50 percent of cases occurr in Puerto Rico.