SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Rain could be to blame for a deadly bacteria killing Bay Area dogs.
In San Francisco, two pets in the city have already died from the disease.
The dog-killing bacteria is hidden in puddles and ponds.
Jen Nishio, a San Francisco dog owner said, “It’s very shocking and it’s one of those things you don’t think about.”
It’s called leptospirosis and it lives in stagnant water, only made worse with the recent storms.
And wildlife, such as rodents, can carry and spread the bacteria.
Staci Goussev with VCA San Francisco Veterinary Specialists said, “So every time they urinate that urine gets released into the environment. And with all the rain, it’s getting washed into puddles, lakes, streams and ponds. And that’s how dogs are being exposed to it.”
Goussev said they’ve already seen five cases in the last two months. That’s more than they typically seen in an entire year.
“Most typically, the signs commonly we will see first will be decrease in appetite to complete anorexia, vomiting, some dogs will actually show a yellow tinge to their mucus membranes or skin.”
She says pet owners can minimize exposure by avoiding taking dogs to wet marshy areas.
And there’s also a vaccine, which 4-year old Oscar already got.
Dog owner Megan Moser said, “I thought my dog could potentially come in contact and it could be life threatening…so that was kind of my decision, lifestyle and the fact that rainy seasons will kind of make it more prevalent.”
For many dogs, the disease is treatable, but getting an infected pet to the vet early, is key. Infected pets usually show signs about seven days after exposure.
Goussev said, “With more wet weather on the way, we will probably see more cases as spring progresses.”