Lethal bacteria for pets found locally - WNEM TV 5

Lethal bacteria for pets found locally

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SAGINAW COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

At just 11 months old, River already listens to Jordan Driscoll's commands.

"It's my main priority, my dog's my kid," Driscoll said.

And like any loving parent, River's health is number one.

"He goes and gets regular checkups, he's up to date on his shots and everything," Driscoll said.

But even Driscoll, might not be able to fend off a deadly bacteria lurking right here in Michigan.

Dr. Virginia Leis is a veterinarian at Agawa Companion Animal Hospital in Saginaw.

"First off, the concern is for the pet itself, and second off this is contagious to humans, and that presents a real risk factor," Leis said.

It's called leptospirosis, and it can make both dogs and humans very sick. And it can even be deadly.

She says the bacteria attacks the dog's entire body and is typically passed on by the urine of another animal.

Leis said she’s seen cases locally.

"It can be through excreted urine, that kind of thing, again or it can be from contaminated soil or contaminated bedding, stuff left behind in a moist environment, or again in standing water or slow-moving water," Leis said.

She said signs of the disease in dogs vary.

But they can include sudden fever and illness, shivering, increased thirst and urination, and vomiting, possibly with blood.

"You have to understand they've contaminated the environment, you're living it," Leis said.

Driscoll said this is very concerning and even more reason to keep a close eye on his dog.

"I'm on top of my dog, making sure I am in control of him, watch where he goes, take care of him, and just be a responsible pet owner," Driscoll said.

There are antibiotics you can give your dog to help fight the disease. But Leis said your best bet is to get it vaccinated.

Copyright 2015 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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