Sunday, October 16, 2011

attention, dog owners: raising awareness of leptospirosis

See this email thread from Bloomingdale residents:

a) From: Paul
Sent: Thursday, October 13, 2011 8:51 AM
Subject: In Memory of Luna

Dear family & friends:

Our beloved Luna passed away this morning at an animal hospital in Fairfax, VA. She was brought there yesterday fighting for her life - The doctors believe that she most likely had a virus called Leptospirosis, which will be confirmed within a week from blood tests.

We are inconsolable with the loss of our little princess - She was the daughter of our first Jack Russell Terrier, Pippo, and the little girl in our family.

We would like to raise awareness of ``Leptospirosis`` - apparently, there is an epidemic according to the Veterinarian and the Animal Hospital. Please notify any dog owners that you may know to research this virus and take the highest precautions. Luna first showed symptoms late Sunday night, she was lethargic and had vomitted. It seemed as though Luna had a general stomach virus, which we have experienced before with both of our dogs and thought it would just pass.

To all DC residents - this is a major epidemic, specifically, here according to the Veterinarian due to the rat problem that we have. Leptospirosis is transmitted to dogs primarily through rat/possum/raccoon urine (that could be found in a puddle, stream, pond, etc) as well as from contact with rats and other infected dogs and infected dog urine. It is highly contagious between dogs and transmittable to humans.

There is a vaccine for Leptospirosis (speak to your veterinarian), however, like with most viruses with multiple strains - it can be of limited help (there are 7 different strains).

Note to cat owners - This does not affect cats.

We need to finally resolve the rat issue in DC immediately!

We would like to thank everyone for their support, the doctors and nurses at City Paws and South Paws and our dear friends Mat, Melissa and Ragnhild for their tremendous support and love these last few days.

Again, please forward this information to any dog owners you may know. This is a very serious virus that is lethal to dogs and humans as well.

We have attached a photo in Luna`s memory - she is on the left (with red collar) with her dad Pippo.

-Paul & Zach

b) From a resident of R Street NW:

Thanks to Paul and Zack who took the time from their grief over their dog that died of the leptospirosis virus to inform us of this serious problem. I called my vet who said that my dog had been vaccinated when she got her distemper shot, but my daughter checked with her vet, and her dog had not been. She will be today. This is especially important considering our rat problem. Just this week, my alley cats killed two rats out back.

c) From a 1st Street NW resident:

Bad news- I chatted with a neighbor whose dog is very sick – they think it may be the same thing -- the leptospirosis virus -- that Zach and Paul suspect killed their dog. Don`t like to share someone`s info, but think you should post something. Even if this virus is still unconfirmed, dog owners should be aware that there is a potential problem in the area.

And I don`t think either one of these dogs were out much - Zach and Paul`s dogs seemed to stay in the house with quick little trips to the back yard, and I have never seen the other owner walking their dog - I didn`t even know they had a dog for a long time - think the dog does not get along well with other dogs.

Hate to be an alarmist, but a lot of people might not notice a dog`s lack of appetite or some vomiting until it is too late..

d) See this 10/16/2011 message from a resident on the unit block of Randolph Place NW.

It appears that my dog also contracted leptospirosis. He may have to be put down. To everyone who has dogs -- please watch out, get them vaccinated, and avoid having your animals outside, coming into contact with or licking areas that may have been exposed to rats or other rodents that carry the disease.

To our ANC commissioners: Please take this seriously, as well, and inform the proper D.C. authorities about this outbreak (animal control; Department of Health; CDC type authorities; etc.). It is a very very serious, personally and emotionally tragic, and financially costly scourge in our neighborhood, caused medically by rats. The rat epidemic needs to be stemmed and our D.C. taxpayer resources must be spent on doing so. This is quite more important than many other things D.C. is doing with our tax dollars.

(Note -- Lepto may also spread to humans!).


C.J. said...

Thank you to everyone for posting information on lepto. Our dog had his annual physical yesterday and these posts prompted me to ask if he had already been vaccinated (such as through previous distemper vaccines) and he had not. Apparently, they stopped putting the lepto vaccine in distemper vaccines because some dogs had an allergic response to it.

We did elect to have the vaccine now though. You have to get the initial shot and then another booster in 2-4 weeks plus an annual booster. My vet was kind of on the fence as to whether it was something we really ought to do. After reading all of the recent possible outbreak information, I am glad that we did. I hope others will consider doing the same!

AS said...

Update: My dog died last night from Lepto. This is a true epidemic in our area.

Suzanne in Bloomingdale said...

AS, I am so sorry for your loss.

Could you please clarify if your dog is one of those mentioned above or if yours is another case (and, if so, what location you are in)? Thank you.

John said...

To Andreas and Paul & Zach and all dog owners and to all residents of Bloomingdale,

First of all, to you guys who have lost your canine friends, I am very sorry for your loss. These deaths are especially painful because they should have been prevented. And I am acting quickly to prevent further illness and anguish.

So to start, consider Andreas's request to let the Department of Health (DOH) know about this outbreak and its connection to rats done. Late last night, I sent all this information to several people at DOH who have been extremely helpful with public health and rat concerns that neighbors have raised before. I will contact them directly today.

Also, know that I have been assisting several areas of the neighborhood get control of and then eliminate any rat problem. If your alley or block is having a problem, please let me know. Contrary to some information that was posted recently, the DOH Rodent Control program does work in concert with groups of neighbors. Indeed, Rodent Control would prefer to work with groups of neighbors so that the Rodent Control program can treat a whole alley's worth of properties at once. Such mass treatment is both more effective and more efficient. The methods used are safe; all the treatment is underground in the burrows that the DOH investigators locate. No bait or poison is placed on the surface, which would endanger children and pets.

We can beat this problem.


John T. Salatti
Commissioner, ANC 5C04
Vice President, Bloomingdale Civic Association
(202) 986-2592

"Together, Building a Better Bloomingdale"

KristyKitten! said...

I am so worried about this outbreak. I live on North Capitol between Seaton and T, and I have a three-year-old dog with a bad immune system. So the vaccine could be very dangerous for him, but the risk of him catching him lepto probably outweighs the reaction-risk.

My condolences to those who have lost their pets, my heart aches for them.

Alexandra said...

I feel so awful for those of you that have lost a beloved furkid - I am very sorry for your loss. I did speak with my vet yesterday who said that, at this point, there was not an outbreak and that they will be following closely and providing updates: Also, at this time, I believe that the blood tests from the first dog have not yet confirmed lepto. Of course, stay vigilant, if your dog stops eating, or throws up, it is bacterial and the earlier it is caught the better.

Suzanne in Bloomingdale said...

From what I've read it also looks like the bacteria can't live in cold temperatures, so hopefully it will be less of an issue as the weather gets colder.