Dangerous bacterial disease on the rise for pets

Published: Nov. 6, 2015 at 4:25 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 10, 2015 at 4:26 AM EST
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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Veterinarians are warning pet owners about a dangerous bacteria on the rise.

Michele Rohrer, Atlantic Animal Hospital veterinarian, said the hospital has seen five cases of leptospirosis in the past six weeks. Two dogs have died from the bacteria.

This is the first the hospital has seen of leptospirosis since 2004. Rohrer explained the rise in cases could be due to the recent flooding.

Leptospirosis is spread by dogs coming into contact with infected animals' urine, usually in water or wet ground.

"It can be some animals are carriers for it. Sometimes it's not a big deal," Rohrer said. "But there's an acute hemorrhagic form that can cause kidney failure, and those cases can be very serious. It can also cause liver failure."

Humans can contract the disease from their pets.

Symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, loss of energy, vomiting and dehydration.

Rohrer said getting a vaccine is the best way to protect your pet.

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