The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles Tuesday alerted pet owners to higher than average numbers of cases of leptospirosis, a pathogenic bacteria, in dogs, as well as the largest outbreak of canine influenza virus in Los Angeles County to date.
The spcaLA urges dog owners to get their dogs vaccinated for both diseases prior to entering boarding facilities or participating in group dog activities.
“Now that we’re traveling and going back to in-person work or school, our `pandemic pups’ are heading to daycare and kennels, which is driving these outbreaks,” said spcaLA President Madeline Bernstein. “Getting your dogs vaccinated not only protects them, but can save you time, money, and grief in the long run.”
According to county veterinary health officials, the CIV outbreak is both wider spread and less controlled than an outbreak in 2017, which was linked to the importation of dogs from out of the country by a rescue group and contained to one kennel location.
The lepto outbreak — often incorrectly attributed to rats linked to trash and settlements of unhoused people — has been linked to the serovar Canicola which is highly adapted to dogs, not rats, according to spcaLA.
“Regardless of the bacterial strain causing the outbreak, its magnitude is unprecedented in modern times,” Bernstein said.
The spcaLA said there have been 51 confirmed cases of lepto, plus 10 confirmed cases — and 46 suspected cases — of CIV in Los Angeles County to date.
CIV is highly contagious between dogs, and is considered a non-zoonotic strain of influenza, as no human cases have been reported during various outbreaks in the United States. CIV is spread through direct contact with respiratory secretions from infected dogs — coughing, barking and sneezing — and by contact with contaminated objects such as toys and water bowls.
Lepto is a pathogenic bacteria that can be spread through direct contact with urine from an infected animal, transmitted via bite wounds and ingestion of infected tissues.