Veterinarians warn of disease capable of impacting pets, people

Harknesses Labs
Harknesses Labs
Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 6:52 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Wichita veterinarians have issued a warning after seeing an uptick in leptospirosis, a bacterial disease that can be transmitted to both pets and people. Leptospirosis can cause kidney and liver failure in dogs. It can be spread through direct contact with urine from infected animals.

For pet owners like Klent and Kate Harkness, their labradors are part of the family. But earlier this year, their rescue dog, Macintosh, was diagnosed with leptospirosis. They caught it early enough for treatments to work.

“We consider ourselves extremely fortunate ‘cause this is a very deadly bacteria that affects the liver and the renal system. So, I absolutely support any vaccinations,” said Kate Harkness.

Dr. Erin Schmidt at Chisholm Trail Animal Hospital says the disease is preventable with a leptospirosis vaccine that costs about $35 and must be updated annually.

“Not only is very expensive and very difficult to treat our pets. They usually need very extensive hospitalization with some IV fluids, extensive antibiotics. But it can also be transmitted to people and cause the same symptoms in people,” said Dr. Schmidt.

Pets can get it if they consume or sniff around yards with urine from infected wildlife. Dr. Schmidt said the best way to prevent the disease is to get your pets vaccinated.

“Leptospirosis has been one we’ve said is more of an at-risk disease. Well now, I think it’s becoming more of a core disease around here because we’re seeing it not only in the hunting dogs, which is what we always thought we would see it in,” said Dr. Schmidt.

The Harnesses say their dogs are now up to date with vaccinations and they’re thankful.

“I am a big proponent of preventive care, wellness care for all walks of life, two-legged and four,” said Kate.