Founder of an animal welfare organization, Women for Paws, Grace C. Lopez warns pet owners on dogs contracting the Leptospirosis bacteria from raccoons.
— Grace C. Lopez
MIAMI, FL, UNITED STATES, February 9, 2024 /EINPresswire.com/ — Founder of an animal welfare organization, Women for Paws, Grace C. Lopez warns pet owners on dogs contracting the Leptospirosis bacteria from raccoons. Leptospirosis is a bacteria that is found in the urine of raccoons, and it can be life-threatening to dogs and humans. Although this bacteria is rare in South Florida, based on information provided by a local vet, there have been several cases reported in the last two months in the area of Midtown and Design District. There is a vaccine for this disease, but it may not prevent dogs from getting the bacteria. The worst part is that this bacteria affects the liver and kidneys and may have long-term effects.
Ms. Lopez speaks up about the dangers of this infection for both dogs and humans. “Most people are afraid of raccoons because they carry rabies, but hardly anyone knows about the bacteria that they carry that can be deadly and passed on to dogs and humans by contact with raccoon urine. Homeowners that have pools may recognize raccoons visiting their yards because they often defecate and urinate around pool areas. But even if you do not have a pool, please be aware that if you spot raccoons where you live, it means that your area may be infected. This is a real problem for pet owners because the Leptospirosis bacteria can be transmitted to dogs by simply having them walk on the same surface as the infected areas. My life changed two weeks ago when one of my dogs got very sick and had severe diarrhea. I never thought for a moment that my dog’s illness was life-threatening and much less that he would be diagnosed with Leptospirosis. This is an infection that can affect healthy, vaccinated dogs that may show no symptoms. This was the case with my second dog, which the vet requested get tested too. Unfortunately, the news was not what I was hoping for, as they both were diagnosed with Leptospirosis. My friends call me a helicopter paw mom because I hardly walk my dogs and I look after them too much. But this was something that even a pet owner as connected with their pets as I am could have never imagined. I was devastated to learn about a disease that could claim the life of my dogs no matter how healthy or vaccinated they are. I am now warning pet owners that regardless of vaccination, dogs can contract this bacteria. For almost two weeks my life has been in shambles, because regardless of treatment, there is still risk that my dogs will not survive.” – Grace C. Lopez
Wildlife doesn’t belong in neighborhoods that are highly populated with families and pets. Yet, these animals do exist and have gotten used to living amongst us. While raccoons are very beautiful to look at, they are dangerous to domestic animals and people. Raccoons, squirrels, rats, opossums, and other wildlife animals find their way to areas where there is food. So, while you may think that you are doing a good deed by feeding outdoor animals, you are risking harming domestic animals and humans get sick. “Pet owners need to stay alert about their dog’s change in behavior. If your dog displays any signs of fever, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, muscle pain, stiffness, weakness, depression, or loss of appetite, please don’t wait to take them to the vet or pet emergency hospital. By the time that your dog shows symptoms, the bacteria has often already lived in its body for a few days that is why it is critical that you act quickly. If you dog is diagnosed with Leptospirosis your life will change because of the necessary precautions that you need to take to ensure the recovery of your dog and prevention of you or any human contracting this bacteria. Wearing latex gloves is a must when picking up after your dog. Although I understand that this bacteria is not passed through saliva, our vet highly recommended wearing gloves when feeding your dog and cleaning their surroundings. Isolating your dog from its normal routine for 21 days is necessary. If your dog gets severely ill, he or she may require treatment with fluids, and you will have to take him or her to a 24/7 facility that can care for your dog. If you are transporting your sick dog, make sure to wear gloves and also cover his or her private parts with a diaper to prevent contamination with its urine. You are going to need antibacterial products to clean the surroundings of your home and area where you keep your dog. Washing hands with antibacterial soap will be your new norm for 21 days even if you wear gloves. It is my understanding that only an antibacterial product or product with bleach will kill the bacteria in the urine of an infected animal. This bacteria can live in your dog’s system for weeks, months, and sometimes up to one year. Please read about Leptospirosis and be aware that this bacteria can kill your dog and have long-term effects on its liver and kidneys. It can also be detrimental to humans.” – Grace
Women for Paws is a 501(c)(3), and its mission is to provide financial support to pet owners in financial need for their pet’s medical emergencies, treatments, surgeries, vaccines, emergency boarding, and food.