PARAMUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — At least three dogs were killed and two others were sickened by a rat-borne disease in northern New Jersey.
Leptospirosis, known in some parts of the world it’s called mud fever or swamp fever, is a rare bacterial infection spread by rodent urine.READ MORE: Investigation Underway Following Police-Involved Shooting In Wakefield Section Of Bronx
The Blue Pearl Veterinary Hospital in Paramus has recently treated five dogs. Three of the dogs died. It was too late for antibiotics and the animals suffered organ failure, WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reported.
Blue Pearl’s critical care specialist Benjamin Davidson suspects the bacteria thrived in wet environments during the mild winter.READ MORE: NYPD Narcotics Detective Wounded In Shooting On Staten Island Hailed As Hero For Protecting Fellow Officers
“Once it gets into the bloodstream it starts to cause inflammation inside of blood vessels in various organs, one of the more common things to occur is kidney failure and sometimes it can affect the lungs, it can affect the liver,” Davidson said. “If left untreated a lot of cases do become fatal.”
Davidson said early recognition and treatment is key to fighting the disease.
“There is a vaccine which can be given, so I think it’s important that pet families contact their primary veterinarian and get their pets vaccinated,” Davidson said. “Once we start antibiotic therapy the level of the organism in the urine decreases quite rapidly.”
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Pet owners should keep an eye out for lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea.MORE NEWS: 2 Dozen Members Of Military Begin Serving As Pandemic Reinforcements At Newark's University Hospital
At present the Health Department says there are no human cases of leptospirosis in New Jersey.