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Local vet warns of potentially lethal disease among dogs

After recent reports of a dog dying in Highlands Ranch from a bacterial disease, a veterinarian here in Colorado Springs says an optional vaccine can easily prevent the illness.

Leptospirosis is a rare disease that mostly affects dogs and is usually spread through an animal’s urine.

Dr. Gretchen Kasameyer, a veterinarian for Cheyenne Mountain Animal Hospital, said the disease can be lethal for canines in some cases.

“Typically they start off with not wanting to eat, maybe vomiting, typical signs of kidney disease,” Kasameyer said. “Sometimes they are vomiting with diarrhea. We’ll see jaundice in cases where they get the liver involved.”

Around 2005, strains of the bacteria emerged in Colorado Springs. Kasameyer said she has not seen many cases recently in the Springs but suggested dog owners should err on the side of caution after the report in Highlands Ranch.

“The best tip is prevention,” she said. “Usually you need a series of two vaccines three weeks apart initially. And then a yearly booster because it is bacterial and it doesn’t last as long as a viral vaccine.”

Dog owners at Bear Creek Park say they choose to be safe when it comes to their pets.

Tony Peterson, who recently moved to Colorado with his two dogs, said his dogs are vaccinated because they often wander on hikes and trail runs.

“There is pretty much nothing I can do if they want to sniff something or eat something,” Peterson said.

“My dogs are part of our family and we do love them,” said Kathleen Quaranta, who owns two dogs. “That’s why we do get them vaccinated because I don’t want them to come up with something that’s preventable.”

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