LA County Department of Public Health warns of outbreaks of disease in dogs

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LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has urged dog owners to report cases of canine influenza and leptospirosis, which have been increasing since August.

The recent rise of such cases “is not normal,” Dr. Karen Ehnert, director of Veterinary Public Health for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, was quoted Friday (Sept. 17) by the local KTLA 5 news channel as saying.

“I have been with county for 21 years,” she said. “This is the first time we’ve had such large outbreaks.”

Over 200 cases of canine flu and 119 cases of leptospirosis have been reported this month, the report said, adding that’s more than double the numbers for both in August, when the authority initially warned of the outbreaks.

The outbreaks, the largest outbreak of canine influenza or CIV H3N2 reported in the most populous county of the United States, started in mid-July, the authority said, adding they were introduced to the county by dogs that came from other places.

Canine influenza is like the flu for dogs and is only transmissible among dogs, whereas leptospirosis is a bacterial disease spread through urine and can be transmitted to humans.

Both diseases can cause mild to severe illness in dogs and may even lead to death.

In a statement released by the authority Wednesday, officials advised dog owners to be cautious before bringing dogs to a dog park or groomer without being vaccinated, and to keep them at home if they’re showing symptoms like vomiting or low energy. (Xinhua)

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