Your Afternoon Animal Fix + Information about a deadly virus affecting dogs

If you have any fun or interesting animal/pet photos please shoot me an email to princeofpetworth(at)gmail(dot)com with ‘Animal Fix’ in the title and say what neighborhood you’re from or upload to the PoPville flickr pool with your pets name and neighborhood. I can’t guarantee I’ll get them all posted but I’ll do my best.

“Here’s Coco (foreground) and Hugo relaxing on their balcony in Logan Circle.”

“CJ lives in Adams Morgan. I adopted her in June 2011 from Homeward Trails.”

“Phillip from Columbia Heights waking up from a crisp fall night.”

Info on deadly virus affecting dogs after the jump.

From an email:

“Our beloved Luna passed away this morning at an animal hospital in Fairfax, VA. She was brought there yesterday fighting for her life – The doctors believe that she most likely had a virus called Leptospirosis, which will be confirmed within a week from blood tests.

We are inconsolable with the loss of our little princess – She was the daughter of our first Jack Russell Terrier, Pippo, and the little girl in our family.

We would like to raise awareness of “Leptospirosis” – apparently, there is an epidemic according to the Veterinarian and the Animal Hospital. Please notify any dog owners that you may know to research this virus and take the highest precautions. Luna first showed symptoms late Sunday night, she was lethargic and had vomitted. It seemed as though Luna had a general stomach virus, which we have experienced before with both of our dogs and thought it would just pass.

To all DC residents – this is a major epidemic, specifically, here according to the Veterinarian due to the rat problem that we have. Leptospirosis is transmitted to dogs primarily through rat/possum/raccoon urine (that could be found in a puddle, stream, pond, etc) as well as from contact with rats and other infected dogs and infected dog urine. It is highly contagious between dogs and transmittable to humans.

There is a vaccine for Leptospirosis (speak to your veterinarian), however, like with most viruses with multiple strains – it can be of limited help (there are 7 different strains).

Note to cat owners – This does not affect cats.

We need to finally resolve the rat issue in DC immediately!

We would like to thank everyone for their support, the doctors and nurses at City Paws and South Paws and our dear friends Mat, Melissa and Ragnhild for their tremendous support and love these last few days.

Again, please forward this information to any dog owners you may know. This is a very serious virus that is lethal to dogs and humans as well.

We have attached a photo in Luna’s memory – she is on the left (with red collar) with her dad Pippo.”


28 Comment

  • I want to hug all of them. RIP Luna

    PoP, I love your Animal Fix, it’s my favorite 🙂

  • I believe all 7 strains of lepto are covered by the vaccine.

  • tonyr

    ” It is highly contagious between dogs and transmittable to humans.”

    It sure is …..

  • Philip is BEAUTIFUL!!!

  • Emmaleigh504

    Poor Luna, I’m sorry for your loss.

    On a happy not the black kitty is gorgeous.

  • RIP Luna 🙁 Thank you for making us aware of this. I will be extra careful when walking my pup

  • Condolences on Luna. Rat activity has been pretty crazy because of the month-long rain. According to DC “rat patrol,” they have been digging burrows in new places looking for shelter. We had a sudden huge increase in our alley – (like 8-10 hanging out having a fiesta in the back yard!)

    The city has been responsive in our case – coming within a week or two of the complaints and following up to bait burrows. If you’re seeing a lot more rats, check with your neighbors and get everyone to report the problem.

  • Wouldn’t it be ironic if a rat-to-dog virus was what it took to “finally resolve the rat issue”? Never mind the poor folks living in substandard housing who suffer rat bites on a regular basis. Babies are particularly vulnerable.

  • So sorry for your loss! And thank you for the information too.

  • oh so sad. i’m so sorry.

    will be extra careful with my pups. thanks for the heads up…i’m sorry i had to learn about it this way.


  • Leptospirosis is apparently not a virus, but a bacteria that is treatable with antibiotics.

  • bfinpetworth

    BEWARE: A good number of dogs are highly allergic to the lepto vaccine. I believe the alergy tends to be breed-specific. Our Havanese got the vaccine when she was a pup and within an hour her face swelled up and she had difficulty breathing. An emergency run to pick up baby benedryl was the only thing that saved her.

    If your dog has not had this vaccine before, please buy some liquid baby benedryl (for the smaller dogs) or regular benedryl for large dogs and be prepared to observe your dog closely and administer the medication if any redness or swelling appears in the face and ears. It could save your dogs life. And your dog will sleep really well that night!

  • Poor, Luna, RIP. So sorry for your loss.

  • I’m sorry for your loss!

  • Coco & Hugo = ADORABLE!

  • houseintherear

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Luna’s owner. I can’t imagine how sad you must feel. 🙁

    So are there two Phillips in today’s AAF or am I drunk?

  • Poor Luna! There’s a lot of scary bacteria out there that can kill little dogs– mine nearly died of HGE of few years ago. Aside from not letting her lap up puddle water (which mine doesn’t do anyway) I’m not sure what you can do to prevent it. I guess avoiding alleys might be a good idea if it’s something that comes from rats.

  • I am sorry for your loss, Jack Russells are great dogs. The ironic thing here is that Jack’s were bred to kill rats, and they are world class at it. Perhaps if we had more people using them in that capacity in our alleys this wouldn’t be as much of a problem.

  • “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”
    ― Will Rogers

    So sorry for your loss!

  • Let cats free to live in alleys, its the only eco friendly way to reduce the rat population. I miss our old alley with cats… Hearing them how during sex was always funny.

  • I think it is important to point out that isn’t a new issue or something off the radar. While most dog owners may not be fully aware, all puppies should (and most do, if they get proper vet care) receive their DHLPP vaccines as puppies (it is a series of three vaxs, about 3 weeks apart). Most vets do this as normal protocol. This three shot protocol as protects from parvo, another very deadly virus. Most vets just called it the distemper shot but it is actually a combo vax.

    When you get a new pup from a breeder or rescue group (preferably, but not the time for this rant here) ask where they are in their vaccine series and react accordingly. Dogs who don’t have their 3 DHLPPs yet should be treated like newborns — hands washed, shoes off, and kept relatively sheltered. This is, of course, hard to do in the city but possible.

    Based on my experience with the multiple shelters and rescues in this area, I would not call lepto in DC an epidemic.

    That being said, even one pup lost is too many and very very very very sad . RIP luna.

  • RIP Luna. My little girl went to the other side of the rainbow bridge on July 30th and I still cry everyday. She’s a little Jack just like you and I’m sure you’ll find each other and play. Give her a lick from me and her brother little brother.

    (Scout was 14 and died from complications brought on by lymphoma… I still can’t believe she’s gone) 🙁

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