Potentially Dangerous Bacterial Disease Spreads in Chicago

When you love your dog, you pay special attention to what potentially might be wrong with them. Unfortunately, in Chicago, dog owners have something new to pay attention to. 

A potentially dangerous bacterial disease called lepto is on the rise amongst dogs in Chicago. Lepto is a disease that can be transmitted from rats to dogs. While this disease is carried by rats, dogs don't need to come into contact with rats to contract it. It is most commonly contracted when dogs drink water form the streets. This standing water sometimes contains the urine of infected rats. The bacteria can exist and even thrive in the water or soil for weeks to months. 

The spike in Chicago infections is most likely due to the recent wet weather and increase in rat population. 

Even if your dog doesn't drink the street water, getting it on their paws can cause infection if they lick their paws once they get in the house, which dogs often do. 

The added risk with these increase lepto infections is that it has been shown that this bacteria can be transmitted to humans. While it can't be transferred to you through your dog's saliva, you can get it from your dog's urine or through contaminated water and soil. 

This is why you want to be especially cautious in looking out for signs of lepto in your pup. And while this lepto spike is occurring in Chicago right now, it can occur anywhere.

Symptoms can include vomiting and diarrhea, similar to the flu. If your dog is showing either symptom, take them to the vet right away. If untreated, lepto can cause kidney, liver failure, and even death. 

Currently, vets are recommending a vaccination for your dog if you're concerned about them contracting it. However, this vaccine isn't proven to work 100% of the time, so you should keep an eye out.

Don't let your dog drink out of puddles on the street, and if they step in standing water, make sure to wipe off their paws and legs with baby wipes as soon as they come in the house. Avoid communal water bowls or drinking sources in dog parks, as well. 

Don't be scared or completely shelter your dog! Just take extra precautions to make sure this bacterial disease doesn't affect your furry best friend. 


Jenna Gomes
Jenna Gomes


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On July 6, 2010, the Fresh Patch Company began operating from its headquarters in Florida. Its flagship product is a disposable pet commode consisting of hydroponically grown grass within a cardboard container. On September 3, 2013, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a patent for the construction and continuous delivery/replacement method of the product (U.S. Patent No. 8,522,719).

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