New York City dog owners need to be aware that multiple dogs have passed away due to getting sick with leptospirosis. The disease is commonly associated with rats. However it is being reported by a city council member that this week his office has received "reports of multiple dog fatalities" in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
"The reports to our office indicate that dogs played at McCarren [Park] Dog Run before becoming sick," council member Lincoln Restler said in a social media post Wednesday. The post advises dog owners about the bacterial disease that is spreading through the urine of infected animals. On Friday, Restler updated everyone saying, that the potential cases of leptospirosis has been "allegedly causing the death of four dogs."
"Dog owners who are concerned should consult their veterinarian about vaccination and seek vet care early if their dog is ill," the health department said in a statement. "We urge veterinarians who receive positive results of leptospirosis to report it to the Health Department as required by the NYC Health Code."
Despite the statement the parks department said an "outbreak" of reported cases is unconfirmed. "We like our four-legged friends happy and healthy, and are sad to learn that some pups may have recently been impacted by leptospirosis," the parks department said in a statement to ABC News. "We are actively engaged with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and exploring options to mitigate any related risks." An exterminator treated the area for rats three weeks ago. "We understand the cause for concern and urge dog owners to be vigilant and cautious when walking their pets," they added.
Symptoms of leptospirosis include fever, chills, vomiting, muscle aches or diarrhea and usually appear one to two weeks after exposure. It may also case kidney or liver failure.
"Owners should not let their pets drink from puddles or other sources of water that may be contaminated with rat urine," the health department says.