Originally Published: August 12, 2010 9:56 p.m.
Yavapai County Public Health officials are examining an irrigation ditch that allegedly sickened two Cottonwood area dogs with a harmful bacterial infection.
Both dogs were taken to the veterinarian after their appetite decreased, their thirst and urination increased and they showed signs of dehydration.
One dog's kidney's failed and was euthanized, while the other dog is recovering, said Leslie Horton, spokeswoman for Yavapai County Community Health.
"Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects both humans and animals. Outbreaks are usually caused by exposure to water contaminated with the urine of infected animals," says Robert Resendes, Yavapai County Health officer.
Animals and people can also develop leptospirosis through contact with food or soil contaminated with urine from infected animals in areas where wildlife or livestock are.
Leptospirosis symptoms in humans include high fever, severe headache, chills, muscle aches and vomiting, and may include jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), red eyes, abdominal pain, diarrhea or a rash, Horton said. If left untreated, the patient could develop kidney damage, meningitis, liver failure and respiratory distress. In rare cases death occurs.
Please contact your physician if you are exhibiting any of these symptoms and suspect that you may have come into contact with contaminated water.
In late 2008, two Cottonwood area dogs were diagnosed with leptospirosis after swimming in the Verde River, Horton said.
Not swimming or wading in water that might be contaminated with animal urine and wearing footwear on possibly contaminated soil can reduce the risk of developing leptospirosis.
Yavapai County veterinarians can provide dogs that may walk along contaminated wetlands or encounter contaminated water sources in the Verde area with a vaccination against leptospirosis, Horton said.
Please call your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns.