Los Angeles County sees spike in two canine illnesses

Local news

A pair of diseases for dogs have pet owners and public health officials worried in Los Angeles County.

Dr. Karen Ehnert, director of Veterinary Public Health for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, noted that the recent rise of cases of canine influenza and leptospirosis “is not normal.”

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

The outbreaks, which Ehnert said started in mid-July, were introduced to the county by dogs that came from other places.

The recent uptick is likely due to transmission at pet care facilities, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

“This outbreak is driven by dog-to-dog transmission of the bacteria in group settings such as boarding kennels or dog daycare, leading to a higher number of cases than what has been seen in recent years,” the department said on its website.

The department also noted that canine flu — or CIV H3N2 — is spreading at these facilities.

“To date, this is the largest outbreak of CIV H3N2 reported in Los Angeles County,” the department said on its website.

Given the upticks, many pet care facilities are requiring that dogs be vaccinated, a precaution that is also suggested by the Department of Public Health.

If you suspect an outbreak of lepto or canine flu, email vet@ph.lacounty.gov.

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