SAN FRANCISCO—A recent outbreak of Leptospirosis among canines has left dog owners in the area concerned. Leptospirosis is an infection caused by the corkscrew-shaped Leptospira bacteria.

Recent heavy rains are potentially responsible for the outbreak, as the bacteria thrives in sitting water and can live for up to six months in wet conditions. It is spread to dogs when they drink from a contaminated puddle or an open wound comes into contact with water carrying the bacteria. Wild and domestic animals are carriers for the disease, and urine is the primary means of transmission.

There are 21 known species of Leptospira bacteria, rendering vaccination potentially ineffective. Owners should contact a veterinarian if their dog displays any of the following symptoms: fatigue, lack of appetite, excessive drinking of water and/or frequent urination.

Antibiotics are an effective form of treatment if Leptospirosis is caught early. Humans are susceptible to Leptospirosis; a recent outbreak of the disease struck New York. Symptoms are flu-like in nature.