PARAMUS, N.J. — Officials from Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners in Paramus are reassuring Bergen County pet owners that a disease that killed three and infected two dogs isn't as scary as it seems.
"It's just something people don't know about," Practice Manager Alyssa Barbieri said of leptospirosis.
"It's not something running rampant in human medicine but it's common in veterinary medicine, and we see it often."
The five dogs were being treated by Blue Pearl for related symptoms when they were diagnosed, Barbieri said. They did not contract the illness from the facility.
Leptospirosis spreads from wildlife and can be transmitted through urine — not blood or saliva, Barbieri said.
"I wouldn't say it's more prevalent, but we've had a busy season," she added. "It's just something people don’t know about."
Five dogs were confirmed to have contracted "lepto" over the past 6 months at Blue Pearl. There are vaccines to treat it, though they are not required, Barbieri said.
"[Leptospirosis] is hard for dogs to contract unless they're big hiking dogs, or are around water that's not stagnant, or around wooded areas," Barbieri said.
"It's not something everyone has to vaccinate for."
Barbieri encourages pet owners to contact their veterinarians with questions or concerns.