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Characterization of leptospirosis among dogs in Oregon, 2007–2011

Sharon E. Grayzel DVM, MPH1 and Emilio E. DeBess DVM, MPVM2
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  • 1 College of Public Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242.
  • | 2 Oregon Health Authority, 800 NE Oregon St, Ste 772, Portland, OR 97232.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To characterize the demographics, exposure risks, and outcomes for dogs with leptospirosis in Oregon between 2007 and 2011 and to identify geographic and temporal distributions of known cases of canine leptospirosis within the state during this period.

DESIGN Retrospective descriptive epidemiological study.

ANIMALS 72 dogs.

PROCEDURES Reports of laboratory tests for leptospirosis and zoonosis reporting forms voluntarily submitted by veterinarians to the Oregon Health Authority were evaluated to identify dogs with leptospirosis during the study period; data were also collected by examination of medical records or by telephone surveys with veterinarians from reporting facilities.

RESULTS 72 confirmed cases of leptospirosis were identified; surveys were completed for 65 cases. Seasonal and spatial distributions coincided with rainfall patterns for the state, with most cases diagnosed in the spring and in the western part of the state. Common exposure risks included contact with water in the environment (14/65) and contact with wildlife (14); 33 dogs had no history of known exposure risks. Among dogs with other conditions at the time of diagnosis (26/64), dermatitis, otitis, or both were the most commonly reported findings (9/26). Of 65 dogs, 44 recovered, 12 died or were euthanized because of leptospirosis, and 9 were lost to follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Distribution of canine leptospirosis cases in Oregon fit the rainfall theory pattern. Dermatologic conditions were present in 9 of 64 (14%) dogs that had a diagnosis of leptospirosis; however, further investigation is needed to determine whether such conditions predispose dogs to the disease.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Grayzel (sgrayzel@comcast.net).

Dr. Grayzel's present address is Columbia Veterinary Center, 5106 NE 78th St, Vancouver, WA 98665.