‘Hope can’t die in vain’ Owner of dog who died after contracting Leptospirosis speaks out


WATCH: The owner of the dog that died last week after contracting leptospirosis is speaking out. She’s hoping her story can save other dogs and encourage pet owners to consider vaccinating their pets. Luisa Alvarez reports. 

Still coming to terms with the sudden loss of her dog Hope last Thursday, Sarah Galbraith wants her story to be a lesson for other dog owners.

“It’s important that she didn’t die in vain,” said Galbraith. “Ask your vets talk about the leptospirosis vaccine make sure that you are aware of it.”

According to Dr. Lambert of Sooke Veterinary hospital, the disease is caused by a bacteria that has been slowly spreading down through the Greater Victoria region.

Galbraith says if she had known, Hope would have been vaccinated.

Symptoms include vomiting, dehydration, fever, blood in the urine, a lack of appetite or diarrhea. More subtle signs can be inflammation almost anywhere in the body.

On Nov. 2 Galbraith started noticing Hope had no appetite and two days later when she became lethargic rushed her to the vet, three days after that she was gone.

“They said that her liver was bleeding out and at that point, there was no coming back,” said Galbraith.

Galbraith doesn’t know for sure but she thinks a trail on Churchill drive that leads to Journey Middle school could be where Hope got infected.

“This is the only area I let Hope off leash to run around and because it contains a swamp and swampy areas and stagnant puddles its the only possible place I could think of,” said Galbraith.

Especially because its frequented by rodents, raccoons and deer which are the main carriers of the Lepto bacterial disease. Their infected urine is how the disease spreads, and could have ended up in any of the numerous stagnant water sources nearby.

“Of course Hope runs through the puddles I mean she could have sniffed anywhere where a rat or raccoon went to the bathroom and then licked her nose it could have been anything,” said Galbraith.

Dr.Lambert says Hope was the only confirmed case of Leptospirosis in Sooke.

Although cases in Canada are extremely rare, Vancouver Island Health Authority has been notified because leptospirosis can be transferred onto humans through infected urine.

Luisa AlvarezLuisa Alvarez

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