Puerto Rico pets scare hits home

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HANOVER, N.H. Health officials say a puppy from Puerto Rico, that was brought to a Vermont dog rescue center with nine other dogs has Leptospriosis. It's a bacteria disease that can be transmitted to humans. Several other dogs from that rescue group were also expected to be at risk. Dr. Dan Kelly of Stonecliff Animal Clinic says this bacteria is not new to the area.

“This isn't some rare tropical disease that's been brought up here by these puppies Leptospirosis is endemic in this area we do diagnose we diagnose it for years and years,” said Kelly

The dogs were recently at the restaurant Ramuntos in Hanover, before they were diagnosed, for an adoption fundraiser. According to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, people could have been exposed during that event. The owner of the pizzeria declined to be on camera, but told WCAX that the dogs were never inside of the building and employees had no contact with them. Community members WCAX talked with expressed their support for the business.

“I think it's a really a vital part of Hanover and it would you know I think it's an important place in Hanover Too,” said Debra Chirchill of Vershire.

“I think it's one of the more popular places especially now that EBA’s shutdown, which is really unfortunate, but now that's kind of our local place still,” said Dartmouth student Rachel Lincoln.

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services says symptoms of Leptospriosis in humans include a fever, flu like illness, and gastrointestinal issues. In rare cases it can lead to liver failure.

Animal experts say likelihood of transition is very low. Anyone with a concern should contact their doctor.

“Just casual contact, the risk is minimal. It’s not going to survive in the environment very long at all in this weather,” said Kelly.

He also says there should be no concern for the community unless you were in director contact with the infected dogs. There have been no reported cases of the illness.

“The risk is minimal it’s not going to survive in the environment very long at all in this weather,” said Kelly

According to Surfin Sato, the Upper Valley dog rescue, they said they were facing a major health issue and directed people to review the press release issued by the New Hampshire Department of health and human services. The organization's Facebook post also reminded the public that this is what every day is like of people and pets in Puerto Rico.