A flea-borne Typhus outbreak has reached epidemic levels in Pasadena and pet parents everywhere are wondering if their pets are safe. But what is Typhus, how is it contracted, and how can you treat and prevent it?
Let’s find out.
What is Typhus?
Typhus is a serious bacterial disease caused by an infection from bacteria known as rickettsias. Both dogs and humans can contract Typhus and it can be deadly. And while fleas are some of the main carriers of Typhus, we can’t give them all the blame. Other invertebrates like mites, lice, and ticks are also carriers of the disease, with most carriers inhabiting regions in the US like Texas, California, and Hawaii.
How Is Typhus Contracted?
Although rare in the United States, Typhus is on the rise. In California specifically, an increase in illegal and irresponsible disposal of waste including trash, rotting food, and more has led to an increase in LA’s rat infestation. Many experts believe these rats have attracted the infected fleas. So, how do you know if your pooch has contracted Typhus? Let’s take a look at the symptoms.
Typhus Symptoms in Dogs
Typhus symptoms in dogs present themselves differently than they do in humans. Typhus in Dogs may include symptoms like:
- Vomiting and Diarrhea
- Tremendously Bad Breath
- Darkening of the White and Pink Membranes of the Eye
- Preferring a Sitting Position with a Lethargic Look
Keep in mind that some of the above symptoms resemble distemper and other dog-prone diseases. Still, Typhus is a serious disease that can be fatal in dogs. If you notice your dog exhibiting any of the above symptoms, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. To contact your 24-hour local Pasadena Vet, visit the TLC South Pasadena Pet Medical Center.
How Can I Prevent My Dog from Getting Typhus?
Typhus can have a number of serious symptoms and can spread from animals to humans easily and vise-versa. And while there is currently no cure for the disease, there are ways to help prevent it from happening to you and your fur baby. As we have covered, Typhus is spread to dogs and humans through contact with fleas, mites, and ticks carrying the bacteria Rickettsia typhi and R. felis. It is generally spread in areas where there is an accumulation of trash that attracts wild animals like feral cats, rats and opossums and the parasites that feed off them. The veterinary staff at TLC Veterinary Hospital say that while there is no vaccine for Typhus, for either humans or pets, they suggest active flea and tick prevention as an adequate precaution for domestic pets.
But what other precautions can you take to help protect you and your pet from Typhus?
Experts suggest that you:
Keep yards free of debris: Debris includes the fallen fruits from fruit trees, trash, rotting tree limbs, and more. You should also try and keep lawns mowed and bushes trimmed.
Don’t leave food or trash outside that will draw in feral animals and wildlife: Keep garbage containers tightly covered and clean. If you can help it, avoid putting your trash bins out until it’s time for them to be picked up. Animals like raccoons, opossums, and rats are attracted to the smell of trash and they may bring infected fleas with them when they come.
Secure your home and Make It an Unfriendly Place for Wildlife to Hunker Down: Close up crawl spaces, sheds, attics, and garages or anywhere else wild animals may want to nest.
Keep Your Living Space Clean: Typhus carrying creatures like fleas, mites, and ticks don’t like to hang out in clean environments. Try and keep carpets and other flooring vacuumed regularly and treated with flea preventative sprays or powders.
Check Your Pet After Hikes and Walks: Give your pet the once-over when you return from a hike or walk. Check him for fleas or ticks and wipe him down with a high-quality, pet-safe grooming wipe.
Wash Your Hands: Since humans can become infected with Typhus through contact with infect flea detritus, try and make sure to wash your hands regularly after handling garbage or petting pets you are not familiar with or do not own or care for.
How My Dog Spot Is Taking Precautions to Keep Your Dogs Safe
We love our doggy clients like they are our own, and we vow to keep them as safe and healthy as possible when they are in our care. At My Dog Spot, we are always taking extra precautions to wash and sanitize our hands after handling each of our doggy clients. Furthermore, we limit contact with dogs that are not in our immediate care, and we always require our clients to be on preventative flea and tick programs.