(Sarah Galbraith/Facebook)

A 5-year-old dog named Hope has passed away in Sooke after contracting Leptospirosis earlier this month.

When Hope became ill, her owner Sarah Galbraith took to Facebook and GoFundMe to help her fund the dog’s treatment, but also to warn pet owners in Sooke about the grave nature of the disease.

In a press release, Sooke Veterinary Hospital confirmed the diagnosis, stating that to their knowledge, this is the first known case of Leptospirosis to originate in Sooke.

“Leptospirosis is caused by a bacteria that has been slowly spreading down through the Greater Victoria region,” reads the release.

“It largely survives in stagnant water which has been contaminated with an infected animal’s urine. Once exposed, an animal (often dogs) becomes ill, although the disease itself can manifest in many ways.”

Sometimes, as in Hope’s case, the animal succumbs to the disease. In other cases, symptoms include:

  • inflammation almost anywhere in the body (nose, eye, lungs)
  • liver damage
  • vomiting
  • dehydration
  • fever
  • bleeding disorders
  • a lack of appetite
  • diarrhea

The disease is zoonotic, meaning it can be transmitted from animals to humans, although such cases are rare in Canada.

Vaccinations are available to prevent animals from contracting Leptospirosis, and as a result of Hope’s death, the Sooke Veterinary Hospital is setting up a Leptospirosis clinic on Thursday, November 15th for clients needing the vaccine.

***PUBLIC HEALTH WARNING PLEASE READ***As some of you may know from the Go Fund Me shared to help our family save our…

Posted by Sarah Galbraith on Thursday, November 8, 2018

Hope’s story

5-year-old Hope crossed the rainbow bridge on Thursday, November 8th after battling Leptospirosis for several days.

According to Galbraith, the illness was exacerbated by Ehrlichiosis (a tick borne illness) that Hope originally had when she was rescued 4 years ago in Mexico.

Galbraith warned other pet owners of the disease on Facebook, and believes she knows exactly what part of the city Hope contracted it from.

“I have narrowed down where we believe it came from, I let Hope off leash on the trail between Churchill Dr and Journey School. This area is frequented by rodents, raccoons and deer which are the main carriers of the Lepto virus,” reads her post.

While extensive treatment could not save her dog, Sarah hopes that other, pets, owners, and animal lovers don’t have to go through the same “gut wrenching hell” that she has experienced.