Bacteria at Brooklyn dog runs linked to pet deaths
Aaron Goodman, of Williamsburg, lost his rat terrier, Parker, to Leptospirosis last week.
Parker died by playing in the places he loved.
The 6-year-old rat terrier dog is believed to have caught Leptospirosis, a fast-moving illness transmitted through water infected by rat or mice urine. Doctors suspect that the dog contracted the disease from one of North Brooklyn's dog runs, which have been awash in mud and stagnant puddles during June's heavy rains.
Within days, Parker went from scampering in his Williamsburg home, to suffering from kidney failure so severe that he had to be euthanized last Sunday. No details were available about the other dog.
It's horrible, said Aaron Goodman, 29, Parker's owner. You don't hear the pitter-patter of his toenails on the floor. There is no dog cuddling next to me on the couch.At least two healthy dogs from the area died from Leptospirosis in the last two weeks, which has alarmed those frequenting the three dog runs in Greenpoint and Williamsburg.
It's really scary, said Rebecca Wendfeldt, 38, as her three pooches played in the McCarren Park dog run Wednesday. To think about my dog potentially dying, it makes me cry.
City Health Department officials are investigating the two deaths, a spokeswoman said.
The city reported 17 infections among dogs in 2007, with two cases linked to Prospect Park, according to the most recent city data. Last year, officials notified Brooklyn veterinarians to watch for the disease.
It's a public health concern, said Dr. Orlando Diaz, a Williamsburg vet who cared for the two deceased canines. Both were young dogs and the infection was so acute.
In rare cases, humans can contract Leptospirosis through open wounds or by swimming in infected waters. The disease typically causes flu-like systems in humans. In dogs, it prompts vomiting, diarrhea and jaundice, and grows fatal without immediate treatment.
He wasn't eating. His skin turned yellow, Goodman said about Parker. They just couldn't do anything for him.
Dog runs in Greenpoint and Williamsburg lack fresh water and suffer from poor drainage, which owners believe could have contributed to the outbreak.
It's a big problem, said Katharine Spector, 28, a golden retriever owner. We have to be wary.
Shayndi Raice contributed to this story.