An outbreak of leptospirosis, a disease that can be deadly to dogs, has been confirmed in Williamsburg. According to Council Member Lincoln Restler, at least two dogs have died, though Buddy’s Dog Den reports that number could be as high as four.

The disease has been linked to the dog run in McCarren Park. Dakarrie, a local dog trainer, shared his experience in dealing with the disease on Instagram. Unfortunately, Oreo, a dog that he worked with throughout the pandemic, succumbed to the disease after only a short time. Dakarrie stressed how serious the disease can be and how quickly it can affect dogs.

“When Oreo contracted leptospirosis, he was there at the park around noon. By 4 PM, he changed. It was a matter of four hours [before] he was vomiting, pale, and had diarrhea. He couldn’t hold any food or water,” he told Greenpointers. By the next day, the disease worsened, and Oreo was eventually put down.

Dakarrie feels that the conditions at dog runs in North Brooklyn are generally unsanitary and that the rat problem is “through the roof.” Rats can carry and spread leptospirosis, as well as other diseases.

“The problem with McCarren Park is that over the last seven years of me being here and training dogs, there’s always an outbreak, whether it’s giardia or now this,” explained Dakarrie. He believes the lack of an adequate drainage system also compounds the problem.


Other neighbors shared their concerns about the conditions at local dog runs. “We don’t have appropriate spaces for the number of dogs here! We have only three tiny dog runs for the entire neighborhood – they are unsafe, dirty, and too small,” said Murielle in an emailed statement to Greenpointers.

“Leptospirosis in dogs is a bacterial infection that spreads through the bloodstream,” according to Pet MD. “Dogs can get leptospirosis from puddles or bodies of water that carry urine from infected wildlife. The bacteria infiltrate a dog’s body by burrowing into their skin.”

Last year, New York City saw its highest-ever amount of recorded leptospirosis cases, according to Forbes.

The disease can affect both dogs and humans. Though the risk of exposure from pets is low, it is important to avoid coming into contact with your dog’s urine or letting them lick you if your dog is affected.

The vaccine protecting against leptospirosis is not an immunization requirement in most dogs, so definitely discuss with your veterinarian to see what you can do to protect your furry friends.

Greenpointers also wishes to extend our deepest condolences to Oreo’s family, as well as other families who have lost loved animals to this current outbreak.

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