Another sick dog ‘not lepto positive’

PUHI — Kauai Humane Society’s field trip program was paused Tuesday after the facility recevied reports of another dog showing symptoms of the bacterial disease leptosperosis (lepto) after being transferred off-island to a mainland shelter.

By 1:30 p.m., though, KHS Executive Director Mirah Horowitz announced test results had come back from the dog and that “no one suspects a disease of any kind” at the shelter.

“We just got the test results back from the newest dog,” she wrote in an email to The Garden Island newspaper. “The dog who was most recently sick is presenting like he has kennel cough or a virus. He is being treated with doxycycline and improving. He is not lepto positive. We will be open for business as usual tomorrow.”

The plan was to put the field trip program on hold through Jan. 30, while staff and experts work together to solve three cases of sick dogs that showed symptoms after being transferred to mainland shelters.

The first was transferred off-island Dec. 19 and exhibited symptoms of lepto after arriving.

It tested negative for lepto, but Horowitz said there’s a possibility the dog still had the illness.

The second dog was transferred off-island Dec. 26 and tested positive for lepto after exhibiting symptoms on the mainland.

To help answer some questions, Horowitz and the KHS staff have brought infectious disease experts from the University of Florida on board and have sent the dogs’ medical records to the experts.

“Our expert said the cases might not be lepto cases,” Horowitz said. “We’ll talk tomorrow (Wednesday) and might have more information then.”

KHS also reached out to the Hawaii Department of Health.

Horowitz said via a phone interview with TGI she thought they might be taking an overly cautious route by shutting down the field trip program, but it was worth protecting the health of the dogs and the community to put the program on pause until it was figured out.

Now, however, field trips will resume at KHS.

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