Rattiest Cities Spread Leptospirosis in Dogs


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Where there are city rats, there is leptospirosis which is a bacterial infection which can make unvaccinated dogs very ill or even cause death, and also can make people sick.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that lives in water and can be transmitted through the urine many animals – from raccoons to coyotes – though city rats may be the most common cause.

According to Orkin, here are the top-20 rattiest cities in the U.S (with their rankings compared to last year). Here is a complete list of the top 50

  1. Chicago
  2. New York (+1)
  3. Los Angeles (-1)
  4. Washington, D.C.
  5. San Francisco
  6. Philadelphia (+1)
  7. Baltimore (-1)
  8. Cleveland, Oh. (+2)
  9. Detroit (-1)
  10. Denver (-1)
  11. Seattle
  12. Minneapolis
  13. Boston
  14. Atlanta (+1)
  15. Indianapolis (-1)
  16. Pittsburgh
  17. Cincinnati (+2)
  18. San Diego (-1)
  19. Hartford (+2)
  20. Miami

Absolutely, even if you don’t live in any of the top 50 rat infested cities, leptospirosis is spread by most mammalian wildlife species as well as even unvaccinated dogs who may or may not demonstrating clinical signs of illness. So, lepto is everywhere, city or country – as production animals can also carry lepto.

However, rats are a problem for many reasons, and spreading leptospirosis is a big one.

If a rat piddles in a puddle or a pond or lake – as long as it is fresh water, even a large body of water, lepto can be spread. Nobivac Lepto is he first and only four-way canine leptospirosis vaccine shown to be effective against disease, urinary shedding or mortality.

Meanwhile, if a dog infected with leptospirosis has an accident and a toddler touches hand to mouth, or an adult doesn’t wash up properly after cleaning up, certainly people do get leptospirosis. If you drop, say your keys in a puddle, pick them up and don’t wash up, it’s another way humans can get sick.

Rat Control

Rat control isn’t easy. Dogs and other unintended wildlife may get into rat poison. When a rat returns “home” and succumbs to the poison, other rats smell the cause of death and actually learn to stay away from the product that caused that death. Also, over time, the poison is washes away and into the environment (this is hardly environmentally friendly).

Baiting rat traps can work to snag individuals, but doesn’t impact the population; remarkably, the savvy rats learn to avoid traps.

Programs, such as the Tree House Humane Society Cats at Work Program,  may be the most efficient means to control rats, simply by locating community cats (outdoors anyway and spay/neutered and vaccinated for rabies) to where rats are.

Certainly rat-proofing trash, making meals harder to come by is also suggested. The large plastic trash bins with heavy lids present only a moderate challenge for rats as they can chew through plastic. Certainly, the open trash bins, not to mention people tossing discarded pizza or tacos on the ground, make life a free buffer for the rodents.

Several rat species found a way to live off the spoils of humans for thousands of years; eradicating all rats is likely impossible. However, controlling their numbers is beneficial to our health and well-being.

And, yes, rats can live just about anywhere: