(KWES) - Leptospirosis is probably a disease you've never heard of, but one local vet clinic is urging you to learn more about it, just in case the disease makes it way to the Basin.
"Puppies are more likely to crash from it because their immune systems are so low," said Sierra Ancira.
Leptospirosis isn't too common here in West Texas, but Ancira, manager of Animal Emergency Hospital of the Permian Basin says the disease has popped up in other Texas cities, like Houston and Plano.
"We have not seen any confirmed cases in the Basin, but I think the majority of that. The reason is we don't test for it. We don't see it a lot," said Ancira.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease found worldwide in soil and water. Dogs can contract the disease from drinking from rivers, lakes or streams.
"It's spread through urine. The thing that saves us is we don't have any water," said Ancira.
Although west Texas is dry, The disease can be transported anyway.
"It doesn't actually have to be something that's starting here but being brought into our area from other animals," said Ancira.
Leptospirosis is also spread from infected wildlife and contact with infected dogs and rodents.
Ancira worries that when oil picks up in the area, pets could be more at risk.
"People will be moving from other areas over here and with that, they could potentially bring their asymptomatic dogs with them and then those dogs go to the duck pond or go to the dog park or urinate and then it spreads," said Ancira.
Leptospirosis can sometimes go undetected but usually involves fever, shivering, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy and jaundice.
It is important to take your pet to get checked out immediately because the disease can be deadly.
"Just be aware. Ask your vet about it," said Ancira.
There is a vaccination for the disease that could have some side effects, you can ask your local vet.