Wildlife officers all the time encourage people and their pets to maintain their distance from sea lions and different marine mammals on the seashore.
A latest outbreak of illness amongst sea lion populations is giving folks and their pets but one more reason to keep away from marine mammals whereas they stroll alongside the seashore.
The Oregon Division of Fish and Wildlife reported a rise within the variety of stranded sea lions alongside your entire Oregon Coast – from Brookings to Astoria. Many of those sick and deceased sea lions have suffered from leptospirosis – a illness that may be handed alongside to animals and other people.
The Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Community documented over 150 sick or lifeless sea lions alongside the Oregon Coast because the present outbreak started in late July 2022. Necropsies on seven sea lions confirmed all examined optimistic for leptospirosis.
Meghan Durham, a consultant for the Oregon Division of Fish and Wildlife, mentioned leptospirosis is a naturally occurring micro organism that causes illness in sea lions and different wildlife.
“It may occur in small numbers yearly, and generally you get bigger sporadic outbreaks of the illness,” Durham mentioned.
Though the outbreak is occurring in numbers bigger than traditional, Durham mentioned there is no purpose to consider it should impression the bigger inhabitants of sea lions in Oregon.
There are not any rescue and rehabilitation choices for sick or injured seals and sea lions in Oregon. The state coverage is to reduce disturbance from folks and to let nature take its course, in accordance with the Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Community.
“There are presently no efforts to deal with the ocean lions (for leptospirosis) as a result of it’s one thing that happens naturally,” Durham mentioned.
She mentioned to her data there isn’t a correlation between local weather change or different ocean well being points that’s presently contributing to the present illness outbreak.
However as a result of leptospirosis is a zoonotic illness – which means that individuals can get contaminated from animals and vice versa – wildlife officers are encouraging canine and horse house owners to debate the deserves of vaccination for leptospirosis with their veterinarian.
Brookings, Oregon veterinary technician assistant Robi Probability says the leptospirosis vaccine is widespread and really useful for canines in areas alongside the Oregon Coast. Leptospirosis is a illness that isn’t solely carried by sea lions, however different wildlife akin to deer and raccoons.
Probability, who has been within the veterinary area for 30 years, mentioned she encourages pet house owners to maintain their pets contained on the seashore.
“There’s lots of issues that they will get into on the seashore that makes them sick,” she mentioned.
There are a couple of doable methods canines can contract leptospirosis, together with in the event that they “roll” in a deceased animal with the illness, chunk or ingest components of an animal with the illness, or by ingesting water that’s contaminated with urine from a diseased animal.
The veterinarians’ advice to comprise their animals goes together with ODFW and Oregon Parks and Recreation tips to leash their canines and hold no less than 150 toes away from stay or lifeless sea lions. Shut encounters with folks might be dangerous and continued disturbances might trigger stress, together with inflicting moms to desert their pups.
Brookings resident Bob Oneida mentioned he was a latest witness to a sick and dying sea lion on the Southern Oregon Coast.
“It had crawled up onto the seashore however was laying sideways to the ocean. The tide was coming in and the waves had been washing over it just a little additional every time. Lastly the waves began going over its’ head. It picked its’ nostril up excessive sufficient to get out of the water, however as quickly because the wave receded it dropped its’ head to the sand,” Oneida mentioned.
“It was having lots of hassle. Its’ respiration was very labored,” Oneida mentioned.
Oneida mentioned a number of folks had been there watching the ocean lion with him at Sporthaven Seaside, together with one with a canine – and the canine approached the ocean lion.
Leptospirosis might be severe and deadly to canines.
An infection of the liver or kidneys might be deadly for animals if the an infection progresses, inflicting extreme injury to those organs. Veterinarian technician Probability says it’s best to vaccinate canines as a result of in the event that they do get the illness it may be tough and costly to deal with. It’s also uncommon however doable that canines with leptospirosis can transmit the illness to their house owners.
Sick or injured seals, sea lions, whales or dolphins might be reported to 1-800-452-7888.
For extra info on wildlife illnesses, contact ODFW’s wildlife well being hotline at 1-866-968-2600.