It’s been a concern among pet owners for a while now, but one of Nova Scotia’s top health officials is taking steps to make sure a rare and infectious disease in pets doesn’t spread to humans.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that affects the liver and kidneys. Symptoms include vomiting, increased drinking, diarrhea and jaundice. It can also be fatal for animals if it progresses.

Lepto, as it’s commonly referred, is zoonotic, meaning it can spread from animals to humans.

Concerned with the increase of Lepto-infected pets in the area, the Nova Scotia Department of Health recently wrote to veterinarians and doctors alerting them to some of the symptoms of Lepto and how to avoid catching the infection.

“Basic common sense personal hygiene measures will significantly reduce even the low-level risk that might be in place right now,” Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, told CTV Atlantic.

About a month ago, an animal hospital in Nova Scotia saw a spike in the rare infection and Dr. Tricia Horsman, a veterinarian with the Metro Animal Emergency Clinic in Dartmouth, says it’s only continued since.

Horsman spoke with CTV Atlantic on Saturday and said clinic saw 12 cases of suspected Lepto last week and another six this week. These dogs are being treated in a closed-off area.

Leptospirosis is commonly found in tropical climates. With the colder weather on the horizon, Strang says number of Lepto cases should shrink.

There haven't been any human cases reported so far.

With a report from CTV Atlantic’s Ron Shaw