Stay Eat Events Weather Beaches

Leptospirosis Affecting Many Sea Lions on Oregon Coast: Watch Your Dogs

Published 10/27/22 at 6:03 PM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Leptospirosis Affecting Many Sea Lions on Oregon Coast: Watch Your Dogs

Latest Coastal Lodging News Alerts
In Seaside:
Includes exclusive listings; major specials now that winter is here
In Cannon Beach:
Includes rentals not listed anywhere else
In Manzanita, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach:
major specials for winter
In Pacific City, Oceanside:
Winter's enticing specials now
In Lincoln City:
Major winter specials now
In Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach:
major specials this season
In Newport:
Look for many specials
In Waldport
New amenities offered; specials and tempting prices now
In Yachats, Florence
Big deals available; lodgings not listed anywhere else
Southern Oregon Coast Hotels / Lodgings
Reedsport to Brookings, places to stay; winter deals

(Newport, Oregon) – Another run of California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) infected with a somewhat contagious disease is hitting the Oregon coast, according to the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. Leptospirosis, a contagious bacterial infection of the kidneys, is making its appearance again, and Oregon coast officials say it is of concern to people with pets on the beach. (Photo Oregon Coast Beach Connection: a resting sea lion at Lincoln City in 2012)

Sea lions infected with the disease often appear lethargic and unable to move their hind limbs. Those ill often appear to have significant weight loss and even pneumonia.

Unfortunately, the disease is transmissible to humans and dogs.

Leptospirosis Affecting Many Sea Lions on Oregon Coast: Watch Your Dogs
(Photo Oregon Coast Beach Connection: a resting sea lion at Lincoln City in 2012)

“We strongly advise people to keep themselves and their pets well clear of sea lions on the beach,” the Hatfield said in an alert on its website.

The disease is making an impression on the Oregon coast, as it did in 2017 and another, sizably larger event in 2010.

Jim Rice, with the Marine Mammal Stranding Network out of the Hatfield, told Oregon Coast Beach Connection some 150 sick or already-dead sea lions have washed up along the entire Oregon coastline, from Brookings to Warrenton.

“Sick sea lions with signs of leptospirosis (extreme lethargy, emaciation, and reluctance to use their hind flippers) started showing up in late July along the south and central coasts,” Rice said. “Of those, Oregon State University has done necropsies on 7 carcasses, and all of those have been positive for leptospirosis.”

If you take your dog to to the Oregon coast, keep them far from any sea lion, whether dead or alive.

Rice told Oregon Coast Beach Connection little is known about why the disease occurs.

“Outbreaks of leptospirosis in California sea lions occur every several years but we still don’t know exactly why that happens,” he said. “There's a group at UCLA that's looking at it in detail.”

That research group – the Leptospirosis Research Laboratory - has said it can come down to herd immunity, sea surface temperatures and sea lion patterns.

Rice said it appears as if the “leptospira bacteria continuously reside in the sea lion population,” and they periodically shed the organism in some way, thus starting a run of infections.

It is a violation of federal and state laws to harass, disturb, touch, or feed marine mammals. Report violations to the Oregon State Police (800) 452-7888.

Oregon Coast Hotels in this area - South Coast Hotels - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours


Photo courtesy Seaside Aquarium

Gold Beach, courtesy Gold Beach Visitors Center

More About Oregon Coast hotels, lodging.....

More About Oregon Coast Restaurants, Dining.....

Coastal Spotlight

LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles

Strange Oregon Coast True Crime: Goonies House Vandal Suspect to Dramatic Coa...
From drama to surreal crime in Astoria; full of strange twists and turns
Rumor Check: Suspected Chinese Spy Balloon NEVER Crossed Over Oregon Coast
NWS had the definitive answer: it came nowhere near. Weather
Nye Beach's Waves Hotel Keeps Making Waves: an Oregon Coast Classic
Less expensive than many, an innovative Newport boutique hotel. Newport lodging reviews
Lincoln City's Legends: Headless Man, Glowing Cave, Oregon Coast Shipwrecks /...
Yet sometimes these have roots in real history. Sciences, history, geology
Little Tidepool Creature is the Pokmon of Oregon Coast, Washington Coast
Nudibranchs are the closest thing you'll find in the real world. Marine sciences
Florence Wine, Chowder and Glass Float Trail Makes Big Comeback to Central Or...
Back on President?s Day Weekend - February 17 to 19. Florence events
6 Ultimate Romantic, Cloistered Finds on Oregon Coast's Northern Half
What would your lovey-dovey really like for a surprise trip? Weather
From Oregon Coast Swank to Sweet Beach Abode: Lincoln City Rental with Oceanf...
Moonbreaker sits right on the surf with a private stairway down. Lincoln City lodging reviews

Back to Oregon Coast

Contact Advertise on Oregon Coast Beach Connection
All Content, unless otherwise attributed, copyright Oregon Coast Beach Connection. Unauthorized use or publication is not permitted