Leptospirosis is an infectious bacterial disease that affects both human and animals, including our dogs, all around the world. Recently there have been more and more reports of leptospirosis outbreaks. Luckily, there is a vaccine that can help prevent this potentially deadly disease protecting both dogs and the humans that care for them since this disease can be transmitted to humans.
The bacterium that causes Leptospirosis is spread from infected animals through urine and bodily fluids. This bacterium thrives in warm, wet soil and water sources and can survive in these conditions anywhere from a few weeks to months. Clinical signs of leptospirosis vary by case but some common clinical symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, in-appetence, severe weakness and depression, stiffness, muscle and abdominal pain, liver and/or kidney failure. Prompt treatment is critical for limiting the spread of infection within the animal. In severe cases the bacterium can cause chronic kidney failure or death. If you think your pet may have contracted Leptospirosis, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Your veterinarian is able to confirm if your pet is carrying the bacterium through blood and urine tests. Treatment for Leptospirosis involves antibiotics and supportive care. If this disease is caught early enough, recovery time is typically two weeks. Keeping good hygiene habits and washing surfaces appropriately can help prevent the risk of you and your family being affected especially if your dog is sick. Contaminated surface should be cleaned with a dilute bleach mixture (1 part house hold bleach to 10 parts water).
If your dog has exposure to wildlife or outside water sources, we recommend vaccination for leptospirosis. The vaccine protects against the five most common strains of leptospirosis. Other precautions should be taken to promote your dog’s safety. Limiting their exposure to stagnant water sources, wildlife, and rodents are all important to ensure your dog’s health. If you have questions or are concerned that your dog may have been exposed, please call your veterinarian for more information.