Why Worry About Leptospirosis in Dogs?

Understanding leptospirosis symptoms and prevention methods

Leptospiriosis in Dogs

While a quick dip in the pond or sip from a water puddle may seem harmless to your dog’s health, it could be anything but, should the water be infected with Leptospira bacteria.

Found worldwide, leptospirosis disease (also known as lepto) is caused by infection with Leptospira bacteria, which are found in contaminated soil and water. Urine from infected wildlife serves as the primary source of infection, permeating the environment and in turn, infecting animals and even humans. The prevalence of harmful leptospirosis disease in dogs continues to increase.

Are some dogs at higher disease risks than others?

Adventurous, outdoor-loving pups are at the highest risk for the disease, including those:

  • Having contact with, or drinking from, streams, lakes or rivers
  • Roaming on rural properties, because of increased exposure to potentially infected wildlife, livestock or water sources
  • With exposure to wildlife or livestock, even if in your own backyard or property
  • How are dogs infected by the disease?

    Cats can be impacted by leptospirosis; however, disease transmission is far more common with dogs. They can develop leptospirosis through:

  • Direct contact from contaminated water, soil, food or bedding to: a pet’s mucous membranes (in the mouth, eyes and nose), skin with an open wound (even the most minor scrape), or water-softened skin
  • Digesting carcasses or tissues of infected animals
  • A bite from an infected animal
  • Breeding, as the disease can be passed through the placenta to puppies
  • What are common leptospirosis symptoms in dogs?

    Signs of disease can vary pet-by-pet, with some animals never presenting symptoms. Some pets may recover quickly, while others may experience grave illness and sudden death. Early treatment with antibiotics can help with a pet’s recovery; ensure you are aware of common signs:

  • Fever
  • Shaking
  • Muscle soreness and swelling
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Increased thirst
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Inflammation of the eyes
  • Kidney/liver failure
  • Difficulty breathing
  • How can pets be protected against this disease?

    Help ensure your adventurous pup is shielded from leptospirosis disease. Leptospirosis vaccines for dogs are available at Valley Vet Supply to offer him the ultimate protection. The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends annual vaccinations for at-risk pets. Vaccination is especially important for any outside dogs and ranch and hunting companions, who are the most likely to come in contact with infected environmental sources. Also, you can help alleviate disease risk by reducing exposure to potentially infected areas.

    Vaccinate your pet annually to help shield him against leptospirosis.

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