Leptospirosis is a kind of bacteria that doesn’t die instantly in urine. It is spread in the urine directly, through bite wounds or with the ingestion of infected meat. It can be indirectly transmitted through infected water, soil and plant material.
Usually there are no symptoms because the disease progresses so quickly or it can linger chronically causing minimal problems until it is too late. When an animal contracts Leptospirosis, they have signs of lethargy, fever, vomiting and not eating. Their blood work can show that they have both kidney failure and concurrent liver problems.
The disease can be treated with very aggressive and potentially expensive therapy, including fluid therapy and antibiotics. In areas where available, kidney dialysis is sometimes recommended. The early stages may be treated with antibiotics, but the disease is rarely diagnosed in this phase. Unfortunately, the animal may have residual kidney and liver problems for life. Leptospirosis is common in the urine of raccoons, rats, and deer.
Dogs who roam freely in damp areas like wet, rainy pastures known to be inhabited by wildlife or livestock are at risk. Also, dogs that are exposed to rodent urine (possibly in a home or barn) are at risk.
Puppies with the potential for exposure should receive two doses of the killed or subunit Leptospirosis vaccine (canine) against the 4 most common serovars (L. canicola, L. icterohemorrahgica, L. pomona and, L. grippotyphosa,) in conjunction with their other puppy vaccines. They receive a booster at one year and then annually.
For more information, please feel free to call Pet's Friend Animal Clinic about any questions or concerns you may have at 408-739-2688.