Woof, woof, welcome to another riveting discussion with CJ and Rex! Today, we will be ruff-flecting on a disease that affects dogs across the country. Leptospirosis, Lepto for short, is a disease that can be easily spread between dogs – and eventually to people as well! My friend and I will break down the details of this serious illness in our discussion below.
CJ: Thanks for paw-nciling me into your busy schedule, Rex!
Rex: Oh, gosh...
CJ: Puns aside, what is leptospirosis?
Rex: woof, woof - Lepto is a bacterial infection that is often sourced to soil and water. This disease is
often more common in areas with a warm client and lots of rainfall.
CJ: Interesting; that makes sense considering dogs often contract this disease when they drink water from rivers and streams.
Rex: Exactly, CJ! While dogs that like to play outside in woodsy or rural areas are at a lot of risk, so are all dogs. The disease can easily spread from dog to dog, as vomit, urine, and saliva can all carry the bacteria to a new host.
CJ: Gross, but good to know! So, what happens if a dog catches this disease?
Rex: Part of what makes this disease so unnerving is how much the effects can vary. Some dogs with the disease show no signs of infection, while others can develop severe illness and death! Common symptoms include fever, shivering, tender muscles, lethargy, increased thirst, changes in the frequency or amount of urination, dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.
CJ: Woof! is it treatable??
Rex: If caught in its early stages, Lepto can be knocked out with antibiotics and supportive care. Unfortunately, however, if the disease isn’t treated soon enough, which can happen when no symptoms are presence, there can be permanent kidney and liver damage.
CJ: Sounds like we need to prevent catching this disease then. Tell me there’s a vaccine!
Rex: There is! While it is categorized as a “non-core” vaccine by the American Animal Hospital Association, it’s recommended that dogs who are at risk of catching this disease get vaccinated.
CJ: As a reminder, a dog can be considered at risk if they explore the outdoors, hunt, participate in dog shows, play in bodies of water, goes to doggie daycare, or even drinks from puddles in the city.
Rex: That’s right! You should always converse with your veterinarian before making any decisions about vaccines, but we encourage all owners to ask about the Lepto Vaccine.
CJ: Right! Current vaccines can prevent Lepto for at least 12 months, making this a worthy annual vaccination for at-risk dogs.
Rex: That reminds me, I have a veterinary appointment today – gotta’ run!
CJ: See ya, Rex!
That about does it for this discussion! We hope that this information was helpful to you and that you’ll consider getting your dog vaccinated. Please reach out to Bulverde Animal Hospital to learn more about your dog’s risk of Leptospirosis!