We have received multiple confirmed cases of leptospirosis cases in our area recently and want to help you prevent this disease. Here is what you need to know. Leptospirosis is a serious and potentially deadly bacterial infection that can affect humans and animals. It is a zoonotic disease, meaning humans and animals can spread it to each other.
How can a dog get leptospirosis?
Dogs are usually exposed to the bacteria by coming into contact with infected water, whether they drink it, swim in it, or simply step into a puddle. The bacteria are spread through the urine of infected animals, often rodents.
Hunting and sporting dogs, dogs that live near wooded areas, dogs that live in subtropical and humid environments, dogs that live on or near farms, and dogs that have spent time in a shelter or kennel are at increased risk of acquiring leptospirosis. But, since the bacteria are often spread through the urine of rodents, dogs that live in large cities and walk though alleyways where puddles of standing water can accumulate are at risk, too.
Signs and Symptoms
Some signs of leptospirosis in dogs include:
- Sudden fever
- Reluctance to move
- Lack of appetite
- Increased thirst and urination
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes
Some dogs can be carriers of leptospirosis and never show serious signs of the disease, but will still spread it to other animals and humans.
If your dog is showing any signs of leptospirosis, call our office immediately. Once a leptospirosis diagnosis is made, treatment will depend on the stage of the infection and severity of the symptoms. For acute, severe cases, dogs will often require hospitalization and fluid therapy, anti-vomiting medication, and sometimes even a blood transfusion.
For some dogs, a course of antibiotics (usually at least 4 weeks in duration) will kill the bacteria. Leptospirosis is not curable, but can be treated if caught early enough.
Leptospirosis in dogs can be prevented with a vaccine. Downtown Animal Care Center offers vaccinations during regular business hours but you must call to schedule an appointment.
Please also visit us every Sunday during our walk-in vaccination clinic. We are open from 10 am to 3 pm. The Sunday clinic offers vaccinations for both cats and dogs, heartworm testing and prevention, feline leukemia/AIDS testing, nail trims and microchips during this clinic.
If you have questions or concerns, please contact our team and we’ll be happy to help.