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Leptospirosis and the Danger it Poses to Your Canine Friends

To the Paws and Claws community, I wanted to let you know we are now carrying the Leptosprirosis vaccine. Lepto is a bacterial infection that we are seeing more of now in our area due to more “wildlife” (mice, rats, opossum, raccoons, deer, skink, and squirrels) being in the same area as our canine friends. The infection is passed by drinking, swimming, or walking through infected water. The bacteria can then stay alive in the soil and water for months. Lepto is also a zoonotic disease, meaning that people can get it from animals as well, with one third of cases coming from contact with pets.

This infection causes acute renal failure in 90 percent of infected patients with another 10-20 percent also suffering from liver failure. Affected pets show signs of lethargy and stiffness with excessive thirst. The infection is treatable with antibiotics but there can be long term damage to the organs following treatment. Thus the best treatment is prevention.

Prevention is best achieved by decreasing exposure to possibly contaminated water which seems to be getting harder as wildlife is more used to living around our homes than ever before. This is why we think the disease is starting to show up more and why I decided we should start carrying the vaccine for our at risk patients. The vaccine is not 100 percent protective but it is the best insurance I can currently provide for your furry friend.

Not every dog needs to be vaccinated for lepto, only pets who are outside a good deal and exposed to the same areas as local wildlife. So if you take your best friend with you hiking, swimming, hunting, fishing, or to local parks, it is now recommended to get this vaccine on a regular basis. Please call the clinic with any questions.


Tony Hall DVM

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