Leptospirosis Vaccine for Dogs
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection most commonly found in dogs. The bacteria that causes the infection is found in soil and water, though it is most prevalent in areas with warm climates and high average rainfall. Though humans can contract leptospirosis, dog-to-human transmission is rare.
The Leptospira interrogans bacteria usually is spread to dogs when their mucous membranes or open wounds come into contact with infected urine or urine-contaminated water, soil, or other items. The bacteria can be transmitted through bite wounds, reproductive secretions, or consumption of infected tissues or carcasses. The most common carriers of Leptospira interrogans are raccoons, opossum, rodents, skunks, and dogs.
Some dogs who have contracted leptospirosis do not show any symptoms, while others quickly become very ill.
Common symptoms of a leptospirosis infection are fever, shivering, increased thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, and jaundiced skin and eyes. Leptospirosis can cause kidney failure and, sometimes, liver failure. Some dogs may develop bleeding disorders, which can lead to blood-tinged urine, vomit, feces, or saliva; nosebleeds; and small red spots visible on the gums or other mucous membranes.
Diagnosis and treatment
Because many of the symptoms of leptospirosis can also indicate other diseases, a conclusive diagnosis can be difficult. If you suspect exposure to the Leptospira interrogans bacteria and your dog is showing any of the above symptoms, your veterinarian may recommend testing such as blood and urine tests, x-rays, and ultrasounds.
Treatment for leptospirosis includes early, aggressive antibiotic administration and supportive care for the dog’s symptoms. If treated early, many dogs recover well. However, even if your dog makes a good recovery, there is still a chance for long-term kidney or liver damage.
If you believe your dog is at risk for leptospirosis, annual vaccinations are important to maintaining your pet’s health. Dogs that live in warm climates, spend lots of time outdoors, have access to potentially contaminated bodies of water, and are exposed to wild or farm animals should receive routine leptospirosis vaccinations. If your dog is infected, you can minimize the chances of the infection spreading to you or other pets by promptly cleaning up any urine in a safe manner, discouraging your dog from urinating near standing bodies of water, and wash your hands after handling your pet.
Contact us today for your dog’s annual leptospirosis vaccine. At Falls Road Veterinary Hospital, it is our goal to keep your pets safe, happy, and healthy!