LEPTOSPIROSIS IS A DISEASE TO AVOID
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects dogs, cattle, horses, wildlife, swine and humans and is found worldwide. The bacteria persists in lakes, streams, and ponds. The bacteria are ingested by raccoons, opossums, and other wildlife. While these animals may not get sick from Lepto, they act as hosts for the disease, enabling the bacteria to multiply.
EAST SHELBYVILLE ANIMAL CLINIC
731 MOUNT EDEN ROAD
SHELBYVILLE, KY 40065
Leptospirosis can be transmitted either directly between hosts or indirectly in the environment. It can be ingested in contaminated food or water, spread in aerosolized urine or water, or transmitted by direct contact with the skin. The organisms usually enter the body through mucous membranes or abraded skin. Leptospira can infect the blood and spread to the lymph nodes, liver, and kidneys.
The incubation period is 4 to 12 days in dogs. Signs of Lepto include fever, lethargy, GI upset, and loss of appetite. Owners should consult a veterinarian whenever their pet displays signs of liver trouble, such as jaundice (yellowing of the eyes, skin or gums) or yellow foamy vomit, or signs of kidney problems, such as increased urination, dark or bloody urine, or unusual accidents in the house.
Veterinarians can identify Lepto by sending urine or liver or kidney biopsy to a lab. Antibiotic treatment is effective if the disease is caught early but prevention is the best medicine. Make sure dogs do not drink out of puddles or ponds, bring tap water for your dog or horse when you take them on long outings. Always keep wild animals away from barns, food, and water supplies. Vaccination may also be advised. Always filter, boil or treat lake or stream water before drinking it.
****Always have a licensed veterinarian administer vaccines. The leptospirosis vaccine is not right for all breeds. Your veterinarian may recommend avoidance for your pet.