Canine Leptospirosis: A Hidden Danger to You and Your Pet
posted: May 26, 2020.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that affects both animals and humans. Leptospira bacteria are found in soil and water. It is transmitted when infected water or soil contacts the mucous membranes of a mammal (mouth, eyes, nose, or wounds).
Dogs allowed to drink from lakes, rivers, ponds, or puddles are most at risk. We are more likely to see leptospirosis in summer, early fall, or after flooding.
Infected dogs can develop kidney and/or liver failure, lung disease, severe bleeding, and fluid accumulation in the chest, abdomen, or legs. Many infected dogs become mildly ill and recover, while others become seriously or even fatally ill. Symptoms usually appear 4 to 12 days after exposure.
Look for these signs of Leptospirosis:
-Fever or shivering
-Soreness, stiffness, or reluctance to move
-Dehydration and increased thirst
-Vomiting and/or diarrhea
-Loss of appetite
-Changes in frequency or quantity of urination
-Yellowing of skin, eyes or mucous membranes (jaundice)
-Nosebleeds or evidence of blood in vomit, urine, stool, or saliva
-Red speckling on gums, or other mucous membranes, or on light-colored skin.
If leptospirosis is suspected, get your pet to us as soon as you can. We will perform a physical exam and may order blood tests. Dogs that are seriously ill must be hospitalized. Less severe cases of leptospirosis may be treated with antibiotics. Proper care and hygiene are a must since this disease is highly contagious. When diagnosed early and treated aggressively, the chances for recovery are good.
Vaccinations are crucial to the prevention of this disease. You can also reduce your dog's exposure to sources of Leptospira bacteria by not allowing your pet to drink from questionable water sources. It is also important to control rodents around your home. Ask us about annual vaccines for your dog. Give us a call for any questions at (918) 492-2674.