Leptospirosis is in the news again. Why? because veterinarians are seeing it and diagnosis it. It tends to be a seasonal disease with late summer and fall being the typical months. We here at PAH are no different. We have three suspected (but unconfirmed) cases in the last three weeks. Two of these patients were NOT vaccinated. There are many different strains of this bacteria and not every strain is contained within the vaccine. However, the vaccine does prevent the three most common strains that cause infection. That is why it is IMPORTANT to vaccinate.
Leptospirosis is carried by mice and rats, raccoons and other wildlife. Let’s face it we used to think this was a rural disease but it isn’t any longer. There is no place in Peoria, IL that does not have mice or raccoons trespassing into our yards for meals. They urinate in the grass and then the little villain (Leptospirosis) can live on plant material in an environment for years. It waits for rain or a pet to drink puddles. That is why it is very important to vaccinate. Dogs love to roll in the mud, drink dirty water in puddles and swim in lakes. You can not stop your dog from being a dog but you can vaccinate.
You may be asking how do I tell if my dog has lepto? The signs are very generic. They include increased urination, not eating, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, fever, and yellowing of the skin. If your dog has any of these symptoms please contact your local veterinarian right away so that they can do some diagnostic testing and treat your pet for this deadly disease.