What is Leptospirosis, and how to Keep Your Dog Safe?

Leptospirosis is a disease that is transmitted to people and animals by the feces of diseased pets and wildlife. It is lethal to both humans and animals. Thus, one must take their pet to an animal hospital Virginia Beach if they suspect it is infected. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the condition has resurfaced in recent years after being infrequent for several years among dogs. In particular, New York City has seen increased instances in recent months. 

What Is Leptospirosis and How Does It Affect You?

Leptospirosis is a bacterial illness caused by bacteria belonging to the genus Leptospira. Sick animals, such as rats, squirrels, and other wildlife transmit the germs through their urine, which may live in stagnant water or soil for weeks or months. Leptospira is unable to live at subzero temperatures.

Consuming or bathing in standing water, getting the organism to enter intact or injured skin from a contaminant, being attacked by or consuming an infected animal, or consuming food tainted by infected urine are all ways for dogs to become infected. When a dog becomes sick, the illness is most usually transmitted to people by contact with urine on mucosal surfaces, sores, cuts, or scratches. Immunocompromised individuals are more vulnerable to the illness. 

The positive thing is that majority of dogs with current vaccinations are protected against the most frequent forms of leptospirosis. You can visit the nearest pet hospital Virginia Beach to get your pet vaccinated against this disease.

How to Avoid It

Vaccination is the most effective strategy to protect your dog from leptospirosis. Vets usually start the leptospirosis vaccine series in pups aged 9 weeks and higher. According to how common leptospirosis is in your region, most doctors provide booster doses every year or every three years after the initial set.

Heavy cities with huge rodent populations and areas prone to major flooding or storms are the most probable places to have leptospirosis epidemics. 

If you reside in a high-risk area, ensure your dog is up to date on vaccines and keeps them away from polluted water. If your neighborhood is experiencing an epidemic, keeping your dog apart from canines whose vaccination history is unknown may be worthwhile. This involves avoiding dog parks unless you know the vaccination record of all of the dogs there.

Symptoms of Leptospirosis

The symptoms of leptospirosis in dogs vary; however they may comprise the following:

  • Jaundice
  • Shivering or fever
  • Tenderness in the muscles or difficulty to move
  • Increased urination and excessive water consumption
  • Retching
  • Dysentery
  • Appetite loss.
  • Failure of the kidneys
  • Failure of the liver

Asymptomatic pets are also possible.

If your dog is exhibiting any of these conditions or you assume exposure, consult your veterinarian. Early detection might help your dog from having more serious and potentially deadly symptoms, including renal or liver failure.

How It’s Handled

Antibiotics are the most common therapy for canine leptospirosis. Many dogs must be admitted to the hospital and start receiving antibiotics and body fluid through an IV, based on the extent of the case.

If your dog has been confirmed with leptospirosis, ban him from peeing in city parks or around water sources to prevent the disease from spreading. If your dog pees in your home, sanitize the area right away to prevent other pets or relatives from becoming ill.

However, the most important precaution you can take is to ensure that your dog is leptospirosis-vaccinated, particularly if you reside in an area where the disease is common.