It is the season to be aware of the possibility of Leptospirosis in your dog. Mobile Animal Clinic continues to diagnose this disease and it reminds us that as dog owners, we need to be concerned in this hot, humid time of the year. We are republishing our PET HEALTH ALERT from Spring of 2012 regarding this disease.
LEPTOSPIROSIS IN DOGS
WHAT IS IT? Leptospirosis is an ever-increasing concern for our dogs. It is a bacterial disease of the liver and kidneys. It spreads from wildlife, i.e., deer, raccoon, opossum, skunk, and some rodents. Leptospirosis is transmitted through the urine of wildlife into our pets’ water and food. This includes creeks and lakes, stagnant water, and our back yards after a rain. We see it most commonly in the summer and early fall months. Another concern is that people are also susceptible to this disease and can be infected through contact with their own pets
.SIGNS/SYMPTOMS: The signs of Leptospirosis are flu like in nature. Usually these include fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, depression and lethargy. The symptoms are not necessarily all present. It can progress to liver and kidney disease and even death. If you think your dog may have been exposed, or is showing any of these signs, it should be examined and proper tests submitted to the lab. Diagnosis consists of urine tests and several blood tests. It can take up to 5 days to get a confirmed diagnosis, but treatment will begin immediately if leptospirosis is suspected. Treatment consists of supportive care for the pet. This includes IV fluids and hospitalization along with a 30-day course of antibiotics, beginning with a series of antibiotic injections.The other dogs in the house may also need to be tested since they may have been exposed, but are not currently showing any symptoms. If the tests come back positive they will also be treated with a 30-day course of antibiotics. Because they are not symptomatic, they do not require hospitalization unless further signs develop. This disease does not seem to affect cats.
PREVENTION: Leptospirosis can be prevented with a proper vaccination protocol. We start with a series of two vaccinations 3-4 weeks apart and then annual revaccination. In the past, there had been a concern for the vaccine because it had caused a significant number of vaccination reactions. We are currently using a purified vaccine that has been shown to have a reaction rate of only 0.008% (8/100,000), which is significantly lower than the other vaccines that were available. We now feel confident we can safely vaccinate our dogs without significant concern for reactions to the vaccine. Because of the increasing rate of diagnosis of dogs in the Omaha area, we are recommending vaccination of our house dogs and especially hunting dogs.
This is a conservative, but safe and effective response to the increasing incidence of the deadly disease of Leptospirosis in our area.
For more information, you can access Leptoinfo.com which is a paid advertisement but the information is good.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call us at 333-3847