By Keri Hesse, CVT ZimmVet

What is Leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis is a bacteria that is found in stagnant, slow moving water but can be found in the soil near or around where there had been stagnant water. The common carriers of Leptospirosis is wildlife which is the most common route of exposure to our pets. This disease is also zoonotic; meaning that our pets can transmit it to us.

How does our beloved pets become infected?

The bacteria is penetrated through the skin through a cut/abrasion from the contaminated water or the contaminated urine of wildlife, reproductive organs exposed to the bacteria, even the consumption of infected tissues can be the cause of Leptospirosis.

What happens if my pet gets Leptospirosis?

Once exposed to Leptospirosis, the bacteria is spread through the bloodstreams causing inflammation of the vessels, fever, abnormal bleeding, and bruising of tissues. By the time symptoms have started showing, Leptospirosis has set up in the kidneys, causing inflammation of the kidneys and can disrupt urine production, ultimately leading to kidney failure. Some strains of Leptospirosis can cause inflammation of the liver and ultimately causing liver damage or failure. 

Is there treatment for leptospirosis?

If caught readily, Leptospirosis can be treated with hospitalization, IV and oral antibiotics, and IV fluids to help flush the bloodstream and kidneys of Leptospirosis.  During this time, it is crucial to protect ourselves from the contaminated urine to prevent infecting ourselves.

Can I prevent my pets from getting Leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis can be prevented ultimately with a vaccine.The first vaccine is given and then boosters in 3-4 weeks and lasting a year. So, it is important to make sure your pet is vaccinated yearly for this bacteria.

Most common thought is that our dogs that are either hunting, camping or around our lakes are the most exposed pets. But, with the amount of wildlife that come into our backyards any dog could be exposed to these serious bacteria. This can all be prevented with a yearly vaccine, please vaccinate your dogs. If you have questions, reach out to one of our staff members for more information.