It’s true, Leptospirosis is diagnosed sporadically in Pennsylvania. No matter the frequency, it’s good to know more about the disease, including how it’s contracted and signs to look out for. These are the types of things we often discuss during annual exams, as well as tips on keeping your pet safe from all types of disease. This is also included in the vaccinations we administer to your pet.
How can a dog get leptospirosis?
Dogs are usually exposed to the bacteria by coming into contact with infected water, whether they drink it, swim in it, or simply step into a puddle. The bacteria are spread through the urine of infected animals, often rodents.
Hunting and sporting dogs, dogs that live near wooded areas, dogs that live in subtropical and humid environments, dogs that live on or near farms, and dogs that have spent time in a shelter or kennel are at increased risk of acquiring leptospirosis. But, since the bacteria are often spread through the urine of rodents, dogs that live in large cities and walk though alleyways where puddles of standing water can accumulate are at risk, too.
The signs of leptospirosis
Some signs of leptospirosis in dogs include:
- Sudden fever
- Reluctance to move
- Lack of appetite
- Increased thirst and urination
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes
Some dogs can be carriers of leptospirosis and never show serious signs of the disease, but will still spread it to other animals and humans.
If your dog is showing any signs of leptospirosis, call our office. Once a leptospirosis diagnosis is made, treatment will depend on the stage of the infection and severity of the symptoms. For acute, severe cases, dogs will often require hospitalization and fluid therapy, anti-vomiting medication, and sometimes even a blood transfusion.
For some dogs, a course of antibiotics (usually at least 4 weeks in duration) will kill the bacteria.
If leptospirosis is diagnosed and treated before symptoms worsen and organs are damaged irreparably, the prognosis is usually good.
Leptospirosis in dogs can be prevented with a vaccine. If you feel that your dog may have the disease or is exhibiting symptoms, please be sure to contact us immediately. The team at Brodheadsville Veterinary Clinic is here to keep your pet safe.