Leptospirosis is a disease caused by the Leptospira bacteria. While it is prevalent mainly in animals, namely dogs, it can be spread to humans through contact with the bacteria.
Recent cases have been reported in Illinois, California, New Jersey and Arizona, triggering a warning from veterinarian to stay vigilant.
Source: Pet Health Network
The disease is most often spread through contaminated water, particularly standing water and bodies of water in which there is urine. The bacteria that causes the infection is particularly abundant in areas with high rainfall.
Additionally, areas with higher temperatures are more prone to the bacteria and it is generally more common in the hotter summer months. The illness is also largely transmitted through rodents who are hosts for the bacteria.
The most noticeable and recognizable signs and symptoms of leptospirosis are:
- sudden fever
- lack of appetite
- dehydration and increased thirst
In some cases, dogs that come into contact with the bacteria may only suffer from a mild fever and recover within a few days, but this is not always the case and some unlucky canines ca go on to suffer from kidney and liver damage.
Luckily, the disease can be treated with antibiotics administered by a veterinarian, but early detection and action are always vital to reduce the possibility of serious infection or any long term damage.
While the disease is treatable, it is still best to prevent illness if you can. Here are some tips to reduce your dog's chances of contracting Leptospirosis:
- avoid areas with standing water
- wash your dog's paws after walks to stop him licking them
- avoid high-risk areas with reported cases
Souce: The Drake Center
There is also a vaccine available to stop contraction of the disease, but it requires yearly top-ups to ensure its effectiveness. If you live in a high-risk area and would like to protect your dog from Leptospirosis, consult a veterinary professional.
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