Did you know that Lepto is one of the most common hazards our canine pals can encounter outdoors? Lepto is short for Leptospira, which is a dangerous bacteria found in water and wet soil. Those are two things that we definitely have plenty of here in Louisiana! A local New Orleans, LA vet discusses Lepto in dogs in this article.
Lepto is zoonotic, which means it can be transmitted between different species. It can also affect humans, which is one reason it’s such a big concern. In fact, the Merck Animal Health Headquarters named it as the most widespread zoonotic disease on the planet! Lepto is often found in opossums, raccoons, deer, and rodents. Unfortunately, pets are at high risk as well. One study suggested that, at any given time, roughly 8 percent of our canine companions are actively shedding the Lepto bacteria.
Dogs usually get Lepto by walking through contaminated areas where an infected animal has urinated. That isn’t the only method of transmission, though. Fido can also get it through contaminated bedding, such as hay, or by drinking or swimming in contaminated water. Another possible cause would be eating an infected animal. It’s important to be aware of danger zones. These include wet pastures and paddocks, lakes, ponds, and streams, and swampy/wet areas.
The signs of Lepto can vary from pup to pup. Some dogs don’t have any symptoms at all! Some things to look for include vomiting; fever; lethargy; respiratory issues; lack of appetite; diarrhea; and swelling in the legs. Dehydration can also be a warning sign, as is jaundice. Contact your vet immediately if you notice any of these red flags.
Lepto can cause some pretty serious issues, including kidney failure. Unfortunately, it can also be fatal. If you suspect that you and/or your dog have been exposed, contact both your physician and your pet’s veterinarian right away. There are treatments for Lepto, though it’s crucial that the disease be caught and treated early.
That all sounds pretty grim, doesn’t it? There is some good news. There are also vaccines available for Fido. This is often recommended for dogs that are outdoors a lot and/or live in high-risk areas. Ask your vet for more information.
Do you think your pet may benefit from the Lepto vaccine? Contact us, your New Orleans, LA animal clinic, today!