Leptospirosis is a life-threatening disease caused by bacteria that are shed in the urine of infected wildlife, especially skunks and raccoons. Our pets can be exposed to this disease through any contact with an opening in their skin or a mucous membrane such as their eyes, mouth or nose. Leptospira can survive for long periods of time in moist environments such as puddles, streams and wet or dewy grass that is frequented by infected wildlife. In Ontario, spring and fall are high-risk seasons.
What are the signs of Leptospirosis infection?
Leptospires circulate in the bloodstream and settle in the kidneys causing increased urination, drinking, reduced energy levels, loss of interest in food and possibly vomiting. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for recovery. For more details on leptospirosis symptoms, diagnosis and treatment, refer to the following article:Leptospirosis - VeterinaryPartner.com
How can Leptospirosis be prevented?
Vaccinations against four of the most common sub-types of Leptospirosis are available. While there are some limitations of the vaccines and some cautions regarding the possibility of vaccination reactions, they are still our best defense against the disease. They will be recommended for most dogs, but risks and benefits of these vaccinations should be weighed for each individual animal by your veterinarian.