It’s the time of year we all enjoy more of the outdoors and our dogs love to swim but it’s actually walking in muddy areas or throw puddles or anywhere rats may run is the risk…..
Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease (meaning it can be passed between animals and humans) caused by an organism called Leptospira. Leptospirosis can be prevented by vaccination. The immunity resulting from vaccination is not permanent, so annual boosters for Leptospirosis are needed. Up-to-date vaccinations are usually essential before going to dog shows and many kennels.
Rats carry the infection but do not show any clinical signs. They are primarily responsible for spreading the infection to other mammals, such as dogs, who do suffer from clinical signs. The rats shed the infection in their urine and infection of hosts is usually indirect. Dogs pick up the infection by contact with an area contaminated with infected rat urine (including contaminated water). Environmental conditions affect the transmission of the disease. Leptospires survive better in warm, moist conditions than in dry, cooler weather. Leptospirosis can cause serious disease in the hepatic, renal and coagulation systems.
Dogs can spread Leptospira to both humans and other dogs via their urine. Following infection, some dogs become long-term carriers whilst appearing healthy. This may put families and their dogs at risk of serious disease if strict hygiene is not observed. Some dogs will slowly recover, but initially may be prone to minor recurrent attacks. If dogs do recover, they will eventually return to normal, although some degree of permanent kidney damage is likely. They may also shed the bacteria in their urine for months. The disease is occasionally fatal to both dogs and humans.
We all want the best for our pets so vaccinating annually for leptospira is necessary and it’s not if they go into water it can be anywhere rats or mice run across and urinate in.
Have fun with your dogs but protect them 🙂