Spring is around the corner. At this time of year, one thing for pet owners to be aware of is lepto. Lepto is a disease caused by the Leptospira bacteria, which is found in water and wet soil. Although lepto is an issue year-round, cases typically spike in spring and fall. A Fort Collins, CO vet discusses lepto below.
Lepto is zoonotic, which means it can move from one type of animal to another. Raccoons, opossums, deer, and rodents are a few types of animal that can be infected. It can also be transmitted to people, which is one reason it is so concerning. Actually, according to the Merck Animal Health Headquarters, leptospirosis is the most widespread zoonotic infection in the world. The site also estimates that about 8 percent of dogs are shedding the bacteria at any given time. Cats can also get lepto, but it is more prevalent in dogs.
Fido can pick up lepto just by walking through an area where an animal with lepto has recently urinated. Other methods of infection include eating an infected carcass; drinking contaminated water; swimming in contaminated water; or through contact with contaminated soil, food, or bedding. Wet pastures and paddocks are a big concern here, as are lakes, ponds, streams, and even standing water.
Lepto can present itself in a variety of ways. Some common symptoms include fever; lethargy; breathing difficulty; reduced appetite; jaundice; vomiting; swollen legs; diarrhea; dehydration; or inflamed eyes. It’s worth noting that some dogs don’t show any symptoms. Other pooches may recover on their own. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Lepto can cause serious medical problems, including kidney failure. In some cases, it can even be fatal. If you notice any of these symptoms in your canine pal, contact your vet immediately. Lepto can be treated, but it’s important for it to be caught early.
There is some good news: there are vaccinations available for Lepto. It’s not considered a core vaccine, so it isn’t necessarily going to be recommended for every pooch. Your vet may recommend vaccinating Fido if he spends a lot of time outside, or if he is often in areas that could be contaminated. As the saying says, better safe than sorry!
Do you want to know more about lepto? Contact us, your Fort Collins, CO vet clinic, today. We are here to help!