Oct 24, 2017
Leptospirosis is a disease caused by bacteria that has the potential to infect any mammals that are exposed to it. It has not traditionally been a significant issue in Tucson (the bacteria usually survives better in humid environments), but this year there have been several reported cases in town over the past few months.
The primary method of transmission for leptospirosis is through exposure to contaminated water sources, but transmission can also occur through direct contact with infected urine, infected issues, or even contaminated soil. Once infected, signs of illness can be seen within 7 days. The bacteria prefer to attack the kidneys and liver. Common signs of illness can include but are not limited to: fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration.
Thankfully, a vaccine exists that is effective in preventing infection from the most common types of leptospirosis a dog would be exposed to. This vaccine is still considered non-core, meaning that it will not be recommended for all dogs, but is recommended for dogs that have a higher risk of exposure. Dogs at risk for exposure include any dog that: regularly goes to doggy day care, visits a dog park, comes into contact with standing water or is frequently exposed to areas where wildlife frequent.
For more information on leptospirosis and to determine if your dog is a candidate for the vaccine, please schedule an appointment for a consult with one of our veterinarians.