Let’s get serious for a moment. Many of us have dogs so it is important to familiarize ourselves with the potential dangers that they can face – like leptospirosis.
This is a very serious condition that can be fatal to our dogs. It is a zoonotic bacterial infection most often spread via rats but it is usually contracted through contaminated water.
The symptoms of leptospirosis can range from a mild subclinical infection to a very serious multi-organ failure that results in death. In fact, in recent years, the most common symptom of leptospirosis in dogs has been acute kidney injury. The most common signs that you should watch out for are below:
Fever and illness
Sore muscles and a reluctance to move
Loss of appetite
So, you may be wondering, what is the cause of leptospirosis? This comes from bacteria that is found in rodent urine. It is then spread from rodents to dogs as well as other animals – even humans. Leptospirosis thrives most in wet environments such as marshy or muddy areas. Since it is passed through contact with contaminated water, dogs will most often pick it up while either swimming or drinking the infected water, or just by walking through some puddles containing the bacteria.
But there is good news in that leptospirosis can be prevented by the proper vaccination. Therefore, if you have a puppy, you need to make sure that you’re getting your puppy their necessary vaccines at the right time. For puppies, vaccines are most effective when they’re given at fixed dates and with follow up boosters. Puppies will normally begin receiving their vaccines between the ages of 6 to 8 weeks, but the leptospirosis vaccine is normally given when a puppy is 11 to 13 weeks old, with another booster at 15 to 17 weeks.
But just because they get the first round of shots doesn’t mean they’re in the clear. A puppy isn’t considered fully vaccinated against leptospirosis until after they get their second round of shots.
And you will know if your puppy needs to get the leptospirosis vaccine since it’s usually a mandatory vaccine so will most likely just be given to your puppy as part of their whole vaccination program.
However, it is important to keep in mind that with certain illnesses like leptospirosis, there are many different strains of the disease. Vaccines will protect against the ones that are most important to protect against, but not all of them. So, even when you get your puppy vaccinated, there is still a chance they could develop a different strain if they come in contact with one. That is why annual booster injections should be arranged in order to guard against any new, prevalent strains. But you should always talk to your vet about these concerns.
And of course, if you feel that your puppy has started to show symptoms of leptospirosis, get them to the vet immediately. This illness is zoonotic, meaning it can be passed between different species – including humans and other animals. So it is recommended that you use protective gloves when handling your sick dog.
Your vet will also need a full up to date history of your puppy’s medical health, as well as their lifestyle. Afterward, the vet will run a variety of tests, including blood counts, blood profiles and urinalysis in order to determine whether or not your puppy has contracted leptospirosis. Depending on what they find, they will then recommend the best treatment.
So, that is why it is always important to stay up to date on what is out there and how to best protect your pet. And of course, make sure that you get your dog or puppy the proper vaccine regimen and keep them up to date on all boosters.