Leptospirosis is a highly contagious illness spread through the urine of infected wildlife. But your dog doesn’t need to actually make contact with wildlife to contract the disease. Drinking from rivers, lakes or streams or exposure to rodents or backyard animals like squirrels, racoons and foxes is enough to make your dog very sick.
This disease is also zoonotic—which means if your dog catches it, the human members of your family could as well!
Signs of leptospirosis include:
- Fever, shivering and muscle tenderness
- Increased thirst, changes in the frequency or amount of urination
- Dehydration, vomiting and diarrhea
- Loss of appetite and lethargy
In serious cases, the disease can cause kidney and liver failure. However, some infected dogs don’t show any signs of illness and others recover spontaneously.
We typically treat leptospirosis with antibiotics and supportive care, including fluids. When treated early and aggressively, the chances for recovery are good; however, there is still a risk of permanent residual kidney or liver damage.
Reducing your dog’s exposure to possible sources of the Leptospira bacteria can reduce chances of infection. If you and your dog go hiking, camping or on other outdoor adventures, have your dog vaccinated annually to prevent leptospirosis.
If you have any questions about leptospirosis or the vaccine, just give us a call at (512) 482-8600.