How Serious is Lepto?
Leptospirosis, or Lepto, is a disease caused by Leptospira bacteria that can affect both animals and humans. As the most common zoonotic disease in the world, it is transmissible from animals to humans.
How is it spread?
- Lepto is carried by wildlife such as rats, raccoons, opossums, skunks, squirrels, and deer and is found in places where they may urinate, including lakes, streams, puddles, or soil in your backyard.
- Tropical climates provide ideal conditions for Lepto to survive. Exposure is even more intense in places with poor sanitation, inadequate drainage and abundance of rodents
- During a hurricane or heavy rain, transmission is exacerbated during high rainfall and flooding, when bacteria are widely disseminated
- Dogs can become infected with Lepto by eating/drinking infected water or contaminated garbage, but some forms of the bacteria can penetrate directly through the skin.
What symptoms to look out for in dogs:
- Abdominal pain
- Refusal to eat
- Severe weakness and depression
- Severe muscle pain
If you think your pet may have Leptospirosis, contact your veterinarian immediately. Your veterinarian can perform tests to determine whether or not your pet has the disease.
The best way to help your pet avoid Lepto is to get them vaccinated. While Lepto isn’t part of the core vaccines typically given to dogs, asking your vet to include it is simple. If you want to get your pet vaccinated for Lepto, call your veterinarian or make an appointment at our Community Clinic.