North Country Veterinary Services, P.C.

4592 US Route 11
Pulaski, NY 13142

(315)298-5141

www.northcountryvet.com

Leptospirosis                                                                                           

This disease can affect both dogs and people, mostly from sharing the same environment. Leptospira bacteria,the cause of this disease, are shed in the environment by wildlife. With the urbanization of rural areas, leptospirosis is on the rise. The disease is also found in major cities where it is transmitted by rat urine. Leptospirosis is a serious disease that, untreated, can be life threatening.

Is your dog at risk?
Your dog is at higher risk if it swims or drinks from water that could have been contaminated by the urine of wildlife or rats. Ask yourself whether youand your dog:

  1. Share the backyard with wildlife (raccoons, opossums, skunks, fox, deer, etc.)
  2. Live near water – swamps, streams, lakes, drainage ditches, ponds, stagnant pools of water, ocean
  3. Live in an area with heavy rainfall (puddles) or areas with frequent flooding
  4. Live in an urban setting where garbage can attract rats
  5. Live in a setting where dogs can have contact with farm animals
  6. Herd livestock together

5 things you can do to protect your dog from leptospirosis

1.   Drain areas of standing water on your property.

2.   Don't let your dog swim or play in slow-moving creeks or water sources where wild animals also swim.

3.   Keep rodents (rats, mice, and other pests) under control.

4.   Be aware of changes in your dog’s health or behavior. Watch for signs of leptospirosis (fever, loss of energy or appetite,vomiting, dehydration, jaundice). If you see any of these, contact your veterinarian right away.

5.   Vaccinate your dog annually against leptospirosis with a 4 strain vaccine.

We feel that most dogs in our practice should be vaccinated for this potentially serious disease. We are in the process of changing over from a 2 strain product to a 4 strain product to offer greater protection. Even if you have an adult dog you may wish to follow up the initial 4 strain (new) vaccine with a booster in 2-4 weeks to ensure protection against the new strains.