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What Is Leptospirosis and Should You Be Concerned?

You may have heard in the news recently that there is currently an outbreak of Leptospirosis in the San Diego area. Several Veterinary Hospitals and at least one boarding facility have reported cases in the downtown San Diego, North Park, Mission Valley and Hillcrest areas, according to Veterinary sources. Over the years, some local dogs in the North County have been diagnosed with Leptospirosis.

Leptospirosis is a disease that affects dogs, as well as many other kinds of animals. The organism that causes leptospirosis is a spirochete bacterium. Leptospirosis is in the environment carried in rats, wildlife, companion animals, and domestic livestock. It is known to exist in infected standing water, dampness, and mud. Pets can become infected through contact with urine of infected animals through the broken skin or the mucous membranes (nose, mouth, eyes), by swimming in stagnant water or drinking contaminated water in puddles. Also, from the bite of an infected animal. Dogs are at particular risk if they frequent dog parks, day care, visit nature areas where wildlife is known to live, also even if only in the back yard.

How Can Dog Owners Prevent Leptospirosis?

Symptoms of the disease can vary, but common signs are fever, lethargy and vomiting. It can cause major damage to the kidneys and liver and may be fatal.

Prevention is best accomplished by stopping your dog’s access to contaminated water. Also, sanitizing your dog’s environment by eliminating food and garbage to reduce the attraction of rats, raccoons, or feral cats.

Vaccination for leptospirosis is recommended to consider if your dog is at risk of contracting the disease. This decision will be based on you and your dog’s life style and recommendations from your Veterinarian. All Creatures Hospital has been utilizing the Leptospirosis vaccine for years to protect at risk dogs. Please call us (858) 481-7992 to make an appointment to discuss this preventative option for your dog.

Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease. In other words, it is contagious to humans. The most likely way humans contract Leptospirosis is via exposure to dog or rat urine or any bodily fluid, including vomit and saliva. If your dog is infected with Leptospirosis, it is very important to observe proper hygiene even after he has recovered (wearing protective gloves when cleaning up after your dog, preventing face licking, etc.)

Our goal is to ensure that you have all of the information needed to make an informed decision for your pets and family. Thank you for all of your support and kindness.

Appointments:  www.AllCreaturesHospital.com  ---  (858) 481-7992

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