What is Leptospirosis?
Leptospirosis (or Lepto) is a bacterial infection spread by exposure to infective organisms, usually via urine, and is contagious to dogs and humans. Many species of wildlife, including rats and raccoons, can spread Leptospirosis. Dogs can be exposed to Lepto anywhere there is wet soil or standing water, so Western Oregon and Washington are now considered high risk areas for the disease.
What are the symptoms of Leptospirosis?
Leptospirosis can affect multiple organs in dogs, with common signs including vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, anorexia, and fever. In some cases it can cause severe liver dysfunction, kidney failure, and death.
How can Leptospirosis be prevented?
Initial Leptospirosis vaccination is a series of two vaccinations given 3 to 4 weeks apart, then yearly booster vaccinations. Since Leptospirosis infections are more common in wet weather, fall and winter are a good time to begin vaccinating.
Is my dog at risk? And what about vaccine reactions?
Historically, rural or hunting dogs were considered most at risk and the only ones we recommended vaccinating here in Aloha. However, recent studies and improved testing protocols have shown that Leptospirosis is indeed a risk for our urban dogs, so we are now recommending Lepto vaccination in all dogs.
Also in the past, Leptospirosis vaccination was associated with higher risk of vaccine reactions. The newer vaccines we are using are much improved and have about the same risk of reactions as other vaccines we are currently using.
If you would like more information on Leptospirosis or if you would like to schedule your dog for vaccination, please give us a call.
Additional resources for information: