It is near impossible to keep your dog from coming into indirect contact with wildlife as long as they go outside. Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that can be picked up by our furry friends when they contact the urine of infected wildlife such as skunks, raccoons, opossums and even rats. With the rainy fall weather upon us now, there is plenty of stagnant water that is acting as an infection bed. Recently, we have been seeing more and more cases in Ontario.
Leptospirosis should be on our radar for two reasons. First of all the bacteria causes severe damage to the kidneys and liver, as well as involvement of the lungs. While many dogs that have been exposed may have few clinical signs, severe cases have the potential for fatal disease. The second reason is that leptospirosis has a zoonotic risk, meaning that humans may also get sick; this can happen through breaks in the skin or when one’s eyes, nose or mouth come into contact with contaminated soil or water.
Fortunately vaccinations against leptospirosis annually is safe and effective and very worthwhile for protection.
Bring up leptospirosis at your next checkup!