Leptrospiriosis Can Infect People As Well as Dogs

Leptrospiriosis is a zoonotic disease which means, it is a disease that can be passed between humans and animals. It is the most prevalent zoonotic disease in the world today and your dog and you may be at risk for contacting this disease. While this disease is usually not fatal by it’s self it can lead to kidney failure and damage to both the liver and the eyes.
Leptrospiriosis is an old disease that was first discovered in the 1800 and vaccinations were developed that helped control the spread of this disease. However, new strains of this disease have recently been discovered and despite the development of two additional vaccines to combat this disease it is on the rise.
Once mainly confined to rural areas where an abundance of wildlife was present and carried the disease these new strains are now reaching urban areas as well, mainly because cities are growing and encroaching on wildlife habitats forcing domestic dogs and even people into closer proximity to the animals who naturally carry the bacteria that spreads this disease. The spirochete bacteria is released by an infected animal when it urinates and is then picked up from the soil or water through the mucus membranes or abraded skin of an animal or human. Not all animals who carry the bacteria show signs of illness but even a seemingly healthy animal can spread the bacteria putting even more animals and people at risk.

Signs of Leptrospiriosis in your pet may mimic a host of other diseases but, common symptoms of this disease are:

  • general depression
  • loss of appetite
  • vomiting
  • weakness
  • swollen red and painful eyes
  • excessive drinking and urination

Due to the fact that the symptoms of this disease is common to many other diseases as well, identifying the disease is not always quick and easy, which poses a problem as a dog suffering from this disease can begin experiencing kidney damage or failure in as little as three to five days.
There are things that you can do to protect yourself and your pet from contacting this disease. The most important thing is to contact your Veterinarian and find out how prevalent this disease is where you live and ask if he would recommend that your dog get vaccinated for one or more of the strains of Leptrospiriosis. While vaccination may not completely protect your dog from all the possible strains it will reduce his chances of contacting this disease by protecting him from the more common strains.
Also don’t assume simply because you live in an urban environment either you or your pet is safe from contacting this disease.

Always take extra care when working in damp soil and around places that have standing water and if camping in places where there is abundant wildlife even small squirrels and rodents, avoid places where there are puddles or damp ground as much as possible.
As in all cases prevention is the best protection and in the case of Leptrospiriosis prevention means using your common sense and getting your dog vaccinated to protect both him and yourself from this disease and it’s serious side effects.

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