There has been a positive leptospirosis in a dog, here at Mississippi Veterinary Services. In the same week we have been notified by our friends in Perth, at Blueberry Creek Veterinary Clinic that a local dog is positive as well.
Leptospirosis a preventable disease. There is a vaccination and it is always recommended here at Mississippi Veterinary Services. It is however, not considered a core vaccine. It is called a lifestyle vaccine, meaning that it is recommended to dogs who have a higher risk of coming in contact with skunk and raccoon saliva or urine. It is important to vaccinate in eastern Ontario where the population of skunks and raccoons are high.
What is Leptospirosis?
Leptospirosis is an infection of bacterial spirochetes, which dogs acquire when subspecies penetrate the skin and spread through the body by way of the bloodstream. Two of the most commonly seen members of this subspecies are the L. grippotyphosa and L. Pomona bacteria.
Leptospires spread throughout the entire body, reproducing in the liver, kidneys, central nervous system, eyes, and reproductive system. Soon after initial infection, fever and bacterial infection of the blood develop, but these symptoms soon resolve, however the infection is still present. The extent to which this bacteria affects the organs will depend on your dog’s immune system. Even then, Leptospira spirochetes can remain in the kidneys, reproducing there and infecting the urine. Infection of the liver or kidneys can be fatal for animals if the infection progresses, causing severe damage to these organs. Younger animals with less developed immune systems are at the highest risk for severe complications.
Dogs will typically come into contact with the leptospira bacteria in infected water, soil, or mud, while swimming, passing through, or drinking contaminated water, or from coming into contact with urine from an infected animal. This last method of contact might take place in the wild. Hunting and sporting dogs, dogs that live near wooded areas, and dogs that live on or near farms are at an increased risk of acquiring this bacteria. Also at increased risk are dogs that have spent time in a kennel.
- Sudden fever
- Reluctance to move and/or stiffness in muscles, legs, stiff gait
- Shivering, weakness, depression, lack of appetite
- Increased thirst and urination, may be indicative of chronic renal (kidney) failure, progressing to inability to urinate
- Rapid dehydration
- Vomiting, possibly with blood
- Diarrhea – with or without blood in stool
- Yellow skin and/or whites of eyes –Jaundice
- Difficulty breathing, fast breathing, irregular pulse, +/- spontaneous cough
- Runny nose, swelling of the mucous membranes
- Mild swelling of the lymph nodes
Information from http://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/infectious-parasitic/c_multi_leptospirosis#.UjcWilTD-M8