The short answer? Yes.
But you know I won’t let you get away with a short answer. 😉
Leptospirosis is a potentially life-threatening disease caused by a spiral shaped bacteria known as Leptospira. In the past 5 years or so, the incidence of leptospirosis cases in the front range areas (Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, and surrounding areas) has increased significantly. This is mainly due to population growth and development, as well as pet exposure to wildlife.
What you need to know about Lepto
- The bacteria is shed in the urine, and can be carried by any mammal.
- Your pet becomes infected by lepto through exposure to wildlife (raccoons, skunks, squirrels, rabbits, etc), contaminated water, food, or bedding, and mountain lakes or streams. The incidence seems to be higher in new housing developments.
- This disease is zoonotic. That means you and your family can also become infected with lepto.
- The disease initially causes flu-like symptoms, and can progress to kidney and/or liver failure.
- Lepto is treatable with antibiotics and IV fluids IF CAUGHT EARLY.
An ounce (or a milliliter, in this case) of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Leptospirosis can be prevented by having your dog vaccinated against the disease. As with anything in life, the vaccination is not a 100% guarantee, but is recommended for all dogs who are at risk for exposure.
If you can answer YES to any of the following statements, Dr. D recommends that your canine friend be vaccinated for lepto:
- My family lives in a new housing development.
- My family lives in a suburban area that has high wildlife traffic.
- My family lives in an urban area where rodents are abundant.
- My dog is a farm dog or hunting dog.
- My dog goes camping/hiking in the mountains with the family.
If your dog needs to be vaccinated for lepto, call Small Things Veterinary House Calls to make an appointment!