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Leptospirosis - Why We Recommend Vaccination

Dog Drinking Water - LeptospirosisIf you have a dog that has been in to see us for vaccines in the last few years, you may have had a conversation with one of our veterinarians about leptospirosis. Leptospirosis is a bacteria that causes liver and/or kidney failure in dogs and that people can catch from their dogs. This bacteria is transmitted through contact with an infected animal's urine (when a dog plays in water, drinks water from outdoors, or licks areas that an infected animal urinated). Years ago, this disease was most common in farm dogs (larger breeds) that spent a lot of time wandering around outside. Recently, however, it has been more of a problem in small dogs that live in cities. In urban areas, the most likely exposure risk is from rat urine on city sidewalks, and, in one study, this infection was found to be present in 90% of rats. Reasons for this increased prevalence include - Global warming (and the increase in flooding), Urban growth (we are moving into the territory of wildlife), and Bad advice (breeders are instructing dog owners to not vaccinate). Leptospirosis is a treatable infection, however it can be fatal or result in irreversible liver and/or kidney damage. While we have transitioned to administering the canine distemper vaccine every 3 years, leptospirosis continues to be an annual vaccination. Please let us know if you have other questions about this disease or the vaccine when you and your pup are in at your next visit!