Leptospirosis—A Danger to Dogs, Peoria, AZ – Arrowhead Pooper Scoopers

In the past year more than 70 dogs in Maricopa County have been diagnosed with a type of bacteria, called Leptospirosis, or Lepto for short.  Experts are calling this an outbreak, and telling dog owners in the valley to carefully watch their dogs for any signs of the disease.

WHAT IS LEPTOSPIROSIS?

Leptospirosis is a type of bacteria that is spread through contaminated urine, and not necessarily from a dog. The urine could come from any infected animal, including rodents, wildlife, dogs, cats, and even livestock. It’s considered to be a disease that is zootonic. This means the disease is capable of affecting human life as well as animal life. If not caught and treated in time, the disease is often fatal. Those who work with animals are most at risk of contracting the disease.

It was first detected in Maricopa County in early 2016. The bacteria began to spread and by July of this year, more than 70 dogs had been infected with the bacteria. Veterinarians are reporting that recent cases of Leptospirosis have been reported in the White Mountains.

 

HOW IS THE DISEASE SPREAD?

Leptospriosis is spread through contaminated urine. The disease lies in contaminated water or soil until an animal drinks or bathes in the water. The bacteria are able to penetrate skin and spread through the body by way of the bloodstream. Dogs are able to shed the bacteria through their urine for several months before showing any signs or symptoms of the disease.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF LEPTOSPIROSIS

You may suspect your dog has Leptosprosis if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • FEVER
  • LACK OF ENERGY/LETHARGIC
  • NO APPETITE
  • RED EYES
  • VOMITING
  • DIARRHEA
  • FREQUENT URINATION/NO URINATION
  • EXCESSIVE THIRST
  • YELLOW EYES/SKIN
  • ABDOMINAL PAIN

If you notice signs or symptoms in any of your animals, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian right away. Leptospirosis can cause damage to both the kidneys and the liver if left untreated. If left untreated all together, the disease is often fatal.

 

HOW TO AVOID LEPTOSPIROSIS

You can avoid Leptospirosis by taking the following precautions:

  • Avoid swimming in water that might be contaminated with the bacteria. This includes water that doesn’t contain chlorine, water that might be found at a dog park, a dog day care, or a boarding facility.
  • Maintain a safe distance when you see wildlife or rodents.
  • Avoid exposure to urine and urine contaminated soil, water, grass, food, or animal bedding.

The good news in all of this is that there is a vaccine that can help prevent the disease from spreading. A total of $50 for a set of two Leptospirosis vaccination shots can save a fur baby from this terrible bacteria. Discuss this vaccine with your veterinarian before having any of your animals vaccinated.

Thank you to http://www.maricopa.gov for helping with this post.

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