The Dangers & Prevention of Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is a widespread bacterial disease that affects dogs, rodents and many other species. It’s transmitted through contact of urine from infected animals, either directly or indirectly from a contaminated environment. Common sources include slow moving or still water, such as streams or lakes contaminated with the urine of infected rodents.

In truth any dog which is exercised outdoors may be at risk of contracting the bacterial disease.

In its early stages it is often difficult to diagnose in dogs. If left untreated it can progress to potentially fatal liver or kidney failure. Symptoms usually include a sudden fever, soreness, lethargy, vomiting or diarrhoea, red speckled gums and a jaundicing of the skin.

Leptospirosis is also a ‘zoonotic ‘disease, which means it can infect humans and is equally serious in its risk. In humans the disease is known as ‘Weils disease’. It is therefore very important to prevent your dog from becoming infected and shedding bacteria in its urine to minimise any risk to humans.

The best way to protect your dog from Leptospirosis is to vaccinate. Vaccines against Leptospirosis provide immunity for one year, but that immunity is likely to wane thereafter. The vaccines are typically administered alongside other routine vaccinations as part of a regular booster regime.

Leptospirosis vaccines have been available for over five decades. All of them targeting the two most common forms of the bacterium.

However in recent years, across the UK, Europe and the USA, new strains of Leptospirosis have emerged and in many cases are more prevalent than the original forms. For this reason experts have recommended the use of newer vaccines which target four strains of the disease rather that the traditional two, providing better protection for your pet and family.

To ensure the best possible care for your animals make sure to ask your vet for the L4 Vaccination Protocol.