Animals can sometimes contract contagious diseases, such as leptospirosis. This disease is caused by bacteria often found in rivers and streams. In some cases, it can lead to severe illness. At Sault Animal Hospital in Sault Ste Marie, MI, we provide testing, prevention, and treatment of leptospirosis.

What Is Leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis is caused by a bacterium called Leptospira. It is found in soil and water in many areas, but most often in regions with high temperatures and heavy rainfall.
Leptospirosis is often seen in dogs, but cats can also get the disease in mild cases. Most cases of leptospirosis are contracted through contact with water, soil, bedding or other items that are contaminated with the bacteria. The bacteria can be passed from a mother dog to her puppies.

Symptoms of Leptospirosis

Some animals may contract the disease and not show symptoms or may have very mild symptoms. However, others can become severely ill. Symptoms include fever, increased thirst, muscle tenderness, reluctance to move, dehydration, shivering, vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice, lethargy, and inflammation of the eyes. Fluid accumulation and swelling of the legs can occur, as well as bleeding disorders.

Treatment of Leptospirosis in Dogs

When treated early in the progress of the disease, most dogs will recover. However, some animals may suffer permanent liver or kidney damage. Antibiotics and supportive care in the standard treatment for leptospirosis. Pet owners whose dog has been diagnosed with leptospirosis should avoid direct contact with the animal’s urine, to avoid transmission of the disease, and should also avoid face-licking by the animal or other close contact.

Preventing Leptospirosis in Canines

Leptospirosis is considered a “noncore” vaccine for dogs, which makes it means it is not generally given unless an animal is likely to be exposed to the bacteria, such as canines in rural environments. Vaccination is recommended annually for these animals. Your vet can advise you on whether your dog should receive the leptospirosis immunization.

Make Sault Animal Hospital Your Veterinarian in Sault Ste Marie

Dr. LaHuis and the team at Sault Animal Hospital use their skill and experience to provide quality care for all their patients in Sault Ste Marie, MI, and surrounding communities. We offer many veterinary services, including vaccinations, diagnostics, laser surgery, and emergency care. Contact Sault Animal Hospital today at 906-935-5910 to make an appointment to learn more about testing, prevention, and treatment of leptospirosis.