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  • Jill Raaijmakers

The Ultimate Guide to Protect Your Dog from Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is a contagious virus that is driven by dog-to-dog transmission. This is a new 'epidemic' that has been targeting dogs. Ever since Covid, we know all too well what it is like to experience living in a pandemic and all the effects that come with it.

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Most recent cases of leptospirosis in Los Angeles county were reported in group settings. For example, dog daycare, kennels, dog parks, and dog beaches.

Wildlife is another cause of the spreading of leptospirosis. When cats or dogs come into contact with infected urine from wildlife, they are at risk of getting infected.

But what can you as a pet parent do to keep your furry friend safe? We have prepared a guide to protect your pet from leptospirosis.

Article Summary

What is Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease. The bacteria can be found in soil and water, as well as urine from an infected animal. Leptospirosis can be spread from animals to people. However, people getting infected by their pets is unlikely. People will get flu-like symptoms that can also cause liver or kidney disease. Animals can experience similar symptoms like fever, diarrhea, or vomiting. Leptospirosis can even cause kidney or liver disease.

How is Leptospirosis Transmitted

The first thing to note is that leptospirosis is mainly present in tropical, subtropical, and wet environments. As well as areas frequented by wildlife.

Dogs are able to contract the disease if they come in direct contact with urine from an infected animal. For example, when your dog sniffs another animal’s urine while on a walk, your dog can be infected.

Another form of transmission is drinking from infected water or coming into contact with infected mud or soil. A small cut or sore on the skin can even increase the risk of getting infected with leptospirosis.

A good way of preventing your dog from drinking from infected water is carrying an on-the-go water bottle, like the Urban Oasis Water Bottle. This bottle makes sure your dog stays hydrated when on the go.

The bottle is also infused with the crystal of your choice, which will give your pet more emotional stability.

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The Symptoms of Leptospirosis

A number of symptoms might indicate an infection with Leptospirosis, and it is advised that you always contact your vet when you suspect that your dog is ill.

A lack of appetite might be a sign that your pet is infected with leptospirosis. For example, if your pet suddenly does not want to eat when it is dinnertime, or when they do not care about treats anymore.

Your pet may also experience a sudden fever. Here’s how to check their temperature: you can use a digital thermometer to easily read their temperature.

You can place the digital thermometer in your pet’s ear canal, wait a few seconds, and read the temperature. For the temperature to be accurate, it needs to be placed close to the eardrum.

A normal body temperature is 101 to 102.5℉. Of course, your pet may be a few degrees above or below the average body temperature. However, always take your pet to the vet when their temperature is below 99℉ or above 104℉.

Diarrhea, vomiting, sometimes with blood, or a runny nose might also be symptoms if your dog is infected with leptospirosis.

Be Aware of the Wildlife in Your Area

Wildlife is another important factor in the spread of leptospirosis as the disease spreads through the infected urine of animals or wildlife. The urine will get into the soil or water, with the bacteria of leptospirosis surviving for weeks or even months. At home, make sure to clean up food and garbage, so it does not attract wildlife and rodents. If you plan on bringing your pet to a kennel or daycare, stay on the lookout for rodents as leptospirosis is often spread through rodents and wildlife.

Limiting Your Visits to the Dog Park or Beach

You may need to revise your daily visit to the dog park, as your dog might sniff another dog’s infected urine or come into contact with infected soil.

Things that you did not even think about when taking your dog for a stroll, suddenly have become very important.

The dog beach is another place where your dog might contract leptospirosis. A lot of dogs are present, your dog might drink from communal water bowls or the ocean. It is important to keep these things in mind when taking your dog with you.

The first and easiest solution would be to invest in a water bottle for your dog. You can take the bottle everywhere you go, so your dog can stay hydrated and safe at the same time!

Think about whether you can limit your visits to these “at-risk” places. Instead of taking your dog to a busy park every day, opt for a stroll close to home, and try your best to prevent your dog from engaging with every dog that comes across.

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The best protection you can give your pet is a vaccine. Veterinarians urge pet owners to vaccinate their pets if leptospirosis is prominent in the area you live.

It is also recommended to give your dog the vaccine if you want to spend a lot of time outdoors or let your pet engage with other dogs.

The vaccine can’t give a 100% guarantee of immunity, but if your pet is vaccinated, the symptoms of the disease will be much milder.

Vaccinating your pet will give them good immunity against leptospirosis. However, every year your pet needs a booster vaccine to remain immune to the disease.

Whether you and your dog spend a lot of time outdoors or live in an area where leptospirosis is present, you need to be aware of the ways the disease can be transmitted as well as the symptoms when your dog has contracted leptospirosis.

This video is another great resource for more information about leptospirosis. Always contact your vet when you suspect your pet is infected, or if your pet is not feeling well. Your vet will be able to give you more information about leptospirosis, treatment, and how to protect your pet.

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