Importance of Leptospirosis Vaccinations for Your Dog

Importance of Leptospirosis Vaccinations for Your Dog

The Leptospira bacteria causes Leptospirosis, which has multiple strains. Dogs, people, wildlife, and livestock can be infected with the bacteria and spread it to other animals. Cat owners can relax since their pets only rarely become ill with the condition.  Outbreaks often happen after flooding or heavy rains, so they are most common in tropical or subtropical areas. U.S. dog owners should be most concerned if they live in the midwestern, eastern, or southwestern areas. However, any dog can contract the disease under certain conditions.

You can protect your pet by getting them their initial two Leptospirosis vaccinations when they are puppies and then following those up with boosters each year. Staying current is important for their health and their ability to socialize with other animals. They will need all of their shots before they can stay at The Wags Club, which offers the best dog daycare in Los Angeles. Even if your dog won’t be exposed to other dogs, they still need their Leptospirosis vaccinations.

Most Los Angeles dog owners view their dogs as important members of their families. Preventing bacterial infection in dogs through vaccinations helps you to keep your dog healthy and safe. A serious disease, leptospirosis in dogs can damage their kidneys, liver, and lungs and could result in death.

These dangers are one of the reasons why The Wags Club, the best dog daycare in Los Angeles, requires you to vaccinate your dog before bringing it for doggy daycare. The first dose must be received by Sept. 15 to receive doggy daycare services. Here is some information about leptospirosis that you should know.

What is leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection in dogs and other animals caused by the Leptospira bacteria. These types of bacteria spread through infected urine and can contaminate the soil and water where your dog walks, runs, and plays. Leptospirosis is also zoonotic, meaning that it can spread from dogs to humans. While humans normally contract it from contaminated bodies of water, they can still become infected by contacting the urine of infected pets. Finally, leptospirosis can happen anywhere but is most common in warm areas with high rainfall.

Risk Factors for Leptospirosis

Your pet can contract the bacterial disease anywhere, but they have a higher risk of developing Leptospirosis in the following situations.

  1. Water Exposure: Drinking or bathing in stagnant or slow-moving water such as ponds, streams, lakes, and some rivers.
  2. Rural Living: Dogs who roam the countryside come into contact with infected animals, polluted water sources, and tainted urine. It’s difficult to manage a rural dog’s exposure if they are often unleashed. Even when contained, infected animals can approach them.
  3. Animal Contact: Any contact with other animals is a prime source of the bacteria. Exposure to rodents and other wild animals increases the risk, but your dog isn’t safe from the bacteria even in your backyard. An infected dog can nuzzle it through the fence and transmit the disease. A trip to the dog park can be dangerous for an unvaccinated animal.

Signs your dog has leptospirosis

What are the symptoms of lepto in dogs? The signs your dog has leptospirosis might vary. Some dogs are asymptomatic. Others might experience a leptospirosis rash in dogs together with transient illness, and finally, some become seriously ill and die.

Some of the symptoms of leptospirosis in dogs include the following:

  • Fever
  • Leptospirosis rash in dogs
  • Increased thirst
  • Tender muscles
  • Changes in urinary frequency or amount
  • Shivering
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Inflammation of the eyes
  • Jaundice
  • Lethargy
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver failure
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lung disease
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Fluid accumulation

Veterinary doctors diagnose leptospirosis through urine and blood tests. Confirmatory tests might be sent to an outside laboratory. A vet might suspect leptospirosis based on the symptoms and your dog’s exposure history. Other tests might also be recommended, including ultrasounds or x-rays to confirm the diagnosis.

The most dangerous of the above symptoms include liver, kidney, and heart damage. Some dogs may quickly develop breathing problems due to advanced lung disease. Other pets may show signs of bleeding disorders that cause nosebleeds, bloody vomit, and blood in their feces. Excess fluid may accumulate in your dog’s chest or abdomen. Their legs may become swollen, and they might have red spots appear on their gums.

Leptospirosis is treatable, but it is fatal for some dogs, especially when their treatment is delayed. Prevention is by far the safest course, and that comes through Leptospirosis vaccinations.

Treatment options for leptospirosis

Treatment for leptospirosis in dogs requires aggressive antibiotics combined with supportive care. Dogs that receive aggressive, early treatment have a good chance of recovering. However, they will still be at risk of permanent liver or kidney damage. The best way to treat leptospirosis is by vaccinating your dog to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Your vet will determine if your dog has Leptospirosis by taking an exposure history and noting their symptoms. Other diseases cause some of the same symptoms, so your vet may order urine tests, blood tests, and X-rays as well. Your dog may also need an ultrasound to confirm the disease.

Doxycycline is the most common antibiotic used to treat Leptospirosis in dogs. Your vet will prescribe it for a minimum of two weeks, but your dog may also require hospitalization. The vet can then administer IV fluids and manage their electrolytes to better their odds of a full recovery. Other treatments for the condition include medications to manage pain and nausea as well as protect the gut. Your pet’s blood pressure and diet may also require monitoring. Leptospirosis vaccinations would prevent these situations.

Leptospirosis Recovery

Some dogs fully recover from Leptospirosis in a few weeks. Other dogs are not as lucky. They may have permanent kidney damage or liver disease. Some are too ill to recover at all due to severe organ damage or clotting disorders. Those dogs that developed respiratory issues have the worst odds of survival. Leptospirosis vaccinations could prevent these complications and fatalities

Treatment Cost

The average cost of Leptospirosis vaccinations in the U.S. is between $15 and $45 depending on location and examinations. Compare that to the cost of diagnostic testing and possible hospital treatment. You may spend thousands to treat your infected dog.

You cannot put a price on your pet, of course, but most people have to consider treatment costs. Leptospirosis vaccinations help keep your pet healthy and protect you from expensive treatment costs.

Why Vaccinate for Leptospirosis?

Keeping your dog’s vaccinations current protects them from diseases like Leptospirosis, which is found almost everywhere. An affordable series of Leptospirosis vaccinations removes this threat and allows you to have peace of mind about your dog’s health. Your dog may recover from the disease, but they will have experienced unnecessary pain and fear.

These Leptospirosis vaccinations are also required by The Wags Club, the best dog daycare in Los Angeles. Our experts at The Wags Club offer advanced care to your pets and have the knowledge and experience to keep them healthy. Contact The Wags Club to learn more about our programs and to inquire about Leptospirosis vaccinations.

How to prevent leptospirosis

Leptospirosis can be spread by other infected animals’ urine in the environment. Infected urine can contaminate soil and water outdoors. This makes it nearly impossible to prevent your dog from being exposed to leptospirosis. The only way to substantially reduce your dog’s risk of leptospirosis is to ensure that it receives an annual vaccination. Following the first vaccine dose, your dog will need a booster shot a few weeks later. Then, you should make sure your dog receives an annual booster for full protection.

Importance of vaccinating dogs for leptospirosis

Since Leptospira bacteria pass through urine, your dog can develop an infection easily. Wild animals and infected pets can urinate in places where your dog walks. The bacteria also thrive in heat and standing water. If your dog walks through contaminated soil or water and then cleans its paws, it can develop a bacterial infection.

While rare, an infected dog can also pass its infection to humans and other pets. Vaccinating your dog against leptospirosis can keep both your dog and the entire family safe. Finally, making sure that you fully vaccinate your dog can allow you and your dog to benefit from the socialization offered at The Wags Club, the best dog daycare in Los Angeles. To learn more about the doggy daycare services we provide, contact us at (310) 473-3333 to schedule a consultation.

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