The Oakland Animal Hospital team is here to remind you of the importance of leptospirosis vaccinations, as we have a confirmed case of the disease at the clinic.

Leptospirosis is caused by a spiral-shaped bacteria known as spirochetes. There are about 250 serovars (or strains) of Leptospira interrogans, but at this time the vaccine for dogs protects against the four most common serovars. Most commonly dogs are infected by leptospires when skin is exposed to infected urine or contaminated water.

Leptospires can survive for several months in the soil as long as they do not come into contact with direct sunlight or they do not freeze. After entering the soil, the bacteria readily washes into puddles, streams, and other bodies of water. The most common way for Lepto to be introduced to the soil is through the urine of wildlife, especially rats and raccoons.

It is very important to know that Leptospirosis is one of the two zoonotic (people can be infected by their pets) diseases for which we can vaccinate your dog. The only other one is Rabies. This means that by vaccinating your dog, you are protecting your entire family!

Leptospirosis can have devastating effects on your pet’s health. If you notice any of the following signs, please be sure to contact us immediately.

• Sudden fever and illness
• Sore muscles, reluctance to move
• Stiffness in muscles, legs, stiff gait (joint pain)
• Depression
• Lack of appetite
• Increased thirst and urination, may be indicative of renal (kidney) failure, progressing to inability to urinate
• Vomiting, possibly with blood
• Diarrhea – with or without blood in stool
• Dark red speckled gums (petechiae)
• Yellow skin (jaundice)

The most common symptom of Leptospirosis related kidney failure is a significant increase in water consumption 1-2 weeks after an unexplained fever or illness. Younger animals can be more severely affected. Recovered animals may shed leptospires for months after being treated.

If you have any questions or would like to get your pet vaccinated, please be sure to contact us immediately.

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