|Posted by Sherrie Dennis, Pet Sitter & House Minder Extraordinaire on May 18, 2012 at 10:30 PM|
Canine Disease Profile: Leptospirosis
Any one of four varieties of wee little, spiral-shaped bacteria called leptospira can cause leptospirosis. These bacteria occur in domestic and wild animals alike, and are spread most commonly through urine contaminated water. Rodents are believed to be the main carriers. If your dog spends a lot of time in the water (retrieving, etc.), or if your property has poor drainage after heavy rains, it’s a really good idea to get your dog vaccinated for this.
Most of the time lepto infections are relatively minor and may not even show any clinical signs. More serious infections will begin to show signs in about a week. Left unchecked, these bacteria have a nasty habit of destroying kidneys and livers, so if your dog starts exhibiting symptoms, go to the vet right away.
The usual sequence of events is fever, lethargy, loss of appetite for more than two days, muscle pains, back pain, and in really acute instances, bloody urine and jaundice (where the whites of the eyes turn yellow). Not good. Yet another vet hospital stay with intravenous fluids and meds, and periodic blood tests for kidney and liver function for years after.