Leptospirosis in Dogs
Leptospirosis is an order of bacteria that can infect wild animals and pets, particularly dogs. Infected animals shed the bacteria in their urine causing it to live in soil and contaminate water sources. An animal becomes infected with leptospirosis when they drink contaminated water and the bacteria enters the bloodstream through a break in the skin. For this reason, pet parents should be careful not to let their dogs drink from puddles outside. Humans should also be careful because they can contract the bacteria the same way!
This bacteria does not usually cause severe health problems for infected pets. The usual symptoms include gastro-intestinal upset (vomiting and diarrhea), lethargy and some muscle pain. Advanced cases experience liver or sometimes kidney damage. If you suspect that your dog has leptospirosis you should bring them to the veterinarian so the vet can prescribe antibiotics. Excessive vomiting or diarrhea can dehydrate the dog so your vet may also want to give them fluids. A dog can shed the virus in their urine for up to year after their recovery so if you dog has had leptospirosis be careful not to spread it to others. There is a vaccine available to help protect your dog from this bacteria.