WARNING for pet owners – we’re seeing lots of dogs lately with a serious disease called Leptospirosis.
Leptospirosis is a highly contagious bacterial disease that infects both people and animals and can cause kidney and liver failure. Wildlife such as raccoons and rats are common carriers of infection. Since the bacteria prefers wet environments, all the rain we’ve had this year has contributed to an outbreak of Leptospirosis cases in Connecticut. Dogs can contract Leptospirosis by drinking or swimming in infected puddles, lakes, and rivers, coming into contact with infected urine, or by eating infected rodents.
Signs of Leptospirosis include fever, lethargy, increased thirst/urination, vomiting, diarrhea, and jaundice (yellowed skin). Untreated, it can cause fatal kidney or liver failure. Early and aggressive treatment is critical to fighting off the infection and minimizing organ damage.
Because Leptospirosis also infects people, it’s important to take extra precautions. Preventative measures for dogs include annual Leptospirosis vaccination. This vaccine is highly recommended especially if your dog is exposed to wildlife or other animals. Other preventative measures include controlling rodent populations and removing standing water in your environment.
If you notice your dog showing any symptoms of Leptospirosis, bring them to your veterinarian ASAP! Staying informed and aware of this disease, vaccination of your dogs, and minimizing environmental risks, will help keep your pets and your family safe and healthy.