2001-Sat Apr 29 17:36:43 EDT 2017
Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
Regular physical examinations are essential to maintaining your dog’s health. A thorough examination checks every major body organ and system:
During your pet’s examination, your veterinarian will also ask you questions about your pet’s behavior, lifestyle, and health history since your last visit. The answers to these questions will help your veterinarian determine what preventive care recommendations he or she should make to help keep your pet healthy. Based on your pet’s age, lifestyle, and disease risk, your veterinarian will recommend vaccinations for your pet. If your pet has an outdoor lifestyle, your veterinarian may recommend vaccinating against leptospirosis.
Leptospirosis is a potentially serious disease caused by the bacterium Leptospira interrogans. It affects dogs but can also infect a wide variety of domestic and wild animals as well as humans. The organism is spread through infected urine. Carriers of the organism include raccoons, opossums, rodents, skunks, and dogs. The bacteria can survive for long periods of time in water and is frequently found in swamps, streams, lakes, and standing water. It also survives well in mud and moist soils, and localized outbreaks can occur after periods of flooding. The disease is transmitted to dogs when they have contact with urine or contaminated water or soil.
In many dogs, infection may remain subclinical (without clinical signs) or chronic. In acute, or more serious, cases, dogs may develop potentially fatal kidney or liver disease.
Leptospirosis can be diagnosed through blood tests; however, tests may need to be performed multiple times to confirm a diagnosis.
Exposure to leptospirosis can be reduced by discouraging your dog from drinking from puddles of standing water and by preventing your dog from swimming in lakes, streams, or other bodies of water that may be contaminated. Unfortunately, for dogs that are accustomed to an active outdoor lifestyle that includes swimming, these precautions may not be practical.
Prevention of leptospirosis is complicated by the fact that Leptospira interrogans has more than 200 different serovars (subtypes) that can cause illness in animals and people. The available vaccines only protect against a handful of the most common subtypes that infect dogs, which can limit their protective value. Nevertheless, the available vaccines are effective and safe when used as directed, and many veterinarians recommend the vaccination for dogs at risk for exposure. Annual revaccination is required.
The leptospirosis vaccine is not required for all dogs. Your veterinarian may recommend this vaccine based on your dog’s lifestyle and likely exposure risk. Vaccination, no matter how routine, is a medical procedure. Always monitor your pet for signs of a vaccine reaction and follow your veterinarian’s instructions on what to do if one occurs.
Humans can also become infected with leptospirosis, so handle any dog suspected of having the disease with care. Adhere to good hygiene techniques, such as frequent handwashing and avoiding contact with potentially contaminated urine.
The article has been reviewed by a Veterinarian.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…
Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.
Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.
With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
Thank you for subscribing.