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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Maria

Leptospirosis in dogs in Philadelphia

Updated: Aug 1, 2023

We received a friendly reminder from our vet, Companion Pet Hospital about a recent uptick in Leptospirosis cases in the region. (One of our clients had a Leptospirosis scare in August of this year so we thought we'd pass this important information along!) Quick things you should know: Leptospirosis can be transmitted to humans so this is important information for everyone and there is a vaccine available right now for dogs (call your vet to learn more).

From Companion Pet Hospital:

An infographic about Leptospirosis
Know the facts about Lepto!

NorthStar VETS veterinary emergency and specialty veterinary hospital in New Jersey is issuing a warning to people in the area with pets. Over the past several months, there has been a marked increase in the number of Leptospirosis cases treated at the hospital and at other veterinary hospitals in the NJ/NY/PA areas.

Dr. Steven Berkowitz, Emergency and Critical Care veterinarian for NorthStar VETS, said, “We want pet parents to be aware of Leptospirosis, and to consider vaccinating their at-risk pets to help prevent spread of the disease. Each individual patient should be assessed by their family veterinarian.” Make sure you have all the facts for pet vaccinations

You and your pet are both at risk for Leptospirosis:
  • Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease, meaning that you can also contract this infection from your pet.

  • If you have a pet that has Leptospirosis, please contact your health care provider and inform them. This is especially true if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are immunosuppressed for any reason.

  • It is most commonly spread through contact with infected urine and either your mucus membranes (lips, mouth, nose, eyes) or an open wound.

  • Leptospira bacteria has been found in sitting water including old tires or toys left outside.

  • This bacteria is endemic world-wide in wild mice and rats and they are usually the source of the infection.

  • This is a curable disease, but necessitates long term antibiotics and other supportive care, and without this, it can be fatal to both you and your pets.

  • There is a vaccine for Leptospirosis. Contact your family veterinarian to see if they recommend it for your pet.

Signs and symptoms of Leptospirosis:
  • General malaise

  • Excessive drinking and urinating

  • Waxing/waning fever

  • Vomiting or loss of appetite

  • Icterus (yellowing of the gums, skin and whites of the eyes)

  • Excessive bleeding or bruising

  • Kidney and/or liver failure

There is a vaccine for Lepto and your pup does not need to be at risk. Talk to your vet today about keeping your dog (and yourself!) safe!

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