Most of our clients know that EAH is not a veterinary hospital that believes that all vaccines are right for all patients. However, we feel it is vital to vaccinate against various diseases when there is sufficient risk and possible exposure.
Rabies, for example, is required in all domestic dogs and cats – not just by EAH, but is mandated by the State of South Carolina. Rabies is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be passed from animal to human. Due to its zoonotic standing and the fact that rabies is a fatal disease, state law requires all pets be vaccinated to protect the human population.
Like rabies, Leptospirosis is a disease that is also zoonotic. This bacterial infection and disease isn’t talked about very much in our community, but is a growing health concern for both our canine patients and their human companions. While Leptospirosis is not considered a “core” vaccine by The American Veterinary Medical Association, vaccination is recommended if there is sufficient risk for a patient to become infected, as it is a rare put potentially fatal disease.
So let’s learn about Leptospirosis. Like rabies, it is a zoonotic disease. It is mostly found in wet environments, including marshy or muddy areas, areas with stagnant surface water, and areas frequented by wildlife. Infection can occur with a dog or human (children are at particular risk) comes into contact with infected water, soil, mud, while swimming, passing through, or drinking contaminated water, or from coming into contact with an infected animal. Lepto is most commonly spread by an infected animal via contaminated urine, thus making it likely to be present in many natural environments, especially where water is present.
If your pet was to contract leptospirosis, severe liver or kidney disease could be a result, even resulting in death. While not all dogs that are infected with lepto show symptoms, the ones that do require treatment. This usually involves hospitalization, fluid and antibiotic therapy, and supportive care.
So now that you have this information, consider whether vaccinating your dog against leptospirosis is a good idea for you and your family.
Here are some things to consider:
Does your dog:
- Spend time in nature – woods, parks, pastures – where wildlife may visit?
- Go hiking with you and your family?
- Swim in lakes or creeks where water may not always be moving?
- Drink from or splash in puddles of standing water?
If you are concerned your pet may be at risk, please give us a call. We are glad to discuss whether vaccination is the right choice for your pet.
If your pet has been seen at our hospital within a year, no appointment is necessary to be given the lepto vaccine. After the very first vaccine, a booster will be needed three weeks later. After that, the vaccine is only once a year.
Again, please give us a call and our experienced staff will gladly answer any questions you have about leptospirosis and whether vaccination is right for your pet and your family!