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What Leptospirosis is and How to Protect Your Dog

Heavy rainfall means it’s leptospirosis season in the Seattle area!

What Leptospirosis is and How to Protect Your Dog | AtlanticVetSeattle.com

What is Leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis is a family of bacteria that thrive in wet climates. Wild animals, particularly rodents, can shed leptospirosis in their urine, contaminating puddles and wet soils. Dogs can contract leptospirosis by drinking or sniffing water contaminated with urine from an infected animal.

Symptoms of Leptospirosis in Dogs

This is a difficult infection for a dog owner to pinpoint, because leptospirosis may present with a number of vague, non-specific symptoms, which may include:

  • No signs of illness whatsoever (asymptomatic infections)
  • Decreased appetite or anorexia
  • Fever
  • Muscle pain, stiffness, reluctance to move
  • Weakness and depression
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
  • Dyspnea (difficulty breathing) or coughing
  • Jaundice
  • Organ failure (kidney or liver failure)

Protection and Treatment

Fortunately, a yearly vaccine can offer protection. Because the disease is caused by bacteria, it can be treated with antibiotics. Of course, no vaccine provides 100 percent protection against infection. To minimize your dog’s risk of exposure, keep your dog away from stagnant water and rodents.

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Atlantic Veterinary Hospital in Seattle serves the following neighborhoods: Mt. Baker, Columbia City, Beacon Hill, Rainier Valley, Seward Park, Capitol Hill, Leschi, Central District, Madison Valley, International District, and Georgetown.