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Dog Disease Numbers On The Increase

Leptospirosis is a dangerous dog disease and is on the rise. An article from Tampa Bay, FL states that a disease vets rarely saw five...

Horst Hoefinger  |  Feb 19th 2009


Leptospirosis is a dangerous dog disease and is on the rise. An article from Tampa Bay, FL states that a disease vets rarely saw five or ten years ago is making a come back.

Gary Oswald, an internal medicine specialist, said instances of leptospirosis have increased in recent years.

“We’ve seen new strains of leptospirosis much more pathogenic,” or capable of causing disease,” he said. “They’ll shut liver and kidneys down and sometimes [cause] death in animals, so I think the word is finally out there that this is a new re-emergent disease.”

The disease, caused by a spiral-shaped bacterium, spreads through the urine of infected animals. It can get into water or soil and survive for weeks or months.

Oswald said dogs are more inclined to contract the disease if they spend time in wooded areas or near freshwater ponds.

Oswald went on to say that dogs in urban areas are also susceptible to the disease in certain places, such as dog parks.

In milder strains of leptospirosis, a dog may appear to have flu-like symptoms such as fever, refusal to eat and weakness. In more serious strains, if not treated with antibiotics, the disease can attack an animal’s kidneys, liver and brain within a week or two.

New vaccines on the market can protect dogs against four of the new strains of leptospirosis.Oswald suggested dog owners ask their veterinarians if their pet is at risk.

Lisa and I walk the dogs at the local park where there is a creek, as well as at a nearby lake, they drink out of both. We will definitely be checking with our vet about this and asking her advice on the vaccine.