Zoetis™ to Prevent Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis (pronounced lep-toh-sper-OH-sis) is a bacterial disease that can be found in most animals, including livestock (cattle, pigs, and sheep) and wildlife (deer, raccoons, opossums, skunks, rats, and other rodents). The bacteria are passed via the urine into water sources, where they can reside.

Should I be concerned about Leptospirosis? Leptospirosis is prevalent in rural, suburban, and urbanizes areas. The bacteria can be present in any stagnant surface water, moist soil and recreational water sources such as pond and lakes. Additionally, natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes may present an increased risk of exposure to this disease.

Your dog is at risk. Leptospirosis can be transmitted in the following ways:

  • By drinking, swimming, or walking through contaminated water. The bacteria can enter the bloodstream through via a cut in the skin or through your dog’s eyes, nose or mouth.
  • From dog to dog. It is contagious and can be transmitted from dog to dog.

Can Cats Catch This Disease?

Although cats are potentially at risk for leptospirosis, they appear to have natural resistance. For this reason, cats are not vaccinated for leptospirosis.

What are the Signs of Leptospirosis in Dogs?

  • Flu-like symptoms are most common, including
    • Fever
    • Loss of appetite
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Dehydration
    • Weakness
    • Depression
    • Lethargy
  • Jaundice, marked by a yellow cast in the gums of the mouth and whites of the eyes.

How is Leptospirosis Diagnosed and Treated?

  • Your veterinarian is the best person to diagnose and treat leptospirosis because leptospirosis can look like many other diseases. It is a challenge to diagnose quickly and may require numerous blood and urine tests. The diagnostic process can be frustrating and costly.
  • To effectively treat leptospirosis, your veterinarian may recommend a combination of intravenous fluids and antibiotics, as well as other aggressive therapies.

How Can I Protect My Dog from Leptospirosis?

  • Remember… Protection = Prevention! To help protect your dog from this potentially fatal disease, vaccination is key. By vaccinating your dog before exposure to the disease, you may avoid the emotional and financial trauma of dealing with this disease.
  • Vaccines are affordable, convenient and safe. Talk to your veterinarian about which vaccine is best and how to incorporate it into your dog’s routine vaccination program.

Do Vaccines Prevent the Most Common Canine Leptospira?

  • The most complete leptospirosis protection is with vaccines containing the four most common strains of Leptospira bacteria diagnosed today.
  • Cornell University reported that the vast majority of leptospirosis cases they diagnosed in dogs were caused by two strains.
  • Vaccination for leptospirosis is routinely administered to dogs in combination with other common canine vaccines.
  • Your veterinarian will initially recommend a two-shot series. Revaccination frequency will be based on your dog’s risk of exposure.