Wednesday, March 13, 2013
When dogs venture into the wild, they can encounter well-known dangers such as rabies, heartworms and Lyme disease. A lesser known (and luckily, less common) outdoor menace is leptosporosis.
Leptosporosis is spread by contact with the urine of an infected animnal. The hardy organism contaminates water and soil, making standing water, like ponds and lakes a potential hotbed for hazard.
Once the organism contacts mucous membranes (like the mouth or nose) or wounds, it spreads rapidly. Worse yet, sympotms can be vague. Fever, lethargy and joint pain are common complaints for leptosporosis (but for many other diseases as well). Ultimately, "lepto" can lead to kidney failure.
Fortunately, leptosporosis can be treated with antibiotics. And if caught early enough, treatment can be very effective, with little to no long term organ damage. Keeping your pet's paws out of trouble starts with a few simple steps at home. Avoid contact with native rodent populations, which can spread disease, and keep an eye on pets outdoors, especially if they have access to standing water. As an extra preventative measure, consider getting your pet vaccinated against leptosporosis.
Fetch 2011 No.3 Issue 9