Have you ever been out on a walk or hike with your dog and they stop to drink from a stagnant puddle of pond or puddle of water? Some dog parents may not be aware that this can actually be dangerous because of the risk of a disease called Leptospirosis.
What is Leptospirosis?
Leptospirosis is a zoonotic bacterial disease, which means that it can infect both humans and animals. Leptospirosis is spread through the urine of infected animals which can get into the water and live in soil for months. Dogs can catch Leptospirosis by drinking from contaminated water sources, including stagnant puddles or ponds.
Leptospirosis is more common in warm climates. Due to the urbanization of rural areas, wildlife that carry this bacterial disease may be present. Here’s a list of wildlife that can carry Leptospirosis:
Your dog may be more at risk of catching Leptospirosis in warm climates where these wild animals may be present.
If you take your dog camping, hiking, wading, paddle boarding, or any other related activities be aware of Leptospirosis. Also, be aware that cases of Leptospirosis can be more prevalent after floods or hurricanes.
How can I protect my dog from Leptospirosis?
Fortunately, there is a Leptospirosis vaccine available for dogs. Typically given on a yearly basis, the Leptospirosis vaccine is part of the DHLPP vaccine. The “L” in DHLPP stands for Leptospirosis. Ask your veterinarian about the vaccination and ask if Leptospirosis is a threat where you live.
As a dog parent, you can help protect your dog in other ways as well. Do not let your dog drink from standing puddles or bodies of water. Bring a bottle of fresh water and a portable dog water bowl along with you on hikes and walks in case your dog gets thirsty. Take safety measures to prevent rodents from living around your home.
Symptoms of Leptospirosis in dogs can be vague sometimes but include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, inappetence, and muscle pain. If you think your dog may have Leptospirosis, contact your veterinarian immediately.