Leptospirosis is a disease caused by a bacteria called Leptospira which is increasing, and become more and more common in the canine population. It is transmitted through direct contact of a mucous membrane or abrasion of the skin with urine of infected wild animals, such as skunks, raccoons, rats and other small mammals. By their exploratory behavior and generally more rural homes, large breeds of dogs are more often infected . But even in the city your companion is not immune. Especially if ecological parks and woods are frequented or if your dog accompany you to your cottage, cabin or camping. Wherever there is stagnant water (sewage , streams , etc.) the leptospirosis bacteria may also be found.
Once in the body of your pet, the bacteria multiply in the blood and spreads in different tissues (such as kidney, liver, digestive system and more rarely the central nervous system) causing various diseases depending on the organ reached . The most common clinical signs are : fever , lethargy, loss of appetite, tremors and muscle stiffness , increased water consumption and urine output, vomiting.
Hospitalization with intravenous fluids and antibiotics treatment is necessary to allow the animal to eliminate the bacteria from the system.
Leptospirosis is also what is called a zoonosis; which mean it is a transmissible disease from animals to humans. In fact, if your pet develops leptospirosis, urine becomes a source of contamination for you and your loved ones. Clinical signs felt by humans are often less severe and occur mainly by " flu-like symptoms ."
Despite the presence of this bacterium in the environment, you can still continue to enjoy your walks with your partner in peace because there is a simple way to avoid this disease : vaccination.
Amélie Goupil, veterinarian
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