Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease meaning that it can go between animals and humans. This occurs through direct contact and is especially prevalent during a flood or rainy reason due to the unknowing absorption into soil and water. 

At Anasazi Animal Clinic, we care about prevention and wellness. We’d like to share some helpful information that can ensure your pet’s health and initiate proper pain management.

What is Leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis is an infectious, zoonotic disease that causes serious illness in animals, namely dogs, and people. Caused by infection with Leptospira bacteria, these bacteria can be found in warm, wet soil and water. There are many strains of Leptospira bacteria that can cause disease. 

What is a Zoonotic Disease?

A zoonosis is an infectious disease that is transmitted between species from animals to humans or vice versa. 

Signs of Leptospirosis in Humans

As a zoonotic disease, Leptospirosis can be passed to humans from their pets. According to the CDC, Leptospirosis can cause a wide range of symptoms in humans, including:

  • High fever
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Vomiting
  • Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes)
  • Red eyes
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea

 Signs of Leptospirosis in Dogs

The disease can affect cows, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, and dogs but is rare in cats. Marine animals can also be affected.  According to The Center for Food Security and Public Health, your pet may experience:

  •       Fever
  •       Lethargy
  •       Weight loss
  •       Anorexia
  •       Depression
  •       Acute renal failure
  •       Jaundice
  •       Abdominal discomfort
  •       Vomiting and diarrhea
  •       Blood in urine is uncommon, but may occur
  •       Respiratory distress

How Leptospirosis Spreads

The disease can be transmitted through direct contact with urine, blood or tissue from an infected animal. Humans and animals can both be affected in the same way, as humans can contract leptospirosis when it is transmitted through their pet’s urine. 

  1. Urine

Urine of infected animals seeps into soil (if they pee outdoors). Once in the soil, Leptospirosis can live for months. 

  1. Broken Skin

Exposed cuts in the skin or blood can be entryways for the disease. 

  1. Contaminated Water

Pets can become infected by drinking contaminated water. This can come by drinking or inhalation. 

  1. Soft Tissues in nose, mouth, or eyes

Like most infections and viruses, Leptospirosis can enter through any holes in your body. 

Treatment and Prevention for Leptospirosis

Avoid contact with contaminated water or soil environments or infected wildlife, especially rodents. Leptospirosis vaccines are available for pigs, cattle and dogs. Like most vaccines, they don’t entirely prevent infection but could significantly reduce pain in the future. 

Schedule a Wellness Exam Today

At Anasazi Animal Clinic in Gilbert, we will treat your beloved dog with the same intentional care we give our own animals. Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease. If your dog is in pain, contact us right away. We are committed to ensuring the health and happiness of all pets throughout their years.

Image used under creative commons license – commercial use (4/6/2021) Photo by Cassiano Psomas on Unsplash