The warmer temperatures are here, and summer is fast approaching. That means one thing for us in Arizona: We need to stay cool! For many of us, this includes jumping in the pool or heading to lakes and rivers to avoid overheating.

Staying cool is important for dogs, too. When it’s hot, many of our canine friends also enjoy a refreshing dip or a hydrating drink of water. The one thing that we need to be wary of, however, is the possibility of contracting leptospirosis, a disease caused by infection with bacteria that is found in soil and water.

How Is Leptospirosis Contracted?

Dogs can become infected with leptospirosis through contact with urine of infected animals such as feral cats, skunks, and raccoons. This can occur when swimming in stagnant water or drinking contaminated water in puddles.

In the U.S., there are environmental concerns about leptospirosis. And while you can get the disease in any region, it is most common in areas with warm climates and high annual rainfall. This might make us feel safer here in the Phoenix area, but we do need to be concerned during monsoon season or if we travel to higher ground in the northern part of our state where rain and standing water are more prevalent.

What Are the Affects Of The Disease?

Leptospirosis affects dogs and other kinds of animals. There are many strains of bacteria that can cause leptospirosis. To date, there are more than 230 that have been identified.

Leptospirosis manifests itself in various ways in infected dogs. Signs of illness may include fever, vomiting, decreased appetite, lethargy, and increased thirst or urination. Some dogs that are exposed to the disease show no visible signs of illness. However, when disease is present, it can be most severe in puppies who have not been vaccinated. Treatment for dogs infected with leptospirosis typically includes antibiotic medication.

Can Leptospirosis Affect People?

Leptospirosis can be spread from animals to people, most notably from exposure to dog or rat urine, vomit, or saliva. However, the likelihood of getting infected from contact with a pet is less common than from environmental exposure while participating in water-related recreational activities. If infected, leptospirosis can cause flu-like symptoms in humans.

Does Vaccination Help?

Vaccination is definitely an option and one that we recommend.

To learn more, call us at Anasazi Animal Clinic to schedule an appointment.