As temperatures climb, veterinarians are cautioning dog owners to be aware of bacterial disease. Leptospirosis spikes in some areas, which can cause dogs to exhibit flu-like symptoms, and in the worst cases, organ failure. Care should be taken to prevent pets from coming into too close of contact with wildlife that may transmit diseases.
“It is particularly a problem in suburban areas where dogs of all sizes and ages are coming in ever-closer contact with wildlife,” a warning from Chicago-area vets stated. “Even more disturbing is the fact that human cases of leptospirosis contracted from dogs and other species, including raccoons, skunks, squirrels, opossums, deer, coyotes, mice and rats, are on the rise.”
People and dogs may contract the disease by coming into contact with contaminated soil, water, urine, blood, and other body fluids (except saliva). Leptospirosis can enter through the mouth, nose, eyes, and skin (particularly through wounds).
Infections can cause flu-like symptoms, including fever, and if left untreated, organ failure. Ninety percent of those badly affected suffer from Kidney failure, while the other ten percent fail victim to liver failure.
A preventative vaccination can be administered to dogs. Natalie Marks of the Blurn Animal Hospital said the vaccine doesn’t always work, but still recommends dogs get it.
Dog owners are advised to keep away from alleys, standing water, and public or communal water bowls, and to wipe dogs’ paws off when they come inside.