This infectious disease can affect all species (including humans). It is caused by 11 different species (known as serovars) of a bacterium that is shed in the urine and is able to survive in the environment for long periods of time. It is easily spread through contamination of water in rivers, ponds, lakes, streams, and even puddles in your yard if an infected animal has urinated there, or rainfall has washed the bacteria into the area. Once infected, dogs quickly become ill with symptoms that are secondary to kidney and liver failure, and even with aggressive treatment are unlikely to survive. This infection can cause the same devastating disease in humans, and is a public health concern. The best prevention for high risk dogs is vaccination initially with 2 injections 3-4 weeks apart, then yearly as an adult. If your dog frequently goes hunting or plays in puddles, ponds, streams, lakes, or rivers, please discuss having them vaccinated against Leptospirosis with one of our veterinarians. The vaccine does tend to have a higher risk of causing an allergic reaction, especially in small breed dogs, and thus it may not be appropriate for all dogs to receive.

Liver (Hepatic) Disease/ Failure

The liver is the large organ located in the abdomen just below the diaphragm and is partially covered by the rib cage. The liver has several functions; it works with the kidney to filter the blood of toxins, it is involved in the storage and metabolism of fat and sugars, and it is also involved in the production of proteins and clotting factors. Liver disease can occur as a result of many causes including toxins, infectious diseases, cancer, certain medications, inflammation, and immune-mediated disease. Common signs are vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst and urination and in the later stages the eyes, gums, and skin may appear yellow (icteric) and bleeding problems may occur. It is often difficult to determine the exact cause of elevated liver parameters on screening blood work, and other diagnostic tests such as further blood work or abdominal ultrasound may be recommended.

Lyme Disease

This disease is caused by a spirochete bacterium called Borrellia burgdorferi and is transmitted by the Ixodes genus of tick, most commonly found in the northeastern states. Many animals that are bitten by an infected tick will be exposed to the disease, but may never develop symptoms. The most common symptoms are limping due to arthritis which may develop in multiple joints, loss of appetite and lethargy, fever, and swollen lymph nodes. Dogs that display these symptoms are often treated with a tetracycline (doxycycline) antibiotic for several weeks, however, sometimes the symptoms resolve on their own.
There are 2 ways to prevent transmission of this disease, depending on your pet’s level of risk:
1. Avoid exposure to ticks or use a veterinary approved tick preventative (as our staff for the latest recommendation products) to kill ticks within hours of attachment before they can transmit disease.
2. It may also be necessary to treat your home and yard with a product that kills ticks in the environment, as this is where the source of the problem lies.