I just got back from the vet’s office. It was time for some of my regular shots. I was surprised when the vet asked me where I might be traveling. When I said I like to hang out on the beach and also drink out of puddles, he suggested including a vaccination against leptospirosis.
So I started reading up on Leptospirosis. It’s kind of scary. It’s an infection of bacterial spirochetes, which dogs acquire when subspecies of the Leptospira interrogans penetrate the skin and spread through the body by way of the bloodstream. (1) Yuck!
And how I can get it is yucky too! The bacteria are spread in the urine, often making their way into water sources and remaining infective in the soil for up to six months. Rats, pigs, raccoons, cattle, skunks, and opossums appear to be the primary reservoirs. (2) They didn’t mention squirrels.
My vet said even sea mammals can spread Leptospirosis. So that’s why he inquired about my beach habits. And I have some pretty disgusting beach habits!
You can do something to help avoid the bacteria. Exposure to leptospirosis can be reduced by preventing your dog from drinking from puddles of standing water or from swimming in lakes, streams, or other bodies of water that may be contaminated.
If you have questions about the vaccine or the disease, please talk to your veterinarian.
And here’s an article about the vaccine: http://www.vetstreet.com/care/leptospirosis-vaccine-for-dogs