At Temperance Animal Hospital we are continually keeping an eye on emerging Infectious Diseases. Our goal has always been to make sure your pets are adequately protected against disease, while being sensitive to the concerns of “over-vaccinating” or vaccine-associated events.
In light of recent information, the doctors at Temperance Animal Hospital have made the decision to consider the Leptospirosis Vaccine as a Core Vaccine rather than a Lifestyle Vaccine.
Leptospirosis is a disease caused by infection with one of the more than 250 types of bacteria called Leptospira. These bacteria live in warm, wet environments (like damp grass, standing water, mud, and lakes) and can survive more than three months outside of the body. Leptospirosis is most often transmitted to dogs through mucous membrane (mouth, nose or eye) contact with the urine of infected animals – either via direct contact with an infected animal or with a contaminated environment.
Leptospirosis initially can cause a wide range of vague clinical signs (loss of appetite, increase or decrease in urine production, lethargy, vomiting, and/or diarrhea). Definitive diagnosis of Leptospirosis is not always easy, nor is it quickly diagnosed. Without prompt treatment, many infected dogs can die of kidney or liver failure. Unfortunately, even with extensive medical care, 10-15% of infected dogs may still die from the disease…and even more can develop long-term kidney or liver disease (requiring life-long management). Warning: Leptospirosis is a Zoonotic Disease – this means that people can get infected as well as our pets!
Consultation with several Infectious Disease Specialists at Michigan State University and with the State of Michigan revealed that more and more cases of Leptospirosis are occurring in our area. At this time we do not consider Leptospirosis an epidemic (so don’t get alarmed)….but we do want to stay ahead of the wave of disease and ensure that you and your dogs are protected against this serious and tricky disease.
What does this mean to you? At your dog’s next Wellness Exam we will begin administering a Leptospirosis vaccine (either alone or in combination with the Distemper/Hepatitis/Parvo combination vaccine). If your dog has never had a Leptospirosis vaccine before, then a booster vaccine will be needed in 3-4 weeks. This will be performed by one of our Technicians. Thereafter, a Leptospirosis booster will administered at each of your dog’s Annual Wellness Visits.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to discuss this issue with one of Doctors or Health Care Team Members.