Pet owners, beware
The sudden change in weather causes the immune system to weaken, making your pet vulnerable to many illnesses.
This is why I have been urging you to:
1. Give nutritious food to your pet;
2. Provide the multivitamins recommended by your vet; and
3. Keep your place clean.
A possibly fatal or debilitating illness that we do our best to avoid is leptospirosis. It spreads fast among dogs during the rainy season.
Worse, it can also be passed on to humans. Thus, it is important to prevent any infection at your home.
The best preventive is VACCINATION, says Dr. Anthony Prado Basa of Sha Sha Veterinary Clinic.
Dr. Basa gives rescued dogs of animal welfare group Save Animals of Love and Light (Save ALL) a series of 5-in-1 vaccine for dogs and a series of 4-in-1 vaccine for cats during the first year. Every year thereafter, a pet will only need a booster or one shot.
Leptospirosis in dogs
PetMD says leptospires enter through the skin and spread throughout the body via the bloodstream.
“Leptospires spread throughout the entire body, reproducing in the liver, kidneys, central nervous system, eyes, and reproductive system. Soon after initial infection, fever and bacterial infection of the blood develop, but these symptoms soon resolve with the reactive increase of antibodies, which clear the spirochetes from most of the system. The extent to which this bacteria affects the organs will depend on your dog’s immune system and its ability to eradicate the infection fully. Even then, Leptospira spirochetes can remain in the kidneys, reproducing there and infecting the urine. Infection of the liver or kidneys can be fatal for animals if the infection progresses, causing severe damage to these organs.” It adds.
Pups with less developed immune systems are more at risk for severe complications.
The symptoms are:
1. Sudden fever
2. Sore muscles
3. Reluctance to move
4. Stiffness in muscles and legs
8. Lack of appetite
9. Increased thirst and urination. This may indicate chronic renal (kidney) failure, progressing to inability to urinate
10. Rapid dehydration
11. Vomiting, possibly with blood
12. Diarrhea – with or without blood in stool
13. Bloody vaginal discharge
14. Dark red speckled gums
15. Yellow skin and/or whites of eyes – anemic symptoms
16. Spontaneous cough
17. Difficulty in breathing, fast breathing, irregular pulse
18. Runny nose
19. Swelling of the mucous membrane
20. Mild swelling of the lymph nodes
The disease is transmitted through:
1. Infected urine or any liquid discharge from a pet
2. Bite wounds (if an infected tissue is ingested)
3. Contaminated water in shelters or kennels
The disease can spread faster in a place with many dogs, of course. Clean the food and water bowls well and wash the beddings with anti-bacterial detergent powder or liquid.
Watch out for stagnant water and a place where water moves slowly. This is a breeding ground for Leptospira. Thus, there are more cases of leptospirosis during flooding and after, when the rodents go around the area. In dry areas, infections commonly occur around places with water
When one or two of the symptoms are present, please bring your pet to the vet immediately.
I will assume your vet knows the medical history of your pet. If not, the vet will ask for this.
A chemical blood profile (a complete blood count) and urinalysis will be done to confirm if your pet is infected with leptospirosis.
Here are some of the precautions suggested by vets:
1. Use protective latex gloves when handling your pet. Please make sure not to touch directly any liquid discharge from the body like urine.
2. Clean all water or food bowls and beddings well. Use anti-bacterial liquid or powder. Please ask your vet for a specific anti-bacterial cleansing agent.
3. Activity should be restricted to cage rest while your dog recovers from the physical trauma of this infection, PetMD says.
4. Rats are carriers, so are cockroaches. Be sure to keep your place clean.
5. Remove all bowls after every meal, specially at night.
6. Clean the cage or the area where food may have fallen.
7. It is best to keep the affected dog isolated. Keep children and other pets away from the infected dog.
Allow me to reiterate: Please see a vet immediately. Dogs with acute (severe) leptospirosis should be confined.
The usual treatment plan (based on readings and our experience) includes:
1. Fluid therapy is the primary treatment to reverse any effects of dehydration.
2. If your dog has been vomiting, the vet might give an anti-vomiting drug.
3.Your dog will be put on IV (dextrose) if he cannot eat or keeps vomiting.
4. A blood transfusion may also be recommended if your dog is severely hemorrhaging.
5. Antibiotics will be prescribed by your vet for at least four weeks. The type of antibiotic depends on the stage of infection. This is why you must consult a vet, instead of deciding on oral medicine for your pets.
6. Some antibiotics can have side effects. Please read all the warnings that come with the prescription. Do talk to your vet about what to watch out for. Prognosis is generally positive if there is no severe organ damage.
7. A liver and organ protectant must be given to your dog to prevent damage to said organs.
8. An immune system booster will also be given to your pet at this time.
Please remember that leptospires may be in the urine of the dog for several weeks after treatment. It is best to continue implementing precautionary measures during this period.
May all your pets be well always. Namaste!