BEWARE: Leptospirosis is only a rodent away
Do you see mice or rats or cockroaches in your house or in your garage?
If you have dogs, please take precautionary measures as soon as possible.
Rats, mice or other animal pests can carry and spread the bacteria that causes leptospirosis which can be fatal, and highly contagious to both dogs and humans
Leptospirosis is widespread during the rainy season because of floods or canals with stagnant water. Thus, please be extra careful in flood-prone areas. The water may be contaminated with urine of mice or rats that carry the bacteria.
I discussed illnesses in dogs (lepto and kennel cough) during the rainy season briefly in a previous column. But I have heard of many cases of leptospirosis yet again so let us review.
What is leptospirosis?
PET MD says Leptospirosis is an “infection of bacterial spirochetes, which dogs acquire when subspecies…penetrate the skin” and spread in the body through the bloodstream.
It adds the bacteria reproduces 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,” Pet MD says.
But, PET MD adds the bacteria can stay in the kidneys and multiply, subsequently infecting the urine.
If the infection progresses, the liver and kidneys can be severely damaged and can thus be fatal to your pet.
At high risk for severe complications are young pets with less developed immune system
This can be transmitted to both humans and animals. Children are the ones who are at high risk of being infected.
Symptoms in dogs
When you observe one or two of the symptoms, bring your dog to the vet immediately:
• Yellow skin and/or yellow color in whites of eyes – anemic symptoms
• Rapid dehydration
• Always thirsty and urinates. This may indicate f chronic renal (kidney) failure, progressing to inability to urinate
• Vomiting. There may blood.
• Diarrhea. Stool may have blood.
• Dark red speckled gums (petechiae)
• Bloody discharge from the vagina
• Sudden fever and illness
• Sore muscles, reluctant to move
• Swelling of the mucous membrane
• Mild swelling of the lymph nodes
• Stiffness in muscles, legs, stiff gait
• Dog Shivers
• Dog is Weak
• Dog is Depressed
• No appetite
• Spontaneous cough
• Difficulty in breathing, fast breathing, irregular pulse
• Runny nose
1. Subtropical, tropical, and wet environments.
2. Marshy/muddy areas with stagnant surface water and frequented by wildlife.
3. Heavily irrigated pastures like rice fields.
Means of contact:
1. drinking water contaminated by urine of cats, mice and other rodents.
2. passing through or swimming in contaminated water.
3. open wounds
At high risk are dogs in kennels or shelters.
A dog who has been diagnosed with leptospirosis (through chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, urinalysis , an electrolyte panel, and a fluorescent antibody urine test) should be ISOLATED AND NOT ALLOWED TO COME INTO CONTACT WITH OTHER DOGS.
A responsible pet owner or shelter/kennel manager will do everything to keep the other dogs away from the sick dog to stop the spread of this fatal disease.
Wear latex gloves when handling your pet and items he used.
“Urine, semen, post-abortion discharge, vomit, and any fluid that leaves the body will need to be handled with extreme caution, Pet MD says
1. confinement for severe cases
2. fluid therapy to reverse the effects of dehydration
3. anti-vomiting drug may be given if the dog is vomiting to keep the food down.
4. blood transfusion may be done if your dog has been severely hemorrhaging.
5. antibiotics will be given but this depends on the stage of infection so do not decide on the kind of antibiotics yourself.
1. Have your dog vaccinated against leptospirosis.
2. Keep your place clean.
3. KEEP THOSE RODENTS AWAY.
Next week, I will share tips on how to keep those mice, rats and cockroaches away.
Have a great Sunday everyone. Namaste!