We have had a dog die at Oak House vets from Leptospirosis which is a preventable disease. We vaccinate using the L4 vaccine at our surgery and we highly advise that all dogs whose vaccines may have lapsed are brought in for vaccinating.

Advice from the PDSA

What is leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis – also known as lepto – is a bacterial infection. It attacks your dog’s nervous system and organs. It can also be passed on from dogs to us – in humans it’s known as Weil’s disease.

Lepto is mainly carried by dogs and rats and spread through infected pee and contaminated water, which means your dog is at risk if they swim or drink from stagnant water or canals. Outbreaks of lepto increase after flooding, when there’s a lot of contaminated water around.

Symptoms of leptospirosis

Symptoms of leptospirosis include:

Muscle tremors
Increased thirst
Breathing difficulties.

In severe cases, dogs can develop kidney damage and liver failure. For dogs, the disease can be fatal even with the best treatment. Weil’s disease can also be fatal to humans.

Dogs with mild symptoms may recover. Your vet may prescribe antibiotics to help fight the infection and offer other treatments to help manage their symptoms.

How can I stop my dog getting leptospirosis?

It’s best to keep your dog’s vaccinations up-to-date. Keep puppies indoors until two weeks after their primary course of vaccinations and keep them away from unvaccinated pets.

The vaccination covers the most common types of lepto but your dog can still get other strains, so it’s good to take other measures to prevent lepto as well. Try to avoid letting your dog drink or swim in stagnant water or flooded areas. Though rats can get almost anywhere, it’s best to keep your dog away from places that you know rats have been present to try and reduce their risk.

Dogs recovering from leptospirosis should be kept away from vulnerable animals and humans for several months until your vet is happy they are no longer carrying the infection. You need to be careful where they go to the toilet during this time as they can spread the virus in their wee.

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