Who knew puddles and ponds could be so dangerous to a frolicking, curious, and thirsty dog? A sloppy drink from standing water may not always get your pooch in trouble, but unknown water sources can absolutely be contaminated with dangerous bacteria called leptospira. Known for causing canine leptospirosis, a bacterial infection, people can also become sick from this zoonotic illness.

In other words,  a quick slurp from a suspiciously still body of water probably isn’t worth the risk.

A Closer Look at Leptospira

Leptospira is spread through the urine of infected animals, most commonly rodents, skunks, coyotes, raccoons and other wildlife. Found in standing water sources, soil, and shared surfaces like water bowls, leptospira can survive for weeks to months.

Cases of canine leptospirosis are on the rise, with at least one case reported in nearby Folsom. Because it can be passed from pets to people, it’s incredibly important to keep canine leptospirosis at bay.

Meeting Places

Infected dogs that mingle at dog parks, day cares, boarding facilities, groomers, and other public places can easily spread the disease. Fortunately, reputable facilities require proof of vaccination against the illness, reducing the spread of leptospirosis. In fact, vaccinating your dog against canine leptospirosis is the single most effective course of action.

Be On the Lookout

Dogs that are accustomed to all sorts of outdoor play benefit from the vaccine as well. Doing so can significantly increase your own peace of mind that your dog won’t come down with the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Lethargy/weakness
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint stiffness
  • Loss of appetite

Acting quickly on your dog’s behalf has a huge impact on the outcome of canine leptospirosis. Antibiotics and, if necessary, dialysis and IV fluids can reduce potential organ damage.

We recommend that while your dog is recovering from leptospirosis, other household animals be seperated. Eliminate any contact with the urine, blood, and tissues of your infected pet.

Without prompt diagnosis and treatment, the disease can cause life-threatening damage to the lungs, liver, and kidneys.

Prevent Canine Leptospirosis

As we move into the hot and humid conditions that leptospira need to flourish, we urge all pet owners use extreme caution when it comes to random drinks or splashes in bodies of water. Do not allow your pet to drink any water outside of their own bowl (always have a travel system in place).

Also, make your own property less attractive to rodents and other wildlife from nesting or hunting there.

Always Here For You

Our veterinarians and staff members are always available to assist you with questions or concerns. When it comes to canine leptospirosis, it’s always best to stay in front of this dangerous bacteria.