How to protect your dog from leptospirosis disease

Because of increased monitoring more cases of leptospirosis have been discovered and contained

Part of maintaining animal wellness is being aware of new or more pertinent risks that may face your dog. One of these risks is leptospirosis disease, also referred to as lepto. Lepto is a growing concern for dog owners across the country. Pets are exposed to the disease by soil and water that's been contaminated by the urine of infected wildlife. Once exposed, the internal organs of the animal, mainly the liver and kidney, are attacked by the harmful bacteria

"Lepto is everywhere, and veterinarians are reporting it more and more across the country," said Pedro Diniz, D.V.M., Ph.D., from the College of Veterinary Medicine, Western University of Health Sciences. "Because of the early detection of lepto among veterinarians and dog owners, national surveillance has been heightened and new cases have been identified and isolated throughout the United States."

Leptospirosis can also be transferred from animals to humans. The symptoms in dogs include fever, vomiting, severe muscle pain and stiffness. Symptoms in humans are very similar, but also include jaundice, red eyes, headache and abdominal pain.

Areas that show high levels of leptospirosis are commonly warm, wet climates. Lepto information website LeptoInfo.com has developed a map as a tool for veterinarians and to track the expansion of the disease throughout the country.  

Treatment and prevention
The best method of prevention is, of course, to get your canine vaccinated. It's also important to monitor where your pet ventures around your neighborhood, and frequently check for signs of any symptoms. Before your dog has been vaccinated, it may be best to avoid prolonged exposure to wildlife habitats. If you suspect your pet has contracted leptospirosis, you should contact a veterinarian immediately. 

While using products like the Hartz® UltraGuard® Yard & Kennel Spray can protect your yard from fleas and ticks, it's much more difficult to prevent any exposure to leptospirosis, especially if you live in an area where the wildlife population is high. A higher wildlife population means a higher risk of exposure to lepto, although pets in urban areas are encouraged to get vaccinated as well. 

This content is provided by the flea treatment experts at Hartz. We offer flea sprays, shampoos and drops to keep your pets safe inside and outside your home.