Arizona’s state veterinarian says that so far this year, there have been 24 confirmed cases of Leptospirosis in dogs. Leptospirosis, or Lepto, is a bacterial infection caused by bacteria in the Leptospira genus. It can infect both animals and people and is one of the diseases for which many boarding facilities and some groomers require vaccination before taking in your dog.
Lepto can be very serious in dogs but is generally treatable.
Humans can contract Lepto, as well. The infection is spread in urine and, in some cases, can result in organ damage or failure, meningitis and respiratory distress. Most often associated with occupations that involve direct contact with animals, Lepto may be becoming more common in people outside the group traditionally thought of as being most at risk. The CDC reports, for example, in recent years, there has been some evidence that it may be becoming more common in kids who live in urban environments.
Protecting Your Dog From Lepto
Health experts say that your approach to Lepto prevention should be 2-pronged. The vaccine, while not perfectly effective, will offer protection against the most common types.
But it’s also important to keep your dog away from animal pets that can spread Leptospira bacteria. Rodents, especially, can put your dog at risk so preventing a rodent infestation in your home or on your farm is vital.
Veterinarians in Arizona are required to report positive Lepto tests within 30 days; the most recent cases were in Pima County.