by Marissa Greenberg, DVM
As I took this picture of my own dog, Eli, drinking from the water trough, I at first thought “isn’t he cute!” But on second thought, my veterinarian brain kicked in and I thought “Oh no, this could be dangerous to his health!”
Leptospirosis is a bacteria that lives in water, usually stagnant water, and is spread through the urine of infected animals, which can include wildlife (raccoons, skunks, squirrels, opossums, small rodents, deer) and livestock (cattle and pigs). Urine can contaminate water sources – just like the trough Eli is drinking out of. In dogs, Leptospirosis can causes several different serious conditions, most commonly kidney failure. If caught early, this can be treated, but can lead to lifelong health issues. The good news is that Leptospirosis is easily prevented with a series of vaccinations.
If your dog is an active outdoors type that goes hiking, camping or backpacking with you, it likely has potential exposure to Leptospirosis. In addition, if you live on property where wildlife visits, or have water sources they may drink out of (this includes fountains, ponds, water troughs), your dog is also at risk. Please call us to discuss your dog’s risk factors so we can assess the need for this vaccine.