Why the public needs to be concerned:
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that can lead to serious kidney and liver disease. Though many pets and people may not get sick or only get mildly sick, people should look into taking measures to protect themselves and their pets from a potentially severe disease.
How pets are exposed:
Any animal can become infected with leptospirosis. The urine of infected animals will contaminate the water and soil where these animals live. Common wild animal sources of exposure for pets and people are rats, raccoons, skunks, possums, and deer. Dogs can become very ill; it is very rare for a cat to develop any symptoms.
Examples of higher risk situations:
- drinking groundwater (puddles, lakes, streams, etc)
- roaming on property with exposure to wildlife
- living in an area with a high rodent population (urban areas)
Protection for your pet:
Dogs can get vaccinated for protection against certain strains of leptospirosis. Discuss with your veterinarian your dog’s environment and risk factors to decide if vaccinating is the right course of action for your dog.
Read more about leptospirosis in dogs:
Read more about leptospirosis in humans: