You are a dog owner. You know you need to get your dog shots & one of them is for Leptospirosis. What is it really for, though? We are here to help explain.
Here are the useful and yet annoying facts: Leptospirosis is a spiral shaped bacteria which goes beneath the skin and infiltrates the bloodstream and can cause infection throughout the body. Essentially the vaccination is the same as a flu shot and prevents the dog from contracting the bacteria. Let me explain why this specific type of bacteria is dangerous. There are lots of types of bacteria, a lot of which aren't dangerous and can be taken care of easily. Leptospires infect the body and reproduce inside the kidneys, liver, central nervous system, eyes and even the reproductive system. Once the bacteria is inside the body is when the infection begins. Unfortunately, if this bacteria isn't treated prolonged exposure to the infection can turn fatal. This is especially true of young or very old dogs, both of which might have weaker immune systems. Long term exposure causes organ damage, which in turn results in organ breakdown and failure.
If that wasn't already scary enough, allow me to further explain why this bacteria is dangerous. This specific type of bacteria is zoonotic, which means that it can be transmitted to humans and other animals especially those who are young, old, or sick. The list of symptoms is quite extensive some of which are dangerous in themselves if they remain untreated. Here are the list of symptoms:
The easiest way for this bacteria to be contracted is similar to other bacteria, water. If you live close to farms, rural areas or marshlands it is very possible your dog, or other animals may have been exposed to this bacteria. This bacteria thrives in stagnant water, mud, marshlands, and is most common in fall when the weather changes. It doesn't just have to be skin contact. The dogs and humans can contract the bacteria by drinking the contaminated water as well. The most common form of transmission is coming into physical contact with the contaminated source. Dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors or stuck in kennels are highly at risk of infection.
If you suspect your dog may have come in contact with the bacteria contact your vet immediately. Due to the difficulty of diagnosing such an illness your veterinarian will ask you an extensive list of questions. You may also be required to do a lot of tests such as blood tests, urine samples and so much more! If you have a pet that has come in contact with the bacteria make sure you schedule an appointment for yourself and anyone else who may have come in contact with that pet.
Let's lay it on the line... there are some vaccines or shots that do pretty much nothing, but this one helps multiple species. Here is the other thing, you may not always know your pet or yourself is sick at first. It could be too late before you realize one, or both of you have contracted the bacteria and then simple antibiotics may not be enough. In this case I believe it is better to prevent contracting the bacteria and not taking a risk and having to combat it later. There are so many things that can make humans and animals sick, and there is so much to worry about in this big planet of ours, do yourself a favor and eliminate one of those many things from your list. Keep your dogs, cats, etc and yourself happy and healthy. Don't let a little tiny bacteria destroy your fur family.
Credit to PetMd for helpful information regarding the bacteria.