Your Pet And Lepto

Part of taking good care of your beloved pet entails protecting them from known hazards. While some of the things that can endanger your furry pal are well-known and easy to spot, others are quite insidious. Lepto definitely falls into this category. An Aurora, CO vet discusses Lepto in this article.

What Is Lepto?

The Leptospira bacteria—called Lepto for short—is a bacteria that lives in soil and water. It’s found all over the world, but is much more common in places that get a lot of rain. Lepto can cause some very serious issues, including kidney failure. It can also be fatal. Unfortunately, it is also zoonotic, which means it can pass between people and animals. Common carriers include raccoons, skunks, rats, and other wild animals.


Cats can get Lepto, though it is more common in dogs. It’s very easy for pets to contract the virus: simply coming into contact with the urine from an infected animal will do it. Other methods of contagion include bites; eating the carcass of an infected animal; drinking contaminated water; or simply by coming into contact with infected food, soil, or bedding.


This is another tricky thing about Lepto: the warning signs vary widely. Some pets don’t show any symptoms at all. Some of the red flags to look for include vomiting; diarrhea; stiffness; weakness; breathing difficulty; reduced appetite; lethargy;  dehydration; inflamed eyes; and/ or swollen legs.


Many pets with Lepto recover completely with proper treatment, which generally consists of antibiotics, other care, and careful monitoring. However, the sooner it’s caught, the better. Early diagnosis makes a huge difference when treating issues in pets! Call your vet right away if you notice any warning signs in your furry buddy. If the results come back positive, you’ll also need to get yourself checked out.


There is some good news here: there are Lepto vaccines available. These are not considered part of the core vaccinations, as they are often recommended on an individual basis. However, if your four-legged friend spends a lot of time outdoors, and/or if you live in a rural area with a lot of wildlife, it may be a good idea to have them vaccinated. Ask your vet for more information.

Do you have questions about Lepto? Call us! As your local Aurora, CO vet clinic, we are dedicated to offering great care!

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