When several dogs tragically died last month after playing in a Brooklyn park, it was a grim reminder of the dangers that can lurk in our environment. Their deaths were traced to an outbreak of leptospirosis, a bacterial disease that is spread by urine. The bacteria can be easily picked up by dogs who spend time outside. According to Dr. Mark Verdino, Chief of Veterinary Staff at Animal League America, “Leptospirosis is ubiquitous and exposure risks exist, especially in places where there is wildlife and standing water is common.”
Symptoms are generally non-specific, including vomiting, fever and lethargy, making it challenging to identify quickly. Without intervention, leptospirosis can be life-threatening.
In addition to keeping your pet away from rodents or sources of standing/communal water, there is a preventative vaccination that can keep your pet safe. “The leptospirosis vaccine is part of our core vaccine protocol,” noted Dr. Verdino. “It is combined with the DA2PP vaccine. Unless the owner declines it or the animal has had an adverse reaction to it, it is almost always given.”
Pet owners can make an appointment at Animal League America’s Alex and Elisabeth Lewyt Veterinary Medical Center — accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association — and bring their furry family member in to make sure they have the vaccinations they need. Call 516.883.2000 or visit phcanimalleague.com for more information.
Keeping your pets’ vaccinations up-to-date is vital for their health and safety. Let’s all keep our beloved four-legged friends protected from disease so we can have as many happy years together as possible.