Los Angeles County is currently seeing an unprecedented rise of Leptospirosis – with 51 confirmed cases so far. This is the largest outbreak since 2017 and is a leading cause of death and prolonged healthcare issues in dogs at this time. 

What is Leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that spreads through skin contact into the bloodstream. Leptospirosis in dogs can cause symptoms like: 

  • Sudden fevers, 
  • Reluctance to move, 
  • Stiffness, 
  • Shivering,
  • Weakness,
  • Lack of appetite, 
  • Rapid dehydration, 
  • Vomiting, 
  • Diarrhea, and 
  • (in some cases) Death. 

Leptospirosis can spread throughout a dog’s entire body – where it can rest in the kidneys, liver, nervous system, eyes and reproductive organs. 

How is Leptospirosis diagnosed? 

It takes a urine and blood test to determine if a dog has leptospirosis, as well as a number of other testing methods. This can cost upwards of $250 to conduct in an office, and even more if it is an emergency visit. 

How can I protect my pet? 

Ask your veterinarian about getting your dog vaccinated against Leptospirosis! Dogs can receive the vaccination against Leptospirosis beginning as young as 6-8 weeks old and up. 

Additionally, research any kennels or day-boarding locations prior to boarding your dog. As leptospirosis spreads easily, any locations that potentially have rat droppings or where dogs are interacting with each other (skin, saliva or urine spread) may pose a risk for your pet – especially if they are not vaccinated! 

Can leptospirosis spread to humans? 

YES. Be sure to protect yourself and wear gloves when handling a dog that has leptospirosis! If there is urine, vomit or any other type of fluid or waste that comes from your pet, handle it with care and keep children and other pets away from the area. 

Photo by Mike Burke on Unsplash