Yes, You Can Catch Leptospirosis From Your Pet

By Species, By Topic, Cats, Dogs, Infectious Diseases

The Shenandoah Valley has some of Virginia’s most beautiful natural areas. However, be careful when letting your dogs frolic freely in outdoor bodies of water. Many species of wildlife—including raccoons, skunks, squirrels, opossums, and even livestock—carry a bacterial infection called Leptospirosis. These animals can pass along their infection through their urine, into ponds, streams, backyard puddles or even mud.

Dogs are most likely to get infected. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. Depending on their level of immunity against the bacterial organism that causes Leptospirosis, your dog could get seriously sick, or even killed, by the disease. It is one of the main causes of acute kidney failure in dogs.

And your pet can pass that infection along to you! In humans, Leptospirosis can cause fever, aches, and pains (especially abdominal pain), vomiting and diarrhea. It can also cause damage to your kidneys and liver.

If a pet is being treated for potential Leptospirosis infection, owners should take precautions to avoid becoming infected themselves: Wear gloves when treating your pet, and also whenever you may be in contact with your pet’s bodily fluids. Wash your hands often.

Annual vaccines can protect your dog from the most common “serotypes” (strains) of Leptospirosis. The small cost and hassle of bringing your dog to the vet for an immune boost will give you peace of mind while your pet splashes around. It is also much easier to protect against a potentially deadly disease than it is to diagnose and treat it after the fact. Plus, it will protect you from catching it, too!

If your pet is exhibiting any of the above symptoms, please call CEDARCREST Animal Clinic at 540-943-7577 to schedule an appointment.

CEDARCREST Animal Clinic is a veterinary hospital located in Fishersville, Virginia, and serving all of Augusta County, plus Harrisburg, Staunton, Charlottesville and everywhere in between. We are home to Virginia’s only board-certified specialist in both companion mammals (cats and dogs) and avians (birds). We also welcome all exotic pets, from ferrets and chinchillas, to reptiles of all sorts. CEDARCREST Animal Clinic provides full-service medical care, surgery, nutrition, house visits, and has a world-class daycare facility for cats and dogs.

CEDARCREST Animal Clinic provides medical and surgical care for every stage of your pet's life including preventive wellness care exams and vaccines, spays/neuters, and a variety of specialized care for your dog, cat, avian, or exotic. We are home to the only veterinarian practitioner in Virginia to be double Boarded in Avian and Canine/Feline care and provide care for birds, small mammals, and reptiles of all sorts! Plus, we are home to Virginia's most exclusive dog boarding resort that includes heated floors, an expansive play area, and even webcams so you can watch your pet while you're away. We're located in Fishersville, Virginia, and serve Augusta County and surrounding areas including Waynesboro, Staunton, Harrisonburg, and Charlottesville. 

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