Leptospirosis Now Recommended as a Core Vaccination

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Leptospirosis, often referred to as Lepto, is an infectious waterborne disease found in urban areas where rats, raccoons, squirrels, possums, and deer are common. Urine from these wildlife animals can seep into puddles, creeks, lakes, and even your backyard soil, making it a considerable danger to all dogs, not only those who hike or spend a lot of time in nature. Given this disease is potentially life-threatening, our medical teams have made the determination that this vaccine should be a “core” vaccination for dogs. 


What Should I Know?

During your dog’s next annual visit, your veterinarian will recommend that your dog receive the Lepto vaccine and explain why this is now encouraged as part of your pet’s overall preventative care plan. You do not need to make a special appointment for the vaccination unless your dog is high risk.

How Can I Protect My Dog?
Don’t let your dog drink from puddles or any slow-moving or stagnant water and avoid letting them swim in rivers, ponds, marshes, or lakes if they have not been vaccinated for Lepto. Cases of this disease typically spike in rainy seasons when wetter conditions give its pathogens an opportunity to surface and find new hosts.

What Are the Symptoms?
Dogs usually show signs of illness one to two weeks after the initial exposure. Be on the lookout for:

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle pain or stiffness
  • Increased thirst and urination


Contact your veterinarian immediately if you see any of these signs in your dog.

For more information on vaccines, read our complete blog post here.

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