Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection. It causes fever, vomiting,
increased urination, and can lead to kidney and sometimes liver failure
and death in both animals and humans.
Leptospirosis has different strains of bacteria that cause infection.
These are commonly referred to as different serovars of the bacteria. Of
the 8 commonly tested for, the most recent vaccination protects against
the 4 most commonly contracted serovars (Leptospira
Canicola, Grippotyphosa, Icterohaemorrhagiae, and Pomona).
How can my dog contract Leptospirosis?
It is passed along in the urine of infected animals.
Wildlife such as raccoons, deer, and rats are common carriers.
Leptospirosis can also be passed to people from wildlife or their own
pets. Leptospirosis is found both in country settings and in dense
About the Leptospirosis Vaccine:
The newest and most effective vaccine is
Merialís Recombitek 4 Lepto. This vaccine offers excellent protection
for a full year (previous vaccines did not). The initial series of
Leptospirosis vaccines consist of 2 vaccines given 3 weeks apart. After
that it should be boostered annually. The Leptospirosis vaccine should
only be given to those dogs that are at risk for contracting it in their
specific environment. Not all dogs in all places need this vaccine.
In the past the Leptospirosis vaccine was attributed to causing
vaccine reactions (vomiting, diarrhea, facial swelling, hives, and
soreness). Though any vaccine can cause a reaction, the new
Leptospirosis vaccine typically only causes soreness for 24 hours after
injection. If this is bothersome, a single dose of an anti-inflammatory
prescribed by your vet can relieve the soreness. Due to the minor
increased risk of vaccine reactions, it is recommended the Leptospirosis
vaccine be given separately from other vaccinations.
Does my dog need the Leptospirosis Vaccine?
Due to the seriousness of the illness and the fact that we
can contract it from our pets, it is important to be aware of the risk
level in your area. Ask your vet and your local health department to
help assess your risk level. While Leptospirosis
is a dangerous disease to both dogs and humans, it is important to note
that only dogs at risk need consider vaccination.