With our furry little friends, there are some infections and diseases that can cause a real problem. As far as life-threatening issues go, leptospirosis is right up there and it comes from bacteria and therefore an infection. Although it can affect many different animals, it is seen most commonly in cats and dogs and can actually spread to humans through bite wounds, exposure to urine, contact with water or contaminated soil, and even ingestion of the infected flesh. When pets are subjected to outside living conditions with rain water and puddles, the likelihood of contracting the infection increases.
Once leptospirosis gets inside the body of your pet, it will continue to reproduce within the kidneys, nervous system, liver, reproductive system, and even the eyes. Not long after contraction, your pet will experience bacterial infection in the blood as well as a fever but the antibodies should kick in and get to work – this then clears a significant portion of the problem. However, your pet will be affected severely if they have a weak immune system and this is one of the biggest problems with the infection. Considering it reproduces inside the body, pets find it hard to lose the infection completely and it leads to damaged organs. For younger animals, this problem is even worse.
When people contract the health issue, the symptoms are very much the same in addition to increased thirst and joint pain. Most commonly, this occurs when open wounds cross paths with the bodily fluids of the infected animal and it can be something as simple as a cut on the hand.
For accurate diagnosis, two blood tests should be taken around three weeks apart because this should highlight the presence of antibodies as the body tries to fight the problem. If the vaccination process was quite recent, diagnosis is somewhat more difficult because the vaccine looks to create antibodies and these will be picked up in the blood test. Thanks to new technology, urine can now be used as well as blood but this is significantly less sensitive.
Luckily, there is a treatment for leptospirosis and it starts with antibiotics. If the problem is picked up late and the kidneys are damaged, dialysis may be needed either temporarily or permanently. For pets, intravenous fluids can be extremely helpful because they help maintain the blood flow as it passes through damaged organs. If you happen to be cleaning your pet’s urine or any other bodily fluids, take care and prevent any contact directly with your skin.
Symptoms – Ultimately, there are numerous symptoms including diarrhea, vomiting, depression, poor appetite, fever, illness, shivering, weakness, sore muscles, stiffness, dehydration, coughing, yellowing skin, runny nose, swelling of lymph nodes, and difficulty in breathing.
For both people and pets, leptospirosis can be a huge inconvenience and particularly dangerous for young pets who haven’t yet built up a significant immune system. Therefore, you should always be on the look-out for symptoms. Currently, the vaccination is only given on rare occasions because it can lead to the infection itself. As long as you pay attention to your pets and even your own body, you can avoid the problem or resolve it before it becomes a major issue.