Summit Blvd Animal Hospital and Laser Center

4444 Summit Boulevard
West Palm Beach, FL 33406






We recently diagnosed a dog patient with deadly Leptospirosis disease. Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease, in addition to dogs it also affects humans and we urge all dog owners to vaccinate all dogs against this deadly disease.  Florida has ideal weather conditions for Leptospirosis.

Do humans catch leptospirosis? 
Leptospirosis is a so-called zoonotic disease that can be transmitted from animals to humans. People can catch the disease from water that is contaminated by infected wild or domestic animals, as well as from more direct contact with animals, such as rodents, raccoons, skunks and cattle. Public health authorities suggest keeping dogs away from children's play areas, including sandboxes and wading pools. 

What causes leptospirosis? 
Leptospirosis is caused by spirochete (or spiral-shaped) bacteria called leptospires. The leptospires live in fluids from infected animals, including urine, saliva, blood and milk. The disease-causing organisms are transmitted by direct contact with the fluids or with an infected animal, as well as by indirect contact, including contamination on vegetation, food and water, soil and bedding materials. Disease transmission is increased in crowded conditions. The disease may be carried for years in animals that serve as host reservoirs without the animals showing clinical signs of the disease. The leptospires enter the body through mucous membranes or through breaks in the skin. 

Where are leptospires found? 
The leptospires cannot survive for long outside their ideal environment: water or other fluids, moderate temperatures around 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit) and neutral or slightly alkaline pH. Stagnant water or slowly flowing streams may carry the leptospires; worldwide, leptospirosis infection increases with flooded conditions. Leptospires are known to survive in urine-soaked soil for six months. Summer and early fall are the most likely times for leptospirosis transmission to dogs. 

What are the symptoms of leptospirosis? 
In general, the disease resembles the flu with fever, headache, chills and myalgia (muscle pain). Dog owners may notice vomiting, lethargy, depression, muscle pain and sometimes diarrhea or bloody urine in the pets. The disease damages the liver and kidneys and, if untreated, may cause death. 

How is leptospirosis treated? 
Dogs are treated with a course of antibiotics and with intravenous fluid to overcome dehydration. Diagnosis is based on clinical signs and laboratory tests, including tests for the disease-causing organism, urinalysis and blood tests. 

Can vaccination prevent leptospirosis in dogs? 
Currently available vaccines for dogs cover only the icterohaemorrhagiae and canicola forms of leptospirosis but not certain emerging forms in dogs, such as grippotyphosa and pomona. Vaccine makers are now attempting to include protection for emerging forms of leptospirosis. 

Call today for an appointment to protect your pets and family (561) 439-7900.

Sincerely,  Dr. Arun, D.V.M., P.A.