I received a bulletin this week from the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association. There has been an outbreak of cases of Leptospirosis in Michigan recently. In particular, the Detroit area has had quite a few cases. While colder weather usually means -less- lepto, it seems that this fall is breaking the trend.
The particular serovar (subtype) of Leptospirosis bacteria causing trouble is called “ictohemorrhagiae.” This serovar causes liver damage, which leads to signs like vomiting, lethargy, yellow skin (jaundice), and fever. This serovar can also cause kidney failure. Patients need to be hospitalized and treated aggressively.
Nine dogs have died or have been euthanized. Most of the sick cases were NOT vaccinated. Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease, which means people can catch it. Dogs can transmit lepto to people through contact with an infected dog’s urine. Rats are one of the suspected carrier animals, though dogs can transmit this to one another (via urine).
If you have had your dog vaccinated by us at Pet Authority, the vaccine will help protect your dog from this serovar of Lepto. Please understand that a vaccine is not a 100% guarantee that a dog will avoid getting sick if exposed. If your dog is overdue for the vaccine, it likely is NOT protected. Vaccination has to be kept current to provide good protection.
If you’d like a more thorough review of Leptospirosis, you can check out my longer post here.
Information from the CDC about Lepto can be found here.
The full text of the alert from the MVMA is on page 2. Just click below.