Leptospirosis

Overview

Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease (that which can infect both animals and humans), which propagates via the urine of infected animals.1 It is caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira.2

Vaccination

Leptospirosis is the second of two core dog vaccines, the first of which contains components for Distemper, Adenovirus, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus (DA2PP). The vaccine for leptospirosis is administered according to the following schedule, which may be modified depending on your dog’s prior vaccination history:

Schedule Vaccine(s)
16 Weeks Initial Leptospirosis Vaccination
20 Weeks Second Leptospirosis Vaccination
One (1) Year Later Canine Leptospirosis Vaccine Booster
Every Year Thereafter Canine Leptospirosis Vaccine Booster
Notice

Leptospirosis vaccines are administered in series. It is important not to miss the booster of your dog’s first vaccines, as this may necessitate restarting the series.

Either period between the first three vaccinations should not exceed three (3) to four (4) weeks; if either period exceeds six (6) weeks (42 days), the series must be restarted.

Any dog unvaccinated for a period of two (2) years or more must restart the series.

Transmission

Leptospira bacteria are able to survive in water or soil for a period of weeks to months,34 with excretion of bacteria into the environment by infected animals varying greatly, occurring either continuously or periodically over a few months to several years.3

Leptospirosis can be carried by wild rodents, raccoons, skunks, opossums; and livestock, including cattle and swine.5

Leptospirosis can be acquired directly, by contact with the urine of an infected animal, or through contaminated water, due to the bacteria’s subsistence in surface waters such as of swamps, streams, or rivers.6

Symptoms

In dogs, leptospirosis can cause fever, stiffness, severe weakness, muscle pain, vomiting, and diarrhea in early stages of infection; and anorexia, signs of depression, and respiratory impairment as the disease progresses, while in severe cases the disease can impair renal function or cause infertility.78

Diagnosis

Because leptospirosis in animals is a reportable disease in Connecticut,9 diagnostic testing is required if a veterinarian suspects your dog may have the disease. Both blood and urine samples are tested prior to antibiotic therapy, with testing repeated two weeks following therapy.

Prevention

Because leptospirosis is considered a re-emerging infectious disease in dogs,10 with incidences having readily increased in recent years,1112 and due to the persistence of numerous species of Leptospira bacteria in the environment,13 vaccination is recommended for preventing infection in dogs.14 Vaccination protects against four of the most common serovars (or sub-species)15 of Leptospira interrogans bacteria associated with the disease in dogs.

Additional Resources

Additional information about leptospirosis is available from Lepto Info (presented by Boehringer Ingleheim Vetmedica), including a Lepto Risk Assessment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also maintains information regarding Leptospirosis in pets.

References

  1. ^ CDC – Leptospirosis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. href=”http://www.cdc.gov/leptospirosis. Updated November 18, 2014.
  2. ^ Greene CE, Sykes JE, Moore GE, Goldstein RE, Schultz RD. Leptospirosis. In: Greene CE, ed. Infectious Diseases of the Dog and Cat 4th ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2012: 431.
  3. ^ a b CDC – Infection in Pets – Leptospirosis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/leptospirosis/pets/infection. Published June 17, 2011.
  4. ^ Greene CE, Sykes JE, Moore GE, Goldstein RE, Schultz RD. Leptospirosis. In: Greene CE, ed. Infectious Diseases of the Dog and Cat 4th ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2012: 433 (42-1t).
  5. ^ Greene CE, Sykes JE, Moore GE, Goldstein RE, Schultz RD. Leptospirosis. In: Greene CE, ed. Infectious Diseases of the Dog and Cat 4th ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2012: 434.
  6. ^ Bolin C. Merck Veterinary Manual. (2012, March). Leptospirosis in Dogs.
  7. ^ Greene CE, Sykes JE, Moore GE, Goldstein RE, Schultz RD. Leptospirosis. In: Greene CE, ed. Infectious Diseases of the Dog and Cat 4th ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2012: 437.
  8. ^ CDC – Signs and Symptoms in Pets – Leptospirosis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. . Updated June 17, 2011.
  9. ^ Connecticut Reportable Diseases. Hartford, CT: Connecticut Department of Agriculture; November 27, 2008. http://ct.gov/doag/lib/doag/inspection_regulation/Connecticut_Reportable_Diseases.pdf.
  10. ^ Guerra MA. Leptospirosis. JAVMA-J Am Vet Med A February 15, 2009; 234(4): 472-478.
  11. ^ Moore GE, Guptill LF, Glickman NW, Caldanaro RJ, Aucoin D, Glickman LT. (2006). “Canine leptospirosis, United States, 2002-2004.” Emerging Infectious Diseases (12.3) 501-503.
  12. ^ Brown K, Prescott J. Leptospirosis in the family dog: a public health perspective. Can Med Assoc J. 2008; 178(4): 399-401. doi:10.1503/cmaj.071092.
  13. ^ Brenner DJ, Kaufmann AF, Sulzer KR, Steigerwalt AG, Rogers FC, Weyant RS. Further determination of DNA relatedness between serogroups and serovars in the family Leptospiraceae with a proposal for Leptospira alexanderi sp. nov. and four new Leptospira genomospecies. Int J Syst Bacteriol. April 1999; 49: 841-844. doi:10.1099/00207713-49-2-839.
  14. ^ CDC – Prevention in Pets – Leptospirosis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/leptospirosis/pets/prevention. Updated June 17, 2011.
  15. ^ Baron EJ. Classification. In: Baron S, et al., eds. Baron’s Medical Microbiology 4th ed. Galveston, TX: University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston; 1996.