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What is Leptospirosis? Is my pet at risk?

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Safeguarding Your Canine Companion: The Importance of Vaccinating Against Leptospirosis

At every veterinary hospital, veterinarian will explain the importance of vaccines. In almost every state and county, a rabies vaccine is required. But there are other vaccines that protect your pet from other infectious diseases or illnesses. One of the vaccines that we offer at Tampa Vet is what’s known as a ‘combination vaccine’ that protects your pet against several diseases. In veterinary jargon- it’s called DHPP (the same as DAPP)- which can also include protection against Leptospirosis. In this case, it’s DHLPP or DALPP.



The initials are:

D: Distemper

H (A): Hepatitis (Adenovirus)

L: Leptospirosis

P: Parvo

P: Parainfluenza (not the same as Canine Influenza)


Understanding Leptospirosis:


Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection caused by the Leptospira bacteria. It is more common in areas with warm climates and high annual rainfall. That’s Florida, even in our winter months.

Dogs can contract this disease through contact with infected urine, contaminated water sources, soil, or even through direct contact with infected animals. The bacteria can penetrate the body through mucous membranes, such as the eyes, nose, or mouth, or through cuts in the skin. Once inside, the bacteria can wreak havoc on various organs, including the liver and kidneys, potentially leading to severe health complications.


The benefits of vaccinating against Leptospirosis

Protection from a Serious Disease

Leptospirosis can cause flu-like symptoms in its early stages, but if left untreated, it can escalate into a life-threatening condition- which can lead to kidney and liver failure. If left untreated, these conditions are fatal. Vaccination significantly reduces the risk of infection and the potential for severe illness.

Safeguarding Public Health

Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be transmitted from animals to humans. By vaccinating your dog, you’re also protecting yourself and your family members from potential infection.

What are the symptoms of Leptospirosis?

Fever and Lethargy: One of the earliest signs of leptospirosis in dogs is an unexplained fever. A sudden rise in body temperature, accompanied by lethargy and reduced energy levels, can indicate an underlying infection. If your dog appears unusually tired and sluggish, it’s essential to monitor their condition closely.

Loss of Appetite and Dehydration: Leptospirosis often causes dogs to lose interest in their food and water. A sudden decrease in appetite, coupled with excessive thirst, can point to the presence of the bacteria. Dehydration may follow, leading to additional health complications.

Muscle Pain and Stiffness: Dogs suffering from leptospirosis may experience muscle pain, stiffness, and reluctance to move. You might notice your dog walking with a hunched back or showing discomfort when touched, particularly around the abdomen and legs.

get your dog a vaccine to prevent LeptospirosisVomiting and Diarrhea: Gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea can manifest in dogs with leptospirosis. These symptoms, often accompanied by abdominal pain, can contribute to dehydration and further weaken your pet’s condition.

Jaundice (Yellowing of Skin and Eyes): As the infection progresses, leptospirosis can affect the liver, leading to jaundice – a condition characterized by yellowing of the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes. Jaundice indicates liver dysfunction and warrants immediate veterinary attention.

Increased Urination and Urinary Issues: Leptospirosis targets the kidneys, causing increased urination and urinary problems. You might observe your dog urinating more frequently, experiencing difficulty in urination, or producing dark, discolored urine.

Respiratory Distress: In severe cases, leptospirosis can impact the respiratory system, causing coughing, labored breathing, and other respiratory distress symptoms. If your dog is struggling to breathe or exhibiting persistent coughing, seek veterinary care promptly.

Bleeding Disorders: Advanced stages of leptospirosis can lead to bleeding disorders, with symptoms such as nosebleeds, bloody urine, bleeding from the gums, and other unexplained bleeding tendencies.