Golden retriever in mud puddle



Some states are grateful for heavier rains this year, but even more are not. Flooding is causing heartache and headaches for so many, but there's one more thing you and your pets have to worry about: leptospirosis - a bacterial disease that can be spread from standing water.

Whether your dog is neck deep swimming in flood water, or just walking through a puddle, you need to be very careful. Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that is spread through infected urine and other tissues of various wild critters; though mostly carried by rodents, any animal can be a carrier. If your pets are exposed to the bacteria, not only are they infected, but they become carriers of the disease and you can become infected too.


Husky drinking from puddle



You'll be happy to know that there is a vaccine which protects against leptospirosis, and if your neighborhood is looking like a swamp right now or it does in the future, you might consider getting your dog or other outdoor pet vaccinated, because leptospirosis is a potentially serious disease.

Symptoms of leptospirosis in dogs can include fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite, severe weakness and lethargy, stiffness, jaundice, muscle pain, infertility, kidney failure and/or liver failure (via), but some dogs don't show any of these symptoms, so the best measures to take are preventative: vaccinate and keep your dogs away from standing water and mud. Keep dogs leashed and don't allow them to lick or ingest anything that's outside. Also, make sure to wipe down your pet well after an outing, as by licking his paws or his fur, he can acquire the bacteria.

Fortunately, leptospirosis responds well to antibiotics, but they need to be administered as soon as possible after disease acquisition, so if you suspect disease, get your dog to the vet.


sources: CDC, AKC


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