Vets warn of potentially deadly bacteria affecting dogs

Leptospirosis is a potentially deadly bacteria to dogs and more veterinarians are recommending the distemper vaccine. (WTHI-TV Photo)

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) — Warmer temperatures mean more and more people are heading outdoors. It’s prompting an important warning for pet owners, as a bacterial infection could be dangerous to your dog’s health.

Leptospirosis is a potentially deadly bacteria.

“That can enter a dog or unfortunately a person through the skin,” said Greg Reilly, with Brown Veterinary Hospital.

The bacteria can linger in soil for weeks or even months.

“The bacteria lives in marshy areas, or muddy areas or places that are heavily irrigated,” said Reilly.

It can be spread through contact with urine. Lepto is not deadly to humans, but it can cause potentially dangerous symptoms.

“It can cause some liver problems. It can certainly cause kidney problems,” said Reilly. “It can cause fever and lethargy, and muscle tremors over a period of time, if left untreated.”

The virus is rarely diagnosed. However, Reilly does recommend taking the proper precautions because it is possible to vaccinate dogs for strains of Lepto.

“Just recognize the signs, keep your pets vaccinated and hopefully nothing will happen,” he said.

As Lepto becomes more prevalent across the United States, more veterinarians are recommending the Distemper vaccine.

If your dog has a high fever, unusually fatigue or starts to experience muscle spasms be sure to visit your local vet.