Dr. Richard Goldstein, who is a respected lecturer and research veterinarian with Animal Medical Center in New York City states, “If a veterinarian and owner have not vaccinated the dog against this disease, then we have failed the dog.” He has personally worked with a seeing-eye dog kennel in New York that had many of their dogs affected by the disease. Fighting for the lives of those assistance dogs, as well as his own research, convinced him that dogs should be vaccinated.
Worldwide, leptospirosis is the most widespread zoonotic disease. Cases occur routinely in tropical countries, but increases have been seen in Europe and North America, as well. Floods and hurricanes are instrumental in spreading this illness and coordinated efforts to rescue and re-home pets from these disasters might actually transplant leptospirosis into new areas.
Protecting your pet from leptospirosis can be achieved. Use your veterinarian as a resource to help assess your pet’s risk factors, as well as the benefits and hazards of vaccination. Other important steps that might minimize your pet’s exposure to this disease include removing animal pests, such as rodents, and draining areas of standing water. Your dog’s health and your own will be much better protected if you take precautions to prevent the disease.
Dr. Elizabeth Bradt is a 1986 graduate of Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and is the owner of All Creatures Veterinary Hospital in Salem (www.creaturehealth.com). She is a member of the American Society of Veterinary Journalists. Email your pet questions to email@example.com. Please title your email “Vet Connection.”