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What is Leptosporosis?
There have been several reports of Leptosporosis in dogs in New Jersey news media recently. Several weeks ago, New York City local news reported on a person dying from leptosporosis contracted from rats in their apartment building. Here's some background info on Lepto and a link to a local news article I found.
Leptosporosis is a bacterial infection that can affect many animals including rodents, dogs and humans and is found worldwide. A main source of infection is through contact with infected urine. Historically, it has been generally thought that a main source of infection was from stagnant or slow moving water contaminated by infected urine from rodents or wildlife, but we have also seen cases in Bergen county and New York City as previously mentioned.
Clinical signs can vary and include fever, muscle aches, vomiting, dehydration, trouble breathing, diarrhea, bleeding, jaundice, which can lead to kidney and/or liver failure and even death. Diagnostic testing involves special blood and urine tests.
Treatment depends on severity of disease and symptoms and can include fluid therapy and antibiotics.
Prevention strategies include control of rodent populations, preventing exposure to animal/wildlife/rodent urine- try to always keep your pet supervised, watching your pet closely even during leash walks. Wear gloves if there is any chance you may be in contact with urine. Consider vaccination if you think your pet is high risk- depending on your pet's environment and lifestyle. If your pet is around a lot of other animals (cats, dogs, rodents, wildlife) and may not be well supervised, then I would consider giving the lepto vaccine. Historically, this vaccine has been linked to a higher incidence of adverse reaction. Generally, vaccine reactions are rare but may include fever, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding, dehydration, allergic reaction, and death. It is not considered a core vaccine (such as rabies and distemper/parvo) in the vaccine protocols we follow from veterinary association guidelines so we give this vaccine on a case-by-case basis depending on your pet's life-style and risk factors.
Can You Test this Tick for Lyme Disease?
I get this question once in a while: I pulled a tick off of my dog, can you test the tick for lyme disease?
Yes we can. Preserve the tick in a clean, dry, container filled with rubbing alcohol (Isopropyl alcohol - which is a common household antiseptic many of us have in our medicine cabinet).
Step 1: Properly identify the tick since there are many species of ticks. Since some diseases are transmitted only through certain tick species, we need to know what kind of tick we are dealing with in order to request the appropriate test. Many ticks may look similar, so to be as accurate as possible, we submit tick identification requests to veterinary parasitology specialists.
Step 2: After the tick species has been identified, select which disease(s) to test for. It's possible that a certain tick may not be a carrier for any kind of disease -which would be great news. If it's an ixode (deer) tick, then the laboratory may recommend testing the tick for lyme infection, etc.
-Ticks are in the environment year-round. They tend to be in grassy and wooded areas but they can also be found in more urban towns such as Edgewater. Ticks tend to be smaller in the winter months and larger in the summer/fall.
-Ticks may attach to any part of the body but generally around the head and face, chest and extremities. With hair on our dogs, it can be very difficult to see attached ticks. -The longer a tick is attached to a dog, the greater likelihood it is to transmit disease. In other words, if you find and remove a tick within 24 hours of being attached, it will reduce the likelihood of transmitting disease.-Remove ticks with a tick removing device or tweezers, do not use a match to burn off, and do not use bare fingers. Do not crush ticks after removing them.-To prevent ticks, use a once a month preventive, many are topical liquids/oils applied to the skin monthly. New preventives are once a month oral pills. Prescription tick collars and shampoos can be effective. Follow instructions carefully on package inserts to minimize any side effects.
-consider lyme vaccination depending on the lifestyle of your pet.
Positive Office Visit
Vegas came into the hospital today with a sore shoulder. Although Vegas seem to be a little nervous, what worked well was distracting him with food treats. This made the experience more relaxed and calm for Vegas.