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Hope and Love Veterinary Hospital
PET HEALTH WELLNESS MONTH!
$5 off vaccines for leptospirosis (dogs) and leukemia (cats)
WHAT IS LEPTOSPIROSIS?!
Leptospirosis is a disease caused by infection by Leptospira bacteria. These bacteria can be found worldwide in soil and water. Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease, which means it can be spread from animals to people. Infection in people can cause flu-like symptoms and can cause liver or kidney disease. In the United States, most cases of human leptospirosis result from recreational activities involving water. Infection resulting from contact with an infected pet is much less common, but it is possible.
HOW CAN MY DOG OR MYSELF CONTRACT THE DISEASE?
Common risk factors for leptospirosis in dogs residing in the United States include exposure to or drinking from rivers, lakes or streams; roaming on rural properties, exposure to wild animal or farm animal species, even if in the backyard; and contact with rodents or other dogs. Dogs can become infected and develop leptospirosis if their mucous membranes (or skin with any wound, such as a cut or scrape) come into contact with infected urine, urine-contaminated soil, water, food or bedding; through a bite from an infected animal; by eating infected tissues or carcasses; and rarely, through breeding. It can also be passed through the placenta from the mother dog to the puppies.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS/CONSEQUENCES?
The signs of leptospirosis in dogs vary. Some infected dogs do not show any signs of illness, some have a mild and transient illness and recover spontaneously, while others develop severe illness and death. Signs of leptospirosis may include fever, shivering, muscle tenderness, reluctance to move, increased thirst, changes in the frequency or amount of urination, dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and mucous membranes), or painful inflammation within the eyes. The disease can cause kidney failure with or without liver failure. Dogs may occasionally develop severe lung disease and have difficulty breathing. Leptospirosis can cause bleeding disorders, which can lead to blood-tinged vomit, urine, stool or saliva; nosebleeds; and pinpoint red spots. Affected dogs can also develop swollen legs (from fluid accumulation) or accumulate excess fluid in their chest or abdomen.
WHAT CAN I DO FOR PREVENTION/TREATMENT OF DISEASE?
Currently available vaccines effectively prevent leptospirosis and protect dogs for at least 12 months. Annual vaccination is recommended for at-risk dogs. Leptospirosis is generally treated with antibiotics and supportive care. When treated early and aggressively, the chances for recovery are good but there is still a risk of permanent residual kidney or liver damage.
-Avoid contact with your dog’s urine;
-If your dog urinates in your home, quickly clean the area with a household disinfectant and wear gloves to avoid skin contact with the urine;
-Encourage your dog to urinate away from standing water or areas where people or other animals will have access;
-Wash your hands after handling your pet.
What is feline leukemia (FeLV)?
FeLV is a disease that impairs the cat's immune system and can cause cancer. This viral infection is responsible for too many deaths in household cats, affecting all breeds. The good news is that it is completely preventable. The bad news is that most cats with FeLV live only a few years after their diagnosis.
How is FeLV spread?
FeLV is highly contagious, particularly in kittens, and is readily spread among cats in casual close contact, which can include sharing food and water as well as mutual grooming. However, aggression (i.e. cat-fight bites) can also readily transmit the virus.
How do I find out if my cat has FeLV?
Your veterinarian can do a quick blood test to determine status.
Signs of FeLV?
Cats with FeLV may not show any signs, even for years. Some of the more common symptoms of feline leukemia include:
-Progressive weight loss
-Susceptibility to infection
-Infections of the external ear and skin and poor coat condition
-Fever (seen in about 50 percent of cases)
-Wobbly, uncoordinated or drunken-appearing gait or movement
-Inflammation of the nose, the cornea, or the moist tissues of the eye
-Inflammation of the gums and/or mouth tissues (gingivitis/stomatitis)
-Lymphoma (the most common FeLV-associated cancer)
-Fibrosarcomas (cancer that develops from fibrous tissue)
Which cats should be vaccinated for FeLV?
The decision to vaccinate an individual cat against FeLV is based on risk assessment for infection and lifestyle. Cats that should be vaccinated include:
-Kittens, because they’re more susceptible to infection and their lifestyle is still in flux. Note that although FeLV infection susceptibility decreases as cats get older, the risk does not necessarily reach zero; it depends highly on a cat’s lifestyle and degree of viral exposure.
-Cats with access to the outdoors and cats that have contact with cats with access to outdoors. .Cats that live with FeLV-infected cats.
-Cats that may encounter other cats with unknown FeLV status.