Since Leptospires can infect an animal's urine, it is usually passed to another animal through water sources such as stagnant water, moist soil and recreational lakes/ponds. Exposure risk increases during summer and early fall months. It's rarely fatal to humans, but the Center for Disease Control estimates that there are up to 200 human cases a year in the United States.
Diagnosis of Leptospirosis can be somewhat tricky because it looks like many other diseases. But, here are some of the symptoms:
- Vaccinate your dog and livestock. Interestingly, Cats seem to have a natural defense to this bacterial infection, so there is not a vaccination for cats.
- Avoid stagnant water with your pets.
- Good sanitation is a must for your family. Practice hand washing (especially with children who are at higher risk) when handling anything that may have your dog's urine on it.
- If you work in an environment that involves routine exposure to standing water or wildlife, wear protective clothing.
For more information, you can visit these websites:
- Bacterial Infection (Leptospirosis) In Dogs, PetMD, http://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/infectious-parasitic/c_multi_leptospirosis
- Leptospirosis, American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Leptospirosis.aspx
- Lepto Disease Info, Lepto Info, http://www.leptoinfo.com/lepto-home.html