Gentle Care Animal Hospital

Gentle Care Animal Hospital

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Leptospirosis is now Required for all dogs in the kennel, hospital or grooming facility

This article has been taken directly from Gentle Care Animal Hospital's April Newsletter:

Recently it seems as if we are recommending a new vaccine for your dog. The leptospirosis or "lepto" vaccine is actually not a new vaccine and most dogs have already been vaccinated against it in a combination vaccine. In our ongoing commitment to stay on the cutting edge Gentle Care Animal Hospital has moved to a new vaccine schedule based on current research. It has been shown that the DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus) vaccine actually protects your pet for a full three years. The leptospirosis was part of a five way vaccine that would be given to your pet on a yearly basis. When the other four components of the vaccine were made into a three year vaccine the leptospirosis part was not included, because it does not protect that long.

Why doesn't the lepto vaccine protect your pet for three years? Distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus are all viruses, while leptospirosis is a bacteria. There is not a proven or licensed vaccine to protect against the leptospirosis bacteria for a full three years. The vaccine that Gentle Care Animal Hospital administers protects against four different strains of leptospirosis, whereas the combination DHLPP vaccine only protects against two strains. The vaccine that is administered offers better protection than the combination vaccine that was administered in the past.

What is leptospirosis and how can my dog get it? Leptospirosis is a bacteria that is found in the environment and spread by wildlife. It is quite literally everywhere. Your dog can get the bacteria simply by touching his/her nose to an area where a raccoon or other wildlife urinated. At one point it was believed that larger breed dogs living in a rural environment were more prone to leptospirosis. This theory has been proven wrong in recent years. All dogs regardless of size and living situation should be protected.

What are the symptoms of leptospirosis? Most dogs will be asymptomatic, or not show the signs of leptospirosis. The bacteria causes liver and kidney failure in dogs. The scariest part of the disease is that it is zoonotic. This means that people can be infected with leptospirosis from their pets.

What are the side effects of the vaccine? As with every vaccine there is a potential for side effects. These reactions range from soreness at the injection site to, although rare, anaphylactic reaction. As mentioned before most dogs have already received this vaccine and side effects are unlikely. In puppies and smaller dogs that have never received the leptospirosis vaccine before a premedication of benadryl will sometimes be given to help combat the potential for a reaction. The chances of a vaccine reaction have been over-hyped by literature. The vaccines have been reformulated to decrease instance of reactions. The chances of a reaction from the four-way vaccine that we administer are less than the vaccine that was previously used.

Leptospirosis is now a core vaccine at Gentle Care Animal Hospital. Any dog in the hospital for surgery or in the kennel for boarding, doggie daycare, or grooming will be required to be up to date on the leptospirosis vaccine.

If you have questions regarding the vaccine or would like to schedule an appointment, please call an informed team member at 919-852-4386.

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