The Lepto Vaccine

What is Leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis is a disease caused by spirochete bacteria called Leptospira. It can affect dogs, humans, and many mammals. There are many different types of Leptospira; over 250 types have been identified.


Symptoms include:



-muscle tenderness

-reluctance to move

-changes in the amount and frequency in urination




-loss of appetite

Some pets show no symptoms and bounce back quickly, other react severely and in some cases die.


How can my pet get it?

Leptospirosis is usually found in standing water, rivers, streams, ponds, lakes or mud and is usually contracted when your pet ingests or swims in it. Pets can also come into contact with it when they come into contact with the urine, vomit, or saliva of an infected animal.


What animals usually carry Leptospirosis?




-feral cats

-various wildlife species

-some livestock species

When is my pet most at risk?

Your pet is most at risk of contracting Leptospirosis in the summer and fall months or whenever there is heavy rainfall. Your pet is at lower risk of contracting Leptospirosis in the winter months because the Leptospira bacteria is not able to survive freezing temperatures. 


Your pet is at more risk if you live near woods, near/on a farm with livestock or in a rural area, go hunting, go camping, or visit beaches, marshes, or wooded areas with you pet. It is more likely for pet to come into contact with wild animals and/or livestock and therefore the Leptospira bacteria in these areas.


Can I get Leptospirosis from my pet?

Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease which means it is contagious to humans and you can contract it from your pet if your pet has it. The most common ways humans contract Leptospirosis are through contact with rat urine or with a pet that has it. It can be contracted through an infected pet’s vomit or saliva. Symptoms in humans are usually flu-like but they can also lead to kidney and/or liver disease.


How is Leptospirosis diagnosed?

-physical examination

-blood tests

-urine tests




Leptospirosis can be difficult to diagnose because of the wide range of symptoms. It can easily be confused with other diseases. It is best to take preventative measures to prevent the contraction of Leptospirosis in the first place.


How is Leptospirosis treated?

Leptospirosis is treated aggressively with antibiotics and supportive care. Even if caught early, there is still a risk of permanent residual liver and kidney damage.


What preventative measures can be taken?

Luckily, there is a vaccine for Leptospirosis. We highly recommend that all pets, especially those that fall under the high-risk category, get vaccinated for Leptospirosis. The Leptospirosis vaccine (Lepto vaccine) is an annual vaccination that we typically give in September.

You can also make lifestyle changes to prevent Leptospirosis such as not hiking or camping with your pet in high risk areas and keeping a close eye on them as to make sure they don’t drink or swim in potentially contaminated water.


-jaundice (yellowing of the skin and mucous membranes)

-painful inflammation in the eyes

-kidney failure

-liver failure

-difficulty breathing (rare)

-swollen legs

-fluid in the abdomen

-bleeding disorders (blood can be seen in the vomit, saliva, urine, and/or stool)

Call Us:  (650)-341-7741

Laurelwood Veterinary Clinic