Dog Owners Warned of Waterborne Disease

Purdue veterinarian says infection can spread to animals and humans.

Posted: July 3, 2008, 5 a.m. EDT

Don’t drink the water. That’s what a Purdue University veterinarian warns cat and dog owners to remember when wading or swimming in water this summer.

Providing fresh, clean drinking water for pets can prevent the spread of the bacterial disease leptospirosis, said Steve Thompson of Purdue’s School of Veterinary Medicine. A small cut on the foot or a sip from a puddle are all it takes for the disease to spread to animals and humans.

Leptospirosis originates from a bacterial infection in animals and is traced to animal urine found in soil, puddles, creeks, and larger bodies of water, Thompson said. Companion animals can be exposed by swimming or walking through water.

The disease can cause severe kidney and liver damage and is often spread by raccoons, opossums, skunks, or deer. Rodents, foxes, and coyotes also carry the bacteria.

The incidence of leptospirosis is low nationally and rarely is fatal, however, wading or swimming in potentially contaminated water should be avoided. Pet owners can guard themselves by wearing protective clothing or footwear.


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paula   medina, OH

5/7/2011 6:55:18 AM

do you think this shot is killing dogs??? some breeders think so. [show dog people ] whats your comment?? ???

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Ellen   San Antonio, TX

2/22/2011 11:10:38 AM

My dog stopped eating and I took her to the vet. She is 4 years old and they did not suspect acute kidney failure. She was tested and was positive for leptospirosis. The emergency vets in San Antonio said that this disease is rampant in the city. After thousands of dollars and much love and attention we have saved our beloved dog. I was not aware that there was a vaccine. I will make sure all of our animals have the vaccine yearly.

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Arianna   Eagle Point, OR

2/4/2011 6:30:38 PM

I mentioned this to my vet because I heard there was a vaccine for this. However, his reply was that in our area (Oregon) he did not recommend it. Supposedly not a problem in this area and we have lots of water to speak of.

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Sandy   Abilene, TX

3/29/2010 3:47:48 AM

Did not know this. Will be sure and use this information.

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