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Part of what sets AVC apart from other veterinary practices is our commitment to preventative health care.  Veterinary practices in the San Diego area have been reporting an increased number of cases of Leptospirosis, a potentially fatal bacterial infection.  Due to the increased number of cases, AVC is recommending dog owners add this vaccination to their dog’s preventative care protocol. To promote your pet’s health and well-being, AVC is offering a 25 percent discount for Leptospirosis vaccinations administered in May.

Leptospirosis is a potentially serious disease caused by a bacterium and is zoonotic, meaning it can be spread from animals to humans.

Leptospirosis is more common in areas with warm climates and high annual rainfall, but it can occur anywhere.  The higher than normal amount of rainfall that hit Southern California this year is the probable cause for the increased number of cases.  Dogs usually ingest the organism after drinking from lakes, streams, puddles, or bodies of standing water.  The organism is usually spread through infected urine, but may also be spread by contaminated water or soil, reproductive secretions, and even the consumption of infected tissues.  Introduction of the organism through skin wounds can also occur when swimming or wading.  Common carriers of the organism include raccoons, opossums, rodents, skunks, and dogs.

If your pet becomes infected, the Leptospirosis organisms advance through the bloodstream. The severity of symptoms can depend on the strain of the bacterium and the overall health of your pet. Some symptoms seen are fever, joint pain, and general malaise.  Because the organism settles and reproduces in the kidneys, inflammation and even kidney failure may develop.  Liver problems and failure are another possible symptom of infection.  Kidney and liver failure can be life threatening or fatal in pets.

The Leptospirosis vaccination is a simple, cost effective measure you and your veterinarian can take to protect your pet, and your family, from this illness.  The American Animal Hospital Association’s vaccination guidelines recommend the following schedule for Leptospirosis vaccination:

  1. For puppies, the initial vaccine is administered at 12 weeks old and repeated two to four weeks later.
  2. For older puppies (over four months old) or adults receiving the Leptospirosis vaccine for the first time, two doses two to four weeks apart are recommended.
  3. Annual revaccination is recommended.

At AVC, our first line of defense is always prevention.  When you participate in outdoor activities with your dog, bring water for drinking and try to keep them from swimming or wading.  If you suspect your dog may have contracted Leptospirosis, bring them in immediately for testing and treatment.  Moving forward, we are adding the vaccination to our list of core vaccines that we administer to our canine patients.  If you have any questions or concerns regarding this vaccine, please contact the AVC staff for additional information.

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