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Leptospirosis – Signs and Symptoms

Leptospirosis is a disease that can affect human and animals, including your pets. All animals can potentially become infected with leptospirosis. While for many years occurrence among pets was rare, the disease has been diagnosed more frequently in the past few years and cases have been diagnosed in the Tantallon area. Leptospirosis is most commonly diagnosed in the summer and fall.

Infection
The bacteria that cause leptospirosis are spread through the urine of infected animals, which can get into water or soil and can survive there for weeks to months. The bacteria can enter the body through the skin, especially if the skin is broken from a cut or scratch, it can also enter through the eyes, nose or mouth. Drinking contaminated water can also cause infection. Infected wild and domestic animals may continue to excrete the bacteria into the environment.

If your pet has become infected, it most likely came into contact with the bacteria in the environment by drinking, swimming, or walking through contaminated water, contaminated by wildlife (raccoons, deer, foxes, coyotes) who pass this bacteria in their urine. Dogs also may pass the disease to each other, but this happens very rarely.

Signs and Symptoms
The clinical signs of leptospirosis vary and are nonspecific. Sometimes pets do not have any symptoms. Common clinical signs have been reported in dogs. These include:

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Refusal to eat
  • Severe weakness and depression
  • Stiffness
  • Severe muscle pain
  • Inability to have puppies

Generally, younger animals are more seriously affected than older animals.

If you think your pet may have leptospirosis, contact your veterinarian immediately. Your veterinarian can perform tests to determine whether or not your pet has the disease.

Source: CDC Factsheet

Written by Jane Corkum, DVM

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The Importance of Microchipping Your Pet

Pets can get lost which can be a traumatic and possibly tragic event.  It’s important to have a collar and ID tag, but these are not foolproof.  Collars can break or fall off leaving your pet unidentifiable. This can be prevented with the use of a microchip. As noted in the Dartmouth Tribune in April 2017: A pet is lost every seven seconds One in three pets will go missing in their lifetime Only 2 percent of lost cats and 17 percent of lost dogs with ID return home When a pet gets lost, they are 20 times more likely to make their way back home when they have a microchip A microchip is a small chip that is encoded with a unique identification number.  It is no bigger than a grain of rice and implanted just under the surface of your pet’s skin.  The process is similar to receiving a vaccination through a needle and is virtually painless to pets.  Once implanted, the microchip remains between the shoulder blades just beneath the skin for the rest of the animal’s lifetime, becoming a permanent form of identification. Since it’s under your pets’ skin it can’t break or fall off like a collar or tag. The chip is powered by a scanner which sends a signal to the chip and receives the identification number stored on it.  A vet or shelter can use the scanner to read your pet’s chip.  With the identification number, your pet’s information is a phone call away. When your pet is microchipped, it is linked to a database with your contact info.  It is essential that you register the microchip and ensure your contact information is kept up to date.  If you move or change phone numbers be sure to update your information.  Microchips are reliable and use nationwide registries, but they depend on the information you provide. If you want to improve your chances of getting your pet back home quickly and safely microchipping is highly recommended.   Written by Tracy LeFler, Site Coordinator Edited by Janis Wall, RVT

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Last updated: September 15, 2021

Dear Clients,

The health and safety of both you and our staff is our top priority. We appreciate your help in keeping our community safe by following our COVID-19 policies:

  • Masks are required for all clients entering our hospital, as well as for all our staff
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    Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

    - Your dedicated team at Westwood Hills Veterinary Hospital