In Norman, Oklahoma, veterinarians want you to know about the dangers of diseases that can affect humans and pets, or spread from one to the other. Sara Rowland works at a Main Street Veterinary Hospital in Norman. She recently encountered a newborn puppy suffering from leptospirosis, a bacterial disease that can affect pets and pet owners.
Leptospirosis can result in a large number of symptoms, making it potentially difficult to diagnose. Some of those who are infected might present with no symptoms at all. But without immediate medical treatment, the bacterial disease can result in damage to the kidneys and liver, meningitis, or respiratory distress. Those who suffer in silence could face an early death.
Rowland explained the circumstances that led to her own diagnosis of the poor puppy: “In this instance, the pet was not eating well, vomiting and had a yellow tint that you could tell the liver was affected. It causes failure, definitely kidney and liver failure. The big thing I think with this particular you can vaccinate to prevent this disease.”
And perhaps you should. Pets can infect other pets, their owners, or vice versa.
Believe it or not, the anti-vaxxer conspiracy campaign is affecting pets and their owners as well. Rowland said, “For some reason, there’s a myth out there that this vaccine is really likely to cause reactions.”
But that’s not the case.
The bacterial disease is transferred through contact with an infected animal’s (or human’s) bodily fluids. Rodents and livestock can spread the disease as well as dogs.
Those who contract the disease might present with fever, achy muscles, headache, vomiting, red or itchy eyes, diarrhea, abdominal pain, rash, coughing, or jaundice.
And man-made climate change might increase the number of those who contract leptospirosis in the future. Outbreaks often occur directly after flooding or heavy rain. Stagnant pools are often contaminated after these events, and anyone who wades through them is put at risk.
In these circumstances, take care not to drink from water sources that may have been contaminated during a rare weather event. Do not bathe in floodwater. Do not eat food if you are uncertain where it has been. Anything you drink should be treated beforehand. Be sure to take proper care of any open wounds, like cuts or abrasions. When venturing outside after flooding, wear waterproof boots and clothing. Keep all trash properly stored, and lock trash cans to avoid infestation or hungry critters coming around for food.
The disease is normally treated using antibiotics.