What You Need to Know!


Cindy Youngers, owner of Cara Mia Pet Resort in East Amherst, has been seeing sick dogs, and is sounding a warning to pet owners regarding a disease called leptospirosis that is becoming more prevalent.

What is leptospirosis? Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that can affect people and animals, including pets. Many different animals can carry the bacteria that cause leptospirosis, such as rodents and small mammals, such as raccoons and opossums.

How dogs get leptospirosis? The bacteria that cause leptospirosis are spread through urine of infected animals, which can survive in water or soil for weeks to months. People and animals get infected through contact with contaminated urine, water or soil. The bacteria can enter the body through skin or mucous membranes (eyes, nose or mouth), especially if the skin is broken from a cut or scratch. Dogs usually become infected by drinking, swimming, or walking through contaminated water.

Signs and treatment. Dogs usually get sick one to two weeks after exposure. Illness can last days or weeks and may include fever, chills, vomiting, muscle aches or diarrhea. Some dogs may recover after the initial illness, but later develop more severe symptoms, such as kidney failure or liver failure. A veterinarian diagnoses leptospirosis based your pet’s history of exposure, symptoms, and a blood test and/or urine test. Treating the disease early with antibiotics can help prevent severe symptoms. Hospitalization may be necessary for dogs with severe illness.

Protect your dog from leptospirosis. Keep your home free of, and prevent your dog from having direct contact with rodents and small mammals when outdoors. Do not let your
dog drink from puddles or other sources of water that may be contaminated with animal urine.
Talk to your veterinarian about having your dog vaccinated against leptospirosis.

Can I get leptospirosis from my dog? Yes, although dog-to-human transmission is extremely rare.

What should I do if my dog is diagnosed with leptospirosis? After starting treatment, your dog may continue to pass leptospirosis bacteria for six weeks. During that time, protect yourself and others.

  • Wash your hands carefully after direct contact with your dog or its urine.
  • Have your dog urinate in an area where the urine will dry up quickly and where other dogs or people will not come into contact with it. Sunlight and drying kill the bacteria.
  • Wear disposable gloves when cleaning the dog’s bedding or any areas with urine.
  • Disinfect areas that may have been contaminated by urine, feces (stool), or vomit with an iodine- or bleach-based disinfectant.
  • Contact your doctor if you feel sick.

Cindy Youngers is the owner of Caramia Pet Resort, located at 6429 Transit Rd, East Amherst, NY 14051. Caramia Pet Resort offers boarding, grooming, daycare, an amazing boutique, a pet pool, treadmill, onsite veterinary services, and more. They are also now seeking pet associates, so if you love animals and would like to work at Caramia, call 716-568-2272 or visit www.caramiapetresort.com.