Outbreak of leptospirosis reported among dogs in Chicago’s suburbs

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Chicago's suburbs are starting to see an outbreak of a very dangerous disease among dogs.

It's called leptospirosis and it's caused by a deadly bacteria.

Dogs who catch it come down with fever, breathing difficulty, vomiting, loss of appetite, shivering and jaundice.

If untreated, it can be fatal.

A dog can contract it by sniffing rat or raccoon urine, drinking or wading in infected standing water, eating infected materials or being bitten by an infected animal.

And people can catch it from their pets.

Clinical signs of leptospiroris begin to appear, 5 to 15 days after a dog has been exposed to the bacteria.

It takes weeks of antibiotics to remove any trace of it, but it is preventable with a yearly vaccine.

Veterinarian Dr. Tony Kremer joined WGN Morning News to talk about it.

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10 comments

  • michele

    The vaccine for this can also kill certain breeds. I know my dog, a Keeshond, can never get this vaccine or it will kill him. Before giving your dog any vaccine, do your research and make sure they arent sensitive to it, or that they will have severe adverse reactions.

    • Jane

      My dog had the letpo vaccine about 1.5yrs ago along with her other common vaccines; she was diagnosed with immune mediated meningitis within a week of the vaccine (it overstimulated her immune system); this was the first time she had had the lepto vaccine (and last). She has almost fully recovered from the meningitis but has a tag now from the county stating she is exempt from vaccines due her adverse reaction. Was it the lepto that caused it? We won’t know for sure but it is suspected to be.

  • Mary

    I GET REALLY UPSET WITH IRRESPONSIBLE AND INNEFICIANT REPORTING!! …This vaccine has some potentially horrible side effects that you need to also mention! It is not necessarily going to be a solution as it only covers about 4 of the strains of this virus, so the vaccine won’t necessarily be effective and a dog can still get sick.
    A LOT of conflicting info out there on this ! Also, some rather scary side effects to this one, and the possibility that the vaccinated dog will shed live virus and infect humans. Don’t need that!
    So, I’d really weigh the pros and cons. Seems weighted in the con column to vaccinate to me….no easy answer.
    I would like you to talk about this vaccine and these pros vs cons, as well as the symptoms, and alternate and quick treatment with antibiotics instead! COVER ALL THE BASES WITH THOROUGH INFORMATION!! (you reporters never manage to do that!) .

    Heres a link for your information:
    http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/leptospirosis-vaccine/

    • Jane

      Thank you for posting this. As noted in a comment above, my dog was diagnosed with meningitis after getting the lepto vaccine (not viral but instead immune mediated where her immune system was overstimulated); she started showing symptoms the day after the vaccine. Now, she cannot have any vaccines at all. My point is, my veterinarian never mentioned the risks of this vaccine before giving it to her.

  • Mary

    The exaggerated reactivity to vaccines is easily seen in the spectrum of adverse events and diseases which commonly follow vaccine administration. Anaphylaxis, anorexia, fever, dehydration, autoimmune disease, digestive issues, limping, loud vocalization following vaccination, acute organ failure, renal failure, liver failure, pancreatitis, death, dermatitis, puritis, cancer, degeneration of soft tissue: all of these have been reported following administration of the leptospira vaccine.

    The truth is that too many veterinarians are painfully inept at discussing leptospirosis because the bulk of their information comes from the very drug companies that stand to profit or at least recoup the many monies this troubled vaccine has cost their corporations.

    In summary, know the risks for natural leptospirosis infection and seek immediate treatment if your dog becomes ill. Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of leptospirosis and save your dog from the risk of vaccine induced renal failure or years of dermatitis and puritis. Antibiotic treatment is quickly effective for Leptospirosis, as is the use of homeopathy.

    link: http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/leptospirosis-vaccine/

  • Lisa

    Thank you, my dog had all the symptoms of Leptospirosis now that she is better she is limp in her hind legs where she can hardy walk but she still has feeling. Could it be related? Vet says she needs spinal disc surgery. While in the clinic 2 other dogs had the same symptoms of not being able I use their hind legs.
    Any thoughts.