Leptospirosis and Pair Up for Protection against Dog Flu and Kennel Cough


Dog flu, kennel cough and leptospirosis are big three discussed HERE on WGN Radio Steve Dale’s Pet World with Dr. Natalie Marks,

This is one way unvaccinated dogs may get lepto

We start it all off with the most common zoonotic disease in the world (potentially spread from animals to humans), a bacterial infection called leptospirosis. Dr. Marks explains that – yes – city rats are a primary culprit, but so are other rodents like squirrels and mice or even pigs on farms and many other mammal species.

Lepto loves a water source and that range from Lake Michigan to wet grass to a puddle, and the pup licks paws or drinks the water. Dr. Marks explains one reason why lepto is sometimes more common when dogs are suffering from allergies at this time of year.

Dr. Natalie Marks

The thing about leptospirosis may be “a great pretender” with general signs or no signs of illness at all, or other dogs may become gravely ill, which includes kidney failure.

There are 10 serovars or strains of leptospirosis that can affect dogs. Dr. Marks explains what herd immunity really is. So, stopping leptospirosis is possible with enough dogs vaccinated. And indeed the vaccination strategy against the four most common strains really does work.

Pair Up for Protection

Dr. Marks explains that dog flu is currently under control in Chicago. But that’s only because so many dogs continue to be vaccinated.

Dog flu is very contagious but in an usual and effective way, which Dr. Marks explains.

And, by the way, she explains bordetella (kennel cough) with dog flu is not something you want your dog to get. Dr. Marks says to protect against respiratory disease with two different vaccines.

Cats Up for Protection

Dr. Marks is very much supportive and involved in the Fear Free initiative, to consider our pets’ emotional well-being, and making veterinary visits more comfortable. She talks about vaccines which offer that same protection in lower volume for cats, which means the vaccination itself occurs more quickly and has less discomfort associated with it.


As the weather improves we’re getting out more with our dogs – but still don’t go too far too fast, and a conversation about obesity in dogs and cats and what to do about it with Dr. RuthAnn Lobos. Check it out HERE: The Steve Dale Petcast.