Rain May Be Linked to Increase in Leptospirosis


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More rain means more water on the ground, even puddles. Rain might be associated with the spread of leptospirosis. This is a bacterial infection which dogs (or potentially even people) can get from infected wildlife. Rodents (like city rats) are especially adept at spreading lepto by urinating in a puddle, condo retention pond, river, stream or lake.

I speak with Dr. Natalie Marks about the symptoms of leptospirosis to watch out for. Some dogs can spread the disease (through their urine) without getting sick themselves; others can get so sick that they never recover.

If an infected dog has an accident indoors and say a toddler crawls through it and puts fingers into mouth – it can be spread to humans. It’s rare that leptospirosis is spread from dogs to people, but it can happen. What’s more common – albeit still rare in the U.S., are people getting lepto from swimming in lakes, ponds or rivers and getting sick when swallowing infected water. Leptospirosis is a far more common, and sometimes fatal, in third world nations.

Dr. Marks likes the vaccine to protect dogs that covers four strains (serovars) of leptospirosis.