Kansas State University recently reported a dramatic increase in the number of dogs with leptospirosis, a bacterial infection common in wet weather.
“The rain has made this a banner fall for leptospirosis,” said Kenneth Harkin, DVM, an associate professor of clinical sciences at K-State’s College of Veterinary Medicine, who developed a test to improve the diagnosis of the infection. “Our lab is seeing a positive test about every other day.”
The disease is transmitted through the urine of domestic and wild animals and can be transmitted to people. Harkin said that dogs usually pick up the infection from a water source like a puddle or pond. It is also possible for dogs to get leptospirosis through water bowls if another infected animal, such as a rodent, has been in contact with the water.
Symptoms may include lethargy, vomiting, poor appetite, increased drinking, and any evidence of kidney failure.
Harkin said that concerned dog owners can ask veterinarians to run a test to check for leptospirosis. Antibiotics are used to treat the infection. However, vaccines are available to prevent an infection in the first place, Harkin added.