The bacterial disease, Leptospirosis, affects both humans and animals. Infection is spread through the urine of infected animals. The bacteria can survive in the environment (water and soil) for weeks to months and later enter the body via skin (especially when cut), mucous membranes or drinking infected water.
Signs of Lepto in animals include:
- abdominal pain
- refusal to eat
- severe weakness and depression
- severe muscle pain
- inability to have puppies
Obviously, the symptoms vary and could easily be mistaken for some other ailment. Age plays a role as younger animals are more susceptible to serious disease. Pets may even be asymptomatic. The disease normally develops within 5 to 14 days but development can extend beyond this time frame or be shorter. Antibiotics are used to treat Lepto. If caught early enough, organ damage may be less severe. Left untreated, Lepto can cause (Source #1):
- kidney damage
- meningitis (inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord),
- liver failure
- respiratory distress
If you’re worried about Leptospirosis transmission to you or your pets, you can visit the CDC’s tips on prevention.