Franklin Vets highly recommends that all dogs are vaccinated against leptospirosis. This is caused by a bacterium not a virus.
The bacterium can be found in a number of healthy carriers such as cattle, pigs, rats and dogs. The bacterium can be spread by direct and indirect transmissions. Indirect transmissions such as contaminated urine can survive for several weeks in warmer weather. Dogs that live rurally are far more likely to become infected than town dogs.
The diagnosis is difficult as the blood tests for leptospiral antibodies are often negative. Diagnosis is often based on clinical signs. The degree of damage will vary. Some will only be mildly affected, only showing signs of vomiting and fever but can progress to renal failure later. In severe cases, infection can lead to renal and hepatic failure and death.
Costs for treatment can be very high as treatment is lengthy, aggressive and must be carried out in an isolation ward.
Vaccination will protect your dog from leptospirosis. The vaccination is a killed vaccine. Two doses are required initially 3-4 weeks apart. Annual re-vaccination is essential.