Lepto-An Emerging Wet Weather Threat?

Vaccination is Safe & Effective

Have you ever questioned the significance of “emerging” disease threats? Some stay for years while others seem to fade with yesterday’s news cycle. Real epidemics can wax and wane because of changing weather patterns. Generous summertime rainfall is a beautiful thing but standing water can harbor leptospirosis, an almost forgotten risk in New Mexico but a serious problem for dogs right next door in Texas.

“Lepto” is a bacterial infection that’s carried in the urine. Cattle and pigs, with their bad table manners and questionable personal hygiene, can quickly spread this disease through contaminated water sources. As we humans encroach on the natural habitats of wild species they too are becoming part of the problem; livestock aren’t alone in confusing the watering hole with the loo.

Infected stagnant water is the greatest risk to dogs and humans but lepto flourishes in mud and soil too. Depending on the strain (serotype) leptospira infects the kidneys or liver, leading to vague symptoms like lethargy, poor appetite, vomiting, trembling, and muscle pain. If not treated early with antibiotics and intravenous supportive care these sick pets will die.

Lepto is preventable with vaccination but many veterinarians have dropped this component from their distemper-parvo combinations because New Mexico hasn’t had much of this disease in recent years. Nobody wants to over-vaccinate. Now there is a safer way of protecting at-risk dogs with a new purified vaccine called Ultra Duramune, which delivers a reliable immunity with one-half the volume of standard vaccines. Miss America, the Nichol family Border collie hikes the irrigation ditch with us every day. We wave to the cattle as she annoys raccoons, doing her best to avoid skunks. I just vaccinated our faithful and quirky girl dog against lepto. The changing environmental conditions spoke loudly to me.
Cat Behavior Class
Do your cats fight or bite? Do they believe your home is their bathroom? Are they de-upholstering your furniture? I’ll address any behaviors that damage your feline relationships from 6-9 PM, Wednesday, September 10 at the Canine Country Club & Feline Inn, 7327 4th St. NW. Cost: $40. Call 277-0077 to register. Bring plenty of questions. Cats don’t need to attend class because they already know more than we do.