” Lepto what ? ” most clients say when I ask if they are familiar with this deadly bacterial disease.
I think we as veterinarians have been remiss in educating the public about this bacteria, because most clients have never heard of it. In the past we reserved this vaccine for large-breed hunting dogs that were frequently around wild animals(a reservoir for Lepto) and contaminated stagnant water.
We generally did not use the vaccine on small breed dogs because they were more likely to have a vaccine reaction from it and they were not as at risk for getting the disease. Now there are new and better, less reactive vaccines and research has shown that small breeds are exposed just as commonly as large breed dogs. Are you wondering why?
Well , it is because of the urban and suburban migration of people. As humans have migrated towards the city, wildlife has followed. Wildlife and rats migrate with us because there are fewer predators and a lot more food. A very high number of rats carry Leptospirosis bacteria in their urine. All it takes is a person or dog coming in contact with the contaminated urine through accidental oral ingestion(contaminated water), or though a cut,skin wound, or abrasion.