Spring has finally arrived! As we are shedding our winter clothing and heading outside to enjoy the warmer days, be aware of the two dangers that linger in your yard for your pets.

Leptospirosis (Lepto):
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, Leptospirosis is a global disease, and this disease is in contaminated water or soil. It is usually spread through urine from wild animals. And these locations can even be in your back yard or when you are on a camping trip with your pet.

The symptoms of Lepto can be confusing with other common pet ailments. As the owner, you will need to watch for symptoms such as fever, dehydration, vomiting, and diarrhea to name a few. Because many pets tend to hide their illnesses so you might not notice any issues at first. Contact your veterinarian if your pet has symptoms and they don’t go away immediately. Ignoring these signs of Lepto can result in severe illness or death for your pet.

To see if your pet is infected, the veterinarian will need to get a blood test from your dog. If your dog tests positive for Leptospirosis, the course of treatment will be a series of antibiotics and supportive care. When treating your pet at home, please follow your veterinarian’s instructions. Clean up after your pet immediately in the yard and any accidents in the home. Use proper gloves and cleaner that is recommended by your veterinarian. It can penetrate the skin, especially through wounds. Because Lepto is a zoonotic disease. This means that both animals and humans can get infected with the disease.

Lyme Disease:
Another zoonotic culprit is Lyme disease. Infected ticks spread Lyme disease. The symptoms of this disease are usually loss of appetite, fever, joint swelling, decreased activity, pain etc.

The best way to find out if your pet has Lyme Disease is through a blood test at your veterinarian office. At the Dyer Animal Clinic, we have seen an increase in Lyme cases this year. One of the reasons for the increase in Lyme Disease is that last fall, we had a “bumper” crop of acorns. These acorns provided a food source for all the mice. Like anything else, when there is an increase in food, there will be more mice. Our winters are warmer so the mouse population increases. Ticks are hibernating for shorter periods of time. Ticks get a blood meal from the mice and pass their disease onto that mouse. These factors allow for the transmission of the Lyme disease to spread from mouse to mouse, tick to tick. Now that it is spring, your pets are once again roaming the yards. And with that the infected ticks are transmitting the Lyme disease to your dog. It takes one tick to give Lyme disease to your dog.

If your pet does become infected with Lyme disease, contact your veterinarian. They will provide you with the proper antibiotics and supportive care for your pet. And by the way, Lyme Disease is another zoonotic disease that you or your family can contract.

Prevention:
Fortunately for your pet, the best way to prevent Lyme disease in pets is with year-round flea and tick prevention. Also, there are vaccines that can prevent your pet from contacting either Lepto or Lyme that last for one year. At the Dyer Animal Clinic, we encourage our clients to get their pets vaccinated for Lepto and Lyme. It is a simple shot for each vaccination and you will have the peace of mind that your pet has protection for the year.