Leptospirosis in dogs, humans and cats. How it is transmitted, contagion, vaccine and symptoms.
There are hundreds of zoonoses and, among them, the leptospirosisit is among the most common because it can be transmitted by pets. In particular, the dog can transmit various diseases to humans, among others, we remember giardiasis, worms such as tapeworm (the so-called "solitary worm) and leptospirosis. In this article we will focus on the leptospirosisalso taking a look at the role of the cat.
Therediseaseit is caused by a bacterium that naturally survives in rodents such as mice and rats. The dog becomes infected precisely because it ingests infected rodents or food contaminated by the urine of mice.
Theinfectionit's not that difficult: if the food bowl is left outdoors, in the garden of a country house, it can be very attractive to rats. Rats can feast on dog kibble and, in the meantime, deposit infected urine on the bowl. The dog, even if he will not directly ingest the mouse, will go to eat contaminated food or simply, when he licks the bowl, will ingest the bacterium.
Again, thedog can get leptospirosiseven simply by drinking water from stagnant pools, already infected with rodent urine.
Mice aren't the only ones that transmit the disease to dogs. There are several wild animals that, if infected or even if healthy, can become "vectors" of leptospirosis. Dog and cat can finally transmit it to humans.
Fortunately, the possibility existsvaccinate the dogagainst leptospirosis. Thevaccineit is a very useful routine practice. In practice, if you go to the park with your dog, you can let it play carefree, without worrying that it may lick objects contaminated by the urine of other infected dogs or infected rodents.
Contagion in humans
Contagion in humans can occur in various ways, by contamination of food (therefore by ingestion) or through skin wounds.
A few examples?
If the man walks warm in the garden and has a micro-injury to his foot that comes into contact with the urine of an infected dog, an infected mouse or a carrier cat, he can contract leptospirosis.
Again, if you have a home garden or orchard that can be looted by rats from time to time, if an infected rat deposits its urine on your crop and you don't wash that crop well ... you end up beinginfectedby ingestion.
Thereleptospirosisit can be transmitted by dogs, rodents but also by an unsuspected healthy carrier, the cat.
The cat that lives in the countryside or spends time in the garden, outdoors, can feed on infected rodents and can therefore become a "vector" and transmit theleptospirosis in humans.
As already mentioned, dogs can contract the disease and transmit it to humans. THE dogsmost at risk are those who come into contact (direct or indirect) with mice, rodents and, in general, wild animals.
Leptospirosis symptoms in cats
If you are wondering what the symptoms of leptospirosis are in dogs or humans, you will find answers on this page. In the cat, however, the disease is asymptomatic because the cat acts as a vector and does not become infected ... to be clear, a bit like mosquitoes do with malaria, they can help the spread of the pathogenic bacterium without becoming infected and running health risks .
Which animals can transmit it
Once explainedhow do you get leptospirosis, let us dwell on the animals that can act as healthy carriers or that in any case caninfect dog and egg.
Particular attention should be paid to small pet mammals:
- Dwarf rabbits
- Domestic bunny
- Guinea pigs
Wild animals, if infected, can also transmit the pathogenic bacterium.
If you understand correctly how do you get leptospirosis, you will already have an idea on how to avoid the infection. Here is a helpful guide:
- If you have a dog that spends time outdoors, call the vet and make an appointment forvaccinate the dog against leptospirosis.
- Avoid consuming food with dirty hands, especially if you've cleaned pet litter boxes first.
- If you volunteer, always wear gloves when handling stray dog food bowls.
- Practice good personal hygiene and, in particular, wash your hands thoroughly. It is important to wear gloves because, as mentioned above, the bacterium can also penetrate the human body through skin lesions.
- Keep the cage of rodents, guinea pigs, rabbits or other animals at risk well clean.
Symptoms in dogs and humans
If not treated, the disease can cause the dog to die. This is why we strongly recommend vaccination. Typical symptoms see:
- Difficulty in breathing
- Problems with the digestive system
- Kidney failure…
The incubation period for the pathogen ranges from 4 to 12 days. If you suspect exposure to infected material, go to the vet for a test and, if necessary, start treatment.
Human leptospirosis can manifest itself with symptoms such as:
- high fever,
- muscle aches,
- disorders of the gastrointestinal tract
- jaundice (yellow skin and eyes),
- Red eyes,
- abdominal pain,
In humans, in the absence of treatment, the disease can take several months. Complications can be linked to high fever or the development of kidney and liver failure.