LEPTOSPIROSIS: WHY AWARENESS AND DIAGNOSIS IS CRUCIAL TO THE HEALTH OF YOUR PATIENTS, CLIENTS AND PRACTICE DR. NATALIE MARKS, DVM, CVJ
In this VETgirl Merck Animal Health webinar, Dr. Natalie Marks, DVM, CVJ reviews canine leptospirosis in a webinar entitled Why Awareness and Diagnosis is Crucial to the Health of your Patients, Clients and Practice.
Leptospirosis is the most common zoonotic disease worldwide, affecting up to 60,000 humans annually. And, there are 100-150 human cases of Leptospirosis in the United States each year! Yet, in as recent as 2011, only 4% of the canine population was vaccinated against this potentially fatal disease! As veterinarians and public health officers, we can all help to protect our patients, families and team members through better screening, diagnostics and treatment for Leptospirosis. How do we improve as clinicians? Here are my top TEN TIPS to help in your practice: 1 KEEP AN OPEN MIND! When I was in school (yes, many, many years ago!) we were taught that Leptospirosis was a disease of outdoor, intact male hunting dogs in rural areas. We know that is absolutely not true. In fact, Leptospirosis affects any age, any breed, any sex and any environment, whether it be urban, rural or suburban areas. Recent studies have shown that prevalence is highest in dogs under 15 pounds and terrier groups, specifically the Yorkshire terrier, had highest hospital prevalence! Anecdotally, some of these small terrier pet
today’s research, it is thought that as many as 20% of dogs can be chronic carriers. 3 THERE ARE OVER 10 IMPORTANT SEROVARS FOR PETS Serovars help determine epidemiologic importance AND sometimes the affected organ predilection. Icterohaemorrhagiae (mostly from rats) is the most common serovar infecting humans, where Gryppotyphosa (mostly from raccoons) and Pomona are the most common serovars infecting canines and often prefer the liver. (continued)
parents can also be some of the most challenging clients to convince about vaccinations. 2 THESE PATIENTS CAN PRESENT VERY DIFFERENTLY Yes, the acute Leptospirosis patient will often present with fever, gastrointestinal signs and hyporexia/ anorexia, but we know that others will be simply polyuric/polydipsic and THESE are the dogs we don’t want to miss as they can continue to shed bacteria into the environment to other dogs and humans in the household. Remember that Leptospirosis is not always an acute illness, but as of
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