Toronto Veterinarians - Pet Wellness Network

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Contact Willowdale Animal Hospital

Open 24 Hours, Year Round

256 Sheppard Ave. West
Toronto, ON M2N 1N3
(416) 222-5409

An update from Dr. Suzy Lyons and your friends at the Bloor Animal Hospital

Many dog owners have heard of leptospirosis and know that it has something to do with raccoons. Pet owners in our neighbourhood also know that raccoons are no strangers to Bloor West. Leptospirosis and its vaccine have been around for quite some time but recently we have seen an increase in the number of cases. After not seeing a single case in about 30 years, we have had FIVE cases in the last 3 YEARS. THREE of these were fatal, and TWO dogs has been left with kidney failure after a long stay at local specialty hospitals.

Here is what all dog owners need to know. Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease, which is spread through the urine of infected animals, raccoons being the most common carriers. Dogs can catch the disease through direct contact with infected urine or from water or soil that has been contaminated. This could include drinking, swimming or walking through contaminated water (eg. puddles or wet grass).  Signs of leptospirosis occur 2 to 14 days after exposure and include vomiting, anorexia, lethargy, fever, and muscle pain.

Leptospirosis affects the kidneys and liver quickly and aggressively.  Diagnosis can be made through a blood test. Treatment consists of intravenous fluids and antibiotics. Due to the fierce nature of the disease, animals are truly fighting for their lives and often end up succumbing to the disease or ending up with permanent kidney failure. Leptospirosis can also affect humans in a similar way.

Each case we have seen has been a local dog with no travel history. Therefore, we know that raccoons in Bloor West are carrying this disease.  Fortunately, a vaccine is available. Based on this, we are recommending the vaccine to dogs in the area. If your dog has not been vaccinated, we encourage you to visit your regular veterinarian and discuss it with them. The recent cases of this disease have been devastating on pet owners.  As medical caregivers, we share in this sadness and hope that we can help avoid any more cases of leptospirosis in Bloor West.

Your village vet,

Dr Suzy Lyons


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