Monday, July 18, 2011

How to Avoid Canine Leptospirosis

Typhoon and floods - these are things that is brought by the Rainy Season. The Rainy Season is also the season of various illneses and one of the fatal disease that is popular during this is season is leptospirosis.

Canine leptospirosis is disease that affects both animals and humans. The disease is caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira and is known to damage the kidneys and livers of dogs. There are also reported canine leptospirosis that affects the lungs of causing severe hemorrhage.

Canine leptospirosis is commonly transferred through water or mud that contains Leptospira bacteria, which came from the urine of animals infected with canine leptospirosis. There other ways to be infected with canine leptospirosis other then being exposed to Leptospira contaminated water. The bacteria can enter the body through wounds or break in the skin, swallowing contaminated water, and splashing contaminated water to the eyes and nose. Canine leptospirosis can also be contracted through other means. Being exposed to blood or body fluids of animals infected with canine leptospirosis is one way to contract the disease. Veterinarians, slaughterhouse, and people working with animals have the risk of contracting canine leptospirosis.
canine leptospirosis bacteria
Magnified image of Leptospira bacteria.

Vaccine against canine leptospirosis is not yet exisiting for humans. There anti-leptospirosis vaccines against animals but those are just for few strains of the Leptospira bacteria. Because of this lack of vaccine, the best way to prevent contracting canine leptospirosis is the reduce exposure to contaminated water. Here are some ways to avoid canine leptospirosis.

1. Avoid flood and other possibly contaminated water – floods are everywhere during the Rainy Season. Metro Manila, a known haven for rats and stray dogs and cats, has many areas that are flooded with water from the sewers and esteros overflowing to the streets. Avoid flooded areas as much as possible, especially if you have wounds or openings on your skin. Never swallow flood water.

2. Wear gloves when working with mud and moist soil – Leptospira bacteria are known to thrive on moist area. This means that you can still contract canine leptospirosis if you expose yourself with contaminated mud or moist soil.

3. Wear proper gears when working with animals – Slaughterhouse workers should make sure that they wear proper gear when working with animals. Gloves and proper uniform serve as added protection to Leptospira bacteria that are possibly present in blood and body fluids of animals. This reminder is also applicable to veterinarians and other people working with animals.

4. Avoid eating “double dead” meat – “Double dead” meat are meat that came from animals that died because of disease. It is possible that the “double dead” meat came from an animal that came from an animal that died because of canine leptospirosis. Also, I recommend that you cook your food well to make sure that all bacteria, including the Leptospira bacteria, die during the cooking process.

It is said that prevention is the best cure. This adage is also applicable with canine leptospirosis. The best way to avoid canine leptospirosis is to avoid it by avoiding water, mud or other medium that are contaminated with the Leptospira bacteria.


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Image and info about canine leptospirosis were obtained from Wikipedia.

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