Dr Sophie Bell, a Veterinary Surgeon, looks into another myth for our mythbuster series. Why do some pet owners think the Leptospirosis vaccine is dangerous?
All preventative products can potentially cause an adverse reaction in our pets. But this is usually due to an underlying condition specific to that pet and their immune system. Thousands of dogs are vaccinated annually with no adverse reactions.
There has been a lot of talk about the Leptospirosis vaccine since it changed from L2 to L4, which means it now covers 4 strains of Leptospirosis rather than 2.
As shown in this Government Report: "the incidence of adverse animal reactions for all L2 vaccine products combined is 0.015%; for L4 vaccine products this figure is 0.069%." So although some people have picked up on this increase you can see that the chance of a pet having a reaction is still tiny.
In the UK, the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) states the vaccine is a core vaccine, in other parts of the world it is not a core vaccine.
Vets have no way to check if your dog has antibodies that will protect it from Leptospirosis so the vaccine is the only way to ensure it is safe.
Why should my pet have the Leptospirosis vaccine?
Leptospirosis bacteria is zoonotic, which means it can spread to humans from animals. And it can be deadly.
Titre testing is a technique used to look for antibodies against a certain virus or bacteria. This test is available for distemper, hepatitis, and parvovirus. But is not available to look for Leptospirosis antibodies so an annual vaccine is the only way of being sure your dog is safe.
What can Leptospirosis cause?
- High body temperature
- Muscle aches
- Vomiting and diarrhoea
- Abdominal pain
How can my dog get Leptospirosis?
Leptospirosis can be contracted when a dog drinks from stagnant water such as puddles, via a bite from an infected animal or through open wounds if they encounter urine-contaminated water.
Dogs that go on to show clinical signs sadly do not always survive. Although it is not a common condition, it is seen in the UK.