If your dog has been drinking more water than usual, vomiting, unable to urinate, or is extremely bloated, beware — your furry friend may have a case of Leptospirosis. At least 10 new cases have recently been discovered in Pima County and the zoonotic disease can not only be transferred to humans, but is potentially fatal. Here’s what you should know about protecting yourself and your pet from Leptospirosis:

Know The Symptoms

In addition to the symptoms already mentioned, it is not uncommon for dogs with Leptospirosis to display a lack of appetite, low energy, red eyes, and develop jaundice. These symptoms generally take between 4 and 12 days to appear. If you notice these signs in your pet, it’s time to discuss your veterinary options.

Know The Risks

While Leptospirosis can also affect cats, most cases develop in dogs. Dogs are at risk for developing Leptospirosis any time they drink out of rivers, streams, ponds, or lakes. These bodies of water tend to lie in rural area and become infected when exposed to diseased wildlife, farm animals, or rodents. If a dog’s mucous membrane is contaminated with any infectant, it can then be passed on to humans. Leptospirosis can also be passed down from a mother to her puppies through the placenta.

Know Your Veterinary Options

The best way to prevent your dog from developing Leptospirosis is to take them to get them vaccinated once a year. Vets recommend twice-yearly checkups for older pets, so it’s easy to make the vaccination a part of their annual routine. Most animal hospitals and veterinary services offer the vaccine, and it can be easily administered to most dogs. Aside from vaccination, the best way to prevent cases of Leptospirosis is to monitor where your dog drinks from in public areas. While most bodies of water are safe, it only takes one moment of contact for the disease to spread to the your pet.

If your dog does happen to develop a case of Leptospirosis, don’t panic. Your dog has plenty of veterinary options that generally include the prescription of antibiotics. To prevent yourself from catching the disease, avoid making contact with your dog’s urine, encourage your dog to urinate in safer places away from running water and consistently wash your hands after petting or handling your dog.

Ultimately, being aware of the signs, symptoms and prevention methods of Leptospirosis can help you keep you and your furry friends stay safe and healthy for years to come. For more information about emergency vet services, contact Southern Arizona Veterinary Speciality And Emergency Center.