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One of John and Pam Sumner's hounds, Bosun, was very unwell about a week after the Society Championship show. He was diagnosed with Leptospirosis due to Leptospira bratislava. Leptospira bratislava is usually found in pigs but sometimes in cattle and horses and also in rodents. It has not been a common cause of Leptospirosis in dogs but is becoming more prevalent, as are some other previously rare strains such as pomona and grippotyphosa.

Irish Wolfhound

The main Leptospirosis vaccines cover only two serovars (serological varieties) of the causative organism (Leptospira interrogans sensu lato). These two serovars are canicola and icterohaemorrhagiae, but, since 2000, a vaccine by Fort Dodge now also protects against the serovars L. grippotyphosa and L. pomonathere. There are, however, many other strains and a dog that gets leptospirosis can still get sick again with a different strain. Worldwide, there are more than 200 known serovars of leptospirosis infecting many kinds of mammals, including rodents and cattle.

The Merck Veterinary Manual lists the clinical signs of Leptospirosis as: The incubation period is 4-12 days but may be as short as 2 days. Acute renal failure occurs in 80-90% of dogs that develop clinically significant disease. Early findings are nonspecific and include fever,

depression, lethargy, anorexia, arthralgia or myalgia, and oculonasal discharge. This may progress within a few days to a uremic crisis characterized by vomiting, dehydration, lumbar pain from renomegaly and nephritis, and tongue-tip ulceration and necrosis. Icterus and bilirubinuria, suggestive of cholestasis and/or hepatic necrosis, develop in ~20% of these cases and may be present without renal failure. In dogs that develop milder forms of renal failure, polyuria and polydipsia may be the primary sign. Other syndromes reported in dogs include intussusception, pulmonary haemorrhage, uveitis, pneumonitis, chronic
hepatitis, and reproductive failure.

The website lists under transmission of the disease: Leptospirosis is transmitted between animals through contact with infected urine; venereal and placental transfer; bite wounds; or the ingestion of infected tissue. Crowding, as found in a kennel, can increase the spread of infection. Indirect transmission occurs through exposure of susceptible animals to contaminated water sources, food, or even bedding. Stagnant or slow moving water provides a suitable habitat for Leptospira. As a result, disease outbreaks often increase during periods of flooding. In dry areas infections are more common around water sources. Freezing greatly reduces the survival of the organism in the environment. This explains why infections are more common in summer and fall and why the infection is more prevalent in temperate areas. []

The disease can be passed on to humans.

Thankfully Bosun has proved to be a fighter and is now back home but under the strictest quarantine conditions for both dog and John & Pam to stop anything passing to the other dogs. He has to remain like this and have blood tests every 10 days until he proves totally clear.

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