Ash Veterinary Clinic


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Wet Weather Blues


                It seems like the only weather we had this spring was rain, rain and more rain. While wet weather has plenty of benefits, rain leaves behind bacteria and parasitic riddled puddles which can make your dog or cat very sick. In the wake of wet weather, pets that spend time outdoors are more at risk of contracting bacteria like leptospirosis and parasites like giardia.

                Leptospirosis (Lepto) is an infection caused by leptospira bacteria, which is found in soil and water. This usually affects dogs and is less common in cats. Pets will typically come into contact with this bacteria after heavy rainfalls or while playing in or drinking out of rivers, lakes, streams, ponds and other standing water that has been exposed to wild animals. After the pet ingests the infected water, the bacteria take advantage of the pet’s organs to multiply.

                Pets become infected when the bacteria move from the source to the mucus membranes in a dog’s mouth or an open wound, according to AVMA. It is then spread through the body via the bloodstream.  Lepto can vary from mild to severe, but the sooner it is treated, the better. If your dog is infected, they may display some of the following symptoms: fever, lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, difficulty breathing, increased thirst and urination, dehydration or muscle tenderness. If your pet is showing any of these signs, please take them to a veterinarian.

                Unfortunately, this infection that can be passed between dogs and humans! In people, it appears like the flu and can cause liver or kidney damage. This is why we consider the Leptospirosis vaccination important for those pets at risk. We can start this vaccine for puppies as early as 12 weeks old, but can be done at any annual vaccine visit.

                The other common wet-weather illness that can affect dogs and cats is giardia which is caused by a microscopic parasite. This parasite is found in many of the same areas as the Leptospirosis bacteria. In more rural areas, we diagnose giardia almost every day.

                Symptoms of giardia include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, gas, blood in stool and inappetence.  Pets become infected if they come into contact with contaminated feces, play in contaminated soil or drink water from a source infected by these parasites. Humans can also contract this parasite. In humans it is known as Montezuma’s Revenge. To reduce the risk of giardia, we recommend cleaning up feces from the yard promptly and eliminating standing water sources.

                While the warmer weather dries up some of the sources of these infections, it does not totally eliminate the potential to contract them. Any time your best friend is not feeling well, do not hesitate to take them to the veterinarian. Remember, they cannot tell you what is wrong, but your skilled and experienced doctor can. It is always best to catch and treat any symptoms or diseases sooner than later. If you have any questions, feel free to call Ash Veterinary Clinic at 734-782-2827 or email us at  

[4:06:25 PM] Dianne Raftopoulos: