Lifestyle Vaccinations in a Nutshell
Leptospirosis and Lifestyle
Leptospirosis is caused by a bacteria that has many strains. Although any strain can infect any type of mammal (including humans), certain strains are more commonly found in specific animals. For instance, dogs have two specific strains, while there are other strains that are commonly found in mice, raccoons, and deer.
At one time, the dog strains were at epidemic levels. Through vaccinations and a variety of other health control measures, the levels of infection went down and are now at low levels that haven't changed that much for decades. Unfortunately in the past ten years or so, wildlife strains have been appearing in rural dogs at an increasing and alarming rate.
"Lepto" is shed in the urine of infected animals. Dogs being dogs will roll around and ingest animal (especially herbivore) excretions. They will go in creeks and ponds which may be contaminated with infected urine.
So, dogs living in rural areas or those that engage in activities like hunting, hiking, or camping are at risk.
You should vaccinate your dog for Leptospirosis if you live in a rural setting, or a suburban development with woods, pasture or waterways; or take your dog hunting, camping floating, or hiking.
The Lepto-4 vaccine protects against two dog strains and two wildlife strains.
Feline Leukemia Virus
Feline Leukemia and Lifestyle
Feline Leukemia is caused by a retrovirus that depresses the immune system and causes a disease similar to AIDS. It is spread through close contact by blood and saliva.
Since the immune system is compromised, symptoms are usually due to opportunistic infections. Cancers, like leukemia, can also arise. Since symptoms are so varied, making a diagnosis can be a problem. To make matters worse, Feline Leukemia has a long incubation period. This means that cats may test positive and seem completely normal. Also, it is possible that a cat illness may not be caused by Feleuk, in spite of a positive test.
In many cases, cats will have an infection that is slow to respond to therapy. If they recover, these episodes will recur some what randomly until they succumb to their illness. This may last for months or even years with some cats living a long time.
You should vaccinate your cat for Feline Leukemia if it gets outdoors regardless of the length of duration.