Your pet may have been cared for and always kept clean. But when walking out of the house, your pet could be infected with leptospirosis from other animals, or from contaminated soil and water.
Leptospirosis is a disease caused by leptospira bacteria, bacteria that can cause infections in animals and humans.
Transmission and Symptoms of Leptospirosis
Humans are at risk of becoming infected with leptospirosis when handling soil or water that has been contaminated with urine or blood of animals infected with leptospires. Leptospira bacteria can enter the body through mucous membranes or mucous layers in the nose, mouth, eyes and skin, or in open sores. You can also be infected with leptospires if you consume water contaminated with this bacteria.
Symptoms that appear in leptospirosis can mimic flu symptoms, such as headaches, fever, and muscle aches. In addition, leptospirosis symptoms can also include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and rashes.
While in cases of severe or severe leptospirosis, symptoms can occur in the form of chest pain, cardiac arrhythmias, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes), swelling of the feet and hands, tightness, to coughing up blood. Severe leptospirosis, also called Weil’s disease, must be treated immediately. If left untreated, it can cause complications, it can even cause death.
Beware of Leptospirosis in Pets
Leptospirosis usually spreads through the urine of infected animals. This urine can contaminate water or soil. When contaminated water or soil comes in contact with eyes, mouth, nose, or open sores in humans, it will cause infection. Ingestion of contaminated water or bites of animals (for example rats) can also cause leptospira infections in humans.
Groups of animals that often transmit leptospirosis are pigs, dogs, cows, and some types of mice. Therefore, the people who are most at risk of being infected with leptosipra are those who often come into contact with these animals. Likewise with someone who likes to do water sports and is often in rivers or lakes.
In Indonesia, leptospirosis also often occurs during floods, because these puddles can carry the urine of infected animals. What’s more, this disease is more common in subtropical and tropical regions, like in Indonesia.
Animals infected with leptospirosis can show symptoms such as not eating, diarrhea, fever, vomiting, stiffness, and weakness. If your pet has any of these conditions, consult a veterinarian immediately. If not treated immediately, these animals can transmit bacteria that can infect for months, even years later.
Ways to Prevent Leptospirosis Infection
The following are ways to manage and prevent the risk of contracting leptospirosis that can be life-threatening, both for pets and humans:
- Always wash your hands after coming into contact with animals.
- Don’t let your pet chase or eat wild mice that may roam around the house. Rats and other rodents can carry leptospirosis.
- Although it does not protect up to 100%, but still give antileptospirosis vaccine to animals as a preventive measure.
- When an animal looks sick, avoid touching urine or blood from the animal before you check it with the vet. Wear gloves when you are about to carry or move it.
- After review, make sure your animal consumes all the drugs the doctor gives until it runs out.
- Use antibacterial cleaning products when cleaning the surface of objects or floors that may be infected with urine of animals diagnosed with leptospirosis.
- Avoid wallowing, especially swimming in lakes or rivers that may be contaminated with urine from animals infected with leptospirosis.
- Wear covered footwear when walking on the ground or crossing puddles for which you are not sure of cleanliness.
- Wear protective equipment when touching animals, such as gloves when touching or processing animals. This also applies when you process animal meat. Immediately clean animal blood or urine stains that may be attached to your clothes and equipment.
The thing to remember, animals or humans do not necessarily experience certain symptoms after infection. A person can only feel these symptoms within two days to a month after the infection occurs. Generally this disease can be treated with antibiotics. But in some cases, leptospirosis patients need to get intensive care in a hospital.