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The Health Committee - Lepto Warning


By: Julie McClure

First, I hope all members, their beloved families and four-legged friends all had a wonderful Holiday season and are enjoying the New Year. Let's hope that this year will bring about more members to our newfound club and that we can all teach at least one new person that a Manchester is not a miniature Doberman. (ha ha.)

Seriously, though, education is the key to helping the public understand what our breed is, it's rich and long history and what it's all about. It's also just as important to understand Health issues so that we are more intuned with the health, welfare and condition of our dogs.

Since this is my first report and I'm a bit green around the ears to know what to say, I'll start with a simple report, so that there is plenty of room for improvement as time goes by. If I start off with a big bang, there is nowhere for me to slide, but down. I would like to inform you about a bit of a health scare here in my own neighbourhood, (around the greater Toronto, Ontario area). My vet was recently telling me about a mini-epidemic of liver disorders. He also told me that he had spoken with colleagues outside my area and they too have found larger numbers than usual of the same or similar problems with their clients. It would seem that the dogs are contracting a form of Leptospirosis and the vet had lost a few of them. They have reported about 20 cases over the past 3 or 4 months with about 1/3 of that number either dying from the disease, or becoming so ill, that they needed to be put down. That is a drastic amount of ill dogs. Lepto used to be very common in the first boosters that your puppy receves, but many vets have chosen not to include this in their vaccine for young puppies. Rightly so, since there seemed to be a decline in the numbers of Lepto cases over the past couple of decades. Yet, now it would seem that it's back with a vengeance. Apparently, this disease is picked up from your dog drinking water from puddles, ponds, creeks etc. where wild animals have urinated or dropped feces. Deer, racoon, rabbits, and rodents are simple examples of animals that we frequently see in our areas. If they urinate near a water source, it won't take long for the water to seep into the creeks, streams and ponds in the fields, or in our yards. All it takes for your dog to contract Leptospirosis is for him/her to drink that tainted water and they can become ill to the point of death. Let's be careful now that we know a bit more about Leptospirosis and it's sudden resurgence. Please, talk to your vet about protection for your dogs and see for yourselves if there have been new cases in your respective areas. With the large number of dogs in my area, I'm a bit worried. We live on a farm, with plenty of creeks etc. to drink from. I'm going to make sure my vet will add the Lepto part of the vaccine to my dog's regular boosters. (I'm sure it won't take much convincing, he probably has already done it.)

If any of you members out there have any health concerns or learn of something that should be put in our newsletter, please let me know and we will get on the job right away!!!