Jump to content
BC Boards

Vaccination for Lepto

Sue R

Recommended Posts

I have been vaccinating my dogs with Lepto Vax 4 annually for some time now, since Denise Wall posted about her Mick and his bout with Lepto. Other stockdog friends do the same, I know.


We live on a farm and frequent other "rural" places - our dogs have interaction in one way or another with livestock, wildlife (through droppings and urine, if nothing else), and all sorts of "natural" water (streams, ponds, puddles). This sort of situation is the one I understand puts dogs at greatest exposure to the Lepto bacteria, which may well not be a risk for urban/suburban and other pet/companion dogs with little exposure to the outdoors outside their own yards or walking around the neighborhood on sidewalks or rail-trails.


Here is an article I read that made me think again about the vaccination protocol I follow (which is rabies as required by state law; Lepto Vax 4 annually; and a broad-spectrum vaccination about every third year once the puppy series is over). The link is here.


I'm interested in hearing other people's opinions/comments/experiences.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sue, thanks for the link.


I myself do no vac. after the 2 puppy shots. They get 1, yes, one Rabies (I know, but they are *my* dogs) and that's it. The research is better and better and to publicly state they (lepto vac) cause the problem is enough for me.


Now, I am in no way minimizing what Denise & Mick have gone through, it was and still is awful, I just think it needs to be looked at individually and not as a whole.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This sort of situation is the one I understand puts dogs at greatest exposure to the Lepto bacteria, which may well not be a risk for urban/suburban and other pet/companion dogs with little exposure to the outdoors outside their own yards or walking around the neighborhood on sidewalks or rail-trails.


There is likely to be a higher concentration of rats in town than in the country. No room for complacency.


I live on the edge of a small town right by a stream and canal. Rats have nested in our garden. My dogs have had Lepto vaccinations yearly all their lives without the slightest ill effect and that's the way it will continue until convinced otherwise. Immunity may be hit and miss depending on strain but I've seen the way it can affect humans and prefer to do what I can.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am one who does not vaccinate for lepto. I don't think the benefit is necessarily worth the risk of giving yet one more vaccine, especially for a bacterial disease. It's the same reason why I don't vaccinate for kennel cough/bordatella. The purported benefits just don't outweigh the risk of one more vaccine, IMO.


I live in the country. My dogs are in puddles, ponds, around wildlife, etc. I think a healthy immune system goes a long way toward preventing dogs from picking up disease, and I also believe that overvaccinating doesn't necessarily result in a healthy immune system. When Twist's pups were born, Farleigh became quite ill. We eventually treated him as if he had lepto, and it turns out that doxycycline is the treatment of choice. I've had to treat several of my dogs for TBDs, so perhaps they're being exposed to lepto and then treated secondary to the TBD treatment.


My vaccine protocols have changed over time as I've educated myself and the science has changed. I pretty much stop with the basic vaccines after a year old and try to give as few puppy vaccines as possible, while trying to cover age ranges that are likely to provide the best immune response to any vaccine given.


I still follow the law on rabies vaccines because we do encounter wildlife and rabies is on the rise in wildlife in this state. Even though I'm pretty confident that vaccinating as often as we do might not be necessary, the alternative, should an unvaccinated dog/cat come into contact with a rabid animal, is unthinkable to me. I have two exceptions here: the 18-y.o. cat who doesn't leave her perch in the house and the elderly dog with an immune system cancer. Again, for me it's a calculated risk that those two individuals are unlikely to come into contact with a rabid animal.


Anyway, back to lepto. I think it's possible that people whose dogs aren't around them most of the time might miss early stages of a disease (any disease, including lepto), with a poorer outcome, but for people who are around their dogs all the time and quick to notice when the dog isn't quite right, I would think that in general lepto would be caught early enough to be readily treated. It's a risk I'm willing to take.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Glad to see this conversation and hear what others think. I'm fairly tormented on the subject of vaccinations. I feel like there are not many clear choices here and any choice I make has potential bad ramifications for my dogs. So I make the best, informed choice I can and hope for the best while trying not to worry about the worst. I live in suburban type setting with the normal variety of wild life.


Lepto in particular scares me but I am also very nervous of the vaccine having had my Lhasa respond badly to the one time he got that shot and knowing a number of other dogs (mostly puppies) who had bad responses. So he gets Rabies and distemper/parvo/etc. on a three year schedule (not the same year) but no Lepto. Quinn (Nature Boy) gets no vaccinations other than rabies every three years. He spent the first 2 1/2 years of his life with a compromised immune system and continual GI and lung issues. For over 4 years, he's done great (knock wood) on a homemade diet with supplements and under the care of a holistic vet. The 13 year old Sheltie only gets 3 year Rabies vaccine.


And I worry about all of them, hoping my choices will not bring them to harm.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The problem with this article is that all lepto vaccines are considered equivalent when efficacy and safety (adverse reactions) were evaluated and discussed; however, there are several versions of the lepto vaccine with different properties. Additionally there are several serovars of lepto and either 2 or 4 are represented in the available vaccines; not all serovars are covered by any of the vaccines.


Like lyme, lepto symptoms are not specific and infected dogs may not show any symptoms (clinically insignificant)


Merck Vet Manual.

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 hemorrhage, uveitis, pneumonitis, chronic hepatitis, and reproductive failure.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...