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Don't Drink the Water - Leptospirosis in Dogs

Views: 12438 - Comments: 11

Megan Brashear, CVT, VTS(ECC), discusses Leptospirosis in dogs including at risk populations, the disease progression, and treatment. Heavy emphasis is placed on proper barrier nursing care and zoonosis.

This talk is specifically RACE-approved for one Technician CE credit.

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Megan Brashear's picture
Megan Brashear


Enrolled: 07/2011

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Megan Brashear's picture

Santiago, the leptospirosis bacteria is killed by bleach, so if you are using bleach in your laundry then all is well. The heat of the drying process will certainly kill the bacteria. I would recommend adding bleach to the laundry of any patient suspected to have leptopsirosis. We separate that laundry out from the rest of the hospital laundry and wash it twice before drying.

Myles Devaney's picture

Great Video, i am new to the field and this most certainly gave me all the necessary information.

Belinda Morton's picture

Hi! This might be a silly question, but can cats get lepto? In my area, the outdoor or indoor/outdoor cats are often known for killing rats and have a chance of drinking dirty water from a neighborhood. If cats can get lepto, would clinical signs and treatment be similar?

Chris Green's picture

Hi Belinda,

It's actually a great question! Although cats can become infected with Lepto, they seldom develop signs of disease and are thus thought to be resistant.

Kimberly  Harper's picture

I have a question about adding bleach to urine. Urine is ammonia based and ammonia and bleach should never be mixed. Is this a concern with the amount of ammonia in urine or is it not a high enough concentration to be significant?

Sarah Harris's picture

Really good question Kimberly. Most mammals have a process of converting their toxic ammonia to a non-toxic urea in their liver. This is really important because ammonia can be a pretty dangerous fume. While small amounts may still be excreted the risk is really quite low. However, we know bleach doesn't always play well with others and even by itself it is a quite caustic chemical that should be handled with caution. Fortunately, when handling lepto urine the bleach is injected into a closed collection system that contains the fumes that can be so irritating to our throats, eyes, and lungs. Additionally, when handling suspected lepto urine, we are wearing gloves, masks, and goggles and working in a well ventilated space. All these things serve a dual purpose of protection from the zoonosis and the irritants we are handling. Hope this helps and keep up the great questions!

Ashlee Bienert's picture

It was mentioned that Lepto can be carried on the fur of the animal. How much of a concern is that as far as transmission to other pets and people? We are extra careful to limit exposure to the urine , but is bathing recommended to remove potential spirochetes on the fur?

Sarah Harris's picture

Hi Ashlee! Leptospirosis can survive for extended periods of time outside of the colonies in the pet, as long as it is living in a moist environment. Anyone who shares an environment with a pet should be considered at risk. If the pet has urine on its fur, it is important for it to be cleaned and kept dry. Until that pet has been on antibiotics more than 48 hours, anyone handling that pet should be wearing appropriate protection, including gloves, goggles and gowns. Adhering to strict hand-washing and environmental cleaning will help keep you or the owners safe from the zoonotic potential.

Holly Hayes's picture

Hi Rose,

Great question! My name is Holly, and I am the Client Engagement Specialists for atdove.

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