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Hi- I know the debate over this vaccine has rounded this forum on a few occasions. Just wondering what the current thoughts are? It's been a very wet spring and I do want my pup to swim in the lake at our cottage. I was thinking of maybe just waiting until next spring when she's 1 and getting it alone (the booster too.)
 

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There isn't a right answer -- and people who live in a black and white world where there's very low lepto risk tend to get hysterical about the vaccine without understanding the risk of death lepto poses for those of us in high-risk areas. I would encourage you to focus on what's going on in your local environment -- ask your vet if he or she is seeing lepto cases, and to check whether colleagues at other clinics are (vets talk about these things at continuing ed events, so your vet is likely to be quite well-informed of what diseases are actually manifesting locally).

It's well documented that lepto cases tend to explode after floods in areas where lepto already exists. That's why there was an epidemic of it in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. However, sometimes in very wet areas, it's just always there (Louisiana).

I live in a very, very high lepto area -- my vet sees it regularly, especially in late Summer/early Fall (a very wet time for us). He's told me that if he were in a world where he had to choose only one vaccine for his patients, it would be lepto because there's so much of it and so many cases aren't caught in time (he sees cases literally from my neighborhood because we have lots of raccoons, foxes and other critters that pee all over the environment our dogs walk in). I have met people who bought into the anti-vax hysteria (choosing not to vaccinate because of what they read on the Internet), whose dogs died of it -- I vividly recall one lady sobbing at an adoption event as she told me the story of her beloved GSD dying of kidney failure because of that choice. The guilt she lived with was very painful.

My vet has not seen a single lepto case in a vaccinated dog. So while there's lots of Internet musing about the vaccine not being useful because of the many strains of lepto that exist worldwide, it's covering the most common ones very effectively in my region of the U.S. Clinical experience is simply not supporting the claim that it doesn't effectively cover what dogs are encountering in their environment in high-lepto areas.

You will also likely encounter anti-vax people who will try to tell you it's treatable with simple antibiotics. They've probably never actually treated a lepto dog...but think they know. Before you accept their advice, ask them how many lepto dogs they've successfully taken through this treatment that they claim is so easy! The real problem is that the "easy" treatment window is in the very early stage of the disease, and its symptoms are so vague that most people aren't worried enough about them to get the dog into the vet to run bloodwork and check kidney function early. So by the time the symptoms are bad enough to get to the vet, your dog might already be in kidney failure -- and then you're looking at thousands of dollars of intensive intervention, a high mortality rate, and life-long kidney damage if it survives.

OTOH, if nobody ever sees a lepto case in your area, and you live in an urban area without wildlife to bring it in....it might be totally unnecessary.

My dogs get a stand-alone 4-way lepto vaccine that's separated from anything else by about 3 weeks. That simple step can lower the risk of vaccine reaction.
 

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I give it annually. I also do as Magwart posted above - separate it from the other vaccines.

You should critically evaluate your environment and your lifestyle. Do your dogs drink from random water sources - does wildlife come through your yard, or live there - do you hike often - do you travel - do your dogs come into contact with random animals - where do you live - what do other dog owners in your immediate locale think?

If you choose not to vaccinate against it, it's probably prudent to make sure you don't increase your dog's risk factors. No drinking from random puddles, no slurping out of streams, keep them away from random animals, be mindful when you travel, and don't let them off leash where they can get into any of the above.
 

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One of my primary activities with my dogs is hiking in the foothills and mountains of Colorado. There are constant streams and preventing drinking from them is impossible.

They get the lepto vaccine yearly.
 

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I treat mine the same way Magwart does AND the day after the lepto my dogs are kept inside, unworked, and monitored--never had a problem but I don't want any stress on their systems afterwards. I generally give mine in July as the peak here is August/September...being working SAR dogs they are in all kinds of water and it is not just drinking the water, it can make it into cuts and infect them that way plus I have an outdoor cat who kills a good many rodents.
 

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I know someone in the SF Bay Area whose vet insisted they get the vaccine. Then their breeder got upset with them for giving it to their dog. I assume the vet must see cases or they would not insist on it.
 

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as someone whose dog got Lepto, I do know the risks. Karlo survived it after over 10K and two weeks at a university vet hospital, but had permanent kidney damage, I got four more blessed years with him.
I vaccinate for it now, and give an anti-vaccinosis remedy for all shots. My current dog has a strong immune system, and I will vaccinate my puppy after he gets older for it. Give it alone, without other vaccines. I think the vax is safer for larger breeds compared to smaller dogs. There have been many dogs diagnosed recently with the wet environment, it isn't worth the risk to not vaccinate if your dog is hiking, tracking or just out and about....so many critters carry the bacteria.
 

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Not many Lepto cases in NorCal, Bay Area but I am concerned and may revisit soon.
A former flyball teammate almost lost her dog to lepto a couple of years ago (ACD). Cannon spent several weeks at UC Davis, and the total vet bill was between $25,000 and $30,000. He survived and returned to racing, as well as participating in other sports such as dock diving but it was touch and go for quite a while and they were only able to cover the cost through numerous fundraisers started by friends. She lives in Hayward. Cava has not yet been vaccinated for lepto, but I plan to do so soon.
 

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A former flyball teammate almost lost her dog to lepto a couple of years ago (ACD). Cannon spent several weeks at UC Davis, and the total vet bill was between $25,000 and $30,000. He survived and returned to racing, as well as participating in other sports such as dock diving but it was touch and go for quite a while and they were only able to cover the cost through numerous fundraisers started by friends. She lives in Hayward. Cava has not yet been vaccinated for lepto, but I plan to do so soon.
Yeah, it's been 1.5 years, better get it done. We train and hike all over the place. My vet said he hasn't seen any cases in my town though.
 

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What I wonder is if once a year is actually enough. The vaccine efficacy is strongest for only about 6 months and, even then, it does not cover all the strains
 

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What I wonder is if once a year is actually enough. The vaccine efficacy is strongest for only about 6 months and, even then, it does not cover all the strains
and that is one reason it is a controversial vaccination(not to mention the side effects that some dogs have, and some have died). The novibac vaccine in the UK has killed so many dogs, yet it is still on the market and vets push it.
My vet said the Pfizer one is safest in his experience. I think my dog got the Muriel manufactured one.
 

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There's a "season" for lepto in the places where it's endemic. By talking with your vet, you can time your annual booster so that your dog has maximum protection in effect during peak season.


In Louisiana, I also have done an extra booster some years when we've been hit by a hurricane or other major flooding, if we're more than 6 months out from the last lepto vaccine when the disaster hits. That doesn't happen very often, luckily. It's just being realistic about how severe the risk is in those weeks and months after the floodwaters recede. It's perhaps something for people in flood-ravaged areas of the Midwest to think about (and talk with vets about) this year.
 

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I get lepto for my dogs as we spend a lot of time down the river where there is lots of wildlife. I did not know that some areas are harder hit than others. Is there some type of a map for these areas?
 
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