Warm weather brings new health threats for your pets

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- Warmer weather brings an increase in heat-related health problems with our pets.

The heat means there are some additional hazards. Your vet might have told you about leptospirosis, but what is it?

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that actually can be found in most animals including livestock and wildlife. It's passed through their urine into water sources where it can survive for long periods of time.

Ponds, lakes, stagnant water surfaces and even moist soil can harbor the bacteria. So your dog can become infected by drinking, swimming in or walking through contaminated water.

The bacteria enters his body through cuts in his skin or through his eyes, nose and mouth.

Symptoms of lepto include flu-like problems for Fido that include:

  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness and lethargy
  • Jaundice of the gums and eyes

If untreated, lepto can lead to kidney or liver failure. And people can get leptospirosis too. The best news - prevention is protection.

So if possible, avoid letting your dog drink or play in standing water. And practice good sanitation like hand-washing and bathing after possible exposure.

Even better, see your veterinarian about vaccinating your dog especially if your summer plans include taking Fido to areas where livestock, wildlife and standing water are prevalent, like lakes.

Dogs love to play in water, so if your plans include heading to a lake or areas where there are ponds or hiking, get 'em vaccinated against lepto.