A paradigm shift to leptospirosis as a small dog disease

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Lack of vaccinations, awareness, and other factors causing the landscape of leptospirosis to continue to evolve

Content sponsored by Merck Animal Health

Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: There’s been like this paradigm shift that we were just talking before we were filming that this is a small dog disease. And why do you think that is now?

Yasmine Mortsakis, DVM: Well, I think, you know, unfortunately, rodent rat populations are just increasing. And I think that, you know, people weren't aware in the cities of vaccinating against this, and there wasn't like that push to do it. And, you know, we think about puddles of water and things like that. But it doesn't have to be like some ginormous puddle of water, it could be, you know, a little bit of water on the street and a dog sniffs that. It's mucous membranes, right? So it's not just that they're drinking it. It can go in through the nose. So if they're sniffing it, if there's a little cut on the bottom of the pollen, they just happen to walk through a little bit of urine. And again, there are asymptomatic dogs that are shedding it, as well. And so I think, you know, and the populations of dogs in our urban environments has grown, which is amazing. And I think it's awesome. But, you know, just the density of dogs and rat population all together, living happily, you know.

Kathryn Primm, DVM, CVPM: So I mean, why wouldn't you vaccinate? I mean, that's my question. Why wouldn't you vaccinate for it?

Yasmine Mortsakis, DVM: And I think that, you know, people just weren't educating, you know, their clients of like, "Hey, your small dog is at risk." You know, I think people thought, like, "Well, I'm not around possums or raccoons, and you know, the country. Why do I need this?" And, you know, it turns out...And I think it's a pretty easy education piece for our clients. I mean, we just are pretty much like, "They're rats, and it's transmitted in urine, and you can get it," and that's kind of the end of the education piece. They're like, "Okay, great." It's just you need three pictures, right? Rats, urine, you, and then like that's it. So we're good.

Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Let's talk about the vaccine itself, too. So Dr Primm what does it mean, when you have a vaccine that has VacciPure filtration, when I ask both of you about this? What does that mean, and why is it important?

Kathryn Primm, DVM, CVPM: Well, I think it's important, and we've kind of talked a little bit, but in in the olden days, when I first graduated from veterinary school, lepto vaccines were not as good. And I remember seeing a lot of puffed up faces, and it sort of stood out to me as a baby vet. I'm doing something to these pets, and they're coming back. It makes me look bad, you know, and now the vaccines are just so much better. And I think it's because of things like VacciPure here, because it takes out, you know, filters out some of the proteins and some of the things that are stimulating bad things. And I, again, I want to knock on wood, but I haven't seen a vaccine reaction in a really long time from any of my vaccines, because I use all the really pure ones. And you know, the best that's available.

Jenifer Chatfield, DVM, DACZM, DACVPM: Yeah, so a little bit of trivia, I don't want to nerd out, but do you know what you feed lepto? For it to grow? Does anybody know? Like, if you were gonna have a canned filled lepto, and you wanted to feed it in for it to grow? Well, you feed it cow albumin, right? Cattle protein. So you can imagine that if you didn't get all of that out, and then you stuck it in a dog, the dog system might not appreciate it, right? I mean, especially my French bulldog. Her system didn't like it, if it wasn't her idea. They're almost like cats. So I think once that was determined, and technology was developed in order to further purify and get those giant protein hunks out, then I think we saw that adverse reaction rate drop off. And indeed we have, right, so the latest data...sorry, let me be cool. The latest metadata, looking at vaccine adverse reaction rates, you know, they had, I don't know, just at one and a half million dogs, over 3 million doses of vaccine that they analyzed. And having lepto in the vaccine was not considered a risk factor for an adverse reaction of any kind, not just the systemic ones that we're thinking about with the puffed up faces, you know, like you describe lots of swollen faces, and the vomiting and diarrhea with, you know, hemorrhagic hiarrhea. But just like a little swelling at the tissue side, or itching at the site, even those when they're included, there was just over 4000 of those at 3 million doses. And so, there were things that were found to be contributors or risk factors. And so having them separate the vaccines, the more vaccines you give on a single day, increases your risk slightly, just statistically. Which makes sense, right? Which is why when when pet owners want to separate the vaccines, I'm like, "Okay, it's your nickel, you know, if you want to come on back, we'll do it. I don't care. But be sure you come back." That's always our fear. And so I do it both ways. Sometimes I separate it. Sometimes I don't. And I don't worry. I can't help but take a deep breath for the 2-lb Pomeranian when I'm vaccinating for everything all at once.

Kathryn Primm, DVM, CVPM: You're like how far apart can I go? I can only go that far.

Jenifer Chatfield, DVM, DACZM, DACVPM: And like you, it's been a very long time since I've seen a vaccine reaction of any kind. So, yeah, so I get more comfortable with it.

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