Puppy Nearly Dies From Weil’s Disease, Vets Issue Warning to Other Dog Owners

The State family had longed for the perfect family dog.  “We knew we had found our dream dog in Max, a gorgeous Labrador puppy, and he was totally loved and part of our family from the instant we bought him home” says Max’s owner, Claire State.  “When he became poorly it didn’t seem to bad at first” Claire continues, “he was just a little bit out of sorts and vomited up his breakfast.”

Vet at Companion Care Vets in Weston-Super-Mare Robert White-Adams continues “Puppies often suffer a little bit of vomiting and it’s usually nothing serious at all, but with Max it was soon evident that something much more serious was wrong.  Instead of bouncing back after we saw him, as most puppies do, Max got rapidly more poorly.  Just 24 hours later he was jaundiced, dehydrated, and  very poorly indeed.”

Thankfully Max’s family acted quickly in getting him veterinary care, and blood tests confirmed just how ill Max was. Robert continues “Within just one day Max’s kidney and liver function had shut down.  We were fighting to keep him alive. He received intensive treatment from our team and further tests confirmed that he was suffering from a serious infection called Leptosporosis”.

Better known as “Weil’s Disease” (pronounced “Vile’s”), this infection is carried by many types of wildlife, most famously rats and deer, and is transmitted to dogs from contact with wild animal and their urine.  The disease is also highly infectious to humans, usually contracted from swimming in water contaminated with wild animal urine.

Max’s owner Claire continues “We have no idea where Max picked up this infection as we had only had him a few days from his breeder.  He hadn’t even been outside as our Vets advised us to keep him inside until he was old enough to have his vaccinations”.

Companion Care Vets Head Nurse Lisa Owen comments “Max spent a week receiving intensive care in our surgery.  Caring for such an adorable young puppy and knowing he was fighting for his life touched all our staff.  The Practice almost seemed to stand still for a week, and the collective joy we all felt when Max started to improve was only exceeded by the happiness and relief felt by his family.”

Vet Robert comments “This case demonstrates just how easy it can be to pick up this sort of infection.

“Thankfully, Vets have known about the risks of Weil’s disease in dogs for years – and protection against the infection is included with all routine dog vaccinations.  Poor little Max was too young to have been vaccinated yet – but his story should still serve as a warning:  Weil’s Disease does not respect age or breed – all dogs are at risk, not just puppies – and there are few dogs that don’t ever visit areas where wildlife have been.  We believe it is essential that any dog is vaccinated against this disease, both for their own protection, but also for their family around them. Max’s family had done everything right in those first few days, yet poor old Max was still unlucky enough to pick up this infection.  We should also remember that, not only was Max very poorly, had his family not sought such prompt veterinary attention, he could well have spread this serious infection to the humans in his family!”

Claire concludes “At last, a few days ago, the whole family went with Max for his first ‘normal’ puppy visit to the vets – to have his first vaccinations.  It is wonderful that we have nearly reached the day when he can start going outside to meet the world, and start living a normal puppy life.  I can’t describe how great it is to have Max still with us and we strongly urge anyone with an unvaccinated dog to get them vaccinated without delay.”

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