Lepto 4 Vaccine Killing Dogs? Is It Really True?

Leptospirosis is one of those illnesses that isn’t very prevalent and typically doesn’t cause death…but it could.

The Lepto 4 vaccine was designed to guard against a potentially fatal bacterial illness, but recent research raises concerns that it might really be having the opposite effect.

This article will go through the risks associated with the Lepto 4 vaccination, the symptoms to watch out for, and what pet owners can do to safeguard their animals.

What Is Leptospirosis Vaccine?

The lepto vaccine protects dogs against leptospirosis which is caused by Leptospira bacteria. It is frequently found in soil, water, and food all around the world. Dogs can become infected while playing with other animals, including domestic, farm, and wild animals.

The leptospirosis vaccine is manufactured by Nobivac MSD animal health, a Merck subsidiary. There are two vaccines available: Nobivac Lepto 2 covers two serovars, and Nobivac Lepto 4 covers four serovars.

Leptospirosis can affect both humans and animals, though it rarely spreads from a pet to a human.

Leptospirosis has a good probability of being cured if detected early and treated with antibiotics. However, the lepto vaccine can prevent your dog from ever contracting or transmitting the disease although it is not 100% effective.

How does Lepto 4 Vaccine vaccine work?

The lepto vaccine comprises a weakened form of the bacteria. It permits the immune system of the dog to produce antibodies against it. Antibodies assist your dog’s immune system in fighting disease. However, your dog does not become ill as a result of the lepto vaccine.

The first time your dog receives the leptospirosis vaccine, he or she will require two shots. Two to four weeks following the first dose, your dog will receive a second injection from your veterinarian. The lepto vaccination can be given to puppies as young as 8 to 12 weeks old.

Only a few different leptospira bacteria species are currently protected by the lepto vaccination. However, the vaccine’s overall level of protection does reduce your dog’s risk of contracting leptospirosis.

Is the Lepto 4 Vaccine Killing Dogs Fact True?

Lepto 4 vaccination has been connected to numerous dog fatalities. Severe vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, and possibly death are signs of Lepto 4 toxicity in dogs.

It is very rare for a dog to die after receiving a Lepto 4 vaccine. However, many factors contribute to the death of a dog after receiving a lepto 4 vaccine like an underlying health condition, allergies, or administering more than one vaccine on the same day.

According to research, this vaccine can cause liver toxicity in dogs, which can result in organ failure and death. Healthy dogs who have a high risk of developing Lepto 4 should receive the Lepto 4 vaccine. If your dog has an underlying condition but is at a high risk of getting Leptospirosis, you should discuss with your vet other options. Overall, both for L2 and L4 vaccination formulations, there are very few reported suspected adverse effects.

For every 10,000 doses supplied, less than 2 adverse reactions for L2 and less than 7 for L4 have been reported to the Veterinary Medicines Directorate.

 Before administering the Lepto 4 vaccinations, owners must speak with their veterinarian. If your dog has previously received the Lepto 4 vaccine, it’s crucial to keep an eye out for any risky side effects and seek medical attention immediately.

Which Pets Are Likely to Have Vaccination Reactions?

Research by Moore et al. that examined more than 1 million dog medical data from more than 350 different animal hospitals was published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association in October 2005. According to this study, there were 13 vaccination reactions for every 10,000 doses of administered vaccine or around one in every 250 dogs.

Small breed male dogs that were young adults (aged 1-3 years) and neutered were the group most at risk for a response. The possibility of a vaccine reaction decreased with a dog’s size. Unsurprisingly, the likelihood of response increased if more vaccinations were administered at once.   

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How Does A Dog Get The Lepto Virus & How Does It Spread?

Leptospirosis is spread by wild animals such as rats, raccoons, opossums, skunks, squirrels, and deer and is present in lakes, streams, puddles, dirt, and other areas where they may urinate. But this does not imply that the only dogs who can be exposed are those who lick up puddles or swim in lakes! Any dog that frequently goes outside could be infected with this illness.

Leptospirosis vaccination for dogs is currently not necessary, although it is strongly advised for any dog that frequently goes outside, even just to use the restroom in the backyard.

Although it may initially appear that small breed dogs and dogs living in cities are at a lower risk, these animals are the ones who are diagnosed with leptospirosis the most frequently in veterinary hospitals! It’s crucial to realize that even if your dog has had the necessary vaccinations, there is no 100% assurance that it will not acquire leptospirosis.

Only a few of the several variants of the Leptospira bacteria that cause leptospirosis are now protected by the vaccine. The danger of your dog contracting leptospirosis does, however, decrease with vaccination.

How Often Do Dogs Need The Lepto Vaccine?

To maintain its efficacy, the canine leptospirosis vaccine needs annual boosters. The vaccination can be given to a dog either separately or in addition to the DAPP (distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus, and parainfluenza virus) vaccine.

A dog should get a Lepto booster in two to four weeks after receiving the initial dose of the vaccine. If a dog has previously received the vaccine but is far overdue for their annual booster, this initial booster plan may be repeated.

Puppies can receive the Leptospirosis vaccine, usually starting at 12 weeks and receiving a booster at 16 weeks. After that, booster shots per year are advised.

Can Leptospirosis Spread to People and Other Pets?

Leptospira spirochete bacteria is zoonotic, which means it can spread from an infected animal to people and other animals. The likelihood of children contracting the bacterium from an infected pet is higher.

Both people and animals can be affected while still having no symptoms. Your veterinarian will handle your pet with extra caution, and they strongly advise you to do the same. 

Symptoms of Leptospirosis in Dogs

  • ever (high temperature)
  • Jaundice (yellow gums and eyes)
  • Muscle pain and limping
  • Weakness and collapse
  • A reduced appetite
  • Drinking more
  • Vomiting
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Bleeding from the mouth and eyes
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Yellow skin and/or whites of eyes (anemic symptoms)
  • Spontaneous cough
  • Difficulty breathing, fast breathing, irregular pulse
  • Runny nose
  • Swelling of the mucous membrane
  • Mild swelling of the lymph nodes
  • Shivering
  • Depression

What are the side effects of the lepto vaccine for dogs?

Dogs can have moderate adverse effects like discomfort at the injection site and some tiredness. The lepto vaccination can cause an adverse reaction in a small percentage of dogs.

Call your veterinarian if you experience any of the following adverse reactions after receiving the lepto vaccine:

  • Hives
  • Swollen face
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy

How else can I prevent my dog from getting leptospirosis?

In addition to vaccinations, it’s critical to limit your dog’s exposure to potential bacterial breeding grounds. Watch where your dog is playing or spending time.

Leptospira often infects dogs in the following ways:

  • Having the bacteria contact their mouth, nose, or an open wound\
  • Contact with dirt or water after being exposed to animal pee that has been contaminated
  • Eating or drinking contaminated food or water
  • Using contaminated bedding
  • Being bitten by an animal that is infected

Remember that streams and puddles might contain leptospira bacteria, especially during the warmer months. Bring your own water bowl when spending time with other dogs at the dog park or during events. Do not use the shared water bowl.

What to do During Reaction After Vaccination

You should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible if your pet is experiencing a reaction that is more severe than just a general feeling of unease or soreness. Anti-inflammatory injections can be used to stop the inflammatory cascade before it spirals out of control and becomes hazardous. After your pet has had a vaccination, make sure you know who to contact in case of complications.

Vomiting could signal a dangerous reaction that is about to happen or something as simple as car sickness. Immediately notify your veterinarian if you see vomiting.

How Do Veterinarians Test Dogs for Leptospirosis?

Give your veterinarian a complete medical history of your dog, detailing any past symptoms, current activity, and any potential triggers for this disease. Your dog’s history may give your vet hints about the stage of infection your dog is suffering and which organs are most severely impacted.

Your veterinarian is going to request a:

  • Chemical blood profile
  • Complete blood count
  • Urinalysis
  • Electrolyte panel
  • Fluorescent antibody urine test

To determine the bacterial prevalence, blood and urine cultures will also be requested. The body’s immune reaction to the infection will be assessed using a titer test, which checks for the presence of antibodies in the bloodstream. By doing so, the presence of Leptospira spirochetes and the severity of systemic illness can be positively identified.

Preventing Future Vaccine Reactions

What should you do the next time a pet is due for immunization after they experience a vaccine reaction? Several preventative measures can be taken:

Inform Your Vet Of Any History Of Reactions After Vaccination

Naturally, if you are aware that your pet has previously experienced vaccine reactions, be sure to let the vet know so that the appropriate premedication can be administered. Do not wait to tell the professionals that there has been a history of reaction after the immunizations have been administered. It’s also very helpful to know what the reaction was like; a little lethargicness, localized discomfort, or a low temperature are all considered to be typical reactions to immunization and don’t amount to much of a reaction. 

Don’t administer multiple vaccinations at once.

You should not separate vaccines by less than two weeks since they may interact with one another. However, by spacing out vaccine administration, your pet may experience less stimulation at once. It is easier to identify the problematic vaccine when vaccination is broken up. If you can, try to space out any vaccinations that are due by at least 3 to 4 weeks. Although it may seem alluring to ask for half dosages to lessen immunological stimulation, this is not a viable choice since it will not result in full vaccination.

Be prepared to pay additional fees for pre-treatments and/or observation.

Antihistamines and corticosteroids can be administered to prevent allergic responses, and a reactive pet can still be vaccinated normally. Despite the medication, it is generally advised that the pet be watched for the remainder of the day after vaccinations for safety. Before administering the vaccines, give the pre-medications extra time to take action. For advice, talk to your veterinarian.

The Facts About The Lepto Vaccine

The vaccine doesn’t really work all that well

The American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA) issues a warning that 30% of dogs do not respond to the vaccine at all.

Dr. Richard Goldstein, Chief of Medicine, stated that the vaccination “appears” to function but acknowledges that this is based on data supplied by the company that manufactures the vaccine.  

The vaccine can actually cause lepto

Numerous incidents of dogs having lepto after receiving the vaccine have been reported. Additionally, in the Canine Health Concern vaccine survey, 100% of the dogs who developed leptospirosis did so shortly after receiving the disease-prevention vaccine.

The vaccine only protects against a few serovars

There are around 300 distinct lepto serovars. And just four of them—Leptospira canicola, Grippotyphosa, Icterohaemorrhagiae, and Pomona bacterin—are covered by the vaccine.

Are There Alternatives To The Lepto Vaccine?

A veterinarian may advise omitting one or more vaccinations in some circumstances, such as when a dog has previously experienced severe vaccine reactions. Unfortunately, this doesn’t make the possibility of infection disappear. It is necessary to consider the dangers and benefits for each particular dog.

For dogs who may benefit from limited vaccination, your veterinarian may propose measuring titers, a blood test that determines the level of antibodies or protection your dog has against a specific disease. These can be rechecked annually to see when a dog’s defenses are waning and when they require a booster. Unfortunately, this approach isn’t always 100 percent accurate.

A dog owner can modify their dog’s lifestyle to some level to reduce the danger of leptospirosis. Unfortunately, if your dog goes outside at all, even only to wander on city streets or in parks, the risk cannot be completely eliminated.

Should Your Dog Avoid the Leptospirosis Vaccine?

Leptospirosis vaccination for dogs is regarded as a “non-core” vaccination which means it is optional. However, is it optional for your specific pet? We recommend every dog receive a lepto vaccination. In addition to the potentially lethal nature of leptospirosis, the cost of treating this preventable condition can run into the thousands of dollars, with the high end including those dogs that need dialysis due to kidney failure.

Despite the fact that the lepto vaccinations can protect against up to four different leptospirosis bacteria, including canicola, grippotyphosa, icterohemorrhagica, and pomona, it’s still crucial to be aware that there are roughly 15 different strains that can potentially cause problems for dogs. This means that receiving a vaccination does not completely certain that your dog won’t contract the disease.

Nevertheless, the benefits of vaccination generally outweigh the cons, especially in regions with seasons of humid weather and mild temperatures.

Additionally, there are vaccines available for the most prevalent lepto bacteria that affect dogs. The vaccine significantly lowers a dog’s risk of contracting leptospirosis.

Finally, there is the issue of lepto’s zoonotic potential to consider. Your children, your pet, or you might get it from your dog. Even while you probably don’t think of yourself as ever touching your dog’s urine, you could come into contact with the harmful bacteria that your pet excretes if you are gardening or bathing your dog. 

It’s important talking to your vet about whether or not your dog needs a yearly lepto vaccine.

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