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Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine - Tufts University

May 9, 2022

Dear Friends and Clients of the Foster Hospital,
We are writing to share two important pet safety updates. As always, please contact your primary care veterinarian with all your care questions and concerns.
Vaccinate against leptospirosis bacteria
2022 has already been a particularly warm and wet year, an ideal environment for leptospirosis (lepto) to thrive. The wet months in the spring and fall are normally the time when we see the highest occurrence of lepto in animals, many with kidney damage and possible multiple organ involvement requiring intensive care and treatment (e.g. dialysis).
What is leptospirosis? 

  • Leptospirosis is a disease caused by a bacterium (genus Leptospira) that can adversely affect your dog and be transmitted to humans.

  • Wildlife, including raccoons, skunks, foxes, and rodents (mice, rats, moles), carry these bacteria that are shed in their urine.

  • Dogs can become infected by coming in contact with the urine from wildlife or contaminated water or soil.

  • The disease can rapidly become life-threatening to dogs, targeting kidneys, liver, blood vessels, but also lungs and heart.


How can you protect your dog?
Contact your primary care veterinarian to schedule a vaccination. Your veterinarian is also your resource for further recommendations and assistance.

  • All dogs are considered at risk in our area.

  • The leptospirosis vaccination can prevent disease and will protect your dog from severe illness.

  • Make sure your dog has a current leptospirosis vaccine (two initial doses 2 weeks apart, with a booster once a year thereafter).

NSAIDs intoxication alert

Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine is seeing a continuous increase of toxic dose ingestion of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs. NSAIDs are among the most reported poisonings in pets associated with over-the-counter and prescription medications. The most common NSAIDs causing intoxication are Advil (ibuprofen), Aleve (naproxen) and Rimadyl (carprofen).
What is NSAID intoxication?

  • Dogs generally get exposed to toxic dose ingestion when destroying a bottle of medication or even when finding a single pill on the floor (for small dogs and cats).

  • Depending on the dose, ingestion can rapidly become life-threatening, targeting the gastrointestinal tract, the kidneys, and the brain.

  • No antidote exists. 

  • The only way to remove the toxic dose from a pet’s system is to use a specific type of “dialysis” treatment that cleans the blood from the drug ingested, either through a filter or by removing the part of their blood containing the drug. 

  • These types of treatment cost between $4000-5000 when no complication is encountered and significantly more if complications occur.


How can you protect your dog?

  • Always keep all your medications and your pet’s prescriptions out of reach.

  • The window to intervene is only a couple of hours: if you witnessed your pet getting into any medication, immediately call your primary care veterinarian or an emergency service and follow their direction.

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