Pet of the Month: Oscar

Oscar is a very sweet, young, 4-year old Morkie who showed up at Markham Veterinary Clinic feeling unwell last October: he had lost his appetite, was vomiting and very dehydrated. 

Blood and urine testing revealed that he had kidney failure causing a buildup of toxins in his body. Oscar was quickly hospitalized on IV while we awaited further testing to figure out why. A battery of tests revealed the cause: Oscar tested positive for several different strains of leptospirosis.

Leptospirosis is a zoonotic, bacterial disease transmitted most commonly through the urine of wildlife (especially rats and raccoons). Dogs and humans are exposed to contaminated water and soil outside, as the bacteria can survive for months in moist soil. It is challenging to diagnose and causes organ damage in affected animals. Treatment for leptospirosis is very intensive. Oscar was transferred to a 24 hour critical care facility where he stayed for 7 days before he was finally able to go home.

The best prevention for this deadly disease is vaccination. The vaccine will protect against several of the many different strains of leptospirosis that exist and is strongly recommended for dogs that spend time outdoors. Wildlife is present throughout the suburbs; it was in his own Markham backyard that Oscar contracted the disease.

Today, Oscar is doing well and has put this scary ordeal behind him. He is a strong little dog who is as tough as he is cute and we are all so happy he is feeling better! 

By Dr. Cathy Leung

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