Leptospirosis – Lepto – has been call the killer vaccine because it is the #1 cause of serious reactions in small dogs.
Small dogs like Morkies should have fewer shots, less often according to experts in the animal care business, including the venerable AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association).
The AAHA is the only organization that accredits veterinary practices in the United States and Canada, and sets the standard for quality animal care.
The AAHA specifically advises that the Leptospirosis vaccination is “not recommended” for any dogs. The ASPCA also recommends against this vaccination, even for shelter dogs, often at more risk. (See p. 23 in the ASPCA report)
The Lepto vaccine is the “L” is combo shots and it’s highly recommended that you skip it for your small dog.
What is Lepto or Leptospirosis?
Sometimes called Swamp Fever or Rat Catcher’s Yellow, Lepto symptoms include fever, muscle pain, vomiting and diarrhea, poor appetite, lethargy, depression, and sometimes blood in the urine.
In more serious cases, the dog may be jaundiced – Lepto can attack the liver and kidneys. (This is hard to see in a dog – but look for a yellowing of his gums.)
So why not get this vaccination?
The disease doesn’t sound very pleasant but there are a couple of key things to remember in assessing it for your Morkie…. First, there are over 100 strains of Leptospirosis and the vaccine protects against only 4.
Second, dogs who run free in rural environments – such as hunting dogs – drinking deep from local streams and ponds, are most likely to catch the disease. Does your Morkie go on long hikes, camp deep in the woods or have wilderness adventures? Hmmmm, probably not.
Third, even if your Morkie were to contract this disease, it’s usually successfully treated at home. Extreme cases might require a stay in the vet’s offices for dehydration and more meds to be cured.
The lepto shot can cause many more problems for small dogs than it claims to protect against.
It’s up to you – your Morkie’s guardian – to decide
Even if your vet strongly advises this vaccination, I would take time to think twice and do some more research. There is NOT a epidemic in Lepto – today’s tests are more accurate in identifying it, that’s all.
Plus Big Pharma companies who produce the vaccine are always on the look out for ways to grow business by extending the range of vaccinations available for pets. And that is very, very big business!
For more on Lepto and small dogs, please visit these sites:
- More about Lepto from Jan Rasmussen (against most vaccines);
- Why Drug Makers Are Targeting Your Pet;
- The Lepto Vaccine: Why Vets Give It Yearly;
- Leptospirosis Vaccine and Kidney Failure In Dogs; and finally,
- One site aimed at Vets – Veterinary Team Brief – that warns vets to continue to actively press their clients to give dogs the leptospirosis vaccine — and how to “sell it.”
You can also read this great book at Amazon.com – STOP THE SHOTS: ARE VACCINATIONS KILLING OUR PETS? by John Clifton.