We remain open to provide care for your pets. We are following the direction of government and regulatory authorities and have implemented hospital and visit protocols to keep both you and our team safe. For regular updates on our hours and visit protocols, please follow our social media platforms.
Westbridge Veterinary Hospital has received reports of leptospirosis cases from other veterinary hospitals in the GTA. We have compiled some information to help answer any questions you may have.
What is Leptospirosis?
Leptospirosis is an infectious disease of dogs and other mammals that primarily affects the liver and kidneys. It is caused by the bacteria Leptospira. Bacteria are passed in the urine of infected animals and can survive in the environment for long periods of time in moist soil or stagnant water. Wild animals including skunks, raccoons, opossums, rats, wolves, and deer, can all spread the infection. Leptospirosis is very rare in cats and is not generally associated with disease.
What happens once a dog is infected?
Dogs become infected through contact with urine from an infected animal, in the soil or in water – Leptospira can penetrate the soft lining of the nose, mouth, and eyelids, and can also enter the body through sores or scratches on the skin.
Once a dog has come in contact with Leptospirosis, the incubation period (time from infection to onset of clinical signs) is usually 4 to 12 days. Infected dogs will show a variety of symptoms, including lethargy, depression, fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, increased thirst, and increased urination. Some may develop jaundice (yellowing of the gums and the whites of the eyes). Some dogs show only mild symptoms and will recover, but infection can be life threatening.
Clinical leptospirosis causes damage to the liver and/or the kidneys, and can be fatal.
Note: Leptospirosis can be transmitted to people – owners of infected dogs should avoid contact with the dog’s urine, and wear gloves when cleaning any areas the dog has soiled. The organism is readily killed by household disinfectants or a dilute bleach solution
How common is Leptospirosis?
Leptospirosis has been found in southern Ontario, and cases are increasing, with numerous cases in dogs in the GTA this year.
Can Leptospirosis be treated?
Affected patients generally involves antibiotics and often hospitalization. Treatment can be effective if the disease is diagnosed early, but the prognosis is guarded for severely infected dogs is guarded to poor. There are also potential longterm consequences of infection even if treatment is successful, such as chronic kidney disease.
Can Leptospirosis be prevented?
Yes – there is a vaccine available that protects against many (although not all) the strains of Leptospirosis. The vaccine is not considered a core vaccine, however at this time we are recommending the Leptospirosis vaccine to all our canine patients.
We are all aware of the concerns and rapidly changing situation with COVID-19. Due to the close public contact that our work requires, we have taken necessary measures to protect our clients, our staff and work hard to ensure we can continue to provide excellent care for our patients.
The following changes are effective as of Wednesday, March 18, 2020:
1. If you have travelled outside Canada or come in contact with anyone who has travelled outside Canada in the past 3 weeks, or if you are feeling unwell, (coughing, fever, fatigue, etc.), please contact our clinic. We will be more than happy to reschedule your appointment or help arrange to see your pet safely.
2. We are currently operating a "closed-door" policy to protect our clients and staff. When you arrive, please remain in your vehicle and use your cell phone to call us at 905-285-0002. We will take a history by phone, and bring your pet into the clinic for an examination with the veterinarian. We will then return to your vehicle with your pet and you will get another call from the Doctor to discuss our recommended treatment plan.
3. We are continuing to accept appointments for urgent or sick pets, as well as time-sensitive puppy/kitten vaccinations. All other services will be scheduled for a later time.
4. We are still OPEN with the following hours: Monday to Friday 10:00 am - 6:00 pm & Saturday from 8:00 am - 1:00 pm.
5. If you are ordering food or medications, please allow 4-6 business days as our suppliers are dealing with increased demand and are trying to fill orders as quickly as possible. We will advise you as soon as your order arrives. Please call us when you arrive to pick up your order, but do not enter the clinic. Our staff will bring your order to your car and take payment from your vehicle.
6. For the time being, we are not accepting cash as payment. Credit cards and debit card payments are still available.
7. Following the recommendations of our government and medical experts, we are doing our best to practice social distancing within the constraints of our jobs. We have taken these measures to avoid both contracting and facilitating the spread of this virus.
Thank you for helping us be diligent for everyone's safety. As we have heard from all levels of government, the situation is fluid, and any updates will be provided as changes occur.
Your dedicated team at Westbridge Veterinary Hospital