Veterinarians urge pet owners to vaccinate pets for dangerous bacterial infection

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Cheryl Barnett knew there was something wrong with her dog, Cody, a few months ago.

“He started being really lethargic. He couldn't even walk up stairs, and this all happened instantly,” Barnett said.

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She said she never thought that Cody had a bacterial infection called leptosporosis.

“Never heard of it before, never,” Barnett said.

She brought him to the Ponte Vedra Animal Hospital, where they checked him out and eventually told her the diagnosis.

“They had to do a lot of blood tests every few days,” Barnett said. “(They) had to get double IV, and he wouldn't eat anything but green beans.”

The illness caused acute kidney failure. Veterinarians said Cody could have picked up the illness from contaminated water.

“Usually a raccoon, could be a deer if they urinate in that water and a dog will come and drink that water, or, if they have a cut, it could be spread that way,” a Jacksonville veterinarian said.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, leptospirosis is more common in areas with warm climates and high annual rainfall but it can occur anywhere.

After weeks of antibiotics and IVs, Cody finally got better. Cody was finally cleared of the illness in March.

Veterinarians said it is important to have pets vaccinated with the lepto vaccine. They said now that the illness popped back up, getting pets vaccinated is vital to keeping pets and their owners safe.