Does the leptospirosis vaccine work? First of all, leptospirosis in dogs comes in over 200 varieties, each of which would need its own vaccine. Can you imagine subjecting your dog to 200 vaccines for one disease?
By then, any dog having 200 vaccines would surely die from vaccine side effects since the combined amounts of aluminum and mercury in all those vaccines would kill him.
Plus I should mention the lepto vaccine only protects for 3 to 12 months, if at all.
I hope I got your attention. Now that I've spewed all that, let's start at the beginning shall we? I'll do my best to keep it short.
Lepto is a spirochaete bacteria.
People can also get lepto. It is present around the world but more likely to cause problems in places lacking adequate sanitation or in flood areas since it is passed through contaminated water.
What I find interesting is the majority of dogs with known lepto have no symptoms and don't become ill from the disease. While lepto can occasionally cause death, like all illnesses, it depends on the dogs immune system. If you are afraid of the disease, let's talk about the vaccine.
The lepto vaccine is associated with the greatest number of adverse reactions to any vaccine and they include death, brain death and severe nerve damage. For other adverse reactions, see vaccine side effects. It amazes me that this vaccine is even legal and it bothers me even more that any veterinarian would recommend this dangerous vaccine or warn us of the potentially lethal side effects.
If it works, it doesn't last more than months instead of years and must be the right serovar, meaning the right strain of lepto in your area. If your vet recommends the vaccine, ask how many lepto cases he's seen in the last six months, which serovar it was and does the vaccine he offers match that serovar. Then politely refuse.
Since leptospirosis in dogs is caused by a bacterial infection it can be killed with antibiotics. Once the antibiotics are finished, we must then rebuild the intestinal flora to avoid health problems down the road.
For us more natural folks who don't like antibiotic side effects, we use natural antibacterial products whenever possible because they don't kill the good stuff, and then we would boost the immune system to keep our canine's body in good shape.
So where did I get the subtitle for this page? In the 1996 Canine Health concern vaccine survey, 100% of cases of leptospirosis in dogs occurred in dogs who had been vaccinated within three months prior to being infected by this disease. Whether the vaccine caused the disease, was the wrong serovar or just didn't work, we don't know but I sure don't see a reason to vaccinate for this one. I hope you'll pass if your vet offers it.
Incidentally there is no human vaccine for lepto currently available in the US or the UK. I hope that makes you think.
To read about other vaccines please see my page on dog vaccinations.