Leptospirosis is a contagious bacterial disease often found in unvaccinated dogs and puppies. Characterised by lethargy, high fever, vomiting, and diarrhoea, leptospirosis can be transmitted to humans and can remain alive for months in damp soil. Vaccinating your dogs is an important part in preventing the spread of this disease, although disinfecting your yard after exposure to a sick animal is necessary to keep your pets, and your family, disease-free.
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Things you need
- Breathing mask
- Garbage bags
- Antibacterial disinfectant
Protect yourself with gloves and a breathing mask, and remove any fecal matter from your yard. Leptospirosis can be transmitted through infected faeces, so scoop up any piles with a shovel and dispose of them in plastic garbage bags.
Drain standing water, such as ponds, puddles and bird baths. Leptospira bacteria must remain damp to survive, and removing this host speeds up the disinfecting process.
Spray down solid surfaces, such as sidewalks, driveways, and decks, with antibacterial disinfectant. Coat the surface thoroughly and allow it to air dry completely to kill leptospira bacteria.
Dig down at least 12 inches and turn over bare soil with a shovel to expose it to air and sunlight. Leptospira bacteria thrive in dark, damp soil, so drying the soil out kills the bacteria without harmful chemicals.
Cut your lawn as short as possible to kill hidden bacteria. The shorter your lawn, the less hidden moisture exists to harbour bacteria.
Dispose of all garbage bags and cleaning materials in dustbins with tight-fitting lids. Leptospirosis can be spread by infected rodents that rummage through your garbage, and preventing access to infected materials minimises disease transmission.
Tips and warnings
- Vaccinate your pets against leptospirosis. A series of two injections followed by yearly boosters can help keep your pets and your family healthy. Removing existing grass is one of the quickest ways to disinfect your yard, but if you're unwilling to pull up grass, keep all pets off the lawn to prevent reinfection. You can purchase antibacterial disinfectant at pet supply stores and veterinary offices.
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