VCA South Shore Animal Hospital is located in South Weymouth, Massachusetts. Appointments are available seven days a week, and our hours are Mon-Fri, 7 am-9 pm; Saturday, 9 am-5 pm; and Sunday, 9 am-5 pm, depending on the service. Please note that our facility is open 365 days a year for emergencies.
Local Medical Issues
There are many diseases that can affect our pets, especially here in the Northeast. Two of these conditions include Lyme disease and leptospirosis. Lyme disease is transmitted to dogs through the bite of a tick. Once in the blood stream, the organism that causes Lyme disease is carried to many parts of the body, and is likely to localize in joints. Symptoms can include lameness, swollen joints, sudden fever and loss of appetite. Veterinarians use blood tests for confirmation of Lyme disease, and treatment usually consists of antibiotic therapy. Ticks are found in grassy, wooded and sandy areas, and the key to preventing Lyme disease is keeping your dog from being exposed to ticks; this is done through the use of monthly topical medications. A vaccine for Lyme disease is also available.
Another important disease we need to be aware of is leptospirosis, which is a bacterial disease of dogs and other mammals that can affect the liver and/or kidneys. The organism that causes leptospirosis is carried mainly by rats and other rodents, but can affect almost any mammalian species, including people. Ingestion of contaminated water, infected urine, or rodent-contaminated garbage are the most common ways dogs become infected.
There are three main clinical forms of this disease: hemorrhagic, hepatic, and renal. The hemorrhagic form is characterized by a high fever, lethargy and loss of appetite; bloody diarrhea and vomiting may also occur. This form is often fatal. The hepatic form begins much like the hemorrhagic form, and many of the signs are the same. However, these patients also become icteric (jaundiced). The renal form causes kidney failure. Antibiotics are a reasonably effective treatment for leptospirosis if begun early in the course of the disease. Most affected dogs also require intensive care in a veterinary hospital. Prevention of this disease by vaccination, with annual boosters, is highly recommended. Leptospirosis can be transmitted to humans!