Lepto Vaccine for Toy Breeds [Risk of Neglect]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

I bet we are thinking the same thing – that every dog owner wants nothing but the best for their beloved furry companions, from the healthiest diets and the comfiest beds to the most vigorous playtime and affectionate cuddles.

However, when it comes to ensuring their well-being, some precautions may slip under the radar, leaving our precious Toy Breeds vulnerable to a hidden menace.

While we may diligently check off the usual vaccination list, there’s one critical immunization that often goes unnoticed: the Lepto vaccine for toy breeds.

With their delicate size and fragile immune systems, Toy Breeds face unique risks when it comes to the Leptospirosis bacteria.

In this blog post, we’re diving deep into the world of Lepto vaccines and the urgent importance of safeguarding our pint-sized companions.

Let’s started right away.

Medical Questions? Talk to a Veterinarian 24/7.
Connect one-on-one with a licensed vet who will answer your questions in minutes.

Ask a Vet Now or Schedule a home visit

*Article may contain affiliate links to retailers like Amazon and Chewy. Learn more on our disclosure page.

What is Leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis, a disease we must be mindful of, stems from a group of bacteria known as “leptospires.” 

What makes this disease particularly concerning is its ability to harm both humans and animals, including your beloved dog.

The transmission of Leptospirosis commonly occurs in unclean and warm environments, particularly near rivers, lakes, swamps, and even flooded pathways. 

Lately, you’ve probably heard of how popular this disease has become, especially during rainy seasons.

These bacteria thrive when the surroundings are damp.

Leptospirosis is a sneaky disease that slithers the wet, filthy spaces around your home.

Fortunately, vaccines have been made to protect everyone from it.

Doggy thinks you might be keen to read this too: Can a dog overdose on Dasuquin?

How Common is Leptospirosis in Dogs?

Leptospirosis is a disease that can potentially affect dogs, but its occurrence varies depending on factors like where you live, the local climate, and exposure risks.

It’s quite obvious that Leptospirosis is more common in dogs living around places where “leptospires” thrive.

For example, farm dogs have a higher chance of contracting this disease since they’re more exposed to wet and muddy surroundings.

I know you’d think that Leptospirosis isn’t that common, and you’re right, but hey, it doesn’t make it impossible that your dog might get it too!

As a dog owner, I think you and I should personally check whether or not our area is a cocoon for this disease. 

Your local vets will surely know whether or not Leptospirosis is widespread in your place.

They can offer friendly guidance on preventive measures and vaccination options to keep your dog’s health in check. 

Take note, a little awareness can really help keep your doggy safe.

How Are Dogs Infected With Leptospirosis?

How Are Dogs Infected With Leptospirosis

Your dog will probably be infected with Leptospirosis if he plays with or touches the pee or poop of other infected animals.

Rats are usually the number one carrier of this disease, by the way.

And I should also warn you that even other dogs who are infected with it can share the disease with your doggy too!

Crazy, right? 

What’s worse is bacteria can sneak into their bodies through their eyes, nose, mouth, or any cuts they may have. 

And get this, dogs can even get Leptospirosis from drinking or swimming in water that’s infected with the bacteria, like ponds or yucky stagnant areas.

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Pros and cons of Lyme vaccine for dogs

What Are the Signs of Leptospirosis?


Say your dog has spent quite a few times playing in the puddles around dirty surroundings.

But now he has a fever.

You gotta know that fever is usually the common sign when a dog gets infected with Leptospirosis.

When your dog’s immune system observes that there’s a foreign bacteria inside his body, the system will fight the bacteria off.

Fighting bacteria will cause an increase in body temperature among doggies, hence fever is one of the signs of Leptospirosis.


Along with fever, vomiting is a telltale sign that your dog has Leptospirosis.

Your dog will also lose his appetite once the bacteria starts spreading. Then dehydration will soon follow since your dog is vomiting all his fluids.

Leptospirosis can disrupt a dog’s digestive system, causing inflammation. When inflammation occurs, your dog will have trouble digesting and will resort to vomiting.

Abdominal pain

Leptospirosis attacks the liver and kidney of your dog. Both can be found around your dog’s abdomen.

That’s why you have to expect your dog to feel mild to severe abdominal pain.

Dogs with Leptospirosis will often move around so slowly and would refuse to lie down on their stomach to avoid the tenderness in their abdomen.


Leptospirosis causes your dog to feel unwell and weak. And when he feels weak, he won’t have the energy to engage in playful activities.

The lack of activities and socialization will push your doggy into a deep chasm of depression.

Your dog will be more withdrawn, choosing to sleep in a quiet corner to ease his pain. 

The discomfort your dog might be feeling will be too much for him to handle to even try engaging with others.

Hey there, sorry to interrupt but I wanted to tell you about an online vet service I’ve been using for years.

An in-person visit with one is great, but it’s not always an option.

Now, thanks to technology, you can speak to one without leaving your home.

Remote access
Avoidance of travel
Reduced stress for pets
Immediate access to experts
Quick response time
Schedule appointments easily

Got something to ask a vet?
Talk to one anytime, 24/7.


* Don’t use this service for emergencies.

Alternatively, a vet can come out to you instead (exclusive to our readers: use THEVETS15 for 15% off).


Thank you. The rest of the article continues below.

How is Leptospirosis Diagnosed?

Take your doggy to the vet if he shows some signs of Leptospirosis I’ve mentioned before.

There, the vet will suggest that the poor doggy should undergo several tests to get clearer details of what’s going on.

Medical exams like blood tests and urine testing will surely be done as the immediate steps in diagnosing your dog for Leptospirosis.

If the vet has trouble making sure of the diagnosis, an additional test called PCR test will be done too.

It’ll let the vet check if there’s any Leptospira bacteria in your dog’s little body. When your dog is positive to have such bacteria in him, then he has Leptospirosis.

Unfortunately, some dogs don’t get sent to vets right away. Hence, complications might’ve already aroused by the time some dogs get diagnosed.

If this sadly happens, the vet will run a few more tests like chest X-rays. This is just to make sure the bacteria haven’t taken a comfortable home in the dog’s heart and lungs.

dog essentials banner in content

How Can Leptospirosis Be Prevented?


The Lepto vaccine is widely available. And promises to protect your dog from contracting Leptospirosis!

However, you still gotta consult your vet if the vaccine is suitable for your dog.

Maintain clean environment

Leptospirosis flourishes in unclean surroundings, and maintaining a clean environment will surely kill the bacteria.

A clean environment will give the bacteria no room to grow and fester. 

Cleaning and drying puddles of water around your home is like the easiest way to avoid Leptospirosis.

Rodents love dirty places, and they’re the most common carrier of Leptospirosis. When they’re eradicated, there’ll be lesser chances for Leptospirosis to occur.

Regular check-ups

Regular vet check-ups are a real lifesaver!

Leptospirosis can be tricky to detect. It may affect your dog’s health immediately, or it may also take more time to manifest.

But the vet will always be able to detect whether or not bacteria are blooming in your dog’s body through tests.

What is the Treatment for Leptospirosis in Dogs?

A common way to treat Leptospirosis in dogs is to get an antibiotic prescription from the vet.

How long the prescription of such antibiotics should be in your dog will depend on how severe his condition is. 

If your dog’s Leptospirosis has drastically become overwhelming, he’ll need additional forms of treatment.

Dialysis for those dogs with affected kidneys might be suggested. And hydration therapy for doggies who suffered from severe diarrhea should be done.

Is the Lepto Vaccine Safe for Toy Breed Dogs?

Is the Lepto Vaccine Safe for Toy Breed Dogs

Yes, it has become safer for toy breed dogs now.

In the past, people were hesitant for their smaller dogs to get one due to the more evident side effects it has on small breeds of dogs.

But these days, the Lepto Vaccine has become generally safe for all toy breed dogs.

The symptoms became more manageable, and the vaccine showed more effectiveness.

In fact, toy breed dogs who spend more time staying outside are now recommended by vets to get vaccinated against Leptospirosis.

What Are the Risks of the Lepto Vaccine for Toy Breed Dogs?

Swelling at the injection site

When your dog gets injected with Lepto Vaccine, it contains something called an antigen. It’s like a little piece of the bad germ that causes the disease. 

The vaccine helps the dog’s immune system learn how to fight against that germ. After the vaccine is given, the dog’s immune system will start its heroic battle. 

It goes to the injection site and starts fighting the antigen. This can make the spot a little sore and red.

Sometimes, it can even swell up a bit. 

But don’t worry! This is just the immune system doing its job to protect the dog from the disease.

The swelling and redness will be cured after a few days though. 

It’s a clue that the vaccine is effective and helps to keep your dog healthy.


When a dog gets a Lepto Vaccine, his immune system notices the vaccine ingredients as something foreign and starts working to get rid of them. 

This immune response includes releasing certain substances and activating immune cells, which can sometimes lead to slight inflammation. 

Fever is one way the body might show this response.

Don’t worry, though! The fever will only be mild and I promise it’ll go away quickly!

It’s just the body’s way of responding to the vaccine and is nothing to worry about.

Can Toy Breed Dogs With Pre-existing Health Conditions Receive the Lepto Vaccine?

Whether a toy breed dog with pre-existing health conditions can receive the Lepto Vaccine depends on the specific condition and the overall health of the dog. 

It’s better to ask a vet who can evaluate the dog’s particular health status and make a suggestion based on some tests.

In general, most toy breed dogs can safely receive the Lepto Vaccine, even if they have pre-existing health conditions. 

But there may be some instances where Lepto Vaccine could pose a higher risk for toy breed dogs with pre-existing health conditions.

Say a dog has a weak immune system or a record of allergic reactions to vaccines. His vet needs to check the risks compared to the advantages of the vaccine.

How Old Do Dogs Have to Be to Take the Lepto Vaccine?

You can bring a puppy as young as 16 weeks old to the vet so that it can be given the Lepto Vaccine. 

4 weeks after that first Lepto vaccination, the puppy should be brought back to the vet for the initial booster.

Thereafter, you should bring your dog back to the vet for the annual boosters.

This is to make sure that the vaccine won’t wear off your doggy.

Do Vets Recommend the Lepto Vaccine?

Yes, most vets strongly advocate for the Lepto vaccine as a crucial preventive measure against the potentially deadly bacteria.

With the increasing prevalence of this infectious disease, it is more important than ever to consult with your trusted veterinarian and make an informed decision to protect your dog!

Do All Dogs Need the Leptospirosis Vaccine?

Well, the Lepto Vaccine isn’t a core vaccine for dogs.

This means that as a dog owner, you aren’t really required to give your doggy a shot of this vaccine.

If you’ve got a strong sense that your dog might be to lower the risk of getting the disease.

You should consider the vaccine if you live near bodies of water or areas where floods usually happen.

How Effective is the Lepto Vaccine?

The vaccine is generally effective in staving off leptospirosis in dogs. 

It helps the immune system familiarize itself and fight against the bacteria that cause the disease. 

While no vaccine is 100% foolproof, the Lepto vaccine significantly reduces the risk and severity of infection. 

Side Effects of the Lepto Vaccine on Dogs

Sometimes, dogs might experience a bit of discomfort like mild soreness or swelling at the spot where they received the vaccine. 

But that’ll go away in a few days after a good rest.

After getting the vaccine, some dogs might also feel a little tired or have less energy for a little while. 

But don’t fret! This isn’t usually a big deal since it’ll go away soon. 

In rare cases, dogs may experience allergic reactions to the vaccine too. 

Swelling of the face, trouble breathing, or itching is a sign that your dog is having an allergic reaction.

Which Dogs Are at Risk of Leptospirosis?

Farm dogs

Dogs on farms have a bit of a higher chance of getting leptospirosis. 

That’s because farms often have muddy areas, standing water, and lots of wildlife, which can carry the bacteria. 

Farm dogs may come across infected urine from animals or wildlife, increasing their risk of catching the disease.

Hunting and sporting dogs

Your adventurous dogs who love hunting and sports have a slightly increased risk of leptospirosis. 

They spend a lot of time outdoors, exploring exciting places where they may encounter contaminated water or come into contact with wildlife carrying the bacteria. 

Their active lifestyles make them more likely to come in contact with it.

Foster dogs

Foster dogs, especially those with unknown backgrounds or a history of wandering, have a higher risk of leptospirosis too.

There’s a possibility that these poor dogs have lived in places with dirty water or have been exposed to animals with Leptospirosis.

Since their vaccination history may be unclear, they could be more prone to Leptospirosis.

Should Dog Owners Be Concerned About Leptospirosis?

Just as it is with other diseases or potential harm, all dog owners should have a sense of Lepto and what it can do, more so if you live in a higher-risk area.

For toy breed dog owners, there’s a need to spread the word too as information tends to be slightly muddied due to the lack of discussion.

Modern medicine has made it possible and safe for them to get vaccinated, so that should definitely be an option to consier.

Leptospirosis Vaccine Schedule for Dogs

  • At 16 weeks, a dog should already receive his first dose of Lepto Vaccine.
  • Upon turning 20 weeks old, the dog should be given his second dose of the said vaccine.
  • One year later, the dog should already start getting his yearly Lepto Vaccine booster.

Do Dogs Need Lepto Shots Every Year?

Dogs need Lepto shots every year so that the vaccine will not wear off.

It’s a really helpful way to make sure your dog won’t be threatened with Leptospirosis for the whole year.

What Are the Alternatives to Vaccination?

Minimizing exposure

Dog owners like you and I can try to reduce our dog’s exposure to places where Leptospirosis may be lurking.

This includes avoiding stagnant water sources, contaminated areas, and areas frequented by wildlife.

Good hygiene practices

Practicing good hygiene is important to lessen the risk of infection. 

This includes promptly cleaning up your dog’s urine and properly disposing of it, as well as maintaining clean living spaces and avoiding contact with potentially infected animals.

How Much Does the Lepto Vaccine for Dogs Cost?

Lepto Vaccine isn’t that pricey compared to having your dog diagnosed with Leptospirosis.

The vaccine only costs a little around $20 to $35. The price really depends on the vet clinic you’ll be bringing your dog into.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can humans contract leptospirosis from infected dogs?

Yes, humans can contract leptospirosis from infected dogs. It’s best to observe good hygiene and take precautions when handling dogs that may be infected to reduce the risk of contracting the disease.

Are there any breed-specific risks for leptospirosis?

There are no specific breeds at higher risk for leptospirosis. However, some things add to the exposure and infection of dogs to Leptospirosis. Take large-breed farm dogs, for example. They may have a slightly higher risk due to their farm lifestyle and environment. Their close contact with potentially infected animals while herding or guarding livestock can play a role.

Are there any long-term effects of leptospirosis in dogs?

Yes, leptospirosis can have long-term effects on dogs. It can affect a dog’s kidney and liver, which may cause ongoing health issues.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The bottom line here is that knowledge is power when it comes to protecting our Toy Breeds from the hidden dangers of Leptospirosis.

Now that you understand the significance of the Lepto vaccine and its relevance to our furry companions, you can make an educated decision whether it’s right for your dog or not.

Hey! If you found this post useful, check out these dog care tips too:

You’ve made it to the end, but I hope it’s not the end of our journey. We want to hear your voice! Share your thoughts, problems, suggestions, or anything related to your dog in the comments section. And don’t forget to join our newsletter today too.

Share this post!
Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Daily Dog Drama!

no more bad dog breaths banner