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   Four Paws Animal Clinic

Serving Nevada City and Grass Valley and More!

521A Searls Ave., Nevada City, CA 95959


Dr. Susan Murphy

Lepto Alert Protect your pet!


With all the heavy rain our area has been receiving recently, there is a risk for our dogs, Rudiger included, to become infected with Leptospirosis. KPIX TV in San Francisco recently reported several cases there recently, including two deaths. Rural areas are more likely to have more cases, and our area is no exception.

What Is Leptospirosis?

   Leptospirosis is caused by a spirochete bacteria with many different serovars (a variation of a species). Spirochetes are long, slender organisms that appear as helical coils. Wildlife, including rodents and raccoons, often shed leptospira in their urine. Leptospira spirochetes are more prevalent in marshy/muddy areas which have stagnant surface water and are frequented by wildlife, but can also be found in lakes, canals and streams. Heavily irrigated pastures are also common sources of infection.

How Is It Transmitted?      

                  Dogs acquire leptospirosis when the spirochete infiltrates their body by burrowing into the skin or mucus membranes, then spreads through the body by way of the bloodstream, most often affecting the kidneys, liver and other organs or blood.. The infection rate for domestic pets has been increasing in the U.S. And Canada, with infections occurring most commonly in the rainy season. Dogs will typically come into contact with the leptospira bacteria in infected water, soil, or mud, while swimming, passing through, or drinking contaminated water, or from coming into contact with urine from an infected animal.  Hunting and sporting dogs, dogs that live near wooded areas, and dogs that live on or near farms are at an increased risk of acquiring this bacteria. Also at increased risk are dogs that have spent time in a kennel.

What are the symptoms?        

         The signs of leptospirosis in dogs vary. Some infected dogs do not show any signs of illness, some have a mild and transient illness and recover spontaneously, while others develop severe illness and death. Symptoms may include any or all of the following:

Sudden fever and illness, sore muscles, reluctance to move

Weakness, Depression, Lack of appetite

Increased thirst and urination, may be indicative of chronic renal (kidney) failure, progressing to inability to urinate

Rapid dehydration, Vomiting, possibly with blood

Diarrhea - with or without blood in stool, Bloody vaginal discharge

Dark red speckled gums (petechiae)

Yellow skin and/or whites of eyes – anemic symptoms

Treatment and prevention

Currently, available vaccines effectively prevent leptospirosis and protect dogs for at least 12 months. Annual vaccination is recommended for at-risk dogs.  Reducing your dog’s exposure to possible sources of the Leptospira bacteria can reduce its chances of infection.

Leptospirosis is generally treated with antibiotics and supportive care. When treated early and aggressively, the chances for recovery are good but there is still a risk of permanent residual kidney or liver damage.

Leptospirosis is considered a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be spread from animals to people. Although an infected pet dog presents a low risk of infection for you and your family, there is still some risk. If you suspect your dog may have leptospirosis please wear gloves and use caution handling any urine or fluid from your pet.

Our own favorite police dog, Rudiger, was recently tested and was found to be free of the disease. He is also well vaccinated for it. Please contact your veterinarian to see if your dog is protected from this potentially life threatening disease. Initial vaccines will need to be boosted in 3-4 weeks, then yearly.

Our Resolution 

Our Resolution is to always do our best to provide excellence in wellness, illness and surgical care for patients; to build close, positive relationships with clients, and to provide education and empowerment to clients and staff in a calm, comfortable, healing environment.


       Dr. Susan Murphy and Jenna

Four Paws Animal Clinic is a full-service animal hospital whose mission is to provide compassionate care and support for all our 4 and 2 legged friends. We provide complete medical, dental, surgical and imaging services, including ultrasound as well as deluxe cat boarding.  Our staff is extremely well trained and are passionate about veterinary medicine , having worked with Dr. Murphy at Best Friends for many years. She calls them the "Dream Team".


At Four Paws Animal Clinic, you will walk into a calm, welcoming, and friendly environment every visit, so that the experience is as comfortable as possible for you and your pet. We strive to provide professional, affordable, and advanced veterinary services, including, but not limited to newer alternative therapies such as cold laser and stem cell therapy using your pets own stem cells found in their fat cells. click here to read about this new and exciting treatment for your pets arthritis .

We also have an in-house pharmacy, dental care products, carry some premium foods and have access to specialists, making our veterinary facility a one stop shop for your pet's health and medical needs. Please browse around our new website to learn about our facility and to read interesting pet articles. Click on the "email us" link below to ask us a question or to submit feedback. For directions to our office see our contact us page. To receive free monthly veterinary care articles, please subscribe to our newsletter.

Remember, at Four Paws Animal Clinic, your pets are our family!

Dr. Susan Murphy
Nevada City Veterinarian | Four Paws Animal Clinic | 530-265-3722

521A Searls Ave.
Nevada City, CA 95959

Office Hours

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
9:00 9:00 9:00 9:00 9:00
5:00 5:00 5:00 5:00 5:00


Dr. Susan Murphy and her staff of animal lovers are the best in this county. I have been taking my cats and dogs to her since I was blessed to find her 14 years ago. She is smart, honest , humble and has many years experience. Dr. Murphy even sheds a tear her self when she has to send one off to rainbow bridge. Your little loved one will be in good hands here..............  Marcie R.

 Words cannot express my gratitude to the entire Four Paws staff. You are all truly a blessing; big shoutout to Jessica, Kevin, and Shelby for making this process so smooth for both of us....Brandon B

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