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Human Leptospirosis - a very REAL threat !!

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  • Human Leptospirosis - a very REAL threat !!

    So, it's been quite awhile since I've been here. I've been very ill, and just living has been a challenge. Grooming has become a less than part time piece of my life, as I have moved the business to my home, and at this point can only groom 1-3 dogs in a WEEK, at most.

    My health issues actually started several years ago - with more and more issues with what appeared to be Rhuematoid Arthritis, severe joint pain, especially in the hands, and then went on to include a bleeding retina, liver issues, excruciating foot pain, unbelievable fatigue, etc etc.

    Over the last couple of years, it seemed like every day brought a new problem, and I thought I might be losing my mind!

    Finally, my doctor said 'We have to explore the possiblity of Lyme Disease, or possibly a co-infection." I Googled that and the symptom list looked like it was written about me...whew, at least I might not be crazy !

    It's been many months since - and because the testing (beyond the virtually useless ELISA test that the insurance will cover and the only one most drs will do) was so costly, and not covered by ins., I've only just gotten a diagnosis.

    Drum roll......Human Leptospirosis, as well as Shegilla

    Ok, this was freaky, I had been vaccinating my GSD pups for years against Lepto, never thought about getting it myself !

    I wanted to share this with this grooming community because as animal lovers, and people whose lives constantly include dogs, cats, and for many of us, other animals, we are all at risk for this nearly impossible-to-diagnose problem!

    And while it is not Lyme, it is similar, as it is also a spirochetal infection, just like Lyme is.

    Many of the symptoms are like those of Lyme and a couple of the more well-known co-infections of Babesia and Bartonella (Cat Scratch Fever) but a short list is:

    DEPRESSION, from mild personality changes to quite severe clinical disorders and suicide
    FATIGUE, often quite pronounced and debilitating
    HEADACHES, resembling migraines but not always particularly severe
    EYE PAIN, with or without any inflammation, sometimes with vision disturbances
    PSYCHOLOGICAL CHANGES, including mood swings, short tempers, rarely OCD
    PIEM, parainfectious encephalomyelitis, is seen in quite a few cases. This is damage to the nervous system and manifests in different ways, so patients can show symptoms of meningitis, epilepsy, balance problems, muscle weakness and vision disturbance. It can mimic the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

    Also FEVER is common, and patients may develop abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, rash, conjunctivitis.

    RENAL and LIVER damage or failure is possible.

    You can find more complete information online.

    These are diseases that we all are at risk for, and need to be aware of !

    I will now be on multiple meds for the next 6-12 months, and only can hope that my liver can recover, the tremors and joint pain resolve, and my balance improves again to where I am not holding onto furniture, or even sliding along walls just to walk at times. This is really not something you want, or want to ignore.

    Be careful out there !!

    15yrsin (oregon)

  • #2
    Sorry you are going through this. I have a lot of the symptoms you mentioned. Although I'm a fairly new groomer, I've been working in a animal clinic for the past 9 years. Maybe I need to go see my Dr.

    Feel better Hun.


    • #3
      Google it first..........

      Most 'regular' doctors know little or nothing about Lyme. Google it first and get some info. Good Facebook pages, just search with the word Lyme.

      The kind of doctor that can truly treat this is what is called an LLMD or Lyme Literate Medical Doctor.

      The symptoms can look like SO many things and these diseases often get diagnosed as Fibromyalgia, MS, Chrone's, Rheumatoid Arthritis, ALS, and more.


      • #4
        Oh my, it sounds as though you have been and still are have a bad time. Hope the med work and you are feeling better soon!!!!
        Do they make a human lepto vacc?
        Ain't always easy to stand up for what is right.


        • #5
          Thank you for the warning!

          I am sorry you have been going through this and I wish you complete recovery!


          • #6
            Sorry your going through this, and thanks for the info. I had no idea. I knew about brucelosis.(sp.) A clinic I worked at had a Dr. that was infected with it. How do people get lepto?


            • #7
              Got it from.....

              Lepto is transmitted via the dogs urine, also from rats and mice, I believe. Contact with an open sore, etc

              After working at so many venues, in so many types of situations with dogs, I have no way of knowing exactly where or when I got it, probably have had it for years.

              I've worked at veterinary offices, a large (over 200 dogs) outdoor kennel and training facililty where I attended a trainer's school for three months, I've raised dogs (GSDs), boarded dogs, and of course, groomed dogs all over the last 30 years, so lots of opportunities.

              I may still find I am positive for Bartonella, or Cat Scratch Fever, so may even be one more battle to fight beyond these first two.

              If you suspect any type of infection like these or Lyme, etc....find a doctor who will recommend the testing through a lab called SPIROSTAT - it tests for over 25 differnet infections at once. Seems awfully spendy until you look at the cost of testing for each one separately ($600 for the one test, approx $200-300 for the Igenex individual tests (and they don't do them all) )