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Prev Vet Med. 2002 Dec 30;56(3):203-13.

Seasonality of canine leptospirosis in the United States and Canada and its association with rainfall.

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Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, Veterinary Pathobiology Building, West Lafayette, IN 47907-1243, USA.


A retrospective study was undertaken to describe seasonal patterns of leptospirosis diagnosed at veterinary teaching hospitals in the United States and Canada, and to determine if occurrence of cases (diagnoses) was associated with rainfall. The veterinary medicine database (VMDB) was searched for records of dogs in which a diagnosis of leptospirosis was made, and average monthly rainfall recorded at the city where each hospital is located was calculated from historical data. Time-series analysis was used to identify the variables that best described occurrence of cases of leptospirosis. Three-hundred and forty dogs were diagnosed with leptospirosis at 22 veterinary teaching hospitals between 1983 and 1998. Most cases (n = 184) were diagnosed between August and November during each year of the study. A significant correlation (r = 0.41) was detected between the number of cases of leptospirosis diagnosed and average rainfall recorded 3-months prior to diagnosis. The best-fitting (Akaike's corrected information criterion = 2.01) regression on the leptospirosis case series included cases diagnosed in the previous month and 12-months previously, and rainfall recorded 3 months previously. Leptospirosis has a seasonal distribution (late summer to fall), and rainfall can be used to predict the occurrence of leptospirosis. Leptospirosis can affect the health of dogs seriously and its prevalence is increasing, but the disease is preventable by vaccination.

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