LEAWOOD, KS (KCTV) -- A few weeks ago, Amy Anderson’s dog Archie went from being a normal playful pup to in pain and fighting for his life. The culprit was a bacteria called leptospirosis.

“It’s any dog at risk in this area. Puppies in the backyard, even if you have a fenced in backyard,” Veterinarian Sally Barchman said.

Barchman says dogs get lepto from the urine of wild animals who have the bacteria and it can be passed from your dog, to you.

It’s hard to recognize the symptoms of the bacteria in your dog because they can be just about anything.

One way to reduce the risk of your dog getting the bacteria is by keeping them away from standing water, or muddy marshy areas where there’s likely to be a lot of wildlife. The best prevention though is vaccination.

Barchman recommends it for all dogs at her practice.

“We had some positive cases and a couple fatalities and so we decided to start offering the vaccine,” Barchman said.

Lepto is becoming more and more common in the United States. In humans it can cause flu-like symptoms and even lead to fatal infections.

“The cost of the vaccine is minimal compared to treatment and testing, testing can be very expensive,” Barchman said.

It’s an annual vaccine that’s not required but can save lives and money. In Archie’s case, his veterinarian started treating for the bacteria before he even tested positive for it, a move that saved his life.

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