Leptospirosis in dogs

Posted on in Dogs
Leptospirosis in dogs - Vetster

What is leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis in dogs is an infectious disease caused by a variety of strains from the family of bacteria called Leptospira.  The bacteria are primarily spread into the environment by infected wildlife reservoirs that carry the bacteria without showing illness. It is a serious and life-threatening disease. Leptospirosis in dogs may be fatal in many cases and may cause serious damage to the kidney and liver. Dogs can be infected by direct contact with urine, ingestion of contaminated water sources, through bite wounds or by eating infected tissue. 

Symptoms of Leptospirosis in Dogs

Your dog will likely show some of the following symptoms:

  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sudden illness
  • Jaundice
  • Joint pain

Increase in thirst and urination amount

Diagnosis of the infection involves detection of the bacteria in an infected patient's blood or urine samples.  Rapid diagnosis and testing improve the outcome of treatment of critically ill patients.

Treatment of Leptospirosis in Dogs

Some dogs may require hospitalization to aggressively treat kidney or liver damage. Antibiotics are very effective in treating leptospirosis and many dogs will recover quickly with antibiotic and IV fluid therapy antibiotics are started.  Although not 100% percent protective, vaccination against leptospirosis, particularly in geographical areas with high case counts can be helpful to reduce the risk of serious illness.

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