Leptospirosis is a disease that affects the dog and is part of the zoonoses, so it can be transmitted from animals to humans. It is a bacterial disease that damages the liver and kidneys of the dog, sometimes causing kidney failure and death.
Leptospiruses live in the fluids of infected animals, including urine, saliva, blood, and milk. The disease is transmitted by direct contact with fluids with an infected animal, or indirect contacts, such as vegetation, stagnant water, food and water, soil and bedding.
Leptospores enter the body through the mucous membranes or through lesions in the skin and the disease may remain asymptomatic for years without the dog showing signs of illness.
All dogs are subject to leptospirosis, although young animals are more affected than adults, as are large breeds living in the open air.
Leptospirosis can cause irreversible damage to kidneys, liver, uveitis (inflammation of the inside of the eye), and other organs.
There are many bacterial subtypes, although five, in particular, are responsible for most cases of illness.
The symptoms of Leptospirosis in the Dog
The first signs that can be noticed are similar to influenza. The dog could show several days of anorexia, vomiting, lethargy, depression and sometimes diarrhea or blood in the urine.
Other signs may include:
- Chills and fever
- Muscular pain
- Blood in the vomiting or stools, nosebleeds or diffuse bruises
- Tiredness or coughing
- Sudden lack urine production
The vet will make a full visit to your dog, however, may require some diagnostic tests.
- Leptospirosis test. The microscopic agglutination test is widely used to detect the presence of leptospirosis, as it allows evaluating the presence of serum antibodies and bacterial antigens.
- Examination of general blood and urine.
- Renal biopsy.
Treatment of Leptospirosis in the Dog
If the disease is diagnosed on time, it can usually be successfully treated with penicillin and tetracycline-based medications. However, if the dog shows signs of kidney failure it may also not recover, or in any case, have life-threatening kidney damage. Dogs with acute renal failure should be treated with appropriate fluid therapy.
- Antibiotic Therapy: In addition to hospitalization in a veterinary facility, supportive therapy is the administration of intravenous fluids and sometimes blood transfusion.
Prevention is mainly done through vaccination, although the vaccine provides protection only against certain serotypes. Nevertheless, immunization is always recommended.
Rodents are a potential source of dog infection, so managing this phenomenon is an important prevention method. Minimize contact with wildlife, as these can be a reservoir of infection. if the dog is infected by leptospirosis then Insulate infected animals and keep a clean environment.