Home » other animals » Dog Leptospirosis: Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

Dog Leptospirosis: Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

Leptospirosis in the Dog: Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

Imagine this situation:

It's Sunday.

You decide to go with your Burk to the forest.

It was true that a few days ago it rained a little and the river flowing there overflowed, but you have rubber boots and your dog likes to splash in puddles so much

Not to mention the fact that he is a real hunter - he sniffs the area all the time, looks for some game, it happens that he hunts a small rodent. Everyone is having a great time.

However, a week after the walk, Burek starts to behave strangely - he refuses to eat, he is vomiting, he is terribly weak.

You run with him to the vet and he finds out your dog has leptospirosis

What kind of illness is that? How to treat it and, more importantly, how to prevent it? I will try to answer these questions in this article.

  • What is Leptospirosis in a Dog?
  • How your dog can get krill?
  • What animals are exposed?
  • Leptospirosis in dogs symptoms
    • Entero-jaundice form of leptospirosis
    • Renal form of leptospirosis
    • Sepsis form
  • What should worry you?
  • How is leptospirosis diagnosed?
  • How long does leptospirosis last?
  • Treatment of leptospirosis in dogs
    • Antibiotic treatment
    • Symptomatic treatment
  • What is the prognosis for a dog that has or is going through leptospirosis??
  • How to prevent leptospirosis?
  • Leptospirosis in dogs vaccination
  • Is leptospirosis dangerous to humans?
  • What to do to avoid leptospirosis?

What is Leptospirosis in a Dog?

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease caused by the spiral spirochetes of the Leptospira family. The main species causing leptospirosis are L spirochetes. Interrogans, L. canicola, L. icterohaemorrhagiae, L. pomona, L. grippotyphosa.

Leptospirosis, microscopic image | source: wikipedia

For the first time leptospirosis in a dog was described in 1852.

Due to the fact that this disease appeared during a dog show in Stuttgart, it was for a long time referred to as Stuttgart's disease.

About 30 years later, the doctor Adolf Weil described the disease for the first time in a human (Weil's syndrome).

How your dog can get krill?

How can a dog contract leptospirosis?

Coils are transferred directly through:

  • urine,
  • blood,
  • seed,
  • milk from infected animals.
Animal urine is considered dangerous as long as it is in a liquid state.

There is also the possibility of indirect infection through:

  • contaminated water,
  • food,
  • den,
  • via living vectors, for example in rodents.
Leptospires feel best in a humid environment, between 0 and 25 ° C.

Studies have shown an increased number of clinical cases after increased rainfall or flooding, especially in late summer.

The spirochetes enter the body through:

  • skin damage,
  • intact gastrointestinal mucosa,
  • genital mucosa.

The incubation period is approx week depending on the virulence of a given strain or the immune response of the infected animal. In practice, it is from 5 to 15 days.

What animals are exposed?

Hunting dogs are more likely to suffer from spirochete

They are more prone to disease:

  •  dogs 4-10 years old,
  • living on forest areas,
  • living on rural,
  • Animals in contact with farm animals
  • hunting animals, participating in hunting,
  • shepherd dogs,
  • dogs watchdog,
  • dogs with a highly developed hunting instinct - catching mice, rats or other rodents.

They are also more sensitive dogs living in wetlands - near rivers, lakes, ponds, swamps, as well as in large animal clusters.

Leptospirosis symptoms in dogs

Leptospirosis in dogs symptoms

The toxins secreted by the Leptospira cause damage to the endothelium of blood vessels and breakdown of red blood cells.

As a result, it comes to:

  • the formation of petechiae,
  • bleeding,
  • anemia,
  • jaundice,
  • organ damage.

Due to the advancement of the disease and the symptoms we observe, we can distinguish three forms ileitis:

  • jaundice,
  • renal function,
  • sepsis.

Entero-jaundice form of leptospirosis

Untreated form entero-jaundice of leptospirosis leads to death.

The main symptoms are:

  • severe vomiting in the dog,
  • weakness,
  • bad mood,
  • high fever; temperature returns to normal after a few days,
  • diarrhea in a dog,
  • dehydration and abdominal pain,
  • lack of appetite,
  • after about a week - jaundice:
    • yellowing of visible mucous membranes (inside of the lips, ears, groin, gums), the whites of the eye,
  • dark brown urine,
  • limb stiffness,
  • stomatitis,
  • muscle weakness and tremors.

Renal form of leptospirosis

Form renal leptospirosis it is much more dangerous and, above all, much more tiring for an animal.

The recovery period can take a long time and lead to serious, long-term disturbances.

The symptoms of the disease are:

  • high fever,
  • vomiting and diarrhea in a dog, it may be bloody,
  • pollakiuria
  • increased thirst,
  • nephritis and glomerulonephritis,
  • stomatitis,
  • an unpleasant smell from the mouth, reminiscent of the smell of urine - azotemia,
  • because of soreness - a bent spine, a stiff gait

Renal form of leptospirosis may leave behind complications in the form of chronic renal failure.

Sepsis form

The sepsis form of leptospirosis can kill an animal within hours.

In this form of the disease, we observe symptoms such as:

  • breathlessness,
  • petechiae on the lips.

It can also come to myelitis, meningitis and encephalitis and hence - irreversible changes in the brain and death of the pet

As a result meningitis can go up to hyperesthesia, while myocarditis can lead to circulatory disorders.

Down breathlessness comes as a result pleural calcification and pneumonia.

Circulation disorder in the eye can lead to inflammations, and hence visual disturbances and photophobia.

What should worry you?

What should worry you?

If your dog is a hunting dog and has been refusing to eat for several days, is vomiting, has a fever, is lethargic, you should see your veterinarian.

This one can tell you that you are dehydrated and have difficulty breathing.

Yellowing of visible mucous membranes and skin may also appear.

Toxic decomposition products cause hemorrhagic and numerous diathesis necroses. The corollary of this may be acute nephritis connected with azo-mia.

In some cases it may come to hepatitis with a very acute course.

How is leptospirosis diagnosed?

First, based on laboratory tests.

Diagnostics for leptospirosis

On your dog's blood and urine tests, doctors may observe:

  • anemia combined with hemoglobinuria,
  • elevated level urea and creatinine,
  • elevated level phosphates and bilirubin,
  • high level of liver tests - high is observed:
    • AST,
    • ALT,
    • AP,
    • LDH,
  • leukocytosis with a shift to the left, or leukopenia in the hyperacute form,
  • lowering the level thrombocytes,
  • proteinuria and hematuria, decreased specific gravity of urine.

For work disorders kidney mainly L. canicola, L. bratislava and L. grippotyphosa.

For work disorders liver: NS. icterohaemorrhagiae and L. pomona. These bacteria especially attack young animals.

Laboratory tests often show a disturbance of only the hepatic markers, or only the renal markers.

These changes rarely occur together.

This is due to the fact that different species leptospyr cause various forms of the disease.

The age of the pet also matters - young animals are more likely to suffer from liver disorders.

To confirm his suspicions, the veterinarian will probably decide to identify Leptospira.

For this he will send urine or blood Your pet on seeds, ELISA test be PCR.

The bacteria are present in the blood for the first 7-10 days, then they can be isolated from the urine.

However, you must remember that these tests take time (they are dealt with by special laboratories), so often the doctor decides to undergo treatment without confirming the result - time counts.

There are also specials on the market rapid plate tests, the so-called. snap tests.

As the name suggests, they are a relatively quick method:

approx 10 minutes and we get the result.

In my experience, however, they do not always give true results - that's why I always confirm the result in the laboratory.

How long does leptospirosis last?

How long can the disease last?

The answer to this question is quite difficult.


Leptospirosis is such an insidious disease that it may not be at all for a long time show no symptoms, or the symptoms are so negligible that no one pays attention to them.

It is the dogs that carry such an unwanted passenger with them, that is, the so-called asymptomatic carriers are the greatest threat.

They excrete bacteria into the environment, infecting other animals, but also people.

In young, weakened animals, leptospirosis often progresses acute form:

thirty% of them die over the course 48 - 72 h.

In a minority of cases, as a result of changes in the liver and kidneys, or the persistence of leptospira in the organs, chronic form of the disease.

Then it may last even several years.

Treatment of leptospirosis in dogs

Treatment of leptospirosis in dogs

Treatment of leptospirosis consists of:

  1. Fighting infection - removing leptospira from the body.
  2. Treat organs damaged by bacteria - mainly kidneys and liver.
  3. Overall strengthening of the body of a sick pet.

Antibiotic treatment

First, what to do to eradicate Leptospire?

For this purpose it applies antibiotic treatment.

In this case, remember that some antibiotics are toxic to the kidneys.

Hence, the main antibiotics used in treating spirochetes are:

  • penicillins,
  • amoxicillin,
  • enrofloxacin.

In animals whose kidney function has returned to normal, the treatment is extended with the use of doxycycline, streptomycin be tetracyclines for another 2 weeks.

This is necessary in order to eliminate leptospira from the renal tubules.

Symptomatic treatment

Symptomatic treatment of leptospirosis is to keep the liver and kidneys working.

Your dog's veterinarian may decide to do so fluid therapy supplemented by Fr tonic agents and vitamins, mainly from the group of vitamins B.

If the main problem in your pet is kidney failure, the doctor will try to do everything possible to speed up diuresis - he may give:

  • drip,
  • diuretics,
  • mannitol,
  • other drugs that work with the kidneys.

However, if the symptoms of liver failure come to the fore, for example, the one I mentioned jaundice, the doctor will give liquids, will recommend proper diet and drugs supporting the work of the liver, e.g. ornithine.

If your pooch already has heart problems - cardiac drugs.

It is also advisable to provide immmunostimulators.

As you can see, the therapeutic effect in this case depends largely on the condition of your pet - the doctor will decide which treatment will be most beneficial for him.

What is the prognosis for a dog that has or is going through leptospirosis??

What is the prognosis for krolithiasis??

It all depends on the form and severity of the disease.

You must remember that it can lead to dangerous liver and kidney disorders.

A dog that has undergone Leptospirosis for life may have problems with these organs.

The mortality rate for this disease is approximately thirty%.

How to prevent leptospirosis?

If you want to prevent leptospirosis in your pet, you need to pay special attention to where your pooch bathes.

I would advise against water reservoirs in the vicinity of rural farms.

Also, dogs with a hunter instinct should not be let go without their owner's control.

You have to remember that even a mole or a mouse caught by him can carry leptospirosis.

Leptospirosis in dogs vaccination

Vaccination against leptospirosis

If your quadruped is in the group of dogs exposed to leptospirosis, I would advise you to vaccinate him against this insidious disease.

The first vaccination should be carried out at approx 9-12 weeks of your puppy's life, repeat them after approx 3-4 weeks, perform the next ones, every year.

Usually, leptospirosis vaccines, are bundled with other infectious diseases.

One injection contains antigens responsible for developing resistance to parvovirosis, distemper, Rubarth's disease, parainfluenza and leptospirosis.

It is marked with a letter NS.

The price of vaccination against leptospirosis varies around 60 - 80 PLN.

Is leptospirosis dangerous to humans?

Is leptospirosis dangerous to humans

Leptospirosis is one of the numerous zoonoses.

This means that it is possible for a person to become infected from an animal.

However, you must remember that they are a greater threat than your pooch rodents, that is rats if polluted water, bathing areas.

It is also said to be an occupational disease of veterinarians, workers in wastewater treatment plants, agricultural workers, butchers and livestock farmers.

Symptoms of leptospirosis in humans initially include:

  • high fever
  • chills
  • headaches
  • pain in muscles and joints
  • redness of the conjunctiva and pharyngeal mucosa
  • herpes
  • skin erythema
  • variegated rash

After the initial symptoms, the fever decreases and there is a temporary improvement in health.

The spirochetes then disappear from the bloodstream and begin to locate in various organs and tissues, causing toxic and inflammatory changes.

After a while, the fever rises again, and so-called fever can also occur jaundice form of the disease with inflammatory foci in:

  • the liver,
  • kidneys,
  • meninges,
  • heart,
  • the lungs.

What to do to avoid leptospirosis?

First of all, follow the basic rules of hygiene, i.e. wash your hands before each meal and after playing with animals.

If there are abrasions or wounds on the skin, it should be well protected against contact with animals, their urine, meat or blood.

It is also important to combat rodents, especially rats, which are the main reservoir for bacteria that cause leptospirosis, and to vaccinate dogs at risk of infection.

You have questions related to this disease? Or maybe your dog had it and you want to share your experience?

Post a comment under the article now, all comments are welcome ? I will answer your questions as soon as possible.

Add to blocked banner list

Sources used >>

Leave Your Comment