Leptospirosis is an infectious disease caused by a type of bacteria called Leptospira. The disease causes serious damage to the kidney and liver, and may be fatal in severe cases.
Two distinct phases of illness are observed in the mild form: the septicemic (acute) phase and the immune (delayed) phase. In icteric leptospirosis, the 2 phases of illness are often continuous and indistinguishable. At disease onset, clinically predicting the severity of disease is not possible.
Dogs can get leptospirosis from puddles or bodies of water that carry urine from infected wildlife.Dogs that are most at risk for getting canine leptospirosis include:
The clinical signs of leptospirosis vary and are nonspecific. Sometimes pets do not have any symptoms. Common clinical signs have been reported in dogs.
The leptospirosis vaccine is a non-core vaccine, which means it is an optional vaccine that dogs can benefit from based on risk for exposure to the disease. Veterinarians will recommend this vaccine based on a dog's lifestyle and reasonable exposure risk.
Dogs can become infected and develop leptospirosis if their mucous membranes (or skin with any wound, such as a cut or scrape) come into contact with infected urine, urine-contaminated soil, water, food or bedding; through a bite from an infected animal; by eating infected tissues or carcasses; and rarely, through
Signs and Symptoms in Pets
The bacteria that cause leptospirosis are spread through the urine of infected animals, which can get into water or soil and can survive there for weeks to months.These can include, but are not limited to:
Mortality rates in hospitalized patients with leptospirosis range from 4 to 52 percent [37,44-47]. Severe pulmonary disease, characterized by pulmonary hemorrhage, is a serious complication of leptospirosis; it may be underdiagnosed in highly endemic regions .
Leptospirosis is treated with antibiotics, such as doxycycline or penicillin, which should be given early in the course of the disease. Intravenous antibiotics may be required for persons with more severe symptoms. Persons with symptoms suggestive of leptospirosis should contact a health care provider.
In humans, Leptospirosis can cause a wide range of symptoms, including:
Predicted probability of a positive microscopic agglutination test (MAT) result for canine leptospirosis in the continental USA. Predicted probabilities range from 0.023 to 0.371, indicating that approximately 1/3 dogs tested is expected to be positive for leptospirosis.
Antibiotics such as penicillin, ampicillin, and amoxicillin, are reasonably effective against the acute stages of leptospirosis if begun early. These antibiotics treat the early stages of infection, making the dog feel better, although most affected dogs require intensive care in the veterinary hospital.
Dogs may occasionally develop severe lung disease and have difficulty breathing. Leptospirosis can cause bleeding disorders, which can lead to blood-tinged vomit, urine, stool or saliva; nosebleeds; and pinpoint red spots (which may be visible on the gums and other mucous membranes or on light-colored skin).