Leptospirosis in Dogs


What is Canine Leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis in dogs is a bacterial infection caused by a pathogen called Leptospira.

Infection by this bacteria can cause chronic liver and kidney disease. And it can be fatal.

Your German Shepherd should have received a series of shots. If your dog has received DHLPP, she is protected. It is the L in DHLPP.

But, be aware that the vaccine only covers two (canicola and icterohaemorrhagie) of eight different strains. Your dog may still be susceptible to the other strains.

How is it Transmitted?

This infection is zoonotic. Zoonotic diseases can be transmitted from animals to humans. It is transmitted through urine, bite wounds and ingestion of infected tissues.

People can become infected if urine comes in contact with an open wound or mucous membrance. You can also get it if an infected animal bites you.

What are the Symptoms of Canine Leptospirosis?

Signs of the disease can be seen as early as two days after exposure. But it can also take up to 26 days after contact with infected urine. Generally, symptoms occur within a week or two.

Severe symptoms include:

  • fever up to 104(F)
  • shivering
  • shock

Less severe cases experience:

  • dehydration
  • fever
  • loss of appetite
  • malaise
  • thirst
  • vomiting

A dog infected with lepto may also show signs of jaundice (yellowing of the eyes) due to liver involvement. And she may be reluctant to move around signifying kidney and muscle pain.

How is it Leptospirosis in Dogs Treated?

Once diagnosed (by a blood test or urine culture), lepto can be treated with common antibiotics:

  • penicillin
  • tetracycline
  • erythromycin

In advanced cases, further therapy may be necessary to deal with any liver or kidney issues.



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