Leptospirosis in Dogs (May 2019)

The other day I spoke about leptospirosis in cats, but did you know leptospirosis affects dogs, as well?

Leptospirosis runs rampant in both the feline and canine community. As a dog owner, it’s important that you educate yourself on the matter and stay as informed as possible.

What is Leptospirosis in Dogs?

Leptospirosis is an infection of the bacterial variety that is caused by bacterial spirochetes. The infection gets into the body through the skin and blood and makes its way throughout the body through a dog’s bloodstream.

Leptospirosis is a zoonotic infection, which means it can be transmitted to other dogs, cats, and even humans.

The infection hits hard in the reproductive system, eyes, central nervous system, liver, and the kidneys.

Unfortunately, dogs with a weak or compromised immune system are at extreme risk from this infection. Leptospirosis can be eradicated in dogs who have a strong system basically on its own, but dogs with weak systems require strong antibiotics.

Regardless, the infection can cause minor to severe damage of the kidneys and the liver, so it must be treated straight away.

Causes of Leptospirosis in Dogs

Leptospirosis in dogs typically stems from tropical, subtropical, and wet environments, especially muddy, marshy areas.

Drinking contaminated water and having contact with bacteria-infected soil and mud can all cause a dog to become infected with leptospirosis.

Dogs living in North America have the highest risk of developing this type of infection.

 Symptoms of Leptospirosis

The following is a list of leptospirosis in dogs:

  • Sore muscles
  • Reluctance to move around
  • Sudden illness/fever
  • Weakness
  • Shivering
  • Depression
  • Increased urination and thirst
  • Fast dehydration
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting, possibly with blood
  • Vaginal discharge, possibly with blood
  • Yellow whites of eyes and/or skin
  • Dark, red speckles on the gums
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes
  • Swelling of the mucous membrane
  • Runny nose
  • Difficulty with breathing
  • Random coughing

If you spot these signs, go to your vet immediately.

Getting Help Early

If you believe your dog has become infected with leptospirosis, bring her to the vet as soon as you possibly can. Early treatment can save her life.

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