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Leptospirosis in Dogs

by Julie


Leptospisosis is a disease caused by leptospirs bacteria, which can be found in water and soil all over the world. This disease can affect dogs, livestock, people and some wildlife.

Leptospirosis is more common in warm climates with heavy rainfall. In areas where leptospirosis is widespread, almost all dogs are at risk, regardless of whether you live in the country, suburbs, or city.

Risk Factors include:
Drinking from slow moving or stagnant water, like puddles,ponds, and streams
Roaming on rural land because of the potential expos
ure to infected wildlife, farm
animals, and infected urine in water sources
Exposure to rodents, even in backyards
Contact with other dogs, like in urban areas, dog parks, and training facilities


Symptoms of Leptospirosis:
Lack of appetite
Abdominal pain
Weight loss
Stiffness and muscle pain
Yellowing of skin (due to the disease causing damage to the liver and kidneys)

Diagnosis and Treatment:
Since Leptospirosis can mimic other diseases, your veterinarian will need to take a detailed history of your dog's lifestyle. After completing a physical exam, your veterinarian may also recommend blood and urine tests, as well as x-rays and an ultrasound exam.

Leptospirosis is generally treated with antibiotics and supportive care. Dogs with severe disease may need intensive care measures and hospitalization.

Fortunately , vaccines are available to protect your pet. An initial series of two vaccinations is given to your dog 3-4 weeks apart. A yearly booster is given to maintain protective immunity.

Reducing your dog’s exposure to the leptospirosis bacteria can reduce the chance of infection.

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