What is leptospirosis in dogs? How different is it from leptospirosis in humans? How is leptospirosis in animals transmitted? Because this is very contagious and pass from animals to humans, it’s important you read this blog post from start to finish.
How Dangerous Is Leptospirosis In Dogs?
What is Leptospirosis?
Leptospirosis is an infection caused by the bacteria Leptospira. It affects dogs more than cats. However, other animals, such as rats, cattle, and pigs, can acquire it.
It is highly contagious. The bacteria can thrive in the urine of the animals. When the infected animal urinates on a surface, such as the soil, puddle, or bodies of water like a pond or a lake, leptospirosis transmission then becomes very likely. Given the right conditions, it can survive up to 180 days in the environment.
Causes Of Leptospirosis In Dogs
Leptospirosis in dogs occurs when your pet comes into direct and indirect contact with the infected surface. For example, if your dog swam or drank an already-polluted water. They may also develop the condition when they got bit by an infected animal.
The bacteria can enter the body through the dog’s mucous membranes or an opening on the skin like a scrape or a cut.
One of the most significant dangers of leptospirosis is it’s zoonotic, which means animals can pass it to humans. Although this doesn’t happen all the time, some cases have been reported.
Signs & Symptoms Of Leptospirosis
Some of the common signs and symptoms of leptospirosis in dogs include:
- Jaundice or yellowing of the skin
- Gait stiffness
- Stiffness of the muscles
- Loss of appetite
- Fever or malaise
- Fast dehydration
- Swelling of the lymph nodes
- Diarrhea with or without blood in the stool
- Increased need to urinate
- Increased thirst
- Vomiting and nausea
Once the bacteria enter the body, the dog’s immune system will kick in, developing antibodies to kill or control their spread hopefully. Thus, the canine will develop fever and fatigue.
However, in some instances, the bacteria can spread very quickly especially to major organs such as the liver and the kidney they get damaged rapidly as well. In turn, the onset of symptoms is sudden or rapid. There are also some dogs that hardly show any sign or symptom until the condition has already worsened.
With leptospirosis diagnosis, veterinarians will be able to determine the disease through knowing the complete history of the dog, the signs and symptoms shown, and physical and blood tests such as CBC, biochemistry, and microscopic agglutination test, which measures the presence and level of Leptospira antibodies.
Treatment For Leptospirosis
You should never attempt to treat the dog by yourself. Besides the fact it is very contagious, it can cause the rapid deterioration of your pet. Once you notice the signs and symptoms or even suspect your dog may be exposed to leptospirosis, bring your dog to the vet right away.
The veterinarian, who will also handle the dog with caution and care to reduce the risk of exposure, will provide antibiotics as the first line of defense. The goal is to treat the acute infection right away. The treatment plan may last for many days. After this, the veterinarian may suggest a more long-term program to get rid of any residual bacteria.
Depending on the severity of leptospirosis in dogs, the pet may need to spend a few days in the hospital.
Prevention Of Leptospirosis In Dogs
The disease can be fatal especially if the infection has already spread, causing organ failure. But you can take urgent steps to reduce the risk significantly. One of these is through leptospirosis dog vaccine, which should be given once every year. You also should supervise your dog’s activity, particularly when outside the home, always provide fresh and clean water, and avoid association with other pets suspected or diagnosed with the disease, as well as wild animals are known to carry the bacteria.
You also need to protect yourself as well by wearing protective clothing such as gloves when handling your pet’s urine and washing your hands after every handling.
Should your dog get the vaccine? What are the other places that increase the risk of leptospirosis? This video will answer your questions:
Never take leptospirosis in dogs for granted. Not only does it endanger your beloved pet, but it also poses a considerable risk to the health of your loved ones and yourself. To be on the safe side, take precautionary measures and explore leptospirosis vaccine with your veterinarian.
Have you dealt with leptospirosis in dogs? Share your stories in the comments below.