Leptospirosis in Dogs – Your Dog's Risk, Symptoms, & Cures

Leptospirosis (Lepto for short) is a bacterial disease that can infect both humans and dogs. The disease is transmitted by contact with fluids from infected animals.

In dogs, transmission most commonly occurring by drinking puddle, pond, or ditch water that is contaminated by the urine from infected wildlife; such as skunks, squirrels, and raccoons.

The body organs most commonly affected by the disease are the liver and kidneys. Lepto can be fatal without proper treatment.

Warning Signs & Treatment of Lepto

  • Fever
  • Weight Loss
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle Tenderness, Pain
  • Bloody Urine
  • Jaundice (yellowing of gums, skin, etc …)

Your veterinarian will perform blood and urine tests to confirm Leptospirosis disease. If that is the case, the aim will be to control the infection before irreparable damage occurs to the dog's kidneys or liver. Treatment, if caught in time, can be successful with antibiotics and fluid therapy.

Prevention of Leptospirosis in Dogs

Prevention of Lepto comes in the form of vaccines. However, the vaccines available to protect our dogs from the disease can only protect them against some, but not all the strains of Lepto.

This leaves many of us wondering … to vaccinate or not to vaccinate?

If your dog is a high-risk dog … ie. a dog that spends a lot of time in woody areas or roams freely in rural areas, you probably should consider custody. Now knowing how a dog is infected, be sure to eliminate your dog's access to potential sources which could have contaminated with infected urine.

If you are considering having your dog vaccinated for Lepto, remember that vaccines can also be harmful to our dogs causing serious side effects or placing other health risks. A thorough discussion and evaluation of your dog's risk of being infected should be discussed with your veterinarian.