Leptospirosis is a disease caused by bacteria that thrive in water and moist places. It often affects dogs. The Leptospira bacteria have many strains that can cause the disease. The bacteria get into the body by burrowing through your dog’s skin into their bloodstream.
Your pet can get the disease from bodies or puddles of water that have urine from infected animals. Leptospirosis can be severe and life-threatening.
Leptospirosis is rare in cats but commonly affects dogs. Below are some of the risk factors of leptospirosis:
Exposure or drinking from streams, lakes, or rivers
Exposure to farm or wild animal species
Contact with other dogs or rodents
Cut, wound, scrape, or skin touches the infected urine
Eating infected carcasses or tissues
Signs and Symptoms
Below are symptoms that show your dog has leptospirosis:
Lymph nodes mild swelling
Sudden illness and fever
Mucous membrane swelling
Legs and muscle stiffness
Irregular pulse, difficulty, and fast breathing
Anemic symptoms such as yellow skin
Loss of appetite
Bloody vaginal discharge
Increased urination and thirst
Bloody or non-bloody diarrhea
Vomiting, especially with blood
Your veterinarian will need a thorough health history of your dog. They will ask for the background of their recent activities and any incidents or symptoms that may have provoked their condition. All the information will give them a hint about the infection stage of the disease. They will also know what organs have gotten compromised.
Your veterinarian will take a complete blood count, electrolyte panel, and chemical blood profile. They will also order a urinalysis and a fluorescent antibody urine test. Additionally, they will get blood and urine cultures to examine the spread of bacteria. They will also measure if the pet has antibodies in its bloodstream by performing a titer test.
Importance of Vaccination
The best prevention for leptospirosis is vaccination. There are many vaccine schedules and options, and your veterinarian will guide you on what suits your dog best. Vaccination is essential as it makes leptospirosis in dogs rare and reduces its spread.
Leptospirosis treatment entails supportive care and antibiotics. Recovery chances are high if the condition gets treated aggressively and early. However, permanent residual liver or kidney damage can still occur.
Your veterinarian will use fluid therapy to reverse the dehydration effects. They may also administer a drug to help your dog stop vomiting if they experience that as a symptom. The vet can also use a gastric tube to help nourish your pet if they cannot eat. If your dog has severe hemorrhaging, it may need a blood transfusion.
Your veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics depending on the infection stage. Your pet may receive penicillin to treat initial infections but not for the carrier stage as it cannot eliminate bacteria. The vet will use other antibiotics that distribute in the bone tissue.
It is essential to talk to your vet about what to watch out for because antibiotics tend to have side effects. Read all the warnings on the prescription. However, the prognosis should be good and hinder organ damage from occurring.
For more about leptospirosis or to schedule an appointment to get your pet vaccinated, call Bergen County Veterinary Center in Waldwick, New Jersey at 201-205-2500 today.