What is it?
Leptospirosis is an infectious disease caused by a type of bacteria called Leptospira.
How do dogs get Leptospirosis?
Most dogs are infected by direct contact with urine from an infected animal. Others are infected by contact with water or soil contaminated with infected urine. Leptospira can penetrate the soft lining of the nose, mouth, and eyelids and can enter the body through open sores and scratches in the skin.
What will happen if my dog gets leptospirosis?
After infection, bacteria multiply in the bloodstream and then move into the tissues. They concentrate in the liver and kidney, causing extensive damage to these organs.
About eight to ten days after infection, the dog’s immune system produces an antibody response that quickly clears most of the Leptospira from the body. However, the damage caused by the bacteria often leads to liver failure or kidney failure, and sometimes both.
Symptoms of Leptospirosis include:
- Sudden fever & illness
- Sore muscles
- Lack of appetite
- Spontaneous cough
- Runny nose
- Swelling of the mucous membrane
- Increased thirst and urination
- Rapid dehydration
- Vomiting, possibly with blood
- Diarrhea, with or without blood
- Bloody vaginal discharge
- Dark red-speckled gums
- Yellow skin and/or whites of eyes
- Difficulty breathing, fast breathing, irregular pulse
In severe infections, the damage is irreversible and quickly becomes fatal.