Leptospirosis in dogs

It is a disease caused by a bacterium called Leptospira, it affects man and animals such as dogs, cats, pigs, cattle, horses, etc. Leptospirosis is distributed throughout the world, although it tends to occur more frequently in rainy climates, since they require humidity to survive in the environment.

Cats appear to be less susceptible to leptospirosis than dogs.

Transmission of leptospiroris

The dog is infected through water contaminated with the urine of an infected dog and subsequent contact with a skin wound. Infection can also occur by  venereal and placental transmission , as well as through bite wounds or ingestion of infected tissues.

It can be spread indirectly through different ways such as gnawing on objects contaminated with urine or soil that are infected by the bacteria. Also by drinking contaminated water or urine, licking the genital organs of infected dogs, contaminated food or clothing.

Rodents are the main disseminators of this disease, they are an important reservoir for the spread of Leptospirosis to dogs and sometimes people. Rats are largely unaffected by the disease, but remain carriers for years, and infected individuals abound in their colonies.

Recovering dogs continue to excrete microorganisms in their urine intermittently for months. They can also infect humans and other dogs and become chronic carriers without showing any health problems, which can expose families and other pets to serious disease if good hygiene is not taken into account. Leptospirosis can kill both dogs and people.

Symptoms of leptospirosis

  • High fever
  • Jaundice (pale mucous membranes)
  • Soft spot
  • Depression
  • Dark urine
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Lethargy
  • Mucosal congestion
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea (may contain blood)
  • Renal tenderness and listlessness
  • Seizures
  • Acute kidney failure

The disease can be latent or acute, the symptoms are related to liver, kidney and vascular disorders There are the manifestations caused such as abortion, dead babies and meningitis. Latent disease affects the kidney heavily, and infection is not obvious.

Finally the dogs recover but it is possible that they suffer some permanent sequela in the kidney which can limit their quality of life or decrease their life expectancy.


The doctor can simply rely on clinical signs to diagnose the disease, but tests are also necessary to choose an appropriate treatment.

The diagnosis is made by a blood and urine test.

Treatment of leptospirosis

The treatment is based on antibiotics since leptospirosis is a bacterial disease, antibiotics will be needed for approximately a month to eliminate the bacteria from the bloodstream and a different one to eliminate it from the kidney since leptospira tends to be in the kidneys and in the blood .

The animal must be hydrated intravenously , medicated to control symptoms such as pain, diarrhea and vomiting.

Vitamins are also supplied and the dog must be kept clean with proper hygiene to avoid contagion to people and other animals.


  • The main method to prevent this disease is through vaccination.  Avoid taking your pet to parks with many dogs, especially in rainy seasons.
  • The places where they have a pet with this disease should be cleaned several times a day , disinfecting mainly where they urinate and handled with latex gloves until indicated by the veterinarian.
  • The sick dog must be isolated to avoid contagion, being very careful with the urine where the bacteria will be eliminated and can infect other dogs and even man.
  • The presence of rodents where dogs live should also be controlled , not having stagnant waters in the surroundings where this microorganism prevails, which can remain in the environment for a long time.
  • Once the treatment has started, you should not suspend it until the end of the four weeks. If your dog was positive for this disease, it is important to check up after treatment.

Visit the vet  and be sure to clarify all your doubts, do not forget that you should go as soon as possible for a consultation if you suspect that your dog is a carrier of this disease.

Website | + posts

Sherry Fluharty, is an Activist, animal activist, community manager, and blogger at Tom Cat Wiki in order to make people aware of the responsible ownership of pets. And in charge of writing content and responsible for the project.