Leptospirosis in dogs: symptom, diagnosis, treatment and prevention

Transmitted to humans and can reach a very serious stage, leptospirosis is an infectious disease that affects dogs and is transmitted through rodents. Treatments exist but it is strongly recommended to take preventive measures to avoid any danger, this pathology can even be fatal.

Leptospirosis in dogs: what is it?

Leptospirosis is a disease caused by the bacteria called leptospira which usually grows in the soil but especially in stagnant water. Rodents such as rats, hedgehogs, nutria, wild boars and certain farm animals are the main reservoirs of bacteria. These reach their kidneys and then pass in the urine. Once these animals urinate in the water (ponds, ponds, ditches, puddles, rivers), the contamination becomes effective when the dog bathes there.

During walks, leptospires come into contact with the canine through small skin wounds, mucous membranes or the skin. A dog can also be infected by biting or eating a rat.

Symptoms of the disease in dogs

Incubation lasts a few days. Fever, vomiting, lack of appetite and fatigue are the first clinical signs appearing in animals. Namely that the disease reaches the liver or the kidneys very quickly, hence the importance of an emergency veterinary consultation. Depending on the course of the disease, several other symptoms may appear such as abdominal pain, hemorrhages caused by coagulation disorders, acute renal failure which causes either an abundance of urine or, on the contrary, very little urine. urine. The animal also drinks a very large amount of water.

Diagnosis of leptospirosis

After detecting abnormalities such as abdominal pain, dehydration or fever, the veterinarian performs a blood test and several other analyzes to confirm the contamination by the bacteria. In particular, he will check the lack of blood platelets which is the cause of the increase in white blood cells and coagulation problems. An increase in creatinine and urea levels is also detected. Serological research as well as bacteriological research can finally be undertaken with a view to highlighting leptospires.

Treatment and method of prevention

Leptospires can be eliminated with strong antibiotic therapy. Hospitalization may be required for an infusion that lasts a number of days. If the animal is affected by kidney failure, other treatments will certainly be prescribed, including peritoneal dialysis.

Note that the mortality rate due to this disease is high, hence the importance of treatment as soon as possible.

Regarding prevention, vaccination remains the best way to avoid leptospirosis in dogs. It responds to a protocol comprising several injections and is carried out in puppies over three months old. Every year, a vaccine booster should be done. For dogs at risk such as those who live in humid environments or hunting dogs, the booster is done every six months.

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