If you’re like us, you love getting outdoors with your dog. Camping, hiking, walking, and just playing or lounging outside define summer days with our pets. Unfortunately this outdoor time also means increased exposure to any number of infectious diseases, not the least common of which is leptospirosis. 

Leptospirosis in dogs is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium. The disease causes kidney and liver failure, and death in severe cases. Bacteria are passed in the urine of affected animals, and may live in the environment for long periods of time in warm, stagnant water and moist soil. Wild animals, including skunks, raccoons, opossums, rats, wolves and deer can spread infection to dogs. 

How Does My Dog Get Leptosporosis?

In most cases, the disease is contracted by our pets when participating in water activities such as boating or swimming in contaminated water sources. The bacteria enters the dog’s body through the membranes of the mouth, nose, eyes, or any open cuts or wounds. Drinking from contaminated water sources or snuffling around in contaminated soil can also cause infection.

Signs of Leptosporosis 

After infection, bacteria multiply in the bloodstream and then concentrate in the liver and kidneys, where they can cause severe organ damage. If left untreated, liver and kidney failure occur quickly. 

Because of the severity of the disease and also the fact that Leptosporosis can be transmitted from pets to people (zoonotic), it’s important to watch for the following signs and have your pet seen immediately if you notice any of them.

  • Fever
  • Jaundice
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Appetite loss
  • Frequent urination

Diagnostics and treatment of leptosporosis in dogs is extensive and costly. In addition to antibiotics to clear the infection, dogs with leptosporosis may require hospitalization, 24-hour monitoring, IV fluids, and other therapy to support the liver and kidneys in clearing the infection. The prognosis in dogs with severe infection in guarded.  

Keeping Your Pet and Your Family Safe

The best way to protect your pet and your family from leptospirosis is to have your pet vaccinated against the disease regularly. The leptospirosis vaccine is safe and effective. At New Haven Pet Hospital it is a part of our discussion of your pet’s lifestyle and wellness plan

If your pet has not been vaccinated, contact us to schedule an appointment.  Together, we can keep your pet and your family safe from this disease.