What is canine Leptospirosis and how is it transmitted?

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dog drinks water

Leptospirosis in dogs, popularly known as “canine typhus”, is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium that can affect many domestic mammals and even humans.

That is why it is important to know how it manifests, its first symptoms and what we must do to treat it. From Dogsis we show you all this important information.

Index of contents

  • 1 Exactly what is leptospirosis in dogs?
  • 2 How is leptospirosis spread?
  • 3 Is canine leptospirosis contagious in humans?
  • 4 Main symptoms of canine Leptospirosis
  • 5 Diagnosis of Leptospirosis
  • 6 How is canine Leptospirosis treated?
  • 7 How can canine leptospirosis be prevented?

Exactly what is leptospirosis in dogs?

Canine leptospirosis is an infectious disease that can also be transmitted to humans, so it is important to take all possible precautions to avoid contagion.

Bacteria of the genus Leptospira are responsible for this disease The most common in dogs are Leptospira Canicola and Leptospira Icterohaemorrhagiae.

It is in the months with the highest temperatures when it is most present. Especially in male dogs, due to their particular habits of smell and licking of urine.

dog drinking water

How is leptospirosis spread?

When any of the bacteria that we have seen penetrates the dog’s body, through the nasal, buccal, conjunctive mucosa or a skin wound, the contagion occurs.

Once inside the bacteria reaches the bloodstream and from there it is distributed to the various organs and tissues, until an immune reaction occurs. If the bacteria survive, it will deposit in the liver or kidney, causing serious health disorders for the dog.

The main route of infection for leptospirosis in dogs is water or food contaminated with urine from other dogs or animals that have this same disease.

Is canine leptospirosis contagious in humans?

Leptospirosis in dogs can be transmitted to humans. The contagion occurs when a person comes into contact with water, food or urine contaminated with bacteria of the genus Leptospira.

For this reason, special care must be taken with children who live with dogs. It can also be acquired through the ground, in the event that the surface has become infected and you have the habit of walking barefoot.

Main symptoms of canine Leptospirosis

A dog with Leptospirosis may have no visible symptoms in most dogs. Other times, however, it can show acute or chronic signs. The most common are:

  • Fever
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting or diarrhea, sometimes with blood in the stool.
  • Dark colored urine
  • Signs of pain when urinating
  • Ulcers on the lining of the mouth

At a general level the dog will show a clear physical deterioration when this disease is already advanced. Also, if you have symptoms related to urination, your kidneys may be affected.

In such a case, the recovery prognosis is reserved, since you should know that it is a disease with a very high mortality rate. If you detect these signs in your furry friend, you should urgently go to the vet.

In this disease, time is money and the sooner treatment begins, the more likely the dog will survive Leptospirosis and recover.

dog drinks water

Diagnosis of Leptospirosis

Once we are in the veterinary consultation, the specialist will carry out a complete exploration of the dog, taking into account all the symptoms that we have described.

Additionally, it will request a blood test to measure the level of antibodies and will examine the urine, to see if there is an infection and if there is presence of the Leptospira bacteria.

In the event that it is detected, there will be no doubt about the diagnosis and the veterinaryn must propose the treatment that he considers most appropriate.

How is canine Leptospirosis treated?

To combat canine Leptospirosis it will be necessary pharmacological treatment with broad-spectrum antibiotics that help to eliminate the bacterial infection.

If there is liver and kidney damage, symptoms should also be treated and, above all, make changes to the diet to facilitate recovery. Ideally, it should be highly nutritious and low in protein.

In any case, the vet is the only person who can advise you at a particular level and who can best know what is best for your furry friend, taking into account their state of health.

How can canine leptospirosis be prevented?

The best remedy against canine Leptospirosis is always prevention. For this it is important to vaccinate the dog, which will significantly reduce the risk of contracting this disease.

The doses must be reinforced every six months and the space in which they live must also be disinfected periodically. Do not forget that good hygiene is essential for the prevention of many pathologies, especially if they are infectious, such as Leptospirosis.