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Leptospirosis in Dogs Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Leptospirosis is caused by a type of spiral organism called spirochetes, that is, an organism similar to bacteria and it moves in a spinning motion using flagella. Spirochetes are of more than two-hundred types and they are generally, not harmful, but leptospira and Borreia are the species of spirochetes, which can cause disease in the pet dog. The organism can cause disease in both dogs and cats.

Risks of Leptospirosis

The disease is mostly spread through rats, domestic animals and wildlife, and most of the cases of the disease are found during rainfall. The disease is most common in region having tropical climatic conditions. Leptospira cannot cause any problem in high winter season because it cannot sustain extremely low temperatures and it is also killed in extremely dry weather condition.

Causes of Leptospirosis

1. Leptospira is caused through infectious water and wound. Pets that spend much time in damp areas are prone to the infection, but the dogs that stay indoors are less likely to develop it.

2. The organism is found in the liver, kidney, eyes and genital tract of the carrier animal and if the dog is unvaccinated against it, the organism may cause kidney failure in the dog.

Symptoms of Leptospirosis

1. There are no outward symptoms, initially, but it can make your dog ill after four to ten days of infection.

2. The disease spreads through the blood of the dog and it can cause fever, joint pain and depression.

3. Common symptoms are reduced blood clotting and liver damage.

4. Dog gets shivery and stiff

5. Some dogs vomit and drool

6. Dog may drink lots of water

7. Eye inflammation

8. Abnormalities in nervous system

9. Urine color changes to red

10. Pet becomes dehydrated

11. Hepatitis, jaundice or uremia


1. Blood test: The tests for the symptoms of the problem may include blood tests to find out about the presence of high number of white blood cells in the body of the pet. In early stage of infection, the blood cells are low in number but in later stages the liver is damaged causing an increase in the number of white blood cells.

2. Urine test: Test for hepatitis, poisoning, canine herpes virus and canine brucellosis will be made through urine tests. The dog is given some drugs and a PCR test is conducted to find out about the increased number of leptospira count in urine.


There are many different types of antibiotics, which can be given to the pet dog to kill leptospira.

1. Drugs such as tetracycline, penicillin and erythromycin are given to the dog.

2. Dog may be given medicines to reduce symptoms such as vomiting and to control dehydration.

3. Fluid therapy is given to remove poisonous substance from the body of the pet.

Prevention: Dogs should be kept away from rodent and contaminated water. Dogs should be vaccinated against leptospirosis, in case, there are high chances of getting this disease but most of the vets do not recommend vaccinations because dogs' reaction to vaccination cannot be predicted. Some dogs feel swelling in face and some may have fatal reaction.

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