Leptospirosis in Dogs - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Leptospirosis in dogs is an infectious disease caused by bacterial spirochetes, which are acquired by the dog when he gets infected with Leptospira bacteria. These bacteria are found everywhere in soil and water. They enter the body of the dog through burrowing in the skin. They spread throughout the body via the bloodstream where they infect the liver, kidneys, eyes, nervous system, and reproductive system.
What causes Leptospirosis in Dogs?
The Leptospira bacteria are part of a family of bacteria known as spirochetes. The Leptospira spirochetes will burrow into the skin like corkscrews. Dogs will acquire the bacteria through muddy areas, rivers, and ponds, especially those that are shared with wild animals. There is a higher presence of spirochetes in tropical or mild climates.
Cases of Leptospirosis in dogs are more common during summer and fall. Typically, a dog comes in contact with the bacteria through infected mud, water, or soil. Dog to dog infection is very rare but it is possible.
What are the symptoms of Leptospirosis in Dogs?
The signs of Leptospirosis in dogs vary greatly. Some dogs will show no signs at all and recover spontaneously. Other dogs will become seriously ill and possibly die. There have been culturing in dogs that show a history of the disease with their owners not even noticing.
Those dogs that do manifest the disease will show the following symptoms:
- Muscle tenderness
- Loss of appetite
- Reluctance to move
What is the treatment for Leptospirosis?
The diagnosis for Leptospirosis is pretty hard. Symptoms may vary and every case can be very different. But once the diagnosis is complete, the treatment is much easier. Therefore, the right antibiotics and a lot of care will do the trick.
If your dog has any other complication brought about by the bacterial infection, he will decide what the best medication is. Make sure you are up to date with the vaccination schedule of your pet. However, due to the vaccine against Leptospirosis not being a core vaccine, you should ask your veterinarian for it.
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