How do I know if my dog has leptospirosis?

Signs of leptospirosis may include fever, shivering, muscle tenderness, reluctance to move, increased thirst, changes in the frequency or amount of urination, dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and mucous membranes), or painful inflammation within the eyes.

When your dog swims in a pond or drinks from a stream, you might not give it a second thought, but both of these behaviors could put them—and you—at risk for contracting leptospirosis, a condition brought on by the spiral-shaped bacterium Leptospira. Although most mammals can be affected by this disease, cattle, pigs, horses, and dogs are the most frequently affected. It’s good news for cat owners that their pets appear to be resistant to the illness. Leptospirosis, which can result in potentially fatal or irreversible organ damage in dogs, is also zoonotic, meaning it can be transmitted from animals to people. Therefore, it’s crucial to make sure dog owners are informed about leptospirosis for the sake of both their dog and themselves.

How Do Veterinarians Test Dogs for Leptospirosis?

Give your veterinarian a complete medical history of your dog, detailing past symptoms, current activities, and any potential triggers for this condition. Your dog’s history could provide your vet with hints about the stage of infection your dog is experiencing and which organs are most severely impacted.

Your veterinarian will order a:

  • Chemical blood profile
  • Complete blood count
  • Urinalysis
  • Electrolyte panel
  • Fluorescent antibody urine test
  • Additionally, blood and urine cultures will be requested to check for the presence of the bacteria. Additionally, a titer test will be carried out to assess the body’s immune response to the infection by assessing the level of antibodies in the blood. This will aid in the accurate identification of Leptospira spirochetes and the degree of systemic infection.

    Home Care for Dogs Recovering From Leptospirosis

    Following a leptospirosis infection in your dog, there are a few things you should be ready to handle.

    While your dog recovers from the physical trauma of this infection, he should only be allowed to spend time in his crate. Consult your veterinarian for advice on how to arrange meals, bathroom breaks, and recovery checks.

    What should I do If I think my dog has leptospirosis?

    Contact your veterinarian immediately. Your pet’s veterinarian can run tests to see if it has leptospiral antibodies or bacteria.


    What are the early signs of leptospirosis in dogs?

    Signs and Symptoms in Pets
    • Fever.
    • Vomiting.
    • Abdominal pain.
    • Diarrhea.
    • Refusal to eat.
    • Severe weakness and depression.
    • Stiffness.
    • Severe muscle pain.

    Can a dog survive leptospirosis?

    Antibiotics work well against leptospirosis, and full recovery is possible, but some dogs who survive may have chronic kidney or liver disease. If the infection has seriously compromised the ability of blood to clot or caused significant organ damage, some dogs might not survive.

    How long does it take for leptospirosis to show up in dogs?

    Dogs usually get sick one to two weeks after exposure. The symptoms of a sickness, which may last days or weeks, include fever, chills, vomiting, muscle aches, and diarrhea.

    What are the chances of a dog getting leptospirosis?

    Leptospirosis is rare where widespread dog vaccination is practiced, so how common is it? However, outbreaks of the illness are still occasionally observed because vaccines only provide protection against the four most common serovars of Leptospira. Leptospirosis is more common in rural, wooded areas.