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Leptospirosis (Lepto) Infection in Dogs

Leptospirosis (Lepto) is an infection of mainly the kidneys and sometimes the liver and the kidneys. It is caused by a spiral (corkscrew) shape bacteria.

The symptoms depend on the severity of the case meaning the status of the immune system of the patient, vaccination history, and the number and type of the Lepto bacteria entering the body of the patient.

It frequently spreads through bodies of water where wild animals visit / urinate. Pet dogs usually contract the disease when they are not vaccinated against the disease and play, swim, or drink the water contaminated with the bacteria. Recently, there have been some cases where the patient probably contracted it after eating snow freshly contaminated by wild animals including deer, foxes, racoons, etc.

The clinical signs may be mild with a little bit of lethargy and not eating well to a full blown lethargy, anorexia (not eating at all – loss of appetite), intermittent fever, and blood in the urine.

Timely diagnosis and treatment with hospitalization, fluids, certain antibiotics, supplements, and frequent monitoring of the kidney / liver values are absolutely necessary to prevent extensive damage to the organs and possible loss of the patient.

Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease. It means that it can be transmitted from a sick pet dog to the owners and other people, if people get in direct contact with the urine of the patient. This fact makes the early diagnosis and treatment of the disease extremely important not only for the patient but also for the owners and people in contact with the patient.

In the recent months the numbers of Lepto infection cases in dogs has been rising in the GTA. Markham, unfortunately, has not been an exception. There has been increasing number of reported cases of Lepto in our neighborhood. Given the seriousness of the infection with possibly life-threatening outcome makes it necessary for the dog owners to re-discuss the Lepto vaccination status of their dog with their veterinarian.

We, as a member of the community of veterinarians in Markham would be glad to answer all your questions about the subject and evaluate the vaccination status of your dog one more time.

Please call us for an appointment at 905 604 5604.


Dr. Dave Bonab

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