Leptospirosis in dogs: symptoms and treatment, diagnosis, is transmitted to humans


Leptospirosis (Weil's disease, infectious jaundice) - a dangerous contagious, zooanthroponotic disease of an infectious nature, which is characterized by hemorrhagic damage to the liver, blood vessels, kidneys, and other body systems. Leptospirosis is manifested by a sudden rise in temperature, diarrhea, a disturbance in the work of the gastrointestinal tract, anemia. Often, there are violations in the functioning of the central nervous system. It represents a danger to humans, all types of mammals (dogs, cats, agricultural animals), wild carnivores, various species of rodents, birds.

All breeds of dogs are affected, regardless of age. Leptospirosis is especially dangerous for young dogs, puppies because of incompletely formed immunity, as well as breeds with a loose constitution type (boxer, French, English bulldog, Cane Corso, Bullmastiff, Shar Pei, Bloodhair, Basset Hound). Leptospirosis is very difficult to treat and in most cases, if no appropriate measures are taken, it is fatal. A favorable prognosis is possible only in the case of timely diagnostics, correctly chosen medical techniques.

Prevention of leptospirosis in dogs

Leptospirosis is a very dangerous infectious disease for dogs, regardless of breed or age. To prevent infection with leptospirosis, conduct preventive vaccination. Apply mono- and polyvaccines, as well as associated vaccines of domestic, foreign production, which should be effective against leptospir serotypes Icterohaemorrhagiae, Canicola (Biovac-L, Leptodog, Multikan-6). The dosage of the drug is indicated on the packaging, depending on the body weight of the dog. Puppies are vaccinated against leptospirosis for the first time at the age of 8-9 weeks. Re-vaccination is carried out in three weeks.

For adult dogs, animals with an unknown immune status, unfavorable epizootic situation in the region, active-passive vaccination and hyperimmune sera are used. If you plan to travel with your dog to a region unfavorable for leptospirosis, conduct preventive vaccination a month before the planned trip. Dog breeders should pay attention to the conditions of detention, the diet of their four-legged friends. Do not neglect the hygienic-preventive methods, pay attention to strengthening the immune forces of the body, adhere to the established vaccination scheme, and promptly conducts pet treatments for ectoparasites. Always keep an eye on the cleanliness of the aviary, the sleeper of the dog.

What you need to know about leptospirosis dog owners

  • The disease is caused by a special type of bacteria - leptospirami, which are very resistant in the environment to the effects of adverse factors, and also quickly and widely spread.
  • The disease often ends in death. Causes of death - the most severe heart, liver and kidney failure. In most cases, veterinarians suggest that the animal be put to sleep if the diagnosis is suspected. Even if the dog can be cured, the bacterial carrier and the release of spirochetes into the environment can take several years (up to 4). Also in most cases, complications develop.
  • The mass disease is observed in the period from May to November, when the weather is hot and humid and there are sources of stagnant water (dogs should not be allowed to drink from the puddle!). But single cases can be recorded throughout the year.
  • Breeds with a friable physique tolerate the disease especially hard:
    • basset hounds,
    • French and English Bulldogs,
    • lapdogs
    • bullmastiffs,
    • boxers,
    • mastino neapolitano,
    • bloodhound
  • The source of infection is sick and ill pets, who, through their saliva, feces and urine, infect the surrounding area with leptospirae (in particular, food and water). Also, the disease can pass when mating with a sick animal through the discharge from the genitals, when feeding puppies with milk, and also through the bites of blood-sucking parasites.
  • The incubation period can last from two to 14 (15) days and is completely asymptomatic. This is one of the dangers of the disease - at the time of manifestation of clinical signs to cure a dog becomes very, very difficult!
  • Young animals are sick harder, because they do not have passive immunity. City dogs get sick more often than from the suburbs. Hunting and domestic dogs are a particular risk group.
  • Infection has two forms of flow - hemorrhagic and jaundiced.
    • In hemorrhagic manifestations, blood is added to the feces, vomit, saliva, etc.
    • Jaundice speaks for itself - problems in the work of the liver are accompanied by yellowing of the mucous membranes and skin (clearly visible on the hairless areas).
  • In acute leptospirosis, the death of an animal occurs in 85% of cases, with subacute (sluggish) - in 55-60%.
  • The main causes of infection include: poor immunity of the animal, violation of the sanitary and hygienic rules for keeping a pet, walking in wet places where there is standing water (puddles, old ponds), getting into food and drinking contaminated feed and water, tick bites.

A person suffers from leptospirosis, infected by a pet.

In order not to get leptospirosis from a pet, it is necessary:

  • it is necessary to disinfect the apartment where the dog was located, with 3% chloramine-B (disinfecting solution), with further connection of the ultraviolet lamp in the premises for at least 30 minutes (if the diagnosis was confirmed),
  • it is necessary to completely limit the contact of children with a sick pet,
  • you must not be allowed to jump on an animal or to lick your hands or face,
  • any manipulations with the dog at the time of treatment (up to the moment until tests are received that the animal is healthy) should be carried out in personal protective equipment (rubber gloves), excluding any contact with infected secretions (the main source of infection is urine, and human spirochetes penetrate through damage to the skin and mucous membranes),
  • make sure that the dog does not cope with the conditions of the apartment. To do this, you need to walk your pet in a timely manner and / or quickly respond to the dog's “requests” for extracurricular desires. In case of involuntary urination against the background of the disease, the place must be washed and treated with a solution of chloramine-B with a 3% or 2% solution of chlorine and always in rubber gloves,
  • regardless of the availability of personal protective equipment after contact with a sick dog or after cleaning stool, it is imperative to wash your hands in warm water with a soap to the elbow,
  • If a domestic dog has been diagnosed with leptospirosis, it is imperative that you take a blood test for the presence of the disease to all family members who have regular contact with the pet, so that, if detected, start treatment as soon as possible.

The dog got sick - what to look for

The main signs of leptospirosis are due to the sequence of spirochetes spread throughout the animal. First, the spirochetes enter the liver system and the liver itself, and it is there that reproduction begins, spreading further throughout the body with the flow of blood.

  1. In the early days of infection, the usually active and frolicking pet becomes sluggish and sedentary. Contrast in the change of behavior can not be overlooked by the owner.
  2. Strongly jumps body temperature (up to 41-42 ° C).
  3. During the first 4-7 days after infection, rapid breathing is noted (up to 35-40 respiratory movements / min) and the heartbeat accelerates (up to 200 beats / min.). Heart failure is progressing.
  4. There is bloody diarrhea and vomiting. In the vomit, blood impurities are also noted (leptospira practically “riddled” the blood vessels, provoking internal bleeding of varying intensity). After a few days, diarrhea can turn into constipation on the basis of dehydration.
  5. From the mouth it begins to smell unpleasantly (the smell is fetid-ammoniac), the mucous mouth can clearly turn yellow. Also yellows conjunctiva and white of the eye. Small pus ulcers may appear, which at first glance are perceived as microtraumas or scratches.
  6. On the nasal mirror appear moist spots, which dry up, and dying areas are formed under them. It seems that the dog's nose "crumbles" into small pieces.
  7. Before yellowing of the mucous membranes, their pallor may be observed against the background of anemia.
  8. On the surface of the skin and coat there is an accumulation of plaque with a sharply unpleasant odor.
  9. The pet stops drinking, and the urine becomes brown. Its number is reduced to the level of complete absence of urination. Dehydration manifests itself (dry mucous membranes, lack of saliva, skin folds are not cracked). These are all signs of severe renal failure.
  10. With the progression of the disease, breathing becomes hard, hoarse, and gurgling.
  11. Sometimes there are convulsions.
  12. After a week and a half on the background of exhaustion, body temperature usually falls below normal (up to 37 ° C). Usually, in this state, few of the specialists take to treat the dog.

When infected with leptospirosis, all of the listed symptoms may appear, only some may appear in an arbitrary combination, and in some cases an asymptomatic course may occur.

Confirmation of the diagnosis

The diagnosis is confirmed only by laboratory tests for leptospirosis, despite the obvious clinical picture, which a good specialist will leave no doubt.

For laboratory tests, blood and urine are taken. In exceptional cases, can be taken discharge from the genitals. The postmortem examines the liver, fluid from the peritoneum and chest, the kidney.

Fresh urine is subjected to microscopy (examined under a microscope) and sowed on special laboratory media, i.e. identify live pathogens. Similarly, do samples of secretions from the genitals.

In the blood, spirochetes are not sought, it is important to detect antibodies to this bacterium. The study is conducted twice with an interval of 1 week. When leptospirosis, the number of detected antibodies increases tenfold.

The main stages of treatment:
  • I - the destruction of the causative agent of the disease,
  • II - restoration and maintenance of the cardiovascular system,
  • III - elimination of intoxication, stopping attacks of vomiting and diarrhea,
  • IV - restoration and maintenance of the kidneys and liver system, normalization of the gastrointestinal tract.

The fight against leptospirami always comes first. All other stages can change their sequence at the discretion of the attending physician, depending on the condition of the specific four-legged patient.

Self-treatment is prohibited! All procedures are carried out in a hospital and / or under the strict control of a veterinarian in compliance with personal safety measures against potential infection.

Causes of disease

Pathology is caused by microscopic parasites - leptospira (Leptospira), which multiply at tremendous speed and spread through the body's bloodstream. Externally, the pathogen resembles a thin thread twisted into a spiral, hence the name - leptospirosis.

Parasites are unusually stable in the external environment: they multiply at high humidity and temperatures up to 34 degrees, enduring cold weather. Habitats of bacteria are, as a rule, reservoirs with favorable conditions for development, where they live up to 200 days, and wet earth (up to 250 days). In dry land, Leptospira dies after 12 hours.

Infection of a dog occurs in the following ways:

  • through food and water in which microparasites are located,
  • by eating dead animals that were sick with leptospirosis,
  • when bathing in water where Leptospira is active,
  • when mating with a sick partner.

The incubation period is from 2 to 12 days.

The greatest accumulation of parasites is the liver and kidneys, which causes intoxication, dystrophy, cardiovascular insufficiency, and in severe cases death is possible.

The disease is contagious and represents a danger to humans and other pets, which is why it is so important to go to a veterinary clinic on time. Before going to the veterinarian, the sick dog should be kept in isolation, as it releases the pathogen along with urine, feces, and phlegm from the lungs.

What breeds are more prone

Leptospirosis can cause any dog, regardless of breed. At risk - hunting dogs, which often have contact with stagnant water, yard and stray animals.

Puppies and juveniles up to 3 years old are most susceptible to pathology, in which the immunity is not yet completely formed, as well as older dogs. The latter group is mainly diagnosed with hemorrhagic form of leptospirosis.

Main symptoms

The symptoms of leptospirosis will vary depending on the form of the disease, of which there are four.

The apathetic (latent) variety is considered the most inoffensive. Characteristic features include a slight increase in body temperature (maximum 1 degree), depressed animal condition, pallor or yellowness of mucous membranes. Symptoms disappear on the second day after infection, the dog recovers.

Chronic form - the rarest. The animal loses weight greatly; the lymph nodes are enlarged in the groin and under the jaw. The temperature rises from time to time, the urine acquires a brown or dark yellow color, and the wool on the sacrum and other areas becomes thinner. The dog is hiding from people, looking for the most dark places. In pregnant bitches, dead offspring are born.

Lightning (superacute) form lasts up to two days and has a pronounced clinical picture. The body temperature rises sharply (to 41.5 degrees) and stays steady for several hours, then drops (to 38 degrees). The behavior of the dog changes, as a rule, it becomes violent and aggressive.

There is yellowing of mucous membranes, rapid breathing. This is the most dangerous form, because if the animal is not provided with medical care, it will die.

The acute form is observed in young dogs. The temperature rises (to 41.5 degrees), the mucous membranes and sclera become yellow. Urine stands out in small portions, has a brown tint. Sometimes there is diarrhea, in the feces you can see blood. The dog, tormented by severe back pain, rushing, whining, worried.

Necrosis of the epidermis develops, ulcers, erosion and bruising are formed on the skin. Wool fades, dandruff appears in it.

The subacute form lasts for 2-3 weeks and is characterized by the following features: general exhaustion, weakness, trembling of the extremities, purulent discharge in the corners of the eyes, temperature rise to 39.5 degrees. There are also signs inherent in the acute form, but they are not so pronounced. This species is also dangerous and leads to the death of a dog in half the cases.

Diagnostics in the hospital

In order to make an accurate diagnosis, the veterinarian, in addition to collecting anamnesis, will need to carry out a number of diagnostic measures. Blood and urine are mandatory, and in some cases, discharge from the genitals.

The urine is studied under a microscope (microscopy method), and the cultures are performed on special laboratory media. This is necessary in order to identify live pathogens of pathology. Important: the analysis will be informative only if the dog has not yet been given antibiotics. Discharge from the genitals is also examined under a microscope.

A blood test is needed to detect antibodies to Leptospira. The study is conducted twice with an interval of 7 days. If a dog is sick with leptospirosis, the amount of antibodies in the blood increases several dozen times.

A dead animal is dissected to examine the fluid from the peritoneum, the chest, and the liver and kidneys.

Method of treatment and prognosis

Therapy of leptospirosis is a long process that requires a lot of exposure from the owner of the dog. In no case can not self-medicate, it will only accelerate the fatal outcome. The treatment regimen in each case is individual, based on the age, form of the disease and the general condition of the animal.

Drugs are prescribed by a veterinarian, treatment and all procedures are carried out under the supervision of a specialist. You can not ignore the rules of compliance with personal safety measures against infection!

The treatment is carried out in a complex and is divided into 4 stages:

  1. The destruction of Leptospira - the causative agent of the disease.
  2. Stimulation of cardiovascular activity.
  3. Removing toxins, stopping attacks of vomiting and diarrhea.
  4. Restoration of the functions of the kidneys and liver, stabilization of the gastrointestinal tract.

It should be borne in mind that the basis of successful treatment is, above all, the fight against parasites. The remaining stages of therapy may vary based on the state of the pet.

To reduce or completely eliminate active leptospira, specific treatment is carried out, which is most effective in the first hours and days. To do this, apply hyperimmune serum. The drug is administered for 2-3 days, observing the dosage: 0.5 ml of the drug per 1 kg of body weight.

Для угнетения микропаразитов, располагающихся во внутренних органах, используются антибиотики широкого спектра действия (Бициллин-1, Бициллин-3, Пенициллин, Амоксициллин, Стрептомицин), которые вводятся подкожно, внутримышечно или внутривенно. Дозировка устанавливается врачом индивидуально.

An effective procedure is hemodialysis, through which the pathogen can be removed from the blood. However, the necessary equipment is not available in every clinic.

Symptomatic treatment involves the use of intravenous infusions, which include rehydrating agents and antispasmodics. Hepaprotective drugs (Essentiale, LIV-52, Karsil) are prescribed to support the liver, and anticonvulsants (Phenobarbital, Diazepam, Levitiracetam) are used to eliminate cramps.

The inflammatory process is removed with the help of Flamin and Dexafort. The affected areas of the skin are treated with chlorhexidine, Miramistin or hydrogen peroxide.

As for antiemetic drugs, Zeercal has established itself well.

We must not forget that the heart of the animal is subjected to a strong load, so it needs support. To stabilize the cardiovascular activity, vitamins B, C, Riboxin injections are used.

After an illness, the dog develops strong immunity for several years. However, with kidney damage, many animals have been a carrier of leptospiros for a long time. To find out whether the dog is a carrier of bacteria, it is necessary to examine a urine test a few months after full recovery.

As for forecasts, veterinarians give them very carefully. If treatment is started in a timely manner, then in 50% of cases, the animals recover, usually on the 14-21st day. However, if vital organs such as the liver and kidneys are seriously damaged, the risk of death is very high.

What to do at home

All home remedies are powerless against leptospirosis. To save a dog can only treatment prescribed by a specialist. From the owner is required to create the most comfortable conditions for the four-legged pet, peace and good food.

Since the animal is a source of infection, it should be in a separate room, it should be cared for, observing precautions (use changeable clothes and gloves). Places where the animal feces are washed with bleach, disinfectants and iodine.

Weakened animals, as a rule, refuse to eat, but force-feed is not necessary. At the time of treatment, the dog's diet consists of low-protein diets.

When the pet begins to recover, it should also consume only benign foods that eliminate the burden on the liver and other organs affected during the illness. This diet dog will follow the rest of his life.

It is preferable to use a special medical food, which can be purchased at a veterinary clinic. If the dog is fed with natural food, then boiled chicken or turkey, oatmeal and rice porridge cooked in water, vegetables, fruit (if there are no exacerbations of gastroenteritis) should be present in the diet.

The dog should receive the necessary amount of water to which it is necessary to add a decoction of choleretic grass.

Possible complications

If the dog survives, then it may experience complications such as dysfunction of the liver, kidneys, and digestive system. It takes 1 to 3 months to restore the organs. During this period, course therapy with the use of enzyme and hepaprotective drugs.

Preventive measures

The only effective preventive measure against leptospirosis is vaccination. Ignoring this procedure, the owner puts his pet at undue risk. Modern pharmacology offers a wide range of vaccines, among which the most popular are Multikan, Nobivak, Biovac.

Do not allow your pet to swim in ponds with standing water, limit its contact with stray dogs. At the first sign of illness, immediately contact your veterinarian. Remember that leptospirosis, along with rabies and viral enteritis, is a deadly disease.

Leptospirosis of animals - general information

The causative agent of the disease is the leptospira bacteria belonging to the spirochete group. Microorganisms have received their name due to their specific body shape, resembling a spiral. Bacteria are always mobile and very active, and their small size allows it to spread very quickly throughout the body after infection.

Many species of domestic animals and birds suffer from leptospirosis, and the disease is spread throughout the world, with the exception of the polar regions. Although each type of animal is characterized by a certain type (serovar) of leptospira, which causes symptoms of the disease, and there are eight of them today, leptospirosis from dogs and other animals is transmitted to humans. It should be noted that representatives of the canine family are most susceptible to leptospirosis and, I must say, harder than others suffer this disease. People can become infected with leptospirosis by contact and food, if bacteria enter the blood through wounds on the skin, mucous membranes, or with contaminated food and water.

The main reservoir for a separate leptospira serovar are different species of animals that can be the carrier of the pathogen and infect the latter as they come into contact with healthy animals and humans. Within the temperate zones of our country, such a reservoir are wild and domestic rodents, which are simultaneously lifelong carriers of leptospirosis.

It is worth noting that all animals that have had a disease, but continue to secrete bacteria to the environment, become leptospirosis carriers. For example, the period of micro carrier in dogs can be up to four years. The only exception is a man - even when he is sick with leptospirosis, he cannot infect other species of living organisms, including his own kind, since he does not release leptospir into the environment. However, infection is still possible experimentally through direct contact through the blood.

How does the infection occur?

Leptospirosis in dogs is transmitted by contact from a sick animal through urine, during sexual intercourse, saliva, bites. In addition, placental transmission to the fetuses is possible, as well as from the mother to the puppies through milk. Often, dogs become infected when they are fed with raw meat, inseminated with a pathogen, or by eating the carcasses of other animals, mainly rats and mice. In addition, infections of dogs with leptospirosis through bites of blood-sucking insects are recorded.

Crowded dogs in a kennel can increase the spread of infection. Indirect transmission occurs as a result of exposure to susceptible animals contaminated with bacterial sources of water, feed and litter.

The most private way of infecting dogs in individual household conditions is drinking water from contaminated water bodies. Stagnant or slow moving water provides suitable breeding conditions for leptospira, which can survive here for up to 200 days. Therefore, owners of dogs who live in rural conditions or often go out into the nature with their pets should watch out carefully so that the dog does not drink water from creeks or old forest puddles. In addition, large concentrations of bacteria are found in the swampy, highly moist soil of the banks of the backwaters, where the pathogen is able to maintain the possibility of infection for up to 270 days - in fact, all year round, with the exception of the frosty months.

Interesting fact: the most active outbreaks of leptospirosis begin to be more frequently recorded during periods of flooding. As for dry areas, the infection is almost always present around water sources.

Symptoms of leptospirosis in dogs are more active in the warm season, since low winter temperatures significantly reduce the population of bacteria in an open environment. This condition greatly facilitates the fight against natural outbreaks of the disease, otherwise the animal world, like all of humanity, was threatened with a serious epidemic of leptospirosis.

For the period of the late 90s of the 20th century in Russia, leptospirosis symptoms in dogs were observed in 32.9% of the total number of all animals, regardless of treatment. That is, literally every third dog either was sick or was a carrier of infection.

What happens in dogs?

For the development of leptospirosis, bacteria must penetrate into the bloodstream of animals. Microorganisms are not able to overcome the protective barriers of the skin, but easily pass through the mucous membranes of the respiratory, digestive and reproductive systems. The pathogen reaches the small capillary system of the parenchymal organs - the liver, lungs, and kidneys, where it accumulates, actively reproducing for 2-12 days. This period determines the incubation period of leptospirosis in dogs.

If during this time no preventive treatment has been carried out, the symptoms of leptospirosis in dogs begin to appear actively as the pathogen spreads through the blood. Leptospira are extremely dangerous because of their endotoxin, which increases the permeability of small blood vessels, which in turn leads to complete exudation of plasma into the perivascular space, thickening of the blood and microthrombosis. Erythrocytes and blood vessel walls are also completely destroyed. As a result, the blood supply to the whole parts of the organs, including such vital ones as the liver, kidneys and lungs, is disrupted or completely stopped, and active capillary bleeding is observed.

Sick dogs already during the incubation period of leptospirosis, 3-5 days after infection, begin to secrete causative agents of leptospirosis to the external environment, mainly with urine. This phenomenon is due to the accumulation of bacteria in the glomerular zone of the kidneys, rich in a network of small blood vessels.

It is because of the large number of leptospira in convoluted tubules of the kidneys that dogs are able to excrete virulent (capable of infection) leptospir for a long time after apparent recovery from several months to several years. This happens because the drugs that are used for the main treatment of leptospirosis in dogs can suppress the symptoms, because they kill bacteria everywhere in the body, but their penetration into the glomerular zone is extremely difficult.

Dog leptospirosis - symptoms

Immediately it should be emphasized that regardless of the type of leptospirosis, which we will discuss below, the main symptoms of the disease in dogs are manifested in the form of hepatic and renal failure, as well as functional disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. This is explained by the accumulation of a large number of pathogens in the corresponding parenchymal organs, as well as the predominant lesion of the capillary network of their tissues.

Thus, leptospirosis in dogs, whose symptoms are directly dependent on the treatment, in any case will manifest itself with the following symptoms immediately after the end of the incubation period:

  • Increase in body temperature by 1-3 degrees.
  • Loss of appetite, decreased activity, vomiting, diarrhea.
  • Yellowness of mucous membranes and skin. It is for the strength of the symptoms of jaundice specialists determine the severity of the disease.
  • The appearance of blood in the urine, feces.
  • Reducing the frequency of urination, and in the future - their complete absence.

Once again, these are the main symptoms of leptospirosis, which will manifest in the overwhelming majority of sick dogs. The type of pathogen, its contagiousness (level of infection), the quality of immunity and the overall stability of the animal will determine which clinical signs will appear stronger, which ones will be weaker and which will be absent. Now let's take a closer look at options for a different course of the disease.

Forms of the disease

Depending on the time that passes from the moment of infection to the final stage of the disease, there are:

  • The sharp form. The condition is characterized by a rapid progression of symptoms of leptospirosis - from 1 to 4 days, with a maximum of up to 10 days. The probability of death of the dog - up to 80%
  • Subacute form, in which there are similar clinical signs, but occurring not so clearly and quickly - 10-20 days. Mortality in this form is somewhat lower - up to 50%.
  • Chronic form, which in some cases goes from acute or subacute form to a long period from a month to several years. Throughout the chronic form, the symptoms of leptospirosis in dogs are almost invisible, especially against the background of constant treatment, but periodically exacerbated by the picture characteristic of the disease.
  • Micro carrier (latent, asymptomatic form). This form is distinguished from the previous state by the complete absence of symptoms of the disease, but the possibility of isolating a contagious infection into the external environment.

It should be noted that the probability of a complete cure for a dog from leptospirosis is quite low. Having entered the body once, leptospira can remain in the most difficult corners of the body accessible to drugs and from time to time manifest themselves in the form of symptoms. Such exacerbations will be observed in moments of reduced immunity of the animal, for example, after infection with another disease.

Hemorrhagic form of the disease

As we have noted above, leptospirosis of animals always affects the liver and other parenchymal organs, organizing the corresponding symptoms. However, depending on the serovar of the pathogen, its virulence, as well as the strength of the dog's immunity, this or that animal system may be more affected.

Depending on these conditions, the hemorrhagic or anicteric form of leptospirosis is shared, and the jaundice. The hemorrhagic form is characterized by the following signs and symptoms:

  • Older dogs are sick more often - after 5 years.
  • The form of the disease is predominantly acute or subacute.
  • A sharp rise in body temperature to 41.0-41.5 degrees.
  • Drowsiness, loss of appetite, thirst.
  • Redness of visible mucous membranes.
  • The temperature drops to 37-38 degrees in 3-4 days.
  • Active bleeding from the capillaries of the mucous membranes of the new, oral cavities, as well as from the vagina, is observed.
  • Blood clots are detected in vomit, feces, urine.
  • At the injection sites, large hematomas visible through the skin are formed.
  • When trying to probe the organs of the abdominal and pelvic cavities, there is great pain.

In addition to the above symptoms, if the correct treatment is not carried out, the following complications can occur in a dog with leptospirosis, which develop in a lightning-fast manner one after the other during the day:

  • Severe dehydration - exhaustion and great thirst.
  • Formation of necrotic ulcers in the oral cavity, clearly visible upon examination.
  • Hemorrhagic inflammation of the stomach and intestines along its entire length. During the act of defecation, almost pure, uncoiled blood is released.
  • Acute renal failure, which is expressed as a decrease in the number of acts of urination, and then complete absence of.

It should be noted that in this form of leptospirosis, in animals the yellowness of the visible mucous membranes is expressed very weakly and almost imperceptible. These clinical signs end with the death of a dog, which practically does not respond to surrounding stimuli and does not rise.

Icteric form

This type of leptospirosis in dogs is distinguished by the presence of a strong yellowness, along with all the other symptoms that are inherent in the hemorrhagic form of the disease. The skin of an animal turns yellow almost everywhere, which is clearly visible when removing the coat. Do not make an exception and mucous membranes.

In addition, in the icteric form of leptospirosis, the dog is observed:

  • Severe vomiting blood.
  • Complete rejection of feed and water.
  • Point hemorrhages, clearly visible on the mucous membranes and in places with thin skin.
  • Enlarged several times the liver and spleen, which is well felt when they probe.

Mortality in this form of the disease is about 50-60%. Although these figures are slightly lower than in the hemorrhagic form of leptospirosis, the suffering of animals is more pronounced, and the symptoms of leptospirosis are more active.

Once again we recall that, as for the hemorrhagic and anicteric forms of leptospirosis, any course of the disease is characteristic, from acute to chronic. It is considered that if the dog survived 5 days from the moment of the first signs (that is, a transition to the subacute form was made), then the animal will survive.

Leptospirosis in dogs is an infectious disease that is dangerous for the rapidity of development and complication of symptoms, so treatment should be prescribed as soon as possible. In this case, the probability of death is reduced several times, and the period of micro carrier after clinical recovery is always noticeably shorter.

The best and effective treatment is the serum against leptospirosis in dogs (hyperimmune). The preparation includes antibodies to leptospira, which means the introduction of almost "ready" immunity in the body of an animal. Serum is administered once subcutaneously in the area of ​​the scapula, preheating the bottle with the solution in a water bath to a temperature of 37 degrees. In severe cases of the disease, repeated administration of serum against leptospirosis in dogs is allowed every other day, but the dosage should be half as recommended. The total volume of the dose is derived at the rate of 0.5 ml of the drug per 1 kg of live weight of the dog.

Отечественная сыворотка против лептоспироза у собак

Если после введения повторной дозы симптомы болезни не исчезают, значит велика вероятность того, что диагноз на лептоспироз был поставлен ошибочно.

Given that leptospira belong to the group of spirochetes, any antibiotics of this category are effective against them, and not necessarily from the most expensive class. In the standard treatment of leptospirosis, the dog is usually administered (intramuscularly only):

  • Benzylpenicillin.
  • Bicillin-1.
  • Bicillin-3.

Dosage is calculated based on the weight of the dog - 20 thousand. Units per 1 kg. As a rule, 2-3 injections with an interval of 3-4 days are sufficient. It is also possible the appointment of streptomycin at the rate of 15 IU per 1 kg of weight, twice a day, during the week.

In addition to specific treatment with dog serum against leptospirosis and antibiotic therapy, symptomatic supportive treatment is prescribed - antiemetic, diuretic, water-salt, nutritional supplements, as well as hepatoprotectors and detoxification drugs, for example, hemodez. All regimens prescribed only by a veterinarian, based on the general condition of the dog.

How to prevent infection?

Dogs can become infected with leptospirosis at any time, even if there is currently no suspicion of the presence of leptospira in the environment. In the event of frequent outbreaks of the disease, epidemiological alert is announced in the region. Residents are informed about the danger of infection with leptospirosis, mass deratization is carried out, and on the banks of reservoirs they hang signs that the water and the coast are infected. But, unfortunately, such activities are not always and everywhere. Therefore, each owner must individually monitor the health of his pet.

A disease such as leptospirosis in dogs, whose symptoms are severe, and treatment is not always possible to provide in a timely manner, requires some preventive measures, under which the infection is unlikely:

  • Dogs should be kept away from stagnant bodies of water.
  • Contact of the animal with others should not be allowed, especially if it is known that they once had leptospirosis.
  • There should be no rodents in the area where the dog is kept.
  • If leptospirosis is suspected, preventive antibiotic treatment in a dog should be carried out as soon as possible, regardless of the presence of symptoms. For example, if a dog got drunk from a suspicious reservoir.
  • Leptospirosis vaccination does not guarantee 100% protection against infection, but the clinical picture in this case will be milder.

To date, many vaccines against leptospirosis have been developed in dogs, both foreign and domestic:

  • Polyvalent (from several diseases) vaccine Biovac-L.
  • Vaccine against leptospirosis of dogs (NPV Narvak).
  • Polyvalent vaccine VGNKI against leptospirosis of animals.
  • Biovac-DPAL, Biorabic, Hexacanivac, Dipentak, Multican-6, 8.
  • Foreign - Leptodog, Hexadog, Leptorabisin, Vanguard-5B, Vanguard-7 and others.

When vaccination should carefully review and instructions for use of the vaccine and the recommendations of the veterinarian (not the seller of the pet store). As a rule, all vaccines provide strong immunity against leptospirosis for up to six months, therefore vaccination should be carried out twice a year, twice with an interval of 14-20 days. The age at which vaccination of puppies is recommended is 6-8 weeks.

We hope that this article has expanded the knowledge of our readers on the issue: leptospirosis in dogs - symptoms, treatment and danger to humans. If you have any questions, we will be happy to answer them in the comments to this article. Subscribe to our VKontakte group and take care of your favorites!

Predisposition of dogs to leptospirosis

It cannot be dismissed that problems are based on genetic predisposition. However, in our case, we can be sure that the specificity of leptospirosis in dogs is not detected at the genetic level. Citing for example statistics, it can be noted that leptospirosis in dogs is more likely to be diagnosed in hunting and strollers, which is due to frequent contact with water.

Puppies and young individuals have an unstable immunity, so they are more at risk of infection. Hemorrhagic form occurs in older dogs.


Leptospirosis in dogs has, under its foundation, a Latin name derived from the name of the bacterium - leptospira, the spirochete family, the direct causative agent of the disease if it enters the body.

The leptospira bacterium itself is fairly stable in an aggressive environment, it copes with temperature fluctuations, is not afraid of cold weather, and actively shares when there is enough high humidity and temperature conditions above 34 degrees. The most common habitat of bacteria is the aquatic environment, optimal for reproduction. Temperatures above 76 degrees and ultraviolet cope with bacteria in about 2 hours.

The process of infection goes through the carrier, which can be infected through a dog's discharge, urine, semen, or other biological fluid. In the case of leptospira in the water immediately begins its active reproduction, with rapid penetration through the open areas on the skin. Reported cases of transmission of leptospirosis through the bites of ticks or other blood-sucking.

Symptoms of the disease

The onset of the disease proceeds according to the following pattern, where the following signs of leptospirosis in a dog are noted:

  • pet begins to tire quickly,
  • reduced activity
  • moves a little, is cured.

As soon as the dog begins to lie down for several days in a row, you need to worry about its health. A similar situation with the lack of desire is, reluctant to respond to your commands. The temperature is high (reaches 41 degrees, sometimes higher). For 3-7 days, increased respiration is noticeable, vomiting occurs with diarrhea, sometimes with blood, the smell from the mouth. Visible spots on the nose. After a couple of days, foci will start to form, and the nose will crumble.

Urine is brown in color, and its amount itself is multiply reduced. The mouth begins to burst from the resulting ulcers appearing on the skin. Wool has a strong smell. After a couple of days, diarrhea is replaced by constipation. The dog refuses to eat. Extreme depletion will begin to develop, the temperature will drop to 37 degrees. A little later, the convulsions will begin. According to experts, all signs are more academic. In practice, the entire period of development of canine leptospirosis passes without the full manifestation of symptoms.

The carriers of the disease can be any animals, whether domesticated or wild. The ill individual excretes bacteria into the environment even several years after recovery. Rodents act as carriers. The ill person practically does not emit leptospira due to the observance of even the slightest rules of hygiene.

Sick and ill leptospirosis individuals can cause infection in both other dogs and family members. It is necessary to immediately pay attention to the appearance of the initial signs of the disease or try to find suspicions of leptospirosis.


After the bacteria enters the body, they are directly sent to the liver, where they multiply. The severity of the disease will directly depend on the size of the primary dose of the bacteria produced, then they are sent to the bloodstream with release of toxins.

Under pressure from the bloodstream, bacteria spread throughout the body, based on the renal tubules, causing jaundice or a hemorrhagic form. In the case of leptospirosis, the whole strength of the disease falls on the liver and the circulatory system. Bacteria have an effect on the body, forcing it to produce an excessive amount of hemoglobin, which affects the depletion of coagulation systems, leading to necrosis and hemorrhage. Result: acute renal failure or cardiopathy.

Treatment rules

As soon as a suspected leptospirosis appears, the owner should immediately contact a veterinarian and carry out the necessary diagnostics. If leptospira is found in the urine, which is viable even for 2 hours after taking the test, the doctor will report it. To fully confirm the pet's diagnosis, it is necessary to isolate it from other patients for further examination and treatment.

Pets can get your help, but it will be completely ineffective with leptospirosis. It should be said even more: the dog is an active source of infection, including for its own owner. Throughout the course of treatment, the dog must be kept separate, and care should be taken if all precautions are taken. To carry out the treatment of dogs, veterinarians use the technique of therapy.

The treatment is a rather effective variant for the first time, due to the fact that it is aimed at reducing or completely eliminating the number of spirochaetes. The best option is hyperimmune serum. Streptomycin destroys the bacteria that live inside.

If symptomatic treatment is carried out, the toxic load can be significantly reduced. Intravenous infusions that include rehydrating agents, anticonvulsants, and lubricants will be an excellent tool. In the case of a hemorrhagic form, hemostatic drugs are taken.

In the case of the most acute phase, when the animal completely refuses food, it is not necessary to feed him forcibly. In the process of recovery, a pet is prescribed a dietary character, which does not burden the affected organs. The icteric form of the disease makes it necessary to feed the dog in small portions, preferably already prepared for this medical food. A special type of food in hemorrhagic form can be purchased at veterinary clinics. All manipulations are focused on the treatment of leptospirosis in dogs:

  • pathogen elimination,
  • destruction of intoxication,
  • restoration of the kidneys and liver, as well as the heart and blood vessels,
  • stopping vomiting and diarrhea.

Medicines are administered intravenously. In connection with the depletion of the body, weakness of the heart and blood vessels, the procedure is carried out subcutaneously, since they are not absorbed intramuscularly. Thus, the effects of drugs are not able to have.

To cope with the destruction of the pathogen can be in two ways. The fight against leptospirae in the blood is based on serum with antibodies. In addition to binding, serum can stimulate the immune system. The destruction of pathogens in the organs occurs on the basis of antibiotics, the choice of which depends on the state of the animal.

To get rid of intoxication can be due to the introduction of nutrient solutions intravenously. The binding of toxins occurs on the basis of sodium thiosulfate and similar drugs. Determination of choice is based on the stage of the disease and the immediate state of the pet. In the early stages of the disease with preservation of production, a 40% glucose solution is injected to eliminate toxins or 25% magnesium sulfate.

To restore the work of the liver and kidneys should immediately begin the destruction of the pathogen. Restoration of the kidneys is carried out on the basis of lespenefril or drugs similar to it. Recovery of the liver occurs due to the introduction of enzymes (Essentiale). As soon as diarrhea and vomiting are stopped, Kars is appointed for several months ahead.

Homeopathic preparations are also used. Sometimes it is possible to combine traditional drugs with homeopathic, which multiplies the effect. Most cases require stopping diarrhea and vomiting.

Reglan will cope with bouts of vomiting, but it is worth taking the medicine with caution due to the complexity of the predictability of its effect on the intestines. You can stop diarrhea enterosgel and means close to it. We must not forget that leptospirosis will forever negatively affect the health of the pet. When the pet has lost the activity of actions, it lies down and breathes heavily, she has diarrhea and vomiting - it's time to turn to the vet.

Consequences of the disease

Often, dogs that have had leptospirosis will have liver, digestive system and kidney dysfunction. The recovery period is quite extended in time (within 1-3 months). The dog is prescribed maintenance treatment for the liver based on enzymes and hepatoprotective drugs.

However, one of the key roles in the rehabilitation period is dietary nutrition, which will need to adhere to the four-legged life. The feeding of the animal occurs on a fractional basis, every 3 hours. In the diet should be meat (raw) or boiled turkey, boiled in water grits. Not superfluous will be carrots, fruits.

When bacteria enter the body, they enter the bloodstream, which entails the risk of movement throughout the body. Of course, the immune system tries to respond with increased production of antibodies and macrophages. However, even for her, there are limits.

The shell of bacteria - leptospir, toxic due to which affects the destruction of blood and vascular walls. Causative agents of disorders are poisons. True, the real problem is not the poisons themselves, but dead microbes. When decomposed, a pathogen is released that emits aggressive substances.

When bacteria enter the liver or kidneys, the destruction of organs begins because the pathogen begins to feed on substances necessary for the functioning of the organs. Escaping from macrophages, the pathogen moves into the cells.

As a result, there is a violation of the liver, the immune system is coping worse with toxins in the body. With each blood flow, leptospira move into the intestine, slowly damaging it. Hemorrhages are disturbed, then problems with feces begin, as the bacterium is in the stomach. Blood in the stomach turns it green.


According to experts, the immunity will be protected after the disease and will not allow to worry about the resumption of the disease for a long time. At the same time, animals with kidney damage will continue to secrete bacteria for several years. But do not worry. Sick dogs are not carriers of bacteria, rather it is a rarity. True, the probability still exists. To get rid of all fears, confirmation of the presence of bacteria through the delivery of urine analysis a couple of months after recovery will not be superfluous.

Vaccination is considered an effective method of preventing leptospirosis in dogs. Polyvalent vaccines are applied to puppies twice in a period of 2-4 months; adult animals are vaccinated once a year. A number of veterinarians agree that the resistance of immunity after a single vaccination will allow the dog to keep its immunity for six months. Therefore, it will not be superfluous to vaccinate your pet during the winter-spring period in order to avoid a seasonal outbreak.