Leptospirosis in dogs: Causes, symptoms, and treatment

Leptospirosis, sometimes known as Weil’s disease, is a bacterial infection spread through the urine of infected animals and humans. In dogs, it can affect your dog’s kidneys and liver and lead to severe consequences if left untreated, including death. In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at Leptospirosis in dogs, covering the causes, symptoms, treatment, and prevention of this condition.


The Leptospirosis bacterium is a zoonotic disease that can infect humans and animals. It is transmitted to dogs through exposure to the urine of infected wildlife or other infected animals. Dogs are more likely to be infected with Leptospirosis if they spend a lot of time outside or near freshwater streams, ponds, lakes, or other bodies of water where the bacteria can thrive.

What is leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that can be transmitted to humans through contact with infected animals. The bacteria are found in the urine of infected animals. Dogs are the primary carriers of Leptospirosis, and they can transmit the disease to humans during shedding periods or when they come into contact with water contaminated by their urine. 

Signs of Leptospirosis include fever, aches, chills, and vomiting.

Causes of Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is caused by a bacterium called Leptospira interrogans. The bacteria is found in the urine of infected animals and can enter the body through open wounds or mucous membranes such as the eyes, nose, and mouth. It can also be contracted from contaminated water or soil. Once it enters the bloodstream, it can spread to other organs, including the liver and kidneys.

Symptoms of Leptospirosis

The most common signs of Leptospirosis are fever, stiffness (especially after exercise), depression, vomiting, and diarrhea. These symptoms can last up to three weeks. Other possible signs include:

  • Anorexia.
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes).
  • Red eyes.
  • Severe muscle pain or soreness around the joints or after exercise.

Sometimes, a dog may show no signs but still have Leptospirosis.

Treatment of Leptospirosis

Treatment for Leptospirosis is quite simple. It usually consists of giving the dog an antibiotic called doxycycline or penicillin. This may need to be provided for up to six weeks, depending on how bad the illness is. The vet will also want to ensure that there are no other underlying health problems that might cause this type of infection.

Prevention of Leptospirosis

Dogs with Leptospirosis can be treated with antibiotics. Vaccines may also help prevent the disease. The most common cause of death associated with the disease is kidney failure. Antibiotics are usually given to dogs infected with Leptospirosis, but they do not always work well because it can take a while to fight off the infection.


Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection acquired through contact with water, soil, or food contaminated with urine from infected animals. There are four types of Leptospirosis: L. canicola (canine), L. grippotyphosa (rats), L. icterohaemorrhagiae (horses), and L.

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