The Low Down On Leptospirosis In Dogs

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects both humans and animals. Dogs are particularly susceptible to infection because they often come into contact with infected water sources.

If you’re eager to learn more about leptospirosis in dogs, you’re in the right place.

In this article, I will explore some key information on leptospirosis in dogs.

Let’s get into it.

The Low Down On Leptospirosis In Dogs

What Is Leptospirosis? 

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease. It is zoonotic, meaning that animals can pass it on to humans.

So, how do dogs become infected? There’s no getting away from the fact that dogs experience the world with their nose, constantly sniffing and exploring their environment.

Leptospirosis is spread through direct or indirect contact with urine from an infected animal and can enter your dog’s body through their mouth, nose, or any wounds that they may have on their body.

It can also be transmitted by contaminated food or water, which is one of the main reasons that you shouldn’t allow your dog to drink out of dirty puddles when you’re out on your daily walks.

The Low Down On Leptospirosis In Dogs 

Dogs are exposed to Leptospira bacteria through their environments, such as soil or water, and also from other animals, such as rodents or livestock. 

Unfortunately for them, the bacteria is able to survive for months in warm, moist soil. As a result, it is more common in environments that receive a lot of rainfall.

The bacteria get into livestock in the same way that it gets into your dog. As I have mentioned above, the bacteria then enter the dog’s body via their mouth, nose, or cuts or abrasions on their body.

Once inside the body, the bacteria multiply rapidly and cause severe illness. So, what are some of the symptoms of leptospirosis?

The Symptoms Of Leptospirosis In Dogs 

There are a variety of symptoms associated with leptospirosis. The earliest signs are typically a loss of appetite as well as an increase or decrease in urine production.

Symptoms of leptospirosis also include fever, vomiting, diarrhea (sometimes bloody), jaundice, and muscle aches. Some dogs may have no symptoms at all.

Affected dogs should be taken to the vet immediately for treatment. If left untreated, the disease can be fatal. Even with immediate medical care, 10 to 15% of infected dogs can die.

What Happens Once A Dog Is Infected With Leptospirosis? 

When a dog is infected with leptospirosis, the bacteria enter their bloodstream. This causes inflammation throughout their entire body and leads to organ failure.

As a result, the kidneys become damaged, causing them to lose function. The liver becomes inflamed, which is why many dogs develop jaundice (yellowing skin). 

In severe cases, as the disease progresses, the damage becomes irreversible and it is fatal for the animal.

As a result, if you think that your dog has leptospirosis, it’s best to call your vet immediately, as you’re at risk of catching it from them too!

Treatment For Leptospirosis 

There are several ways of treating leptospirosis:


Antibiotics are used to fight the Leptospira bacteria in the body, and can also help prevent further complications if administered early enough.

Supportive Care 

There are a variety of medications that can help manage the symptoms of leptospirosis. 

Fluid Therapy 

Fluid therapy, such as IV fluids may be necessary for your dog to help correct 

How To Prevent Leptospirosis In Dogs

To prevent leptospirosis in dogs, vaccination is the best way to protect your dog.

The vaccine used today is a four-way, second-generation vaccine that is designed to protect your dog against four types of leptospirosis.

You will need to discuss with your veterinarian what type of leptospirosis vaccination is appropriate for your dog.

In addition to this, you can try to reduce your dog’s exposure to possible sources of Leptospira bacteria, as this minimizes the chances of infection. 

By doing this, you should try to prevent them from drinking from dirty, stagnant water sources such as puddles and keep a close eye on them on their walks.

What Should You Do If You Suspect Your Dog Has Leptospirosis? 

If you have suspicions that your dog might have leptospirosis, you must call your veterinarian at the nearest opportunity. 

They will be able to assess your dog’s condition, as early diagnosis and treatment is your dog’s best chance of surviving this awful disease.

This is essential, as humans are also vulnerable to catching leptospirosis, so your entire household could become very sick if you’re not mindful of this.

It’s also worth mentioning that if your dog is diagnosed with leptospirosis, then you should let anyone who has been in close contact with your dog know. This is important as both animals and people that have come into contact with your dog could need medical assessment.

How Does Leptospirosis Spread To Humans? 

As I’ve mentioned, humans can catch leptospirosis from dogs, so you will need to be very careful if you suspect your dog has it.

Just like your dog can become infected, owners can come into contact with urine or other bodily fluids, such as saliva, that are contaminated. If your dog licks your hands, and then you forget that they have done so, you might be at risk of rubbing your nose or your mouth and becoming infected that way.

Alternatively, if you have a cut on you that your dog comes into contact with, there is a high risk that you will become infected.

This is why it is so important to regularly wash your hands if you think that your dog might have leptospirosis.

Any time that you come into contact with your dog, make sure that you are using an antibacterial wash to remove any germs from your hands and make sure that you keep your dog contained in one section of your home. This will help to minimize the risk of them spreading it around your home in their urine or saliva. 

If you’ve got any cuts on your hand, this is especially important, as this is a sure-fire way of you coming into contact with leptospirosis. 

You will need to make sure that all of your family are made aware of the situation so that you are able to minimize the fall out of your dog being affected. After all, you don’t want your entire family to be affected by this horrible disease.

Precautions will need to be taken, and if you have children, you will need to ensure that they are well aware of how leptospirosis is spread. 


Leptospirosis is a serious disease that affects many different species, including dogs and humans. 

Hopefully, after reading this article you have a much better understanding of leptospirosis and how it is spread. 

If you suspect that your dog has leptospirosis and is showing signs, you will need to contact your vet as soon as possible. Your veterinarian will be able to provide you with more information about the disease, and the care that they can offer your dog.

If your dog is diagnosed with leptospirosis, remember to consistently wash your hands and be mindful of any cuts that you may have on your body.

Megan Turner