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Leptospirosis in Dogs

By: Dr. Arnold Plotnick

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Your veterinarian will want to do a complete review of history and physical exam findings to develop a list of possible causes for your dog's illness. In order to make a definitive diagnosis of leptospirosis, however, various diagnostic tests may be recommended.

  • Leptospirosis test. A microscopic agglutination test (MAT) is the most frequently used serologic test for leptospirosis. It evaluates the presence of serum antibodies to leptospiral antigens.

  • General blood and urine tests

  • Kidney biopsy


    If the disease is caught in time, it can usually be treated successfully with penicillin and tetracycline drugs. However, those with renal failure may or may not recover, or may recover only partial renal function.

  • Animals with acute renal failure should be treated with appropriate fluid therapy.

  • Antibiotic therapy

  • Supportive care including hospitalization with intravenous fluids or blood transfusion.

    Preventive Care

  • Prevention is available in the form of vaccinations, although they provide protection against serovars (subtypes) canicola and icterohaemorrhagiae. Despite this, immunization is recommended. New vaccines may provide a broader spectrum of protection.

  • Rodents are a potential source of infection for dogs, and rodent control, especially in kennels, is an important prevention method.

  • Minimize contact with wild animals because these animals are reservoirs of infection.

  • Isolate infected animals and maintain a clean environment.

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