Leptospirosis is a bacterium that is shed from the urine of wildlife mammals. Here in Colorado, we have found dogs becoming exposed more commonly. These now common bacteria can be deadly to our animals and can be transmitted to humans. Harboring in the soil and water in the environment, it can be contracted directly through the skin, ingestion, or inhalation.
General hygiene is the BEST way to keep you, your family, and your animals safe. These bacteria are very sensitive to cleaning products and are easily eradicated with normal hygiene. Leptospirosis can lead to severe kidney and liver failure and can be irreversible in severe cases. The Bacteria can affect animals in two phases. These phases can be seen at different times and do not always happen in the same fashion in every pet. This makes diagnosing leptospirosis difficult. Signs of leptospirosis can be seen as general lethargy, fever, urinating more often, drinking more frequently, as well as other presenting complaints due to organ malfunction. If your pet is exhibiting any of those signs and are often in any outdoor environment, please contact your veterinary office.
If a doctor is suspicious of leptospirosis, there are 3 main ways of testing and diagnosing the bacteria. Serology (blood testing which the serum component of whole blood is used for a reaction with live leptospirosis bacteria), Pathology (testing the direct kidney or liver tissue and looking at them under the microscope), and with a PCR (polymerases change reactions; which is testing the urine and a blood sample together to rule out new or old infections).
If an animal tests positive for having leptospirosis in the blood stream, Antibiotic therapy as well as general supportive care. We want to keep their organs comfortable with IV fluids, GI supplements, or hepatic support so they are not losing nutrients, and the antibiotic to kill the bacteria.