BEWARE: Leptospirosis is only a rodent away

Do you see  mice or rats or cockroaches in your  house or in your garage?

If you have dogs, please take precautionary measures as soon as possible.

Rats, mice or other animal pests can carry and spread the  bacteria  that causes leptospirosis which can be fatal, and highly contagious to both  dogs and humans

Leptospirosis is widespread during the rainy season because  of floods or canals with stagnant water. Thus, please be extra careful in flood-prone areas. The water may be contaminated with urine of mice or rats that carry the bacteria. 

I discussed  illnesses in dogs (lepto and kennel cough) during the rainy season briefly in a previous  column. But I have heard of many cases of  leptospirosis yet again so let us review.

What is leptospirosis?

PET MD says Leptospirosis is an “infection of bacterial spirochetes, which dogs acquire when subspecies…penetrate the skin”  and spread in the body through the bloodstream.

It adds the bacteria reproduces in the liver, kidneys, central nervous system, eyes, and reproductive system.

“Soon after initial infection, fever and bacterial infection of the blood develop, but these symptoms soon resolve with the reactive increase of antibodies, which clear the spirochetes from most of the system. The extent to which this bacteria affects the organs will depend on your dog’s immune system and its ability to eradicate the infection fully,” Pet MD says.

Our dogs Lucas, Batchi, Summer and Shakti
But, PET MD adds the bacteria can stay in the kidneys and  multiply, subsequently infecting the urine.

If the infection progresses, the liver and kidneys can be severely damaged and can thus be fatal to your pet.

At high risk for severe complications are young pets with less developed immune system 

This  can be transmitted to both humans and animals. Children are the ones who are at high risk of being infected.

Symptoms in dogs

When you observe one or two of the  symptoms, bring your dog to the vet immediately:

• Yellow skin and/or yellow color in  whites of eyes – anemic symptoms

• Rapid dehydration

• Always thirsty and urinates. This may indicate f chronic renal (kidney) failure, progressing to inability to urinate

• Vomiting. There may blood.

• Diarrhea. Stool may have blood.

• Dark red speckled gums (petechiae)

• Bloody discharge from the vagina

• Sudden fever and illness

• Sore muscles, reluctant to move

• Swelling of the mucous membrane

Brownie survived leptospirosis because his owner  Melita  Benavidez not only gave him tender, loving care, she also  brought him to the vet for proper medical treatment. If you can not afford  medical care for  a pet, please do not get one. 
• Mild swelling of the lymph nodes  

• Stiffness in muscles, legs, stiff gait

• Dog Shivers

• Dog is Weak

• Dog is Depressed

• No appetite

• Spontaneous cough

• Difficulty in breathing, fast breathing, irregular pulse

• Runny nose 

Lepto-prone areas

1.   Subtropical, tropical, and wet environments. 

2.   Marshy/muddy areas with stagnant surface water and frequented by wildlife.

3.   Heavily irrigated pastures like rice fields.

Means of contact:

1.   drinking water contaminated  by urine of  cats, mice and other rodents.

2.   passing through or swimming in contaminated water.

3.   open wounds

At high risk are  dogs  in kennels or shelters.  

A dog who has been diagnosed with leptospirosis (through chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, urinalysis , an electrolyte panel, and a fluorescent antibody urine test) should be  ISOLATED AND NOT ALLOWED TO COME INTO CONTACT WITH OTHER DOGS.

A responsible  pet owner or  shelter/kennel manager will  do everything to keep the other dogs away from the sick dog to stop the spread of this fatal disease.

Wear latex gloves when handling your pet and items he used. 

“Urine, semen, post-abortion discharge, vomit, and any fluid that leaves the body will need to be handled with extreme caution, Pet MD says


1.   confinement for severe cases

2.   fluid therapy  to reverse the effects of dehydration

3.    anti-vomiting drug may be given if the dog is vomiting  to keep the food down.

4.   blood transfusion may be done if your dog has been severely hemorrhaging.

5.   antibiotics will be  given but this depends on the stage of infection so do not decide on the kind of antibiotics yourself. 


1.   Have your dog vaccinated against leptospirosis.

2.   Keep your place clean.


Next week, I will share tips on how to keep those mice, rats  and cockroaches away. 

Have a great Sunday everyone. Namaste! 

Topics: BEWARE: Leptospirosis is only a rodent away

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