According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, Leptospirosis is a disease that is caused by infection with Leptospira bacteria. This bacteria can be found nationwide usually in soil and water. There are many strains of Leptospira bacteria that can cause the disease. Leptospirosis is zoonotic, which means it can be spread from animals to people. Infection in people can cause flu-like symptoms and can cause liver or kidney disease. In the United States, most cases of human leptospirosis result from recreational activities involving water. Infection resulting from contact with an infected pet is much less common, but it is possible.


  • Vaccines effectively prevent leptospirosis and protect dogs for at least 12 months
  • Avoid letting your dog drink from or swim in rivers, lakes, ponds, marshy areas or slow-moving or stagnant water
  • Minimize contact with wildlife, farm animals and rodents, including carcasses

The signs of leptospirosis in dogs vary based on the strain of the bacteria and how the dog’s immune system reacts to the infection. Symptoms might include fever, shivering, muscle tenderness, reluctance to move, increased thirst, changes in the frequency or amount of urination, dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy and jaundice.

Leptospirosis is generally treated with antibiotics and supportive care. Depending on the severity of their illness, affected dogs may require fluid therapy and nutritional support. When treated early the chances for recovery are good but there is still a risk of kidney or liver damage.

If your dog has symptoms common with this disease or if you are concerned with possible exposure please contact Countryside Animal Health Center at 989-695-2200.

For more information visit www.avma.org