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Lepto in Dogs

November 15, 2017

As you may know, our canine pals can be affected by a wide variety of illnesses, injuries, and diseases. One thing for pet owners to be aware of, particularly at this time of year, is Leptospirosis, or Lepto for short. In this article from Arapahoe Animal Hospital, your Boulder, CO vet, serving Louisville and surrounding areas, a Louisville, CO vet discusses Lepto.

What Is Lepto?

Lepto is a disease that is caused by the Leptospira bacteria. The bacteria is found in soil and water all over the world, but is most common in areas that get a lot of rainfall. Lepto is very concerning, not only because it can make pets very sick, but because it is zoonotic, which that means it can be spread between animals and people. It’s worth noting that cats can also get Lepto, but it’s much more common in dogs.

How Dogs Get Lepto

Fido can get Lepto by coming into contact with urine from an infected animal. Your pet can actually pick up the bacteria just by walking over a spot an animal with Lepto urinated on! Dogs can also get Lepto through bites; by drinking contaminated water; eating the carcass of an infected animal; or through contact with contaminated soil, bedding, or food. Our canine pals often get Lepto by roaming around through contaminated areas, such as wet pastures.


The signs of Lepto vary from dog to dog, both in type and severity. Some common symptoms are lethargy; reduced appetite; jaundice; dehydration; vomiting; diarrhea; breathing difficulty; swollen legs; or inflamed eyes. Some dogs don’t show symptoms at all, while others recover quickly. However, Lepto can lead to serious medical issues, such as kidney failure, and can even be fatal. If you see any of these symptoms in your furry pal, contact your vet immediately. Lepto can generally be treated with antibiotics and other care, but early diagnosis and treatment is crucial.


As with anything pet-related, when it comes to Lepto, an ounce of prevention is worth several pounds of cure. There are vaccinations available for Lepto. These are recommended for dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors and/or in areas that could be contaminated. Ask your vet for more information.

Please contact Arapahoe Animal Hospital, your Boulder, CO vet, serving Louisville and surrounding areas, for all of your dog’s veterinary care needs. We are here to help!