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At the North Central Animal Hospital, our veterinarian in Phoenix serves the community by providing a comprehensive level of care to our patients. We offer emergency, sick and wellness visits. One of the conditions our Phoenix animal hospital treats is leptospirosis, also referred to as lepto.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection found in both animals and humans. In fact, animals may pass it to humans. Although cats can develop it, it's more commonly acquired by dogs. It's more common for adult dogs as well as males and large breeds to contract lepto.
Each animal reacts differently to the bacteria depending on the vaccination status, immune response, and age of the pet. Some pets don't have any symptoms of lepto at all while it can be fatal in others. Fever and shivering are common symptoms and so are a decrease in appetite or nausea and vomiting. Some animals have joint or muscle pain, which causes them to be reluctant to move. Your pet may experience weakness. It's possible for your pet to have discharge from his or her nose or eyes. Jaundice can occur, so you may notice your pet's skin or the membrane around his or her eyes will become yellow. The pet's gums may turn yellow as well. Sometimes, pets will urinate frequently and then have a period of time where they don't urinate enough.
The bacteria thrives best in warm, humid areas. It's usually found in stagnant water such as ponds. Rodents in urban areas can carry the bacteria and infect a domestic animal. An animal's immune system may fight the infection, but it's possible for the bacteria to remain in an animal's urine, so other animals can become infected by coming in contact with the urine. It's possible for a pet to acquire the infection by getting bitten by or biting an affected animal. Placental tissue can carry it, and animals can transfer through sexual intercourse.
Diagnosis lepto usually consists of a veterinarian in Phoenix taking a urine sample to test it for the bacteria. The vet may also analyze a blood sample for increasing levels of leptospira antibodies via a test known as MAT. Dog vaccinations can interfere with the results when the vet tests for leptospira antibodies. Blood testing might be used to test for the bacteria. Further testing such as other laboratory diagnostics or radiographs may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.
Our Phoenix animal hospital uses antibiotics to treat the infection. Generally, the antibiotics are given in two stages. The first stage consists of penicillin or another similar medication to treat the initial infection. The second stage is comprised of doxycycline to cure and prevent the animal from being a long-term carrier of the bacteria. The pet may be given intravenous fluids to correct dehydration, and other treatments may be given to control kidney and liver issues.
Keep your dog vaccinations up to date with our Phoenix veterinarian. If your pet is exhibiting symptoms of lepto, contact us at 602-395-9773. We look forward to meeting with you and your furry friends!