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Clinical Presentation - Vomiting and Anorexia

June, a 5-year-old spayed female retired racing Greyhound

June presented with a 3-day history of vomiting and anorexia. She lived in an urban household on the edge of the suburbs in a western state. June had been adopted 2 years previously by the owner. She had received 'shots at adoption,' but the exact vaccinations were unknown.
She was presented at a specialist referral center. Physical exam showed hyperemic conjunctivitis (reddened, inflamed eyes), abdominal pain, a moderately painful bladder, vulvar petechiae, 'tacky' mucous membranes, and skin tenting (a sign of dehydration). The veterinarian estimated she was about 5% dehydrated.
A complete blood count showed an elevated white blood cell count with elevated segmented neutrophils and lymphocytes and decreased platelets, which had a giant morphology. BUN was high at 234 mg/dL and creatinine was high at 17.5 mg/dL. Phosphorus and potassium were high, and chloride and bicarbonate were low. Osmolality, total bilirubin, ALP, ALT, and AST were all high. Urinalysis showed the presence of glucose, bilirubin, and protein and a specific gravity of 1.015.
Based on the physical condition and the results of the blood work and urinalysis, the prognosis was determined to be serious. June would require hospitalization and intensive care to recover, even without a final diagnosis of the cause of her condition. The owners opted to euthanize June. They gave permission for a necropsy to determine the cause of her disease, and testing confirmed leptospirosis.

CASE NOTE: Proper vaccination would have likely prevented the disease. Early testing by the referring veterinarian might have diagnosed the disease early enough to have helped June survive. Treating dogs with advanced leptospirosis can be very expensive.


Lepto carriers can reside in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Take our risk assessment to see your dog's risk level.


Lepto is largely vaccine preventable. Most vaccines have 4 serovars to fight against today's most common serovars.


Read about real pets that were diagnosed with leptospirosis.