What are the clinical manifestations of leptospirosis in animals?

Updated: Jul 08, 2021
  • Author: Sandra G Gompf, MD, FACP, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Leptospirosis in animals is often subclinical. Leptospires may persist for long periods in the renal tubules of animals by establishing a symbiotic relationship with little or no evidence of disease or pathological changes in the kidney. As a result, animals that serve as reservoirs of host-adapted serovars can shed high concentrations of the organism in their urine without showing clinical evidence of disease.

This leptospiruria in animals often occurs for months after the initial infection. Leptospiruria also has been found to occur in healthy immunized dogs. Leptospiruria in humans is more transient, rarely lasting more than 60 days. Humans and nonadapted animals are incidental hosts. With rare exceptions, man represents a dead end in the chain of infection because person-to-person spread of the disease is rare.


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