Leptospirosis is an unpleasant disease that can affect all dog breeds. Left untreated, it causes serious complications for pets, including kidney failure and death. Leptospirosis treatment for dogs is aggressive and expensive. Many pet parents ask whether dog insurance plans cover treatment costs when their pooch has been diagnosed with leptospirosis. Below, we answer this question for you.

What is leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis is a transmissible disease caused by a bacteria called Leptospira. For many years it was believed this bacteria could only be found in rural areas. However, every dog across the United States is at risk of developing this horrible condition. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, once infected, a dog may be able to pass this disease on to other animals and humans.

This bacteria lives in water sources, such as standing water or moist soil. A dog that drinks or swims in water containing Leptospira can get easily infected. Dogs can also get this disease if a cut or open wound comes into direct content with the urine of an infected animal. In rare cases, the condition passes to puppies through the placenta of the mother dog.

Once the bacteria enters a dog's bloodstream, it quickly reproduces in significant organs, including the liver and kidneys. Leptospirosis treatment for dogs must take place soon after infection to prevent your pet from becoming seriously ill.

Leptospirosis: Signs and symptoms

Yet, what signs should pet parents be looking for? And how soon after symptoms appear should owners be seeking leptospirosis treatment for dogs? Symptoms can vary from dog to dog. However, this disease develops quickly, so you should notice signs within four to twelve days of your pet's infection.

Here are red flags to watch for that indicate your dog may be ill with leptospirosis:

  • Lack of appetite;
  • Vomiting;
  • Fever;
  • Fatigue;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Difficulty breathing;
  • Dehydration;
  • Mouth ulcers;
  • Swollen legs;
  • Jaundice;
  • Muscle pain and limping;
  • Depression;
  • Reluctance to move.

This condition requires urgent attention when symptoms first arise. If you suspect your dog has leptospirosis, bring them to your vet immediately. Your vet will need to run several tests, including bloodwork and a urinalysis, to help determine whether the Leptospira bacteria is at play.

Leptospirosis treatment for dogs: What owners can expect

Once your vet confirms the diagnosis, leptospirosis treatment for dogs is typically a course of antibiotics, such as Amoxicillin. If your dog's case is mild, treatment can take place at home. However, pet owners must wear protective gear, such as gloves, and keep their dogs isolated—especially if they have kids or other pets in the house.

In severe cases, dogs require hospitalization to ensure permanent damage hasn't happened to the liver or kidneys. Some dogs may need dialysis treatment or intravenous fluids to battle deadly side effects. The great news is that 50% to 90% of dogs recover from leptospirosis with appropriate treatment.

Is treatment covered under my dog insurance plan?

Pet parents who signed up for a dog insurance plan before their furry friend becomes ill are covered for treatment costs. If you try to sign up after your dog is diagnosed with leptospirosis, your insurance company can deny coverage. Pet insurance for dogs covers various severe health conditions and procedures, including cancer treatment, surgeries, laboratory tests, and hereditary disorders.

At Wagmo, we offer dog insurance with wellness protection, so you don't have to worry about emergency vet bills or routine care costs. Wagmo Insurance plans cover 100% of coinsurance payments once you pay your annual deductible. Wagmo Pet Wellness plans also kick in immediately upon activation. We cover follow-up vet visits, routine tests, and urinalysis for as little as $36 per month.

Learn more about our dog insurance plans or sign up for pet wellness protection. Get a free pet insurance quote now.