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J Vet Intern Med. 2010 Nov-Dec;24(6):1277-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1939-1676.2010.0585.x. Epub 2010 Aug 24.

Pulmonary abnormalities in dogs with leptospirosis.

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  • 1Small Animal Clinic, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany.



Leptospirosis in dogs is a multiorgan disease affecting mostly kidneys and liver.


The objective was to characterize prevalence, clinical, and radiological features and outcome of dogs with leptospirosis and pulmonary abnormalities.


Fifty dogs with leptospirosis.


Medical records of dogs diagnosed with leptospirosis at the Small Animal Clinic, Berlin, were reviewed. Diagnosis was based on microscopic agglutination test, blood or urine polymerase chain reaction, and histopathology. Based on clinical and/or radiological signs, patients were grouped into dogs with lung abnormalities (group 1) or without (group 2). Severity of respiratory distress was scored as mild to moderate (grade 1) or severe (grade 2). Thoracic radiographs were scored based on pulmonary changes and location as grade 1 (caudal interstitial pattern), 2 (generalized mild to moderate reticulonodular interstitial pattern), or 3 (generalized severe reticulonodular interstitial pattern with patchy alveolar consolidations). Results of CBC and biochemistry were compared between groups.


Thirty-five dogs had radiological pulmonary changes (grade 1: 5; grade 2: 14; grade 3: 16); 31 of them had pulmonary distress (grade 1: 13, grade 2: 18). Sixty-seven percent of the dogs with dyspnea grade 2 were mainly euthanized because of respiratory distress. Fifteen percent of the dogs with dyspnea grade 1 and 21% without clinical respiratory signs were euthanized because of acute renal failure or sepsis.


In 70% of dogs with leptospirosis pulmonary changes were detected. Lung involvement represented a severe complication causing increased case fatality depending on the severity of respiratory distress.

Copyright © 2010 by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

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