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Dr. Dan
Dr. Dan, Veterinarian
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I'm worried that my 9 week old Belgian Malinois X Dutch Herder

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I'm worried that my 9 week old Belgian Malinois X Dutch Herder puppy may have leptospirosis, what do you think?
She turned 9 weeks on Friday. Tonight, on her a usual toilet routine I noticed she had scurried off. I turned around and saw her with her head in a bucket at the back of the shed. I quickly ran and got her out, I'm glad I did as it was 1/4 full with stagnant water with 3 dead baby rats in!
I can't believe it really, I feel sick with worry. I have checked every part of the house and garden, but this I missed.
I don't know whether she had a drink or just sniffed - I don't recall any moisture or licking - so can only assume she sniffed, plus I don't know if she could have reach in that far.
I immediately bathed her and cleared up the area.
She had her first round of vaccines on Wednesday. I picked up up the Saturday evening before. She had Nobivac Lepto2 and DHP.
She is due the next round on 2 weeks.
MY QUESTION is whether she could have contracted the virus by sniffing or ingesting?
I have never left her side and acted like she is a baby, but one bloody second and this happens. I am going to the vets Monday with other two dogs for their boosters. I would be more than happy to pay for a blood test to see if anything shows up, but would this be too early?
I am more than happy to pay through the teeth for anything that can help detect anything early - if she has it that is.
Any expert aside greatly appreciated.
Many thanks,
I hope she will be ok.
Thank you for your question, I'm Dr. Dan and I'll try to help you.
I'm sorry your pooch has you terrified like this and you are right leptospirosis is no joking matter. Unfortunately, transmission of leptospirosis happens through urine or feces contamination of water and other things like dirt, and grass that then is contracted by eating or drinking the affected materials. So if these rats were carrying leptospirosis it could be in the water and your dog could be infected. There are a lot of 'coulds' in there so it is not a promise. As long as your puppy is not refusing water, vomiting or having a fever we can be fairly sure there is no problems at this moment. Also unfortunately we cannot call Shadow completely protected by the vaccines until there have been 2 doses. That leaves us with to courses of action. The treatment for lepto is amoxicillin. If you talk to your vet about your concerns a course of amoxicillin or other penicillin based drugs will kill lepto. The other course of action that will also not use needless antibiotics is to have a paired titer test done. By drawing blood and checking her lepto titer and then drawing the same titer again after a period of a couple of weeks will demonstrate if she's actively infected almost always before symptoms appear.
I don't think you need to panic at this point but call your vet on Monday and discuss your concerns. Then you and the vet can discuss if treatment or testing makes the most sense for you.
I hope this helps, if not please feel free to ask more questions.
Dr. Dan
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi Dr. Dan,
Thanks for your reply.
My thoughts exactly. I've read that even if dogs were treated the full course they could still get diseases, but they just have a kick starter for fighting it?
My only worry is her age, if she does have it and we find out - I will discuss diagnosis options Monday - what are the chances of her surviving.
It's my only fear, as she is so young and vulnerable. She cost a small fortune and have had her only a week, I am pessimistic unfortunately so always expect the worst.
If I have the titer test Monday, will it show up this early? I want to tackle it ASAP if she has, as although she is from very strong working lines and has her mother and fathers immunity, she is still a puppy.
What's her prognosis like if it's the worst?
It will not show up this early which is why the paired test is so important, a rising titer is the only way to truly diagnose leptospirosis. So it is not too early to start now but even if we knew she had the disease we can't diagnose for sure until we get the second titer test and prove the test is rising, so to get the test moving Mon. makes sense.
As for the worst case scenario it is not likely very bad because you are on high alert. Yes lepto causes kidney and liver disease but only because it is often misdiagnosed because puppies coming in with vomiting and fever can have those symptoms with many other diseases and so vets are not always on the lookout for it. In those cases the patients die of renal and liver failure because they are diagnosed too late. In this case you are on the lookout so if any symptoms occur you and your vet will have notes for lepto exposure and be ready to treat with the proper antibiotic right away. Most if not all dogs that contract lepto that are treated correctly and quickly survive with no permanent damage. I would not be too worried simply because you will be alerting your vet and likely taking her in immediately if she becomes lethargic and starts vomiting. I would not be too panicked, between watching for symptoms, and titer testing your pooch will be well protected, mainly because of your heightened sense of awareness!
Dr. Dan
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Dr. Dan, thanks for the info.
Do you know roughly how much a titer test would cost and how soon after the first would the next one be due? I'm assuming if she goes downhill in the coming days/weeks we will know what it is?
I have high hopes that she'll be alright. I know that I have 100% care and attention for her and can shoot to the vet ASAP. So she's in safe hands.
Just hope that worst case scenario she can fight it.
How much these tests cost is extremely variable depending on your geographic location and the lab used. I'd be thinking $100-$200 for the first and the same again for the second test.
The test should be run between 2-4 weeks apart. Most vets split the difference and go 3 weeks apart.
Dr. Dan
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