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Canine leptospirosis is a disease with multi-organ involvement with mostly renal and hepaticmanifestations. Severe pulmonary hemorrhage syndrome’’ with respiratory signs (dyspnea, coughing, hemoptysis), radiological pulmonary changes andmortality rates of over 50% has been
described in human medicine. However, thus far lung manifestation in
dogs with leptospirosis has been reported infrequently.
Therefore, the medical records of dogs diagnosed with leptospirosis
at the Small Animal Clinic, FU Berlin between 2006 and 2008 were reviewed with regard to: 1) clinical signs with special emphasis on respiratory signs and radiological pulmonary changes, 2) comparison of laboratory results among dogs with and without lung manifestation, 3) correlation between severity of pulmonary distress and outcome of disease.
The diagnosis of leptospirosis was based on results of MATtiters, urine PCR, and histopathology. Based on clinical and radiological signs patients were grouped in dogs with (group 1) and without (group 2) lung manifestation. Severity of pulmonary distress was graded as mild to moderate (grade 1) and severe (grade 2). Thoracic radiographs were graded based on pulmonary changes (interstitial, alveolar) and location (dorsal, generalized) in grade 1 (interstitial, dorsal), 2 (alveolar, dorsal), 3 (interstitial, generalized), and 4 (alveolar, generalized). The results of CBC and clinical biochemistry were compared between group 1 and 2. 37 dogs with leptospirosis were included in the study. 22 of 37
dogs (59.5%) suffered frompulmonary distress (15 dogs of grade 1, 7
of grade 2) either at presentation or during course of treatment. Radiological pulmonary changes of grade 1 were detected in 1 dog, of
grade 3 in 11 dogs, and of grade 4 in 10 dogs with pulmonary distress.
At admission or during course of disease 89% of the dogs were azotemic, 81% had increased liver enzymes and hyperbilirubinemia;
no significant differences between groups were detected. There were
significant differences between group 1 and 2 with regard to the severity
of thrombocytopenia (median platelet count group 1 68103/ml, group 2 151103/ml, p50.01) and anemia (median Hct group 1 29%, group 2 36%, p50.04). All dogs with dyspnea grade 2 had to be euthanized due to respiratory distress. 33% of the dogs with dyspnea grade 1 and 27% of the dogs without respiratory signs were euthanized due to acute renal or hepatic failure.
A pulmonary form of leptospirosis was detected in 60%of the patients.
Lung involvement represents a severe complication causing increasedmortality depending on the severity of the respiratory signs.