Is It Lyme or Is It Lepto?

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Two spirochetal infectious agents (Borrelia burgdorferi and pathogenic Leptospira spp.) may cause renal disease in dogs, with characteristics that can mimic one another and lead to inappropriate clinical decision-making. Comparing the similarities and differences between Lyme disease and leptospirosis is helpful when considering proper diagnosis, treatment, and prevention protocols—not only for the individual canine but for its housemates, owners, and the community at large.

  • Microbial and disease characteristics that Lyme nephritis and leptospirosis have in common
  • Differentiating between Lyme nephritis and leptospirosis infections by looking for certain distinguishing features in the history, physical examination, laboratory, imaging, and (if necessary) renal biopsy
  • Best practices for treatment, monitoring, and prevention in order to avoid reinfection in the individual and decrease exposure to other animals and people in the neighborhood
  • Defining the public health implications for these two diseases and being an active member in the One Health mission for veterinarians working alongside other healthcare professionals for the good of the whole community