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Can A Dog Get Leptospirosis From Eating Rabbit Poop? (2023)

Can A Dog Get Leptospirosis From Eating Rabbit Poop

You’ve been stressed about this lately:

Your dog is eating rabbit poop.

And along with trying to stop the behavior, you’re thinking:

“They said my pup can get leptospirosis from it.

Is that true?”

Continue reading to know:

  • What to do if your dog ate a bunny’s fecal droppings.
  • Whether a dog can get leptospirosis from eating rabbit poop or not.
  • 1 concerning disease that your canine can get from eating bunny feces.
  • And that’s only the beginning…

Can a dog get leptospirosis from eating rabbit poop?

Your dog can’t get leptospirosis from eating rabbit poop. However, they can still catch the disease from bunnies. But it’s mostly through the latter’s urine, not feces.

The MSD Vet Manual tells us that leptospirosis is a bacterial infection. And it’s caused by leptospira.

Now, this is what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says:

Leptospirosis is zoonotic

That means 1 species can transmit it to others. Which is any animal to another, including you.

However, it can only be passed through urine. Or any other bodily fluids like blood, except saliva.

Moreover, your pup’s mouth isn’t the only point of entry for leptospira.

The bacteria can also get through your pup’s:

  • Eyes.
  • Nose.
  • Exposed skin (from a simple scratch to an exposed wound).

That’s why, if your pup eats rabbit poop, there’s a very rare chance they’ll get leptospirosis. 

But I can think of a sample scenario where that might happen:

Say the bunny poops and pees in the same place…

Now, the 2 got mixed together…

If your pupper eats the rabbit poop with a splash of pee, they’ll get ill with leptospirosis.

Then that’s about one of the only few times it can occur in which poop is involved.

When that happens, here are…

Signs of leptospirosis in dogs

Note: The AVMA reveals that not all dogs might show any signs of this condition. If this is the case, they’ll likely recover on their own. That’s because the illness is just mild.

But for severe cases, these symptoms will show:

Fever Is A Sign Of Leptospirosis In Dogs
  • Fever.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Lethargy.
  • Shivering.
  • Swollen leg.
  • Peeing more.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Muscle tenderness.
  • Reluctance to move.
  • Jaundice or yellowing of the skin.
  • Dehydration, which causes increased thirst.

Warning: If you observe these signs on your canine, bring them to the vet immediately. Since this means the disease is severe, it can lead to death.

And to give you an idea of how things will go after that…

Here are…

The treatments for leptospirosis

Now, I mentioned how you need to take your pupper to the vet immediately.

When Fido gets treated early and intensively, they’ll recover.

And since the condition is bacterial, vets will prescribe the necessary antibiotics. 

Note: Even if they get better, the prescriptions can cause permanent kidney and liver damage. With that, your dog can still have a full life, but Fido has to manage through:

  • Therapy.
  • Surgery.
  • Medications.

Warning: As I mentioned, leptospirosis is zoonotic. That means your dog can pass the infection to you. Talk to the vet and your doctor. They’ll advise the essential steps in getting protection from the disease.

But take note of these simple ways to prevent getting leptospirosis:

  1. Don’t swim in a contaminated body of water (one you’re unfamiliar with). It might contain an infected animal’s urine.
  2. Get rid of rodents. Bunnies aren’t the only ones that can pass it to you. Also consider rats.
  3. Wear protective clothing when coming in contact with unfamiliar animal bodily fluid.
  4. Always wash your hand after petting your dog (or rabbit).
  5. Use an antibacterial solution to clean after your dog (and bunny).

And with so many risks, it’s best to know:

How to prevent leptospirosis in dogs

The best way to stop leptospirosis from getting to your pooch is through vaccination. 

Fido needs to be vaccinated annually against the disease. Especially if they’re constantly exposed to rabbit poop. For example, if you have a bunny at home.

However, the vaccination frequency will still depend on the vet’s recommendation.

Moreover, less exposure to the cause will decrease the risk of getting leptospirosis.

That said, don’t let Fido near any rabbit’s pee, or even poop. 

Continue reading: 7 Easy Ways To Stop A Dog From Eating Rabbit Poop

Can dogs get other diseases from eating rabbit poop?

Dogs can get other diseases from eating rabbit poop. A particular one is giardiasis.

It sounds like it’s caused by bacteria, but it’s not.

In fact, VCA Hospitals aim to correct that. Because it’s actually due to a one-celled parasite called giardia.

Fact: This condition has many types. But it’s more commonly known as “traveler’s diarrhea.” 

That aside, here are more ways on how your pup can also be exposed to giardia:

  • Drinking from tainted water.
  • Rolling in contaminated soil (where the initial host poops).
  • Having the contaminated matter stick to their fur, then licking that part

In summary, according to CDC’s findings:

When Fido touches an affected surface with giardia…

And they somehow bring the germs near their mouth and swallow it…

Or even if they just sniff the parasite from the ground…

They’ll get giardiasis. 

But for your pooch that just ate that affected rabbit poop? 

It’ll go straight to their intestines. Then cause an infection there.

That said, here are…

Signs that your dog has giardiasis

Vets say that younger animals are more likely to be severely affected by this. 

But regardless of their age, they can get the disease.

And when they do, your pup will show these symptoms:

  • Vomiting.
  • Chronic diarrhea.
  • Sudden (and drastic) weight loss.

Now, don’t just look at your dog. Also focus on their stool. See if it’s:

  • Watery.
  • Bloody.
  • Greenish.

Any of the above points out to your pupper suffering from giardiasis.

My dog ate rabbit poop – what should I do?

When your dog eats rabbit poop, you should observe them closely for 24 hours. 

During that monitoring period, watch out for general signs of illness in dogs. According to AKC, those are:

  • Lameness.
  • Changes in appetite.
  • Personality changes.
  • Drinking more or less water.
  • Increased or decreased urination.

Also, consider the other symptoms of leptospirosis and giardia. I mentioned them in the previous sections.

While you’re observing Fido, also tend to your pup. Do the following:

  • Give them a comfortable place to rest.
  • Switch to a bland diet (boiled chicken).
  • Put their water bowl near them to encourage drinking (if they’re dehydrated). 

Now, mild symptoms can go away within 2 to 3 days. But only with your proper care.

So if they seem to be getting better, don’t sit back and relax just yet. Continue looking after them for 1 more day.

And if all checks out even after that, your pooch is alright.

But if the symptoms get worse and Fido gets weaker every time you check on them…

Immediately bring them to the veterinarian.

Read next: Can Dogs Get Sick From Eating Rabbit Poop?

Disclaimer: While the aim of this article is to give you all the information you need, it’s by no means a substitute for professional veterinary advice. So when in doubt, regardless if your dog seems fine, get in touch with the vet. Update them regularly on how your dog is doing.