Leptospirosis is a bacterial urinary infection in rats. Though more common in wild rats, it is highly contagious and quickly transmitted to any pet rat that comes in contact with urine from an infected animal. Leptospirosis can be transmitted to humans (zoonotic) or other animals. It is therefore recommended that a rat or rat colony infected with the disease be euthanized.
Both rats (and humans) with leptospirosis present flu-like symptoms. These include:
- Upper respiratory tract infections
- Nasal discharge
- Loss of appetite and weight
- Increased thirst
This urinary infection is caused by the Leptospira spp. bacterium, and is transmitted by the urine of an infected animal; in this case, a rat.
The veterinarian will diagnose leptospirosis by identifying the Leptospira spp. bacterium through blood and urine tests.
Inducing death on an animal or putting them to sleep
The singular form of the word bacteria; a tiny, microscopic organism only made up of one cell.