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Professional Version

Interstitial Nephritis, Glomerulonephritis, and Vasculitis in Small Animals


Scott A. Brown

, VMD, PhD, DACVIM, Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia

Reviewed/Revised Sep 2015 | Modified Oct 2022

Acute interstitial nephritis in dogs is caused most often by Leptospira interrogans ( see Leptospirosis in Dogs Leptospirosis in Dogs Dogs are susceptible to infection by many leptospiral serovars, with clinical signs of leptospirosis ranging from mild, subclinical infection to acute kidney injury, hepatopathyrespiratory disease... read more Leptospirosis in Dogs ). Cats rarely develop leptospirosis, and clinical signs are less severe than in dogs. Other infectious causes of nephritis in dogs include Leishmania donovani and Borrelia burgdorferi. These systemic vectorborne diseases are endemic in specific geographic areas. Glomerulonephritis is the predominant renal pathology, so these are considered immune complex diseases rather than true urinary tract infections. Toxoplasmosis can cause pyogranulomas in the kidneys or elsewhere in the urinary system. Systemic infectious diseases that cause vasculitis in cats or dogs (eg, feline infectious peritonitis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever) may also cause kidney disease.

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