AI May be the Future for Dog Bacteria Screening

Jun 7, 2022

Our world keeps turning into more of a science fiction movie each day, with artificial intelligence creations doing all sorts of things–from performing surgery to being the ‘perfect’ pet (we prefer the real deal, though, thank you very much)! Now, new science from the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine has discovered a way to predict the presence of leptospirosis in dogs.


Yes, it’s hard to say, but surprisingly fast in the damage it can cause in your dogs. Leptospirosis is a disease they get from drinking water that has the Leptospira bacteria in it. If your dog gets lepto, it can cause kidney failure, liver disease and severe bleeding in the lungs. The key to the best treatment for lepto is early detection, as it can literally mean the difference between life and death.

Researchers from the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine believe they’ve discovered a technique that can predict leptospirosis in dogs, and it uses artificial intelligence to do so.

The researchers tested many models and developed one that even outperformed traditional testing methods of detecting the disease early. Dr. Krystle Reagan is a board-certified internal medicine specialist and an assistant professor who focuses on infectious diseases. She said that traditional detection can take more than two weeks because we need to see a rise in the antibody levels in a dog’s blood sample and that takes time. Their Artificial Intelligence (AI) model takes both the time and method elements away and allows for quick and accurate diagnoses.

The AI computer prediction model used bloodwork from 413 dogs who had been tested for leptospirosis at the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. An additional 53 dogs suspected to have lepto also added to the blood sample pool through the year. The AI model correctly identified all nine positive dogs (with a 100% sensitivity) and correctly identified approximately 90% of the 44 dogs who were ultimately found to be leptospirosis negative.

Dr. Mark Stetter is the Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine and said he’s thrilled to see UC Davis vets leading the charge for AI-based clinical decision making as that’s going to be the future for many aspects of medicine for pets.

Of benefit for people too

This is groundbreaking not only for pet parents, but for people too, as leptospirosis is zoonotic–which means it can transfer from animals to humans. Lepto is tough to diagnose in humans so perhaps this technology can move into the human medicine realm as well. This research group previously developed an AI algorithm that can predict Addison’s disease with an accuracy rate greater than 99%!

The research was done in collaboration with members of UC Davis’ Center for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence Research. It was led by Dr. Thomas Strohmer, a professor of mathematics. He and his students helped create the algorithm for this disease, and are actively working on using AI detection for predicting other infections as well–including antimicrobial-resistant infections that are a problem for both vets and human doctors alike.

The best defense is a good offense!

We can’t always protect our dogs from icky and life-threatening bacteria like leptospirosis. Even a lepto vaccine is not a guarantee that your dog won’t contract it. Risk factors for leptospirosis in dogs  include exposure to or drinking from lakes, streams or rivers on rural properties, exposure to wild animals in woods or farms, contact with rodents or even contact with other dogs who are exposed to those risk factors.

What we CAN do, though, is ensure that our dog’s microbiome is as healthy as it can be. Researchers are continually looking into the role and function of a dog’s microbiota every day, and even specifically for its role in leptospirosis infections.

That’s one of the main reasons that Bernie’s Perfect Poop was created. Our founders knew that good health began in the gut, and the gut was KEY for their dogs Bernie and Lady to be healthy and happy. 

The premium fiber, pre- and probiotics and digestive enzymes in Perfect Poop help your dog’s intestinal lining be strong, and helps prevent against dysbiosis in dogs. This is basically when things like yeast, allergens or bacteria escape from your dog’s gut (where he’s fighting them in the digestive process) and to into his bloodstream. It’s not a good thing for your dog to suffer from dysbiosis (also known as ‘Leaky Gut’ in dogs) and the number one way to help that is to fuel and support his microbiome.

Artificial Intelligence algorithms are awesome and definitely have their place in medicine but the bottom line for the best health in dogs is making sure what goes in their body is the best it can be. Perfect Poop is designed to do just that, and keep your dog at his happiest and healthiest so he can spend lots more perfect days with you!

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